Essendon is saddened to hear of the passing of former player and club Hall of Fame member Reg Burgess on Monday night.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest Essendon players of his era, Burgess first joined the Bombers as a 19-year-old in 1954 and won best first year player honours, bursting onto the scene as a young centreman.

Alongside fellow champions Greg Sewell and Jack Clarke, Burgess helped form the nucleus of an acclaimed Essendon centreline throughout the 1950’s, claiming his first best and fairest award in 1957 and being named an All Australian in 1958.

Burgess won a second best and fairest in his final season with the club in 1960, electing to move back to the country as a player-coach of Casterton, where he experienced great success.

His 124 games for the Bombers made an indelible impact, reflected in 2002 when he was ranked No.13 in the club’s Champions of Essendon list (the 25 greatest players in club history) and named on the wing in the Essendon Team of the Century.


Burgess was inducted into the Essendon Hall of Fame in 2015 and named a life member of the club - he was also the father-in-law of former Essendon Premiership player Roger Merrett, who married his daughter Sharon.

He is survived by wife Margaret, three children in John, Susan, and Sharon, as well as six grandchildren in Ben, Madeline, Georgia, Tom, Emily and Daniel.

“Reg is one of the true champions of our club and we’re very sad to hear of his passing,” CEO Craig Vozzo said.

“In an era with so many outstanding players wearing red and black, Reg established himself as a club great in the space of just seven years, which is an amazing feat.

“As great a player as Reg was, he was a highly respected person who devoted a lot of time to the local community and established wonderful relationships with many people throughout his time at the club.

“The club sends its thoughts to Margaret and his family and friends in this difficult time, as well as all Essendon people who had the pleasure of knowing Reg.”