Graham Thomas MELROSE

Year Inducted 2007
Date of Birth 20th April 1949

ERA: 1961 – 2006

PLAYER: 1967-83

GAMES: 334 – 144 East Fremantle; 74 Swan Districts; 111 North Melbourne; 9 WA

PREMIERSHIPS: East Fremantle 1974, Swan Districts 1982

HONOURS: Sandover Medal 1974; Premiership captain 1974 (East Fremantle), 1982 (Swan Districts) Simpson Medal 1982 grand final

While footballers play for team glory with premierships, there are individual awards along the way – and Graham Melrose enjoyed his share of both.  A natural team leader, Melrose ranks his premiership triumphs with East Fremantle and Swan Districts as his career highlights, captaining both sides to grand final glory.

He also earned some individual accolades, with his Sandover Medal victory coupled with his 1974 premiership at East Fremantle and his Simpson Medal for best-afield in a grand final joining his 1982 premiership medal.

Melrose could easily have finished with six flags but for cruel injuries.  He missed two premierships at North Melbourne (1975 and 77) and again, in his twilight years, injury cost him the chance to be in the second and third legs of the Swan Districts hat-trick.  Melrose was a true Fremantle product, playing juniors with South Fremantle and East Fremantle before the family moved to suburban Palmyra, where he followed the traditional path to nearby Moss Street for a 1967 debut with Old Easts, later the Sharks.

Melrose was enticed to Victoria soon after legendary player and coach Ron Barassi and recruiting guru Ron Joseph came together to revive the North Melbourne club and five successive grand finals resulted, including the 1977 draw.  His first year of 1975 saw Melrose as a regular, only to miss the grand final with a broken wrist.  Two years later he was in the side that drew the grand final with Collingwood, but was sidelined with a knee problem in the winning replay.

He was in the team for grand finals in 1976 and ’78…for two losses.  Melrose thought it was time to retire, but his East Fremantle coach John Todd was reviving Swan Districts – and the old partnership was back again to snare the premiership; the club’s first for 20 years.  Melrose showed his big-game capacity winning the Simpson Medal, but again injury prevented more glory.  His knee flared up mid-way through 1983, so he handed the captaincy6 to Keith Narkle, who held up the premiership cup in successive years as Todd completed the had-trick.  That wasn’t the end of his football life, coaching East Fremantle in 1987-88-89, but while the Sharks returned Melrose a 44-25 win/loss record, they bowed out in successive preliminary finals.

In 1995, after Todd had completed his second stint at Bassendean, Melrose replaced him as league coach, but it was a disappointing two years, winning 11 of 42 games.