Phillip Henry MATSON

Year Inducted 2004
Date of Birth 20th October 1884

PLAYER-COACH: 1904-1923

GAMES: 170: West Perth1; Sturt 24; North Fremantle 13; Subiaco 80; East Perth 35; WA 13; SA 4

PREMIERSHIPS: Subiaco 1912, captain-coach 1913; East Perth player-coach 1919-23, coach 1926-27

HONOURS: Magarey Medal runner-up 1910; Captain WA carnival team 1914.

Born in Adelaide, Phil Matson could have been an Olympian.  He swam with the Claremont Amateur Swimming Club and by 1905, at the age of 20, was an outstanding breaststroker, winning the 220 yards at the Australian championships in Melbourne in what was claimed as a world record.  Certain to win a place in the team for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, he turned professional in 1909 and played for Sturt. 

In 1911, he returned to WA.  Not especially tall, he was powerfully built, vigorously competitive and a brilliant kick.  Took Subiaco to a premiership as captain-coach in 1913 but when he was overlooked for the coaching job moved to East Perth.  It was the start of the “Matson Years”.  He took East Perth to five consecutive premierships as a player-coach and then two more as coach after retiring as a player aged 38 in 1923.  In June, 1928, the football community was devastated when Matson was involved in a horrendous traffic accident in Nedlands and died two days later.  Tributes to “the greatest coach of all’ flowed in from around Australia.