Phil Walsh (Australian footballer)

Phillip "Phil" Walsh (15 March 1960 – 3 July 2015) was an Australian rules footballer and coach. Walsh played for Collingwood, Richmond and the Brisbane Bears in the Victorian Football League (VFL) between 1983 and 1990. Upon ending his playing career, Walsh held assistant coaching roles at Geelong, West Coast and Port Adelaide before being appointed as the head coach of the Adelaide Football Club for a three-season contract beginning in 2015.

Phil Walsh
Personal information
Full name Phillip Walsh
Date of birth (1960-03-15)15 March 1960
Place of birth Hamilton, Victoria, Australia[1]
Date of death 3 July 2015(2015-07-03) (aged 55)
Place of death Somerton Park, South Australia, Australia
Original team(s) Hamilton
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 80 kg (176 lb)
Playing career
Years Club Games (Goals)
1983 Collingwood 022 0(9)
1984–1986 Richmond 040 (14)
1987–1990 Brisbane Bears 060 (18)
Total 122 (41)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2015 Adelaide 12 (7–5–0)
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

On 3 July 2015, Walsh was found dead at the age of 55, in his Somerton Park home with multiple stab wounds. His son Cy was charged with his murder, and later found not guilty due to mental incompetence.

Playing career

Walsh played mostly as a wingman and made his VFL debut in the 1983 season with Collingwood. The following year he crossed to Richmond where he spent three seasons with the club playing in 40 games. He finished his career with the Brisbane Bears and won their inaugural best and fairest award in 1987.[2][3]

Coaching career

After his playing career, Walsh became the fitness co-ordinator and senior team runner at the Geelong Football Club from 1996 to 1999, before moving to the Port Adelaide Football Club as an assistant coach in 1999. He was an assistant coach under Mark Williams in Port's 2004 premiership team. In the same year he was awarded the AFL Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year award.

In 2009, Walsh moved to West Coast as an assistant coach under John Worsfold.[4]

In 2014, he returned to South Australia as an assistant coach, specialising in midfield strategy, at the Port Adelaide Football Club.

On 7 October 2014, Walsh was appointed the senior coach at the Adelaide Football Club for three years after the sacking of Brenton Sanderson.[5]


On 3 July 2015, Walsh was found dead in his Somerton Park home. Police were called to the house just after 2:00 am, and found Walsh with multiple stab wounds. Paramedics arrived and tried to revive him, but a doctor confirmed him dead at the scene. Walsh's wife Meredith was taken to a nearby hospital for cuts to her leg. Their 26-year-old son who also lived at the same home, Cy, was found by police a short time later, taken into custody and charged with murder. The Crows' next scheduled match, against Geelong, on 5 July 2015, was cancelled with both teams awarded two premiership points, making it the only game cancelled outright in the league's history.[6]

In late September 2016, Cy Walsh was found not guilty over the murder due to mental incompetence (as he was using drugs),[7][8][9] meaning he is now subject to a lifetime psychiatric supervision order and is permanently detained at the James Nash House forensic Mental Health Facility.[10] Some staff at the centre were later found guilty of accessing his personal details without authorisation.[11]

Personal life

Walsh grew up in Hamilton, Victoria, and was the youngest of 7 children. In addition to football, Walsh also enjoyed cricket, tennis and basketball.[12] Walsh lost his mother in 2009 and father, a World War II veteran, in 2011. Walsh could speak Japanese, and was regarded one of the greatest minds in modern football.[13] Walsh was extremely devoted to his role as coach of Adelaide, often waking between 2am and 5am to begin his job.[14]


  1. "Adelaide Coach Phil Walsh goes under the Auld pump". The Standard. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  2. Lovett, Michael (2004). AFL 2004 - The Official Statistical History Of The AFL. AFL Publishing. ISBN 0-9580300-5-7.
  3. "Club Champions". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  4. "Phillip Walsh added to West Coast Eagles coaching team". The Australian. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  5. "Walsh to coach Crows". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  6. "Crows-Cats cancelled: What does it mean? -". Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  8. "Adelaide Crows coach allegedly murdered, son in police custody". ABC News. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  9. Pierik, Jon; Calligeros, Marissa (3 July 2015). "Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh found dead in home".
  10. "Cy Walsh not guilty of murdering Crows coach Phil Walsh due to mental incompetence". ABC News. 27 September 2016.
  12. "Murdered Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh lived AFL dream". The Daily Telegraph. News Corporation. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  13. "Phil Walsh killing: Crows coach was told to seek work, life balance". The Australian. News Corporation. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  14. "Adelaide coach Phil Walsh invites Mark Robinson into the inner sanctum of the Crows and his life". Herald Sun. News Corporation. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
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