Jason Dunstall – Retired Australian Rules Football Player
One of the greatest AFL players from Queensland was Jason Dunstall. He played during the times of players like Tony Morda, Tony Lockett and Gary Ablett.
Born on August 14, 1964 in Brisbane, Queensland, Jason Dunstall remains one of the greatest full-forward players to have played in VFL/AFL. Dunstall played during the era of other great full-forward players like Tony Morda, Tony Lockett and Gary Ablett. In a total of 269 games he played, Dunstall kicked 1254 goals. The only two players to have ever surpassed him were Gordon Coventry from Collingwood and Tony Lockett who played for both St Kilda and Sydney Swans. Dunstall is one of the only 5 players who have kicked more than a 1000 goals throughout their playing careers.
1985 – 1998: Hawthorn Football Club
Dunstall started his AFL career with Hawthorn and stuck with the club through his entire career. He made his debut in 1985. Dunstall was not really tall but had a nice and stocky frame of 100 kilograms that he often used to outbody the opponents. Diving marks and chest marks were his trademarks and he was extremely accurate. He had an uncanny ability to snap goals by shrugging tackles. He often made use of his explosive speed to startle the opponents. Perhaps one of the best features of his playing style was that he never played selfishly. He always managed to give accurate handpasses to teammates who were in a better position to score a goal. In short, he was not only a player of extraordinary calibre but was also a great team player. Dunstall was always admired by umpires because he never engaged in foul play that was quite common during the era when he played. Despite his intimidating size, he always played fair, making sure that he never hurt any of the opponents.
Three years after his debut in 1985, Dunstall kicked his first 100 goals in a single season. It was in round 19 against Fitzroy. After Peter Hudson, Dunstall became the second player from Hawthorn to kick 100 goals in a season. That season he did not only win the Coleman Medal but also won the Best and Fairest award of Hawthorn. In the Grand Final of that season, Dunstall kicked 7 goals and Hawthorn defeated Melbourne. In 1989 season, he once again won the Coleman Medal for kicking 128 goals during home-and-away season. He ended as second runner up in Brownlow Medal. However, he did win the Best and Fairest award once again during the season, which also ended with premiership victory for Hawthorn. Dunstall represented Victoria in State of Origins and won Simpson Medal.
1990 season was not really great for Dunstall because he contracted a serious injury in Round 9 and was admitted to The Alfred Hospital. Hawthorn did not manage to reach the finals that year. Next season however, Dunstall returned with a great performance, kicking 80 goals throughout the season and 6 in the Grand Final, which was won by Hawthorn. In 1992 season, Hawthorn lost the Elimination Final against West Coast but Dunstall won the Coleman Medal that year, registering his 3rd win. That season he kicked a total of 145 goals and ended up as a runner up for the Brownlow Medal. In 1992 season, he once again won the Best and Fairest award of Hawthorn and was, for the first time, selected in All-Australian team as a full-forward player. Before the beginning of 1997 season Dunstall had a knee injury but he recovered enough and did play in the 1997 AFL season. In 1998, he recovered completely from the injury but only to face a catastrophic accident during a game against Carlton when he broke his collarbone. He did return for the final game of the season but after announcing his retirement first to management staff and Hawthorn coaching and then to general public through Seven Network.
Dunstall became a guest commentator at 3AW radio station and Seven Network and was also a panellist of The Footy Show, which was in its early days. In 2004, he became Hawthorns interim CEO. He stayed with Hawthorn board until the end of 2013. During his term as CEO, he earned himself a nickname – ‘The Chief’. Currently he is a commentator at Triple M radio station. On Triple M Network he also co-hosts The Sunday Rub with Wayne Carey, Nathan Brown and Hamish McLachlan.
Awards And Achievements
Dunstall earned quite a number of awards and achievements during his playing career, which are briefly listed below:
- Premiership player: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991.
- Peter Crimmins Medal: 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993.
- Coleman Medal: 1988, 1989, 1992.
- Leading goal kicker of Hawthorn: 1986 to 1996 and 1998.
- Leigh Matthews Trophy: 1992.
- Captain of Hawthorn: 1995 to 1998.
- All-Australian team: 1992, 1994.
- Simpson Medal: 1989.
- Australian Football Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2002.
- Member of Hawthorn Team of the Century.
Dunstall’s legacy and fame will outlive this great player. Many existing and future players of AFL will continue to look at him as a role model and a source of inspiration.