Jack Dyer – Retired Australian Rules Football Player
Jack Dyer (full name: John Raymond “Jack” Dyer Sr.) was a famous Australian Rules football player who was known by the name Captain Blood.
Born on November 15, 1913, Jack Dyer was one of the finest players of his generation.
His VFL career did not really have a great start as expected but eventually he turned into one of the greatest players Richmond ever had. He died on August 23, 2003.
Throughout his lifetime, he had two distinct careers. First, he was a star player of Richmond football club and after retirement, he became a full-time journalist and broadcaster.
Dyer always wanted to play for Richmond because he always idolized George Rudolph who was one of the star players of Richmond Tigers.
At the age of 16, Jack Dyer turned out to be the best player and won the award of Metropolitan League in 1930. Because of his performance, he hoped that Richmond would sign him but he grew impatient because Richmond was not doing so.
Therefore, he eventually decided to play for Collingwood who were the arch-rivals of the Tigers. The gamble worked and Richmond signed him up and Dyer started training with Richmond in 1931. The then coach of Richmond, ‘Checker’ Hughes decided to put Dyer against Joe Murdoch – one of the veteran players during a practice session.
Dyer barely touched the ball and was completely disheartened who which coach Hughes explained that the match was not a test of skill but of courage.
In 1931 season, Hughes selected Dyer for debut in second match but put him as a reserve. Dyer never got a chance to play because Richmond won the match with a record score of 30.19. By mid-season Dyer ended up in the seconds and then decided to walk away from Richmond. Percy Page, the then secretary of Richmond managed to convince Dyer to return to the Club. Dyer eventually had a chance to play in the second semi-final against Geelong and surprised the opponents by sneaking under the radar and scoring three goals.
However, in the final, which was also against Geelong, Dyer faced a challenge as Geelong’s veteran ‘Bull’ Coghlan was up against him. Dyer could manage only four touches throughout the day. That game was intimidating for Dyer as later admitted by him.
1932 and 1933 seasons
The 1932 season was a completely new story and Jack Dyer emerged as a shining star.
Dyer could play only 10 matches and had to retire for the rest of the year because of a knee injury. However, his performance in those 10 matched allowed him to win the Best and Fairest award for Richmond.
That season, the only thing Dyer could do after the injury was to sit back and see his club win the Grand Final.
Dyer returned for the next season and now he was a completely transformed player. He turned ferocious and looked physically strong. However, Richmond eventually lost to South Melbourne in that years Grand Final. The following year Richmond once again played South Melbourne in Grand Final and went on to win the match. Dyer was a premiership player and established himself as a skilled and dependable ruck man.
Earning the Title ‘Captain Blood’
Jack Dyer became one of the most important players of Richmond. However, he was more known for his ‘shoulder and hip’ tackling method that was not good for his opponents. After one of the games in 1935, a cartoonist from a newspaper drew his photo portraying him as a pirate and the journalist who wrote an article actually named him as ‘Captain Blood’.
The name quickly picked up and became popular. Some of the techniques used by Dyer would have been considered as foul play in modern version of the game. However, many well-known players of the past would fall in the same category because they too used same techniques.
Despite his weird techniques, his opponents admired him for protecting smaller and feeble players of his team. Dyer was known as a player who was considered as ‘hard at the ball’. He simply used his size, weight and momentum to run through to get the ball and in the process, flatten his opponents. He picked up this form of play simply because of the knee injury he had in 1932 after which he was unable to make swift turns. The credit of inventing the drop punt goes to Dyer. That style of kicking quickly picked up and has now become universal. It is also used in Rugby League, Rugby Union and American Football.
‘The Australian’ nominated Jack Dyer in 2009 as one of 25 greatest players who never managed to win a Brownlow Medal. Richmond club awards the ‘Jack Dyer Medal’ every year to those players of Richmond who win the Best and Fairest count.
Dyer retired in 1949 after playing 312 games and kicking 443 goals. From 1941 to 1952, Dyer also coached Richmond for 226 games of which Richmond won 135 games, lost 85 and 2 games ended in a draw.
He also represented Victoria in State of Origin for 16 games. From 1941 to 1949, he served as a captain-coach of the club.
Dyer also appeared in media as a football media personality and a commentator. He contributed to ‘World of Sport’ and ‘League Teams’ – Melbourne Television shows. ‘League Teams’ later went on to inspire the current popular Footy Show.
Dyer was also a regular columnist ‘of the The Truth’ where he used the name “Dyer ‘ere”.
Awards And Achievements
Jack Dyer was one of the greatest players to have ever played for Richmond. His swag of awards and achievements is full and they continue to inspire many modern AFL players. Here is a quick list of his awards and achievements:
- 1934: Richmond Premiership Player.
- 1941-1949: Captain-Coach of Richmond.
- He was also a premiership captain-coach of Richmond.
- Member of Richmond ‘Team of the Century’.
- Member of AFL ‘Team of the Century’.
- 1947 and 1948: Leading goal-kicker of Richmond.
- 1996: Inducted into Australian Football Hall of Fame and given the status of ‘Legend’.
- 2002: Inducted into Richmond Hall of Fame.
- 2002: Bestowed with the title of “Richmond Immortal”.
- 1932, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1946: Won the Best and Fairest award of Richmond.
- Won “The Strong & the Bold” of Richmond 100 Tigers Treasures.
- 1941 and 1949: Captain of Victoria in State of Origin.
There is absolutely no doubt that Dyer was one of the greatest players of his generation. His death was a loss for the entire VFL / AFL world and his achievements will continue to inspire players for generations to come.