Some of the biggest names in the Bombers' proud history will be elevated to Legend status in the club’s Hall of Fame in 2021.
Gavin Wanganeen, Neale Daniher, Dustin Fletcher and Dr Bruce Reid have been unanimously nominated by the Bombers’ Hall of Fame committee, with the quartet set to be honoured at next year’s prestigious Hall of Fame event.
President Paul Brasher paid tribute to the outstanding and unwavering contribution of all four men to the Essendon Football Club.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, it gives me immense pleasure to announce the elevation to Legend status of Gavin Wanganeen, Neale Daniher, Dustin Fletcher and Dr Bruce Reid to the Bombers’ Hall of Fame,” Brasher said.
“All four gentlemen are very worthy recipients of this significant honour; their names are synonymous with the Essendon Football Club and their contribution to the red and black is profound.
“Both Neale and Bruce have been fighting respective health issues in recent years, so I am delighted our Hall of Fame committee can bestow this honour to two such beloved members of the Essendon family. Both Neale and Bruce are warriors and we are wishing them and their families our continued love, thoughts and support.
“Our organisation will formally honour all four gentlemen next year when we are able to welcome back crowds in a safe environment. I know our members and supporters will take great pride in joining us for our next induction of Legends in our esteemed Hall of Fame.”
In a career littered with accolades, Wanganeen played 127 of his 300 games for Essendon. He’s the only Bomber to have won a Brownlow Medal in a premiership season, with his 1993 triumph also making him the first Indigenous player to win the League’s highest individual honour.
Wanganeen retired as a member of the Essendon and Indigenous Teams of the Century and is a member of the AFL Hall of Fame.
Joining Wanganeen to Legend status is his former teammate and fellow ‘Baby Bomber’ Dustin Fletcher.
In a career spanning a remarkable 23 seasons, Fletcher is one of only four players in League history to have reached the 400-game milestone. The defender starred in a golden era for full-forwards to become a dual premiership player (1993, 2000) and 2000 Crichton medallist.
Serving Wanganeen and Fletcher as assistant coach under Kevin Sheedy, Daniher made an immediate impact at Essendon when he burst on to the scene in 1979, winning the Bombers’ best first-year player award and VFL recruit of the year.
He won the Bombers’ 1981 best and fairest, represented Victoria in ‘80 and ’81, and was a member of the club’s ’81 night premiership.
After 66 consecutive games for Essendon, Daniher was appointed by legendary coach Sheedy as the club’s youngest captain in 1982, but devastating injuries cruelly interrupted his career. He rejoined the Bombers as an assistant coach to help steer the club to the 1993 flag, before a stint at Fremantle and then Melbourne as senior coach.
Since revealing his battle with motor neurone disease (MND), Daniher has been colossal in his efforts to find a cure and change lives in the community. He has been an influential part of the MND Foundation, was awarded as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2016 and was the Victorian finalist for Australian of the Year in the same year.
Finally, and fittingly, one man who has been at the centre of the Essendon Football Club throughout Wanganeen, Fletcher and Daniher’s entire playing careers is Dr Reid.
Since arriving at Windy Hill in 1982 when approached by then-coach Sheedy, Reid has treated countless players and their families.
Essendon conferred life membership upon him in 1994, and in 2010 the AFL, in recognition of his contribution to the League, honoured him with the Jack Titus Recognition of Service Award.
Essendon Football Club will formally honour Wanganeen, Fletcher, Daniher and Reid at a date to be confirmed in 2021.
HALL OF FAME LEGENDS
*denotes recent elevation to Legend status
* Daniher, Neale
* Fletcher, Dustin
* Reid, Bruce Dr.
* Wanganeen, Gavin
HALL OF FAME MEMBERS
Reynolds, Dr Ian
Vander Haar, Paul