HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Peter James SPENCER
|Date of Birth||11th January 1956|
ERA: 1961 – 2006
GAMES: 239 – 185 East Perth; 21 Subiaco; 2 Claremont; 24 North Melbourne; 7 WA
HONOURS: Sandover Medal 1976, 84, East Perth Fairest and Best 1975, 76, 83.
A glance at Peter Spencer’s hospital records suggest he should never have survived for more than 200 games, let alone win the Sandover Medals twice – eight years apart, the longest gap of any dual Medalist.
Spencer showed his great vote-getting ability in his debut season of 1974. However, in his fifth game he fractured his jaw in a sickening clash against Swan Districts, missing eight games, but still polled 14 votes in the Sandover, finishing equal fourth on 14.
The 1975 season saw East Perth dominate the Medal with Alan Quartermaine winning on 16 votes and Spencer sharing second place with a third Royal in Ross Glendinning and Stan Nowotny (Swan Districts) on 14.
The next year he was a warm favourite and justified that status with 21 votes to win by three, but his victory in 1984 was more of a surprise and also part of a unique triple dead-heat, with Claremont pair Michael Mitchell and Steve Malaxos…..and Spencer actually went home without a Medal as the League hurriedly organized a third on to be minted.
Spencer agrees that 1976 was his best season and the first Medal remains his career highlight, but he does rate his 1984 victory highly because it came after a series of injuries that would have stopped many a player.
A broken jaw, a fractured cheekbone, a number of concussions, a devastating pubic synthesis operation and right knee problems had sidelined him for more than a season in total games missed, including two matches out with concussion in 1984. Those injuries slowed Spencer down and changed his style of play, opting for more hand ball to compensate, especially in 1980 when he had his right leg in a brace after an operation for roughening behind the knee cap, causing considerable muscle wasting.
Spencer won three Fairest and Best Medals at East Perth and even in his swan-song season of 1987 – after ignoring medical advice to retire – he was runner-up. In fact, Spencer finished first or second in the club’s FD Book Medal in eight of his 11 seasons.
With father Jim a Royals captain, Spencer joined East Perth from Aquinas College and Manning, in the Perth district, under the father-son rule and went straight into the league side.
In fact, Spencer never played a reserves game. His only colts match was in that initial season when he returned after his broken jar; played in the centre, received three votes in the Burley Medal (now he Jack Clarke Medal) for the competition’s fairest and best player and was back in the league side the next week.
Ironically, he finished on the same number of games as his father.