Geoff Leek – Retired Australian Rules Player
Geoff Leek was a former Australian Rules player. He was the tallest player of VFL and played for Essendon.
Born on February 18, 1932, Geoff Leek gradually moved up the ladder to become a senior player of Essendon. He graduated through the Thirds and the Seconds and eventually became a regular senior player in 1953. Throughout his career, he played 191 games and kicked a total of 98 goals.
1951-1962: Essendon Football Club
Geoff Leek was residentially bound to Collingwood but was released and later recruited by Essendon from Preston Boys Club. He had to work his way up to the senior team. He was first put in Essendon’s Thirds (the under 19s team) and then moved to Essendon’s Seconds. With the Seconds, he played for 4 seasons and then was moved to the regular seniors’ team in the year 1953. His debut with Essendon was in 1951 where he played against Richmond at Windy Hill.
For his first senior game, Geoff was taken in as a reserve player in 1951. Essendon won the match by 4 points but Geoff did not make any significant contribution. In 1951, he played only 6 senior matches and the following year he played only 5 senior matches.
In 1952, he was a part of the Essendon’s Seconds Premiership Team that managed to beat Collingwood Seconds. After moving into the regular seniors’ team, Geoff played a total of 191 games. From 1956 to 1960, he played 70 consecutive games.
Geoff Leek was known for his sudden bursts of speed throughout the ground. He played as a ruckman and possessed enormous physical strength and tenacity. He was also known as an excellent palmer of the ball. Later in his career, Geoff’s skills as a ruckman improved significantly and he started playing in perfect co-ordination with ruck rover Hugh Mitchell. In 1958, he was elected as a member of Victorian representative team.
Geoff Leek stood 6′ 4 1/2″ and was the tallest player to play in VFL. People gave him the nickname of ‘the gentle giant’. This name was well selected because of his immense physical structure, his great sportsmanship, his dedication and courage and his gentle and fine character.
Geoff was a part of Essendon’s Grand Final Team of 1957 and 1958. Unfortunately, Essendon lost. In 1962 however, Essendon won the Grand Final and Geoff was the part of the Premiership Team. In that particular game, Geoff played a very crucial role by completely nullifying John Nicholls of Carlton. Geoff’s performance paved the path for Essendon’s victory. The game was even more vital because Geoff was already seriously injured (ankle injury) and his position was not confirmed even 30 minutes prior to the game. Eventually he was given a series of pain killer injection.
At the end of 1962 season, Geoff Leek announced his retirement, which was completely unexpected.
Geoff was a radio broadcaster for several years and was a loved and respected character. He was also a panellist of Sunday Football Show of Channel 9 from 1963 to 1972. From 1973 to 1987, he assumed a similar role for ABC.
He was a premiership player of 1962. He also became Essendon’s senior team’s vice-captain from 1957 to 1962. On several occasions, he also served as an acting captain. In 1960, he became a Life Member of Essendon and served at club’s committee member in 1957.
3 days after celebrating his 76th birthday on 18 February 2008, Geoff Leek suddenly died at his home on 21 February 2008.