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21. John Birt


A superb rover, Birt was a master at creating the loose man and he helped teammates create play. His pace and ability to carry the ball quickly into the open to provide the forwards with opportunities was excellent.

He was vice captain in 1966 and 1967 and never played a game in the reserves. He won the Dons best and fairest award in 1961, 1965 and 1967. Birt also was Essendon's leading goalkicker in 1958 with 31 goals and was second top in 1957, 1961, 1962, 1965 and 1966 (equal). He was third top in 1959 (equal), 1960, (equal), 1963,1964 and 1967. His best goalkicking effort in a match was six in 1959.

Birt was the Dons leading Brownlow Medal vote-scorer in 1958 (equal) with 15 votes, in 1960 (ten votes), in 1961 (nine votes) and in 1967 (13 votes). He was equal second top in 1965 and equal third in 1959 and 1964.

He was the star of the 1962 finals series and was one of the best in the premiership victory in that year. He was also the star rover in the 1965 premiership win and kicked a total of 20 goals in finals games. He also represented Victoria in 1960, 1962,1963, 1965 and 1966. Birt won Essendon's best first year player award in 1957, the most improved player award in 1958 and the best team player award in 1964.


Played 1957-67
Games 194
Goals 303
Premiership player 1962, 1965
Grand Final appearances -1957,1959,1962,1965
Finals Appearances-14
EFC Vice Captain 1966-67
EFC Best & Fairest 1961,1965,1967
Top 5 EFC best & fairest finishes 1961, 65,67
EFC Leading goalkicker 1958 (31goals)
Top 5 Brownlow medal finishes -1967
Career Brownlow votes -73
Victorian Rep 1960,62,63,65-67