HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Derek Thomas KICKETT

Year Inducted 2017
Date of Birth 6th October 1962

Player 1984 – 1997 (West Perth 1984-86, Claremont 1986-87, Central District 1988, North Melbourne 1989, Essendon 1990-93, Sydney 1994-96, Subiaco 1997)

Games: 266 (West Perth 38, Claremont 32, Central District 25, North Melbourne 12, Essendon 77, Sydney 63, Subiaco 12, WA 7)

Goals: 424 (West Perth 93, Claremont 70, Central District 48, North Melbourne 12, Essendon 94, Sydney 73, Subiaco 29, WA 5)

Honours: Claremont Premiership Team 1987; West Perth Leading Goalkicker 1984; Sandover Medal Leading Votegetter 1987; Leon Larkin Medal WA v Vic 1992; Graham Moss Medal WA v SA 1996; Night Premiership Essendon 1993   

 

A dazzling array of skills were on full display when Derek Kickett produced one of the finest individual seasons in WAFL history in 1987. But for a nebulous report and cruel suspension he would have been recognised with WA’s highest football honour. Fortunately, an AFL draft call up allowed the wizardry of Kickett to flourish on the national stage for eight seasons, and a series of outstanding performances in state football also highlighted his prodigious talent.

Derek Kickett was born in Kellerberrin and raised in Tammin where his father Newton was an outstanding footballer with the Tammin Football Club. The remarkable family production line of senior footballers was to include Derek’s cousin Larry, Larry’s nephews Dale Kickett, Lance Franklin and Jeff Garlett, Derek’s brother Tharran and his nephew Andrew Taylor.

Although recruited to West Perth at the age of 21, Derek Kickett had, in his late teens, spent two years in South Australia playing with SANFL club Central Districts. Although he did not play a league game in that period, the SA public saw a glimpse of his freakish skills when he kicked 15 goals from a half forward flank in a reserves match. After one season back in Tammin, Derek joined West Perth and made his league debut in 1984.

The following season under new coach John Wynne, Kickett was less consistent but remained a player capable of swinging a game. One of his finest individual performances came at Leederville Oval in Round 18 against Perth, when his 10 goals included some miraculous play. He finished the season with 42 goals from 14 games, but philosophy differences with Wynne had become apparent and Kickett walked out of the club after his third game for the season.

Switching immediately to Claremont where cousin Larry was a league regular, Derek had an immediate impact and responded superbly to newly appointed coach Gerard Neesham. He played 20 games as well as making his state debut and at the end of the season Kickett dominated the Sandover Medal count, winning by 13 votes, but sadly he had been ruled ineligible. Despite the disappointment, Kickett rebounded for the finals and played a huge role in Claremont winning the 1987 premiership.

In 1988, Kickett returned to SANFL club Central Districts in order to be eligible for the national draft – a moratorium applied to the WAFL for the West Coast Eagles first two seasons. He had a solid season and was selected by North Melbourne where he showed flashes of brilliance in 12 games but was delisted because of tight club finances.

He was picked up by Essendon in the 1990 pre-season draft and had an immediate impact with his booming torpedo punts and extraordinary athleticism and evasive skills. He played 19 games including the Grand Final loss to Collingwood. After playing 20 home and away games in 1993 his form unfortunately fell away at the crucial time and he was a somewhat controversial omission from the Grand Final. It was a major blow for Derek and he left the club. 

Kickett was persuaded to join Sydney via the 1994 pre-season draft and proved a tremendous pick up, playing some scintillating games in his three seasons and helping get the Swans into the 1996 Grand Final.

Deciding to retire from AFL football at the age of 34, Kickett returned to the WAFL in 1997 and played 12 games with Subiaco. This brought down the curtain on an extraordinarily varied 14-year senior career in which he played 271 senior games with seven clubs and kicked 424 goals. He also represented WA proudly seven times, including medal winning efforts against Victoria in 1992 and SA in 1996.

Post retirement, Derek Kickett has had various coaching and mentoring roles in football but has maintained a low profile. It may not be generally known of Kickett that besides his rare talent, he was a highly professional trainer, a fearsome tackler but nevertheless scrupulously fair, and a very courageous player whose thirst for the ball often made him oblivious to danger. He will be remembered for his sheer brilliance and an elite ability to win one on one contests.