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Gerard Neesham (born 11 December 1954) is a former Australian rules footballer in the WAFL and VFL as well as coach in the WAFL and AFL. Today he is chief executive of the Clontarf Foundation.

Contents

Football career

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Playing career

In the WAFL, Neesham played for East Fremantle in 79 games, Swan Districts in 97 games, and Claremont in 42 games. He also represented Western Australia 3 times.[1]

He won the best and fairest at Swan Districts in 1979 and 1980 which led to him being noticed around the country as a quality player. This led to him having a brief stint in the VFL with the Sydney Swans, where he played 9 games for 1 goal in 1982.

He played in 2 premierships for Swan Districts, including the last two of the Swans hattrick of premierships in 1983-1984, and made it 3 in a row when he won a flag with East Freo in 1985.

Coaching career

Neesham coached 259 games in total, 171 of which were for the Claremont Football Club in the WAFL. He won premierships in 1987 and 1989 as player-coach, and again in 1991 and 1993 as coach.

In 1995 he was appointed inaugural coach of the Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League. While he had introduced an attacking and exciting style of game that exhibited flair, he had limited success as a coach, winning only 32 of his 88 games. Fellow AFL coach David Parkin described Neesham's gameplan, that encouraged possession and was influenced by Neesham's water polo background, as before his time.[2]

Neesham is a member of the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.[3]

Clontarf Foundation

After leaving the AFL system he returned to teaching at Clontarf Aboriginal College and was asked to coach the school's football team.[4] He saw the opportunity to use football as encouragement for the students to remain at school and improve their lives.[5] In 2000 he set up the Clontarf Foundation, which encourages school and football participation amongst indigenous youth in Western Australia. He is the chief executive officer and now runs 22 Academies across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with a total enrollment of over 1300 students.[6]

References

  1. ^ WAFL 200 Game Club
  2. ^ Ben Collins (1 September 2006) Faster, harder, smarter
  3. ^ WA Football Hall of Fame Inductees
  4. ^ Flanagan, Martin (15 September 2006) Unleash the Neesh; The Age
  5. ^ Beal, Jonathan (9 July 2004) Governor celebrates WA's indigenous footballers; Stateline
  6. ^ Alcoa helps kick goals for Clontarf

External links

Preceded by
Inaugural
Fremantle Football Club coach
1995-1998
Succeeded by
Damian Drum
Stub icon This Australian rules football biography of a person born in the 1950s is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

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