Doug Wade

Douglas Graeme "Doug" Wade (born 16 October 1941) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for the Geelong Football Club and North Melbourne Football Club.

Doug Wade
Personal information
Full name Douglas Graeme Wade
Date of birth (1941-10-16) 16 October 1941
Place of birth Horsham, Victoria
Original team(s) Horsham (WFL)
Height 188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 102 kg (225 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1961 – 1972 Geelong 208 0(834)
1973 – 1975 North Melbourne 059 0(223)
Total 267 (1057)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1975.
Career highlights
  • Coleman Medal winner 1962, 1967, 1969, 1974
  • Geelong premiership 1963
  • North Melbourne premiership 1975
  • Geelong Best and Fairest 1969
  • Geelong leading goalkicker 1961–1964, 1966–1972
  • North Melbourne leading goalkicker 1973–1975
  • Geelong Team of the Century
  • Victorian representative (7 games, 31 goals).
Sources: AFL Tables,

He was the League's leading goal scorer (winning the Coleman Medal) on four occasions from 1962 until 1974. He was only the second player (after Collingwood's Gordon Coventry), and the first post-WW2 to kick over 1,000 goals in his career.[1] Only three other players – Gary Ablett Snr (Hawthorn/Geelong), Jason Dunstall (Hawthorn) and Tony Lockett (St.Kilda/Sydney) have emulated the effort.[2]

Geelong career

After working for the CBC bank of Sydney at the age of 17 years, he tried out with the Melbourne Football Club in a number of practice games in 1960. Wade returned home to Horsham where he was playing with the Horsham football club. In 1961 Wade was lured back by the Geelong Football Club where he made his VFL/AFL debut. Wade was a member of the Geelong side which won the VFL Premiership in 1963, and a Grand Final player in 1967.

Wade was involved in one of the most memorable umpiring decisions in VFL history. In the 1962 Preliminary Final Replay, Geelong was trailing Carlton by five points with seconds remaining. The ball came down to Wade and Carlton full-back Peter Barry, and Wade out-manoeuvered Barry to mark 25 metres out in front; but umpire Irving penalised Wade, who was in front, for holding on to Barry's shorts in the contest. Wade said: "All I did was to keep my eyes on the ball and maneuvered for position. The only possible way he could have penalised me was for sticking out my posterior as I went to mark." Percy Beames wrote in The Age: "Wade was extremely unlucky. Nine times out of ten these incidents are overlooked." Former umpire Allen Nash said at the time:" It was the most courageous decision I've ever seen by an umpire."[3]

In the final minutes of a match against South Melbourne late in 1970, Wade had a shot at goal to put Geelong in front. A spectator threw an apple on the field, which collided with the football in mid-air as it dropped between Wade's hand and foot, and knocked the football clear of his boot which then failed to even connect with the ball.[4] The umpire, faced with an unprecedented circumstance, signalled 'play on'. South Melbourne's key defender, John Rantall (later to be a teammate of Wade when they both crossed to North Melbourne in 1973/4) picked up the ball and cleared it down field. South Melbourne scored a goal on the rebound and won the game by 7 points. They went on to make it into the finals for the first time since 1945. Geelong had started the game one win and percentage behind South Melbourne and this loss seriously damaged their chance of making the finals, which they went on to miss for the first time since 1961. The umpire's 'play on' decision was considered valid, since there was no rule at the time, to account for this kind of 'spectator interference'. South Melbourne went on to lose to St Kilda in the Semi-final.

North Melbourne career

At the end of the 1972 season, the VFL introduced a form of free agency known as the "10-year rule", which allowed players with ten years' service at one club to move to another club without a clearance.[5] Wade, along with Essendon's Barry Davis and South Melbourne's John Rantall, joined North Melbourne.[6]

He kicked 73 goals in his first season at North Melbourne, and was then a key member of their side which contested the Grand Final against Richmond in 1974. Wade kicked 103 goals in that season, becoming the third former Geelong player to head the VFL goal-kicking table after transferring to another club.

