James Frances (Jim) CONWAY

Year Inducted 2009
Date of Birth 14th June 1925

Player: 1943, 1946-1953, 1955-1956

Games: 195 (East Fremantle 180, Western Australia 15)

Goals: 364 (East Fremantle 343 Western Australia 21)

Coach: East Fremantle 1951, Claremont 1964-1968, State 1964

Premierships: East Fremantle 1943, 1946 (undefeated), Grand Final 1954, 1955

Honours:  East Fremantle Captain 1948, 1951, 1952, 1956

Vice Captain 1949, 1950

Sandover Medal 1950

Australian Carnival player 1950 East Fremantle Fairest and Best 1950

Club leading goal kicker 1951

East Fremantle Team of the Century 1997

Fremantle FC Hall of Legends 1998

The brilliant all-round skills and leadership qualities of East Fremantle rover Jim Conway were recognised early and often during a stellar WAFL playing and coaching career which realised 180 games for “Old Easts” 15 State games for WA, a Sandover Medal, a Lynn Medal (EF fairest and best), two premierships as a player and also one as coach of Claremont.

At the age of 13, Conway was captain of the North Fremantle School XVIII and then he won the fairest and best trophy in the Saturday morning Temperance competition when playing for the North Fremantle Ex Scholars. At 17 he was captain of East Fremantle’s premiership team in the underage competition before joining the Navy and missing two full seasons of senior football. Resuming in 1946, Conway emerged as one of the port club’s most consistent stars and a regular State player. Captain in 1948 (at 22), 1951, 1952 and 1956, vice captain in 1949 and 1950 and captain-coach in 1951, he had the ability to excel in whatever role he chose.

Conway was an outstanding high mark for a player of his stature and an extremely accurate shot for goal, being a major headache for back pocket defenders. He had an attractive style, consummate good judgement and a sound knowledge of position play. In his best season (1950) Conway was consistently brilliant in his 21 games and was a popular tip for the Sandover Medal which he won on a count back from Frank Allen (East Perth) after both polled 23 votes. He also won East Fremantle’s Lynn Medal and represented the State against Victoria.  He was made a life member in 1957.

Although best known as a rover, Conway was highly versatile and played predominantly at half-back in the undefeated East Fremantle team of 1946, on a wing in 1947 and even at centre half-forward in both a winning grand final and a State game in 1946. In his later seasons as a player Conway was hampered by injury but after only 14 games in the three seasons 1952-54 he re-captured some of his old form to finish his final season (1956) prominently in both the Sandover and Lynn Medal.

In a new phase of his football career, Conway was appointed non-playing coach of Claremont in 1964 and coached the club to a thrilling four-point win over his old club in the grand final in his first season. Four further seasons only yielded one finals appearance and he called it a day to become a respected media critic well known for his preference for the long word over the short and thus earning the soubriquet “The Professor”.

Conway was awarded life membership of East Fremantle in 1957 but it was his selection as first rover in the club’s Team of the Century in 1997 and his induction into the Fremantle Football Club’s “Hall of Legends” in 1998 that underlined his status as one of the State’s greatest.