CHAMPIONS OF THE PAST.
A Veteran Looks Back.
STARTING with South Fremantle in 1913 "Natty" Giles later
attained State honours and became one of the greatest wingmen ever to play with the club. At Fremantle Oval last Saturday he was following his favourites against West Perth. During the afternoon I chatted with him and from his boundless store of reminiscences this article was compiled.
Prior to commencing senior foot- ball with South Fremantle, "Natty" Giles was a member of the famed Wentworth side which toured the Eastern States with considerable suc- cess. The team played in a junior competition in Fremantle and won a string of premierships.
"Vic Carlson led us," said Natty, "and he afterwards played centre for Old Easts. Half the side went to East Fremantle and the others to South in later years. Names I can remember well are Fred ('Bomb') Hicks, Jack Hicks, G. Stewart and Wally Gunyon who went with me to South. 'Nashy' Brent nall was also a stalwart and he went to South Fremantle."
In 1913 Natty commenced his senior football career with South Fremantle and in the following year was selected to represent the State in the trial carnival match. Re- ceiving an ankle injury, he was un- able to compete for final selection. South Fremantle in 1914.
"Norm McIntosh was centre for
South in 1914 and later played with Richmond. From memory I think he is the only West Australian to represent Victoria in a carnival and he did this in 1924. Gordon Fisher, father of the well-known athletes for Aquinas College, was centre half-back and I will never forget the day that he beat Phil Matson, the idol of Subiaco, in the final of 1914. Matson rarely touched the ball, and were the South supporters pleased!" Best in the Game.
Natty was thoughtful before he answered my question as to the best players he has ever seen. "Without a doubt I consider 'Nipper' Trus- cott (East Fremantle) as the best centreman and the greatest stab kick ever in the game. He was deadly. The best full-forward was probably *Bonny* Campbell (East Perth), but Charlie Doig (East Fremantle) was not far behind him. Another good forward was Bert Tapping, South's vice-captain in 1914, who won the Referee Medal for the fairest and best in the carnival in Sydney in 1914. Paddy Hebbard (East Perth) was the best half-forward, being both a good mark and a very accur- ate kick. Ray Mudie (East Fre- mantle) was probably one of the greatest half-backs in the game.
"Fred Wimbridge (Perth and later West Perth) was a grand full-back but was temperamental, and Phil Matson (Subiaco) was, I consider, the best all-rounder. He captained and coached both Subiaco and East Perth and could excel anywhere on the ground. 'Long John' Camp- bell (a carnival follower) was one of South Fremantle who should not be left out. But there are many of which I cannot think at the moment."
I asked "Who was the best umpire you have seen in this State?" "Ivo Crapp was the greatest umpire of them all and he guided young play- ers through many trials, being very stringent on the older ones," Natty replied. "He had uncanny judg- ment and could anticipate a move."
Kicking-a Lost Art.
"I wish you could see Wally Gun- yon (South Fremantle) in action," said Natty in answer to my remark that kicking has declined in the last few years. "Without a doubt the lost art of place-kicking has
marred the game considerably. I once saw one of the Kelly brothers score a beautiful goal from the centre of Fremantle Oval with a place- kick."
Effect of the War.
"Do you think the effects of the last war on our national game were less severe than at the present time?" I asked him. He replied: "The under-age competition was not brought in during the last war and the game continued as in normal times. I do not think that the State could produce a side two years after this war of the calibre of the 1921 carnival team. It may take years longer than that to bring about a return to the standard of pre-war
In 1926 Natty went to the Eastern
States with South Fremantle and in the following year played his last three games with the side.
It is believed that there are only two footballers to have been made life-members of any football club in Australia whilst still playing for their clubs. Austin Robertson had a life-membership conferred on him by South Melbourne. "Natty" Giles is the other.