HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Frank Patrick WALKER

Year Inducted 2017
Date of Birth 10th September 1933

Player 1952-1964

Games: 233 (Perth 226, WA 7)

Goals: 421 (Perth 410,  WA 11)

Honours: Perth Premiership player 1955; Perth Fairest and Best 1955, 1956; Perth Leading Goalkicker 1963; Perth Football Club Hall of Fame; Perth FC Life Member (1963).

 

Frank (Dick) Walker contributed significantly to a drought breaking premiership win for the Perth Football Club and went on to complete a superb 233-game senior career for his club and state. Walker, a solidly built, exceedingly clever and elusive rover, whose great strengths were his elite ability to read the play and his extraordinary goal sense, captured his club’s fairest and best award twice, including the memorable premiership season of 1955, and was widely regarded as one of the cleverest and most courageous rovers of the 1950s.

Francis Patrick Walker was born in South Perth and dubbed “Dickie” by his family as a child, his father and grandfather both being named Frank. A star junior footballer with the South Perth Mets team under the coaching of former East Perth champion Mick Cronin, Walker also excelled at Aquinas College where he came under the tutelage of the legendary Jerry Dolan. Cronin attempted to secure Walker for the Royals and he trained with the club as a 17-year-old in 1951. He impressed in a scratch match against South Fremantle, but Perth also claimed Walker on the basis of his residential address. A tug of war developed with East Perth’s claim resting on his parents address in the unallotted Cannington area. Perth won the argument and club stalwart Jack O’Dea ended the stalemate by signing Walker on the eve of the 1952 season.

After two reserves appearances, Dick Walker debuted in the Perth league side in 1952 at Leederville against a strong West Perth combination. The Demons lost by a goal but Walker, roving against State players Trevor Schofield and Doug Lind, was an immediate success. He went on to play in every remaining game that season to kick 22 goals and was named in his team’s best on nine occasions for a sensational debut season.

Named in Perth’s best practically every week in both 1955 and 1956, Walker went on win the club fairest and best award and represent the state in both seasons. Undoubtedly however, his greatest moment came at the end of 1955. Perth had qualified for the Grand Final but trailing East Fremantle by 34 points at half time, their 48-year premiership drought looked likely to continue. Dick Walker then stepped up. The Football Budget described his heroics thus: “Then came the nuggety little Dickie Walker who dramatically turned the game for Perth. Two goals from his boot, the first a fantastic running effort from a seemingly impossible angle, raised the spirits enabling Perth to find that last drop of energy”. The siren sounded with Perth two-point victors and although Perth had many heroes, the role played by Dick Walker in Perth winning their second premiership was crucial.

From 1956 to 1960, Dick Walker remained a highly consistent player for Perth and in not missing a game in either 1962 or 1963, he took his game tally beyond 200. Although he had a fine season in 1963 to finish runner up in the club fairest and best award and win the club goalkicking with 44 goals, the emergence of Barry Cable prompted Walker to call it a day midway through 1964. He was 30 years of age. 

After his football career, Dick Walker went into the hospitality business and had one last playing season in Esperance whilst running the Traveller’s Inn. In other sports Dick Walker has played off a six handicap at golf and in younger days was a good enough batsman to represent Perth Cricket Club at first grade level.

Perth Football Club has been blessed with some outstanding rovers including Barry Cable, Rob Wiley and Bryan Cousins but Frank (Dick) Walker must always be in the conversation. Only three players have played more games for the club than his 226 and just five have kicked more goals than his 410. Football accolades for Walker have included Perth Life Membership (1963), Perth Club Legend status (2007) and Perth Hall of Fame membership (2015). As a quick thinking, highly skilled and courageous inside-the-contest rover, Dick Walker now also worthily enters the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.