Lindsay Head Retired Australian Football Player
Lindsay Head was a renowned Australian Rules football player
He played mainly for the West Torrens Football Club who competed in the SANFL (South Australian National Football League).
He was born on 16 September 1935 and was introduced to football at an early age. He played his first state representation match in 1947, and was one of the youngest players ever to do so. During his career he won the Magarey Medal thrice and the club’s Best and Fairest award eight times. He was honoured with various awards for his performance, a testament to his status as a fair and firm player.
Lindsay Head was also the captain for the Eagles and coached the team for a number of years as well. He was approached by many clubs from the Victorian Football League to play for them, but he remained loyal to the West Torrens and played exclusively for them. This type of loyalty is rarely seen in Aussie Rules Football, where players are likely to switch to clubs that offer them better chances of fame, fortune and trophies. Yet, Lindsay Head never left the West Torrens.
Besides being one of the best players for the Eagles, he was also an accomplished cricketer. He also represented South Australia in a number of first-class matches. However, football remained his one true love when it came to sports. Lindsay Head played primarily as a leg break bowler and took a couple of wickets for the team as well.
For West Torrens, Lindsay Head holds the record for the most games played and was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Lindsay Head is considered to be one of the finest goal kickers to have ever played in the SANFL despite the lack of success at his club. Needless to say, he was and still is the best player to represent West Torrens.
Lindsay Head’s Football Career
Lindsay Head started playing the game at an early age and was a good player from the beginning. At the age of 11, he played a match in the State Schoolboys Carnival in 1947. This was Lindsay Head’s first state match. From his early days, his exceptional skills were evident and it was only a matter of time before Lindsay Head started displaying them on a bigger scale.
Playing with West Torrens
Lindsay Head started playing senior league football in 1952 despite being a teenager at the time. He was recruited by West Torrens at the age of 17 and played for the club for 18 seasons, which is the span of his career on the field. He represented the team throughout, putting up one great performance after the other. In 1953, he represented the South Australian Rules football team in a game against the Victoria Australian Rules football team, which is commonly known as Big V. He went on to enjoy a successful career for the state side as well, representing them in 37 games.
The West Torrens Club was formed in 1897. The club was not very successful and as of now, has only won four premierships in 116 years. There is little doubt that the club wasn’t the best in the premiership at the time Lindsay Head was playing for them, but that didn’t cause his commitment to waver. He was even sought out by several other clubs, but he turned down all offers due to his loyalty. A premiership win eluded Lindsay Head, possibly the only blight on an otherwise spectacular career. The club made it to the premiership once in 1953 when Lindsay Head was playing for it, but never made it past the finals during his remaining career.
Lindsay Head was regarded as one of the club’s star players. After Lindsay Head’s retirement, the club made it to the finals one last time in 1980. Come 1982, there were talks of the club merging with another. Rumours were proven true when in 1990 West Torrens merged with Woodville.
He played the most games for West Torrens, retiring after playing 327 games. This record remained unbroken till the time the club merged with Woodville. In addition, he was the first ever SANFL player to have played more than 300 games. In the games that he played for the Eagles, he scored 494 goals.
Lindsay Head was an unusual player because he never kicked with his left foot. Instead, he devised an accurate alternative technique to compensate for his inability to kick with both feet. The leading goal kickers in the league have been known to use both feet to kick the ball, which allows them the luxury of getting out of tight defensive corners on either side. It is a statement of Lindsay Head’s class that he used only his right foot yet was able to maintain a high goals-to-games average.
Although the club that Lindsay Head played for was not performing well, he still chose to stay with the Eagles in spite of the various offers he was getting from other SANFL clubs and other VFL (Victorian Football League) clubs. Lindsay Head finally decided to call it a day in 1970, having been at the club for 18 seasons.
Lindsay Head’s Career as a Captain
Lindsay Head was the vice-captain for the Eagles initially in 1958, then from 1962 to 1965 and finally in 1968. He also led the club as their captain from 1959 to 1961, during which he also coached the Eagles. In addition, the skilled footballer was also the state vice-captain from 1960 to 1962 and was the state captain in 1960.
Career as Coach
Like Lindsey’s playing career, his coaching career was also limited to West Torrens. He coached the club twice as their captain, once in 1959 and then in 1960. At the time, Lindsay Head was managing the triple responsibility of being the main goal kicker, captain and coach, but that didn’t affect his performance one bit. After his retirement, he returned to coach the team for another season in 1981, once again displaying his unwavering loyalty to his beloved team.
Lindsay Head’s Career in Cricket
Besides being a football Hall of Famer, Lindsay Head was also a good cricketer. He played First-Class cricket, but his cricketing career was a short one. Lindsay Head only played nine matches in two years.
He was a right-handed opening batsman for the South Australian Cricket team, also known as the Southern Redbacks. He scored 425 runs in nine matches as a batsman and had a high score of 78 runs. In his cricketing career, he scored four half-centuries and had a batting average of 28.33. Lindsay Head was not only a batsman, but also a leg-break bowler. In the nine matches that he played, he got two wickets at 145 runs. His bowling average was 72.50.
Honours And Awards
Lindsay Head won many awards for his contributions to the Australian Rules football. The Magarey Medal is awarded to the most brilliant and fairest players of the South Australian National Football League. It is the equivalent of the Brownlow Medal awarded in the VFL. The field umpires decide which player gets this medal as they are the ones monitoring the players closely. Lindsay Head won the first Magarey Medal when he was 19 years old in 1955, becoming one of the youngest recipients of the prize. He scored his second and third Magarey Medal in 1958 and 1963 respectively.
He also won the award for the club’s Best and Fairest eight times from 1955 to 1967, and was also awarded the title of the club’s leading goal kicker twice. In addition, Lindsay Head won the Advertiser Trophy three times and the News-Ampol Trophy twice. These aside, the channel ADS-7 held a poll in 1962 and was voted as the Footballer of the Year, which showed how popular he was with the public as well.
In 1956, Lindsay Head was selected as part of the All-Australian team at the Perth Carnival. The All-Australian team is composed of star players of the Australian Rules football. It is selected towards the end of each season and only includes the best performers of the season. The All-Australian team never actually plays a game because no other country in the world is able to assemble a team of quality players.
Lindsay Head was declared as a Life Member for West Torrens in 1962.
In 1963, for his Service to Football, he was made the Member of the Order of the British Empire. Once again, this is a rare distinction. Unlike other sports, Aussie Rules Football has produced only a handful of MBEs and Lindsay Head is one of them. Lindsay Head was also the president for the West Torrens club for four years from 1984 to 1988 and the chairman from 1986 to 1988. He was also made the Life Governor for the club in 1989.
Even though it has been over four decades since he parted ways with the game, Lindsay Head is often referred to as an example of club loyalty. Being a top-class player, Lindsay Head’s abilities were never in doubt but by shunning fame for allegiance, he set an example the current footballers would do well to follow.