HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Peter Francis BELL
|Date of Birth||1st March 1976|
Games 338 (South Fremantle 49, Fremantle 163, North Melbourne 123, Western Australia 3)
Goals 309 (South Fremantle 58, Fremantle 130, North Melbourne 120, Western Australia 1)
Honours: Premiership Player 1996, 1999 (North Melbourne), 2009 (South Fremantle), Fairest and Best 1994 (South Fremantle); Fairest and Best 2000 (North Melbourne), 2001, 2003, 2004 (Fremantle), All Australian 1999, 2003, Captain Fremantle Dockers 2002-2006, Geoff Christian Medal 2003, Ross Glendinning Medal 2006
The reject who made good was never better personified than by Peter Bell, the brilliant South Korea born rover, who after being delisted after his first AFL season, went on to become one of Western Australia’s greatest football products with monumental achievements at two AFL clubs including his original in a redemptive return stint.
Peter Francis Bell was born on Cheju Island, South Korea, the son of a Korean mother and an American father and adopted when just 3 days old by an Australian couple working at the local Catholic mission. He grew up in Kojonup and honed his football skills at Aquinas College before debuting for South Fremantle at 18 in 1994. In an outstanding rookie season he played every game, won the club fairest and best award, and polled 25 Sandover medal votes, placing him equal 7th. This success prompted the newly formed Fremantle Dockers to announce him as one of their first 2 signings and his AFL debut coincided with the clubs - against Richmond at the MCG. At 19 years and 31 days he was comfortably the youngest member of the inaugural Dockers team.
Despite kicking two goals with his first two kicks in AFL football, Bell failed to make an impression on Dockers' coach Gerard Neesham, who considered that he lacked sufficient pace to be a success at AFL level. After being selected for only two AFL games in 1995, he was delisted.
Recommended to North Melbourne by broadcaster Bob Maumill, Bell was picked up in the 1996 pre-season draft and he achieved regular selection and acclaim at the Kangaroos for his courageous, energetic and skilled performances under coach Denis Pagan. Bell was twice a premiership player with the Kangaroos and named in the All-Australian team in 1999. He scored four goals and had 31 possessions in the 1999 Grand Final to be one of the Roos best. After another great season in 2000, Bell won the North Melbourne fairest and best award, but a struggling Fremantle sought his return and he was traded back for a second stint at his original club.
Over the following 8 seasons, Peter Bell became the most decorated player in Fremantle Football Club history. Twice winner and twice runner up for the Doig medal and twice more an All Australian team selection, Bell was appointed captain in his second season at Fremantle. He led the club into their first ever final series in 2003 and to their first finals victory in 2006. After relinquishing the captaincy, he continued to play in 2007 but was hampered by travel associated with business interests and retired in July 2008 after the club's Round 14 loss to Essendon. His contribution to WA football did not end there however, for he continued on with South Fremantle helping them to a premiership in 2009 with an excellent performance in his 338th and final senior game.
The 286 AFL games Peter Bell played with North Melbourne and Fremantle are second only to Simon Black by a West Australian in VFL/AFL football. After the initial criticism he worked assiduously to improve his sprinting capabilities and recorded the best times of his career at the age of 28. He became a prolific ball winner, ultimately averaging 22.8 disposals per game over his career and gained more than 30 possessions in a game on 39 occasions. Besides his playing and leadership ability, Peter Bell is acknowledged as a champion person with abundant career and life achievements, including qualification as a lawyer. He has left a lasting legacy and is held in the highest regard at the Fremantle Football Club. His induction into the WA Football Hall of Fame is a fitting accolade for one of the greatest modern products of Western Australian football.