Graham (Polly) Vivian FARMER

Year Inducted 2004
Date of Birth 10th March 1935

PLAYER: 1953-71

GAMES: 393: East Perth 176; Geelong 101; West Perth 79; WA 31: Vic 6

PREMIERSHIPS: East Perth 1956, 58-59; Geelong 1963; West Perth 1969, 71

HONOURS: Sandover Meal 1956-57, 60, AFL Hall of Fame legend; Equal second Brownlow Medal 1963; fairest and best East Perth 1954-57, 59-61, Geelong 1963-64, West Perth 1969; member 1961 carnival team; All-Australian 1956, 58, 61; Tassie Medal 1956; Simpson Medal 1956 (WAvSA), 58 (WAvVictoria), 59 (WAFL grand final); coach West Perth 1968-71, Geelong 1973-75, East Perth 1976-77; WA captain six times, coach six times; First West Australian awarded MBE for services to football 1970

Of more than 10,000 league footballers in WA’s rich history, Graham “Polly” Farmer sits head and shoulders above the pack.  In 1996 the Australian Football League bestowed legend status on 12 champions in its inaugural Hall of Fame.  Farmer was one of them.  The same year he was named as first ruckman in the AFL’s team of the century, the only West Australian to get a Guernsey.

It is widely considered that the title of best player of all time is a toss-up between Farmer and Hawthorn legend Leigh Matthews.  Both could single-handedly turn a game.

The only accolade to elude Farmer was the Brownlow Medal. More than just a champion player, he changed the game. His trademark handball revolutionized the ruck.

In the 1950’s he was the power behind East Perth’s six-year domination of WA football.  “He left an indelible stamp on the game through his ruck work.” said Davis. “He was Australia’s first truly professional footballer”.  Arch rival, Carlton’s John Nicholls, described him as the best ruck man he had ever played against.  Another Victorian great, Ron Barassi, said “He is dedicated to the elimination of error.”

Farmer returned to WA as captain-coach of West Perth in 1968 and the following year he had one of his best seasons, despite being 34.  He was runner-up in the Sandover Medal, won West Perth’s fairest and best award and led the club to a premiership.