Ex-Eagles coach and AFL legend John Todd dies, age 86

Jun 05, 2024
Following news of his passing, the AFL community quickly inundated social media with an outpouring of tributes. Source: HANDOUT/WEST COAST EAGLES.

The sporting community is in mourning today following the passing of AFL great and former West Coast coach John Todd who sadly passed away at the age of 86.

At just 17, Todd became the youngest-ever winner of the Sandover Medal with South Fremantle in 1955, kicking off an impressive playing career cut short by a knee injury.

Transitioning to coaching, Todd secured six WAFL premierships across different clubs – four with Swan Districts (1982-1984, 1990), and one each with East Fremantle (1974) and South Fremantle (1997). He also coached WA in State of Origin and led Australia in International Rules matches.

Appointed West Coast’s second-ever coach in 1988, he guided them to their first finals appearance that same year, filling the gap between Ron Alexander and Mick Malthouse.

Recognised for his achievements, Todd entered the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2003 and was later inducted as a legend into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

AFL chair Richard Goyder was among the first to pay tribute to Todd, recognising his “unbelievable love of the game”.

“John Todd was successful in every aspect of his football journey and influenced so much of West Australian football to demand the highest standards and seek for constant improvement,” Goyder said.

“To win premierships at three different clubs is an extraordinary achievement. He moulded players into great teams but I want to acknowledge too that John had an unbelievable love of the game and football people across his entire life.

“In the privilege of being able to spend time with him in recent years, he was still a regular attendee at games, engaged with everyone across football and was a great advocate for the game and what it could do for people and communities.

“He was incredibly tough, building his career after injury took away his playing days, and he had the highest standards as a coach, but he was also incredibly generous and he was a person who made our game great, particularly in WA in the time when state league football was the pinnacle of the game.”

The AFL community swiftly joined in, inundating social media with an outpouring of tributes.

Todd’s legacy will be celebrated at the Australian Football Hall of Fame ceremony later this month.

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