A brilliant, creative half-forward and later ruck rover, Tim Watson's career started in 1977 at the age of 15 years and nine months after he came from Dimboola.

He was one of the youngest to ever play for the Dons, and by 1980 his superb ball skills, pace and balance made him one of the League's mosts dynamic players.

Watson was a strong, aggressive and explosive player, and fans would roar with excitement whenever he went near the ball. He was an unassuming champion, steering Essendon and vice-captain from 1982 and acting captain for some of 1982.

He won the Dons' best and fairest in 1980 and 1985, and was runner-up in 1982 (equal) and 1983.

In 1980, Watson was favourite to win the Brownlow Medal but polled disappointingly to finish third. He was the Dons' second highest vote-getter in that year, being outpolled by Merv Neagle. He was also the Dons' top vote-getter in 1982 with 15 votes.

Watson, named at ruck rover in Essendon's Team of the Century, finished his magnificent career with 307 games, 335 goals and three VFL/AFL premierships - 1984, 1985 and 1993 - the latter coming after he was lured out of retirement.

He starred as a ruck rover in both the 1984 and 1985 premiership wins, after being knocked unconscious early in the 1983 Grand Final.

He was Essendon's second-highest goalkicker in 1980 and third best in 1979, kicking seven goals in a game in 1979. He had the breathtaking ability to change a game midstream and often did it on big occasions.

Watson was also best on the ground in the 1981 night premiership win and starred on the half-forward flank in the 1984 night premiership win. Fans still talk about his single-handed swerving, hurdling match-winning goal in the 1981 night grand final.

At just 19, he represented Victoria in 1980 and was the second-youngest state player in League history. He also represented Victoria in 1983 and 1985, named vice-captain in 1985.

Career statistics

Played: 1977-91, 1993-94
Games: 307
Goals: 335
Premiership player: 1984, 1985, 1993
Grand Final appearances: 5
Finals games played: 23
Essendon captain: 1989-1991 (83 games)
Essendon vice-captain: 1982-1988
Essendon best and fairest: 1980, 1985, 1988, 1989
Top-five Essendon best and fairest: 1980, 1982-83, 1985, 1988, 1989
Top-five Brownlow Medal finishes: 1980, 1989
Career Brownlow votes: 86
Night Premiership appearances: 1981, 1984, 1990, 1994