K rock Football

Farewell, ‘Polly’

ONE of Geelong’s greatest ever players, Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer has died at the age of 84.

He played 101 games and kicked 65 goals for the Cats, and later coached the club.

Farmer, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease more than 20 years ago, passed away this morning in Perth’s Fiona Hospital with his family by his side.

“When the Australian Football Hall of Fame was founded in 1996, Graham Farmer was one of the elite dozen players in our game’s history who was deemed both exceptional and worthy to be an inaugural Legend,” AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said.

“When discussing ruckmen, every player who saw him play or took the field against him, deferred to Polly.

“Our game has always started in the centre square, with a contest between two big men, and Polly was the greatest of all the big men who seek to set the standard of competitiveness for their teams, lead from the front at every contest and compel their team mates to match their skills and commitment in the pursuit of victory.

“Beyond football, as a proud Noongar man, he was a leader for the Aboriginal community and his standing in the game and in society enabled his people to believe that they too could reach the peaks and achieve their best potential.

“He laid the path for so many great footballers from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to come into the elite levels of the game and showcase their skills.

“At every point of his career, his teams found success on the field, thanks largely to his dominance that built a record that few players could ever hope to match.”
Recruited from East Perth after 176 games, Farmer made an immediate impact on his arrival at Kardinia Park in 1962 with his ruck work and revolutionary use of handball helping Geelong to the 1963 premiership.

He returned to Western Australia following the Cats’ 1967 grand final loss to Richmond and joined West Perth where he played a further 79 games before retiring at the end of 1971.

Farmer was lured back to Geelong as coach for three seasons between 1972-74.

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  • Australian Football Hall of Fame, Inaugural Legend of the Game (one of 12).
  • Played 176 games for East Perth 1953-61, kicking 157 goals.
  • Played 101 games for Geelong 1962-67, kicking 65 goals.
  • Played 79 games for West Perth 1968-71, kicking 55 goals.
  • Played 31 games for Western Australia, kicking 19 goals.
  • Played six games for Victoria, kicking six goals.
  • East Perth Best and Fairest 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961.
  • Geelong Best and Fairest 1963, 1964.
  • West Perth Best and Fairest 1969.
  • Sandover Medal 1956, 1957, 1960.
  • Simpson Medal 1959.
  • East Perth premiership 1956, 1958, 1959.
  • Geelong premiership 1963.
  • West Perth premiership 1969, 1971 (both as playing coach).
  • All Australian 1956, 1958, 1961.
  • AFL Team of the Century (First Ruck).
  • Indigenous Team of the Century (First Ruck, captain).
  • Geelong Team of the Century (First Ruck).
  • West Perth Team of the Century (First Ruck).
  • East Perth Post War Team of the Century (First Ruck).
  • West Perth coach 1968-71 for premierships in 1969 and 1971.
  • Geelong coach 1973-75.
  • East Perth coach 1976-77.