HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Warren RALPH

Year Inducted 2019

Warren RALPH

Player 1980-1989

Games  164 (Claremont 123, Carlton 21, Glenelg 14, WA 6)

Goals   687 (Claremont 564, Carlton 72, Glenelg 30, WA 21)

Honours: WAFL Leading Goalkicker (4) – 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983; Claremont premiership player (3) – 1981,1987,1989; Claremont leading goalkicker (5) – 1980,1981,1982,1983,1987; Carlton leading goalkicker 1984; Claremont Best Ever Post-War Team (1946-1993)

The archetypal fast leading full forward with deadly accurate kick and frequent producer of the spectacular, Warren Ralph established goal kicking records over 10 senior seasons that place him amongst Western Australia’s elite full forwards. Ralph is one of only three players to have headed the WAFL goalkickers for four successive seasons and six to have kicked 100+ goals in a season four times or more. Ralph epitomised the brilliant full forward and but for injury reduced longevity and a slight dip with his VFL record could be mentioned in similar terms to the greatest of all time.

Warren Ralph was born in 1959 in Subiaco, home of the club his father Bill represented. Growing up in Floreat, Ralph commenced his football journey in the local juniors and was groomed as a goalsneak from the outset. He arrived at Claremont Colts in 1978 and had solid seasons in the colts and reserves in 1978 and 1979 before graduating to league ranks at the commencement of 1980.

Favoured by the brilliant delivery of Graham Moss and the Krakouer brothers, Warren Ralph was an instant success in league ranks, twice kicking 11 goals and finishing the WAFL home and away season with 87 goals. This tally earned Ralph the rare accolade of WAFL Leading Goalkicker in his rookie season. Three goals in the First Semi Final and another 12 in five NFL series games took his season goal tally to 102, the first of four consecutive century tallies.

The 1981 season was to be one of Ralph’s best as he played every game, kicking double figure tallies four times and finishing with 128 goals in 24 games, including three in a brilliant Grand Final win over South Fremantle. He also represented WA for the first time, kicking four goals against SA on a wet day. 1982 and 1983 were also outstanding seasons for Ralph as he again topped the century and played state football with distinction.

With a size and style somewhat reminiscent of Bernie Naylor, Warren Ralph’s game was based on the fast lead, strong mark and accurate finishing kick but he was also capable of some spectacular aerial feats. His continued success after the departure of the Krakouer brothers in 1982 dispelled the notion that Ralph’s success was a natural consequence of precision ball delivery.

The goalkicking achievements of Warren Ralph quickly grabbed the attention of VFL clubs and Ralph debuted for Carlton in the opening round of 1984, kicking nine goals in his first game and six in the second. A combination of a knee injury and a difficult relationship with coach Robert Walls resulted in frustrating seasons in 1985 and 1986 and Ralph returned to Claremont in 1987. Although he had not set the VFL scene on fire, bags of five or more goals on seven occasions including eight in a Qualifying Final against Hawthorn, well demonstrated his capability at that level.

Back at Claremont in 1987, Ralph had a solid season, kicking 75 goals despite occasionally playing in the ruck and helped his club to a premiership with a 10-goal performance in the Second Semi Final and another four in the Grand Final. Transferring to SANFL club Glenelg the following season, he was hampered by an ankle injury but accumulated 30 goals in 14 games before again returning home and finishing his career with a third senior premiership when Claremont comfortably defeated South Fremantle in the 1989 Grand Final.

Although he subsequently coached Gidgegannup to a premiership in the Hills Association, Warren Ralph has largely focussed on his management roles in private enterprise since retirement. With 686 goals in 164 senior games at a goal per game average of 4.18 his spectacular football deeds can now be placed alongside the great WA full forwards in the WA Football Hall of Fame.