HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Peter Michael FEATHERBY
|Date of Birth||22nd December 1951|
ERA: 1961 – 2006
GAMES: 347 – 197 Subiaco; 42 Footscray (now Western Bulldogs); 93 Geelong; 14 WA; 1 Victoria
PREMIERSHIPS: Subiaco 1973, 86
HONOURS: Simpson Medal 1973 (WA v South Australia); Subiaco Fairest and Best 1977,78; Geelong Fairest and Best 1981
With a fairly slow start to his senior football career, it looked as though slightly-built Peter Featherby would have trouble living up to the longevity that his father Brian displayed. After coming through the juniors at the Wembley Amateurs – where his father had played to the age of 38, Featherby graduated to Subiaco and showed form in a 1970 practice match, playing off a half-forward flank.
He earned a league debut several weeks into the season, but injured an ankle and lost form and fitness, not returning to the seniors that year. He drifted between league and reserves in 1971, playing 10 games in the seniors to finish third in the Fairest and Best, but was also runner-up in the reserves award. But the 1972 season saw champion Subiaco centreman Cam Blakemore retire and that opened a door for Featherby and he walked – or rather ran – right in.
A player with superb stamina and long, loping strides, Featherby upped the pressure as he ran continuously, covering much of the ground and displaying what modern coaches call “a huge engine”. A will-o-wisp player, Featherby had the ability to run and bounce the ball without error and he gathered possessions in big numbers as he played wide of his midfield rival. While there were question marks over his disposal, his floating drop punts strangely enough landed right on target most of the time.
He regularly had more than 30 kicks in a game and there was a match at Perth Oval when he was officially credited with 48 kicks against East Perth. That was on an Anzac Day weekend and it was dubbed the ‘Featherby Massacre’.
The 1973 season saw Victorian rover Ross Smith arrive to coach the Lions and he built a team around three key players – ruckman Mike Fitzpatrick, rover Keith Watt and the hard-running Featherby. His first venture to Victoria was in 1975 and while he played two seasons with Footscray, his style of running game wasn’t yet in vogue and he returned home to Subiaco.
But Geelong enticed him back to the VFL in 1979 and he thrived with the Cats, playing a State game for Victoria against WA and winning the club’s Fairest and Best in 1981. Once more he traversed the Nullarbor and finished with another five years at Subiaco. Even on his retirement in 1988, Featherby – at the age of 36 – ventured south to be captain-coach of Busselton and that’s where he has settled.