HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Gerard Joseph NEESHAM
|Date of Birth||11th December 1954|
PLAYER-COACH: 1975-1998 (except for 1978)
GAMES: 230: East Fremantle 79, Swan Districts 97, Claremont 42, Sydney 9, WA 3.
COACH GAMES: 259; Claremont 171; Fremantle 88.
PREMIERSHIPS: Player Swan Districts 1983-84, East Fremantle 1985; Player-coach Claremont 1987, 89; coach Claremont 1991, 93;
HONOURS: Fairest and best Swan Districts 1979, 80; Inaugural Fremantle coach 1995-98.
One of a famous sporting family, Gerard Neesham became one of the state’s most influential playing and coaching figures. He made his name as one of the finest midfielders in the WAFL competition at Swan Districts, a linchpin in Swans’ premiership teams in 1983 and 1984 under the guidance of John Todd before returning to East Fremantle where he played in the Sharks premiership of 1985. Neesham’s languid and loping running style belied his great strengths – a lightning quick mind, extraordinary vision and a fierce competitiveness.
Armed with these traits he quickly and easily made the transition from player to player-coach and eventually non-playing coach and was the on-field general who guided Claremont to a flag in 1987. It started an extraordinary run of success for the Tigers under Neesham which saw them play in six grand finals in seven years, winning flags in 1987, 89, 91 and 1993. With the Tigers perched securely on top of the premiership table in the middle of 1994, Neesham edged out Ken Judge for the job as coach of the fledgling Fremantle which entered the AFL competition in 1995.
The Dockers came within a game of making the finals in 1997. Neesham was an influential figure tactically in football and a key person I n promoting Aboriginal talent.