Essendon Football Club has honoured its past greats of the club at the 2013 Season Launch and Hall of Fame Induction.
Former champions Matthew Lloyd and Bill Brew were inducted as Legends of the Essendon Football Club for their exceptional commitment and service to the club as players and administrators.
The evening also saw the elevation of former players Fred Baring, Darryl Gerlach, Scott Lucas and Roy McConnell as well as Bruce Heymanson to members of the club’s Hall of Fame.
Destined to be remembered as one of the game’s greatest full-forwards, Matthew Lloyd was officially inducted as a Legend of the Essendon Football Club earlier this year.
Lloyd, who retired at the end of the 2009 season with the seventh highest goal tally in VFL/AFL history with 926 goals, finished an outstanding career as a premiership player (2000), Coleman Medallist (2000, 2001 and 2003), Jim Stynes Medallist (2001) and the recipient of 12 leading goal-kicker awards for the Bombers.
Drafted to the Bombers as a 16-year-old, Lloyd would go on to become Essendon’s greatest goal-kicker and among the best full-forwards in history.
The straight shooter was picked up in the U16 Draft in a deal that saw three players go to the Fremantle Dockers. Lloyd starred in the reserves a number of times in 1995 before making his debut in the seniors that year playing in two finals games and kicking a goal with his first kick.
In 1996, Lloyd played almost half the season in the seniors, and dominated in the match against Adelaide kicking seven goals. He ruptured his spleen in the 1996 preliminary final against Sydney at the SCG which delayed the start of his 1997 season. Despite this setback, he kicked 63 goals in 23 games that year to signal the arrival of a genuine talent.
Lloyd, dubbed ‘The Velvet Sledgehammer’ during his illustrious career, combined great anticipation with explosive speed off the mark and strong hands.
After a dynamic 1999 season with 87 goals, Lloyd stamped himself as one of the genuine superstars of the game and was rewarded with All-Australian selection for the second time.
Lloyd won the John Coleman Medal in 2000 with 109 goals, with a nine goal haul against Fremantle, his best for the year. He was an instrumental figure in the club’s much adored 2000 Premiership winning side and finished with four goals during that triumphant victory.
Lloyd continued his outstanding career in 2001 with All-Australian selection for the fourth year in a row and finished runner-up to Jason Johnson in the Crichton Medal. He also won the Coleman medal for the second year in a row, with 105 goals, averaging five goals per match over 21 games.
After a serious injury in 2002, Lloyd fought back in 2003 and recovered his status as the competition's premier full-forward, finishing with 93 goals to secure his third Coleman Medal and also his seventh leading goalkicking award at Essendon. Lloyd also passed the club's all-time leading goalkicking record in Round 19 against Western Bulldogs, surpassing Simon Madden's record of 575 goals.
Lloyd would go on to captain the Bombers for over four years before announcing his retirement from football at the end of 2009 after 270 games and a club record 926 goals.
The former captain now joins the club’s most prestigious names including former team mates James Hird, Michael Long and coach Kevin Sheedy inducted as Legends of the Club’s Hall of Fame.
Since his retirement, Lloyd has transformed himself into a multi-media specialist and analyst of the AFL.
A long-serving, respected administrator of the Essendon Football Club, Bill Brew was also named as a Legend of the Essendon Football Club this year.
Working for over four decades for the betterment of the red and black, Brew joined the Club Committee in 1930 and served as Vice President for almost 20 years before becoming President for over nine years.
Under Brew’s presidency, Essendon won the 1962 and 1965 Premierships. No-nonsense and direct, Bill Brew is regarded as one of football’s most effective administrators.
Fred Baring was one of the greatest ruckmen-defenders to play with the Essendon Football Club and joined the club’s elite earlier this year as a member of the Hall of Fame.
A member of four premiership teams, Baring played 154 games between 1910 and 1924 and was named Club Champion in 1913.
He played 13 seasons for Essendon in a career spanning 15 years and interrupted by the Great War.
In just his second season at the Club, Baring was a key member of the 1911 Premiership side in their six-point win over Collingwood.
Baring starred in the 1912 Grand Final victory over Melbourne, kicking a memorable goal in the last quarter to put the game out of Melbourne’s reach.
Representing Victoria in 1911, 1913 and 1919, Baring won the Holstein Lager Company Trophy as their choice as the best league player of the year in 1913.
He was named captain in 1918 before stepping down with an illness which sidelined Baring for the most part of the 1919 season.
In the twilight of his career, Baring played few games but his four games in 1923 included a Premiership and likewise his five games in
1924 saw him feature in his fourth Essendon premiership victory. Fred Baring, who passed away in 1961, was named fullback in the Essendon Team of the Century.
Acknowledged for his outstanding contribution on and off the field with the red and black, Darryl Gerlach was named a member of the Essendon Football Club Hall of Fame this year.
Gerlach was both a decorated player and a long-serving administrator.
