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Melbourne Football Club

Friday Flashbacks: Our Redheads

When you’re looking for a special character in any setting, something that may help to discern who’s who is hair colour.  Redheads – apart from being a disappearing section of the world’s population, and having aspersions cast upon their unsuspecting heads since time immemorial – are quite literally brilliant and bright characters.  Below is a snapshot of those redheads who have lent their red locks to the red and blue across many generations.

Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott
While the image may be black and white, Truscott’s hair colour blazed through, not only via his larger than life personality and two premierships with Melbourne in 1939 and 1940, but through his wartime service.  The man after whom the Club’s Best and Fairest is named flew a Spitfire called ‘Gingerbread’, funded by donations from the ‘Redheads of Britain’.


 

Norm Smith – the Red Fox
Involved in ten out of our twelve premierships to date as either player or coach (he was not yet born in 1900, and was too young in 1926), Smith is at the heart of the Melbourne story.  Gaining fame as ‘the Red Fox’ for his coaching, his fiery follicles were noted early on, when it was written in the Argus that ‘Norman Smith, the Melbourne full forward, is of middle-class size, and is an unobtrusive personality.  He’s red-headed but a placid footballer.’  Little did anyone know what was to come.

Stuart Spencer
This image of Stuart Spencer exemplifies the power of the ginger contingent from the 1950s and 1960s.  Dual premiership player in 1955 and 1956, Spencer was complemented by another with blazing locks – Frank ‘Bluey’ Adams, who played in premierships in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1964, ensuring that the redheaded heritage remained strong throughout this most golden of eras.



Steve ‘Strawbs’ O’Dwyer, Steven Stretch and Dean Chiron
Redheads of varying shapes and sizes popped up throughout the 1980s, and the undoubted leader of the pack was Steven ‘Strawbs’ O’Dwyer.  Best and Fairest in 1988, he was part of a powerful ruck setup with Jim Stynes.  Flying high and showing more than a dash of pace down the wing in the late 1980s and early 1990s was Steven Stretch, a shade lighter than O’Dwyer, but packing a punch in the redheaded stakes nonetheless.  And, while he was only around for three seasons from 1987 to 1989, Dean Chiron scores lasting impact points for his memorable bronzed curly locks and moustache combination.


 

Glenn Molloy
Glenn Molloy – son of Graham, who played for Melbourne in the 1970s – kept the Club’s ginger quota ticking over during the mid to late 1990s, accompanied by the likes of Trent Ormond-Allen.  Both had relatively brief stays, but more than played their role, both on the field and as redheaded representatives.


 

Daniel ‘Sauce’ Ward
With classical chestnut waves, Ward kept Melbourne’s redheaded continuity running from 1998 to 2007, always popping up in sparkling and eminently traceable fashion as a real tough nut tackler and defender, as well as supplying a fresh nickname in departure from the time honoured ‘Bluey’.  For his 136 games and much more besides, we salute ‘Sauce’.


 

Troy Broadbridge
The lasting image of this redhead will always be stronger thanks to his carrot topped locks, seen through 40 games to the end of 2004.  An emerging defender, ‘Broady’ will long be remembered for his tenacity, and for being such a special part of who we are.


 

Colin Sylvia and Matthew Bate
One thing that all redheads from strawberry blonde to auburn know is that denial is futile, and resistance can be but temporary.  However, this has not stopped two recent characters of the Club from trying to deny their proud inheritance.  In Dermott Brereton style, the exuberant Colin Sylvia has taken the bleached path, while Matthew Bate headed in the opposite direction and briefly liaised with a darker side. 




 

Jordie McKenzie and Sam Blease
The current day’s standard bearer, McKenzie embraces his role with true Ginger Meggs brilliance and vigour.  Now in his fifth season, this No. 13 is a true Club favourite, and the most recent arrival in the redheaded heritage that has highlighted so many seasons past. Also cutting a dash is Sam Blease, showing agility and flair in just his third year at senior level.