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Club names eight new life members

Matt Burgan  December 14, 2017 5:58 PM

MELBOURNE has announced eight new life members, including its first VFL premiership captain, the match-winning goalscorer from the 1964 Grand Final and its third female at its annual general meeting at the MCG on Thursday night.

Dick Wardill, who played 60 games for Melbourne from 1897-1902, and captained the club to its first flag against Fitzroy in 1900, was honoured, along with Neil ‘Froggy’ Crompton, who played 99 games for Melbourne from 1957-66, and kicked the match-winning goal in Melbourne’s 12th and most recent flag in ’64 – his only major that season.

Karen Woodroofe, who has been involved with the club as a volunteer for roughly 30 years, joined Jackie Emmerton and Lynda Carroll as the only other female life members.

The other inductees were 1900 premiership players Austin Lewis and Harry Parkin, and Jack Strong who played 78 games for Melbourne in the early 1900s.

Noel ‘Kelly’ O’Donnell, who played 80 games for Melbourne from 1979-84, was also awarded life membership. He returned to the club as a member of Melbourne’s coaching staff in late 2007, and since 2012 has been part of the red and blue’s recruiting team, as its pro-scout.

Paul Hopgood, who played 113 matches for Melbourne from 1993-2000, was also recognised with the honour.

Four players – Wardill, Lewis, Strong and Parkin – were all part of Melbourne’s early VFL days. 

In fact, Wardill and Lewis played for Melbourne before the first VFL season in 1897, representing the club in the early 1890s, during the VFA days. Wardill, who represented Victoria in 1900, first played for Melbourne in 1893.

Lewis, who played 87 matches for Melbourne from 1897-1903, was regarded as one of the game’s best centre players in the mid-1890s, and represented the VFA before the VFL started. He was later a Melbourne trainer and a long-serving property steward.

Parkin played 85 of his 87 VFL games with Melbourne from 1900-06, after playing two games with Geelong in 1899. The defender later served as Melbourne’s delegate to the VFL for more than 10 years. He was also VFL treasurer from 1932 until his passing in 1937.

Strong made his VFL debut in 1901 and played 10 VFL seasons for Melbourne during the era from 1901 to 1912. 

Crompton is the latest addition from Melbourne’s glory era during the 1950s/60s, while O’Donnell, Woodroofe and Hopgood are from the 1980s onwards.

2017 Melbourne life members

Neil ‘Froggy’ Crompton played 99 games for Melbourne from 1957-66, and kicked the match-winning goal in Melbourne’s 12th and most recent flag in ’64 – his only major that season.

Paul Hopgood played 113 matches for Melbourne from 1993-2000 and was named in the club’s 150 Heroes in 2008. He has since been a strong off-field supporter of the club.

Austin Lewis played 87 matches for Melbourne from 1897-1903, including the 1900 premiership. He was regarded as one of the game’s best centre players in the mid-1890s, and was later a Melbourne trainer and a long-serving property steward.

Noel ‘Kelly’ O’Donnell played 80 games for Melbourne from 1979-84. He returned to the club as a member of Melbourne’s coaching staff in late 2007 and since 2012 has been part of the club’s recruiting team, as its pro-scout.

Harry Parkin played 85 of his 87 VFL games with Melbourne from 1900-06, after playing two games with Geelong in 1899. The defender later served as Melbourne’s delegate to the VFL for more than 10 years. He was also VFL treasurer from 1932 until his passing in 1937.

Jack Strong played 78 games in 10 VFL seasons for Melbourne during the era from 1901 to 1912.  

Dick Wardill played 60 games for Melbourne from 1897-1902, and captained the club to its first flag against Fitzroy in 1900.

Karen Woodroofe has been involved with the club as a volunteer for roughly 30 years and joins Jackie Emmerton and Lynda Carroll as the only other female life member of Melbourne.