HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Bob SHIELDS

Year Inducted 2017
Date of Birth 3rd August 1947

Player 1965-1974

Games: 194 (Perth 187, WA 7)

Goals: 58 (Perth 58, WA 0)

Honours: Perth Premiership player 1966, 1967, 1968; Sandover Medal Runner Up 1970; PFC Most Outstanding Junior (Doug Buckingham Award) 1966; Perth Football Club Hall of Fame; Perth Team of the Century; PFC Life Member (1973)

 

A curious decision to retire after 10 seasons but still at the peak of his powers, having earlier achieved more success in his first four league seasons than most do in a career, may have counted slightly against Bob Shields in terms of recognition as a football great. But as a tight defender with pace, strength and stamina and a spectacular and consistent high mark, he was a significant factor in Perth’s premiership hat trick in the late 60’s, recognised as the leading centre half back of the period, and a major drawcard for the fans. He is the only Perth player to appear in five WAFL Grand Finals, achieved club and state captaincy, was a state selector and went on to record a significant career in the football media to make an outstanding overall contribution to the game in WA. 

Bob Shields was born in Subiaco and had an East Perth background, both parents being Royals members and an uncle, Frank Ward, having been a member of the 1936 premiership side. He was a talented athlete as a youth, winning the State Schoolboys triple jump title in 1964. Shields’ early football was played with the Collier Junior Football Club and he also gained experience at Trinity College before joining Perth in 1965. He played much of his early football as a ruckman and progressed rapidly at Perth, famously playing fourths, thirds, reserves, and league all in the same season. His league debut on a half forward flank came at the age of 17 in 1965 against Subiaco.

Perth quickly developed into a powerful combination under new coach Mal Atwell in 1966 and Shields was one of the prime movers in the key defensive position, playing 54 of a possible 69 games, including all six finals in Perth’s premiership hat trick of 1966, 1967 and 1968. In 1968, Shields also played the first of his seven State games against South Australia. 

Besides his pace and agility, Bob Shields was tough, resilient and relatively injury free and never played less than 17 games in his final eight seasons. His best season was 1970 when he played 22 games for Perth and three state games for WA. Against Victoria on June 13, Shields lined up on Royce Hart and was amongst the best players in WA’s best ever effort on the MCG.

In 1971, Shields was appointed captain of the state team against South Australia and, at the age of 23, was one of the youngest to hold the position. He was also vice-captain against Victoria in 1974, when he enjoyed another fine season, finishing fifth in the Sandover Medal and captaining his club in a losing Grand Final against East Fremantle. It was to be his swansong as he somewhat surprisingly retired after 187 league games declaring that he had done all that he could do.

An unexpected call from George Grljusich saw Bob Shields enter a different aspect of the sport, and an eight-year broadcasting career followed. In seven years with Grljusich and Dennis Cometti on the ABC, and a 1982 stint on Channel Seven’s World of Football, his knowledge of the game and experience stamped him as one of the leading commentators of the day.  He was foundation committee member of the WA Media Guild in 1979.

Now a Fremantle resident, Bob Shields has been in the property business for 40 years. He has had an ongoing football connection with his son Anthony playing for Claremont and Subiaco in the 1990s. Shields was included in Perth Football Club’s Team of the Century in 1999 and was an inaugural member of the club’s Hall of Fame in 2015. He was one of the stars of what was an outstanding team and takes his place in 2017 as a worthy member of the WA Football Hall of Fame.