A fine back pocket who came to Essendon from Strathmore, Gerlach held several positions on the field after breaking in to the side in the centre, but found his niche on the back line and by 1968 was the League’s best back pocket player.
In his decade-long playing career, Gerlach was a member of the 1965 Premiership side, named the club’s Best and Fairest in 1970 and was selected in the Victorian state side in 1967, 1968 and 1969. Furthermore, he also won Essendon’s outstanding services award in 1966 and the most courageous player award in 1971.
A dependable defender with speed, good judgement and marking ability, Gerlach retired in 1972 and moved to Canberra before returning to the club where he worked in player recruitment, as well as in the football, match and finance committees. He was the club’s Vice President for 12 years.
A fan-favourite with the red and black faithful, Scott Lucas combined athleticism and versatility to become one of the Bombers’ most reliable and consistent performers in a career that spanned over 14 years.
Joining Essendon’s elite as a member in the Hall of Fame earlier this year, Lucas held down key positions at both ends of the ground with equal effect.
Quick for a big man, the versatile forward had a thumping left-foot kick and was a strong mark.
A key member of Essendon’s 2000 Premiership side, Lucas rose through the ranks after a quiet start to the 2001 season and flourished in 2005 as an influential dominant forward target in the absence of team mate Matthew Lloyd and played in all 22 games for the season. His main position changed from centre-half-back to centre half-forward and thrived in this role.
His fine form continued in 2006 when he played every game (one of only three players to do so). In the absence of captain Matthew Lloyd, Lucas was the Club's key forward and he led the Club's goalkicking with 67 goals, and won the Club's Best and Fairest for the second time.
In Round 1, 2008, Lucas injured his knee putting him out of action for eight weeks. He made a successful return again Adelaide in Round10 and in Round 16 of that year, against Richmond played his 250th game.
Scott Lucas announced his retirement in front of a packed media conference in the Essendon Hall of Fame in August 2009. Lucas ranks as Essendon sixth best goal kicker of all time and finished his career on 270 games.
Another former player elevated as a member into the club’s Hall of Fame this year was Roy McConnell.
McConnell, who played 135 career games, was a key member of the great Essendon team of the late 1940s and early 1950s.
At centre-halfback in the 1949 and 1950 Premiership wins, McConnell was named amongst the club’s best players in the respective Grand Final victories – his first premiership coming in just his 15th senior game.
A strong and dashing, though slightly built defender, McConnell was a close playing spoiler with good spring across half-back.
He won the best first year player award in 1949 (John Coleman was ineligible as he was Best and Fairest), played 74 consecutive games between 1950 and 1954, won the most consistent player award in 1955 and was named vice-captain in 1956.
Following his retirement, McConnell joined the Essendon committee from 1957 to 1965. He was the Club's assistant secretary from 1966 to 1972 and secretary from 1973 to 1980.
In 1981, McConnell became the second Essendon recipient of the "Jack Titus Recognition of Service" award.
He died on 24th July, 2003, in Queensland.
Senior coach James Hird described Bruce Haymanson as like a ‘godfather’ to generations of Essendon players and was elevated as a member into the club’s Hall of Fame this year following his passing in January.
Few people can match the contribution he made to the Essendon Football Club. For over 50 years, the beloved ‘Heymo’ worked in multiple capacities on committees, coterie groups and behind the scenes. He was an outstanding fundraiser, effective networker, generous benefactor as well as mentor to many.
Earlier this year, Board members, players, past and present, coaches, coterie groups and staff joined hundreds of family and friends to farewell, remember and celebrate the life of ‘Heymo.’
Heymanson, 72, lost his brave battle with cancer in January and has left a lasting legacy on the Essendon Football Club.
James Hird said the players, both past and present, felt a great sense of loss following his passing.
“He was a man who loved so many and gave so much, a lot more than he ever received,” Hird said.
“Heymo was one of us. He was a supporter, he was a committee member, he was a coterie leader but in the end, he was one of the players mates.”
“Bruce was a man that has helped so many of us. He helped us be better footballers, he helped us be better husbands, helped us be better fathers and most importantly helped us be better people.”
“Our club will not be the same without Heymo.”
Bruce was a committee member from 1988 to 1998 and was an integral member and leader of a number of coterie groups including the Essendonians, Red n’ Blacks and the Dick Reynolds Club.
More recently, Bruce has played a tireless and critical role in fundraising for the Club’s new High Performance Centre at Melbourne Airport.
Essendon chairman David Evans paid tribute to Heymanson for his important contribution to the Club over more than forty years.
“He was, as James Hird described, the godfather of our club,” Evans said.
“Heymo was always thinking about how to make the club a better place. His influence and support has stretched across so many generations and he touched so many.”
“He was in many ways our magnetic north, and we will all strive to do justice to his legacy.”
“It was a privilege to have known him, he was our number one ticket holder and he will always be with us in spirit – rest in peace Heymo, job well done.”