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Proudly Sydney

Vale Max Blumfield


The Sydney Swans family is mourning the death of past player Max Blumfield.

A rover recruited from Elsternwick Amateurs, Blumfield played 21 games and kicked 12 goals with South Melbourne from 1943-46.

He was the emergency for the 1945 “Bloodbath” Grand Final against Carlton after playing against Collingwood in the winning second semi-final side.

However, regular rover Reg Richards had missed the semi-final because of influenza and his recovery pushed the unlucky Blumfield out of the (losing) Grand Final side.

Blumfield grew up in country Victoria and attended school in Murtoa before moving to Melbourne.

While having a kick of a football with his two brothers as a 15-year-old in 1936, they invited three local campers to join them. One was a youth named Alan Killigrew, who went on to play 78 games with St Kilda from 1938-45 and later coached the Saints and then North Melbourne.

Killigrew had been in Murtoa looking for work and, in tough times, the Blumfield family invited him back to their house for a meal and a night’s sleep. Killigrew stayed with the family as a boarder for two years and the Blumfield’s even helped him celebrate his 21st birthday at the local bakery.

Blumfield moved from the Swans to VFA (now VFL) club Prahran in 1947 and, with Killigrew’s encouragement, later joined the VFL umpiring panel. He took charge of 37 senior VFL games from 1951-54. Blumfield later joined the Umpires’ Appointment Board and served as chairman for four years.

As an umpire, he created headlines in reporting Essendon goalkicking idol John Coleman for disputing a decision against Collingwood in 1951. Although Coleman was cleared of the charge, Blumfield had to leave the Tribunal hearing through a back door to escape the wrath of Bomber fans.

An accountant, Blumfield ran his own furnishing business for many years and was the proud uncle of 2000 Essendon premiership player Justin Blumfield.

He died peacefully in his sleep at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne, on September 20 at 89 years of age.

RIP Max Blumfield.