Mervyn George COWAN

Year Inducted 2004
Date of Birth 5th April 1925

ERA: 1961 – 2006

GAMES: 193 – 169 East Fremantle, 24 South Fremantle

PREMIERSHIP: 1957 East Fremantle

HONOURS: Member of the WAFL Board of Management 1960-82; President East Fremantle Football Club 1970-82; Commissioner West Australian Football Commission 1991-96; Board of Directors Fremantle Dockers 1997

After starting his football involvement with south Fremantle in the under-age years of World War II, Merv Cowan forged a legendary career as an East Fremantle player and official and has long been regarded as the “voice” of Fremantle football.

It was 1942-43 when Cowan notched just 24 games in those under-age years to herald the start of seven decades of involvement with the sport.  After serving with the Royal Australian Navy, Cowan resumed his playing career with East Fremantle, captaining the side in 1953-54 and then being part of the 1957 premiership side on his way to a club tally of 169 games before his 1957 retirement.  But then the real action started as far as Cowan was concerned as he turned his attention to the administrative side of football.

After a one-year stint as coach of the East Fremantle reserves, Cowan was honoured with Life Membership and also became foundation secretary of the licensed premises at the Moss Street headquarters.  From 1960-67 he was secretary of East Fremantle, moving also to a higher level as a Board member of the WA Football League.

From 1960-82 he served football in a variety of roles at League level, including being on the Finance and Executive  Committee, the Subiaco Oval Ground Development Committee, the Country League Committee and was a State selector for five years.  With his many duties over-lapping, Cowan served as East Fremantle President for 12 years, from 1970-82, during which time he was also a football critic on the ABC Television panel.

Appointed a Life Member of the WAFL in 1971, he was convenor of a 1988 joint committee of East Fremantle and South Fremantle delegates who set out to obtain the Fremantle Football Club license to play in the AFL.  The early 1990’s saw Cowan as vice-chairman of a special sub-committee that finally achieved that license in 1995 and he served on the Fremantle Board in 1996.  At the same time he was a Commissioner of the WA Football Commission and chaired the committee that investigated the granting of a license to a ninth WAFL club, ultimately working hard behind the scenes to see the establishment of the peel Thunder football Club in 1997.

As the Town Clerk of East Fremantle from 1964-80, Cowan was instrumental in many sporting groups obtaining improved facilities and he played a leading role in the district’s advancement.

His own sporting days also included stints as captain of the Fremantle A-grade cricket club and a foundation member of the Melville Water Polo Club (playing for the State) and the WA Water Polo Association.