HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Cornelius John REGAN
|Date of Birth||30th September 1934|
Games 269 (East Fremantle 262, WA 7)
Goals 148 (East Fremantle 146, WA 2)
Honours: East Fremantle premiership player 1957; East Fremantle Leading Goal kicker 1955, 1962;
East Fremantle club games record holder 1964-1988; Life Member East Fremantle 1963; East Fremantle Hall of Fame 2012; EF Team of the Century 1997; Fremantle Hall of Legends 1997
Football versatility was never better exemplified than in Con Regan, a legend of Fremantle football whose position on the field was the one where the team most required him and whose extraordinary durability, longevity and character made him a clubman par excellence. After retirement as a player with the record number of club games, Regan made an outstanding ongoing contribution to football as a coach, junior development officer, administrator, team manager and general worker for the betterment of the game.
Cornelius John Regan was born in Palmyra with football in his genes. His mother was a member of the Miller clan which has contributed 12 WAFL league players in the Regan, Neesham, McManus and Kerr families and his ancestral uncles included Harry Duggan and Theodore (Phaedra) Miller, significant Fremantle players of yesteryear. He learnt the game in Fremantle and graduated through the old Fremantle Ex Scholars competition to East Fremantle in 1953, making his debut in the opening round against Claremont in the role of high leaping follower. He did well enough to elicit positive comment in the Round 2 Football Budget which stated “Regan shows considerable promise in the role of follower”
Con Regan played all but 2 games in his debut season. Thereafter he was very seldom out of the very strong East Fremantle team for the following 12 seasons, playing finals in every one of them. His durability was demonstrated by the fact that the minimum number of games he played in any of his 13 seasons was 16 and his versatility was a major asset from the outset. Perhaps Cons greatest attribute was his excellent high marking ability but he was also fast, strong and a fine kick either from defence or when kicking for goal. He came to be recognised mostly as a full back who could play a valuable negating role on some of the excellent forwards around at the time headed by Bernie Naylor, Ray Scott, Ron Tucker and later, John Gerovich. Regan won a full back competition conducted by the Daily News in 1960 when he played 23 games including finals for an average of less than 2 goals per match kicked against him.
Although mostly required at full back, Con Regan enjoyed the opportunity to go forward and twice headed his clubs goalkicking list (1955 and 1962). His performances in 1955 (64 goals) placed him 4th in the competition and gained for him a first representative match for a WA second eighteen against the touring Essendon team. Some of his most memorable performances were at other than full back including the 1957 grand final (centre half back) and the 1962 preliminary final (9 goals at full forward).
Having a predilection for odd years (1955, 1957, 1959 and 1961), Con Regan went on to represent his state on 8 occasions. His versatility was much valued by the state selectors as he started these games variously at full forward, in the centre, back pocket, full back and centre half forward (in the memorable deciding 1961 Carnival game against Victoria). Con considered his greatest achievement in football to be the 1961 Carnival victory but he played in an extraordinary 27 final round matches for East Fremantle including 7 grand finals and the 1957 premiership.
As a policeman, Con Regan was transferred to Katanning after the 1965 season. His magnificent overall contribution to football continued when he was appointed captain coach of local club Wanderers and co-founded the Central Great Southern Junior Sports Council. Later when in Donnybrook, he took the local side to a premiership and after returning to Fremantle, also won a flag as coach of the East Fremantle Sunday League Football Club.
When the Fremantle Dockers were formed in 1995, Con Regan became the inaugural team manager and did not miss a match or training session for nearly 10 years after the club was formed. In this role he was a valued mentor and confidant to the aspiring AFL players.
In later years a number of honours were bestowed upon Con Regan. The City of Fremantle Hall of Fame (1996) and Fremantle Football Club Hall of Legends (1997) were followed by the AFL’s prestigious Jack Titus Award in recognition of his 50 years involvement with football (2003). He was the first West Australian to be so recognised.
In May 2007, Con Regan passed away suddenly while holidaying in Vancouver, Canada. The tributes that flowed liberally and the immense crowd who attended his funeral at Fremantle Cemetery bore powerful testament to the quality and impact of Con Regans life. He was synonymous with football in Fremantle and his outstanding character shone out in all he did. Membership of the East Fremantle Football Club Hall of Fame (2012) and now the West Australian Football Hall of Fame add lustre to an outstanding life in football.