Wade holds a record for one of the biggest (VFL) scoring quarters by an individual, when he kicked 7 goals in the last quarter against Collingwood at Arden Street in 1974. Up until the last quarter Wade had been kept virtually quiet, by Doug Gott of Collingwood, despite North Melbourne's high goal scoring record against the Magpies at the 3rd quarter. Wade kicked seven goals and North Melbourne's total of 25 goals broke a club record against Collingwood at the time.[7]

The following year (1975) Wade struggled to find form largely due to fitness and weight. Near the end of the home and away season, Wade was becoming a liability because of his dwindling goal scores. However,on the Thursday before the Grand Final Wade pleaded with coach Ron Barassi and the selection committee to be selected into the side. Based on Wade's finals experience and Wade's offer or tactic to stay behind the pack to crumb goals, Wade convinced selectors to name him in the side instead of Robert Smith, who was a top reserves full-forward: who was fit and ready to take his place. However, in the 1975 Grand Final, Wade's experience proved to be an essential part of North's huge win over Hawthorn. The tactic of staying behind the pack worked and Wade scored a few goals doing this. He even missed an easy shot as the pack of players missed the ball and an open goal was for the taking. Wade's miss was a shock to the crowd and himself. However, his inspirational gestures to the North Melbourne forwards can be seen in the 1975 Grand final, especially the last quarter, when he hurriedly and unselfishly passes the ball to team mates. Wade finished his career on a high note (another Premiership) where many experts could not have predicted, proving that Wade was true champion player for both Geelong and North Melbourne.

In 1996 Wade was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.[8]

VFL statistics

 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league for the season only
Led the league after finals only
Led the league after season and finals
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1961 Geelong 231651N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A3.2N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
1962 Geelong 231768N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A4.0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
1963 Geelong 231648N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A3.0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
1964 Geelong 231341N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A3.2N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
1965 Geelong 231029288088846N/A2.
1966 Geelong 231752431504119176N/A3.
1967 Geelong 2320966019736233118N/A4.
1968 Geelong 2320645119736233120N/A3.
1969 Geelong 23211277523932271139N/A6.03.611.41.512.96.6N/A
1970 Geelong 231874431513318488N/A4.
1971 Geelong 2319944416929198104N/A4.
1972 Geelong 2321905918524209111N/A4.
1973 North Melbourne 22073411474419188N/A3.
1974 North Melbourne 2241034717832210103N/A4.
1975 North Melbourne 2154732913112249N/A3.
Career 267 1057 523 1784 346 2130 1042 N/A 4.0 2.6 8.7 1.7 10.4 5.1 N/A


  1. "Grand Trophy for Wade". The Age. 2 September 1974.
  2. "Most Career Goals". Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  3. "Last Mark Causes Stir in Hectic V.F.L. Final". The Age. 24 September 1962. p. 1.
  4. Murphy, Noel (27 February 2015). "Geelong legend Wade suffers stroke in Asia". Geelong Indy.
  5. The 10-year rule was introduced by the VFL in August 1972, in order to render it immune from the sorts of "restraint of trade" difficulties that were being experienced, at the time, in New South Wales in relation to Rugby League footballers. Although twenty-two VFL players were eligible under the rule, only George Bisset, Barry Davis, Carl Ditterich, John Rantall, Adrian Gallagher, and Wade, took advantage of it — transferring to Collingwood, North Melbourne, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Footscray, and North Melbourne (respectively). The rule was rescinded in May 1973.
  6. Anderson, Jon (28 May 2009). "Aussie Rules sampled free agency for 10 months in 1972". Herald Sun.
  7. "Magpies left for dead". The Age. 26 August 1974.
  8. "Australian Football Hall of Fame: Players". Archived from the original on 25 March 2012.
  9. Doug Wade's player profile at AFL Tables


  • Ross, John (1999). The Australian Football Hall of Fame. Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 132. ISBN 0-7322-6426-X.
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