Paul Salmon Unique Australian Rules Football Player
He was one of the most unique players of his time.
This was not only because of his skills as a footballer, but also because of his extraordinary physical attributes. He is one of the tallest men ever to have played in the Australian Football League (AFL).
Throughout his career, Paul Salmon represented two teams in the AFL. One of the strongest attributes of Paul Salmon as a player was his versatility. He was well known for performing with consistency at different positions.
Due to his versatility, skills and his aesthetics, he was one of the key players in every team he played for. Paul Salmon is one of the few players to have played over 300 games in the AFL and enjoyed consistent success throughout. He developed a love for the game at an early age. This unique playing style caught the eyes of many teams. Due to the persistent offers he received from various teams, he started playing senior league at a young age.
After his retirement, he took a couple of years off and made an explosive comeback. He played one final year for the club that gave him his big break. Following the exciting comeback, he retired permanently. He started a career as a co-host. Paul Salmon also wrote a couple of books based on his own life. He even worked as a football coach for a school and later retired from the position as well. To this day he is remembered as one of the best and most extraordinary footballers to have ever played in the AFL.
Paul Salmon was born on 20 January, 1965 and started playing football at an early age. He began his playing career at North Ringwood. Paul Salmon had extraordinary skills with the ball from the beginning. This is where he was spotted by Essendon and recruited. Although his skills required polishing in order for him to fully develop as a player, recruiting him proved to be a masterstroke for Essendon.
Start Of Career
Paul Salmon was recruited by Essendon in 1983, but he didn’t make it to the team immediately. The team took its time to brush up Paul Salmon’s skills and get him ready for the upcoming season. Essendon’s efforts paid off when the 6ft 9inches tall Salmon stepped onto the field. He made his senior league debut in the full forward position. There were not many players who wished to come in the way of the almost 7ft tall forward weighing in at 246lbs. This made him extremely effective and enabled Salmon to score 63 goals in just 12 games.
Paul Salmon was very efficient at using his weight and height to his advantage. He was quite athletic and was great at winning one-on-one markings. There were many other players in the VFL at the time who were almost as tall as Salmon. However, none of them matched his height except Justin Madden.
After the explosive start to his career, he had to take some time off due to a serious injury. Paul Salmon suffered a knee injury which required reconstruction. The recovery took almost a year and he wasn’t able to play during the interim. He made a comeback in 1985 and bagged six goals. This is when he started playing as a ruckman as well. He would frequently switch from forward to ruck during games. His knee injury, although fully healed, caused minor complications throughout his career. He was the leading goalkicker for Essendon despite the complications from his knee injury.
In 1992, he led the Bombers as their Vice-Captain and helped the team win the Premiership the following year. The 1993 season was one of the most important ones for Paul Salmon. He not only led the Bombers but bagged a Premiership as well. Unfortunately for him, he suffered some injuries to the groin. This is when he decided to move to Hawthorn.
Playing for Hawthorn was a dream-come-true for Paul Salmon. He had been a big supporter of the club as a child. This is where he proved that age is just a number and put up a spectacular performance.
Career with Hawthorn
After joining Hawthorn in 1995, he was quick to establish himself as a key player for the team. In light of his spectacular performance for Hawthorn he received numerous awards. In 1998, Paul Salmon was made the Vice-Captain of the team and continued displaying his extraordinary playing skills. After playing for Hawthorn for four years, he decided to retire. He was 35 at the time of his retirement.
Retirement & Subsequent Comeback With Essendon
In 2000, Paul Salmon retired from playing in the AFL. However, he clearly missed the game as he jumped at the first opportunity to make a comeback. In 2002, Kevin Sheedy drafted Salmon and he returned to Essendon to play for another year. He was 37 at the time and had not been on the field for two years, but he was one of the best ruckmen on the field. With his precision, he managed to drive Essendon to the finals. This was also a great opportunity for the younger ruckmen playing for Essendon to gain valuable guidance from the experienced Salmon.
After his final retirement in 2002, he started working as a co-host on a couple of sports channels. He also wrote a couple of books based on his own life. He based the name of these books on his own nickname.
He was called “Fish” by his fellow players.
These books are:
• The Big Fish : Paul Salmon’s Own Story
• Fish Tales
• More Fish Tales
Awards And Honours
His contributions to Australian Rules football are extremely valuable. Due to this he received many honours and awards throughout his career.
• He was named as the Leading Goalkicker for Essendon a total of seven times.
• He won the Best and Fairest award from Hawthorn in 1996 and 1997.
• In 1998, Paul Salmon was given the award for the Most Consistent Player in Hawthorn
• He is also a part of Hawthorn’s Team of the Century.
• He was selected in the All-Australian team three times.
• He represented the Victorian State of Origin 14 times.
• Paul was also the winner of the Tassie Medal and the Michael Tuck medal.