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Papley eyes family history

Paps snaps true - Rd 12, 2019 The Sydney Swans look back to their absolute best and are piling on the goals early in the third quarter

Tom Papley is enjoying his mid-season break after a double career-best and a major career milestone in Round 12. And perhaps plotting his continued chase of grandfather Max.

The emerging Sydney Swans star had a career-best 27 possessions and five goals his side’s fantastic win over the West Coast Eagles on Sunday afternoon, and became the 64th player in Swans history to kick 100 goals.

But if he happened to visit his grandfather during the break he might get a friendly reminder “you haven’t completely got me yet”.

Max Papley, 79 next month and enjoying retirement in the tiny Gippsland town of Bunyip 81 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, played 59 games and kicked 66 goals with South Melbourne from 1964-1967.

Overall, Tom has passed his grandfather, with now 72 games and 104 goals.

But if he was so inclined Max would point out that he twice kicked five goals in a match – once more than Tom – and had a career-best of 30 possessions, three more than Tom’s best.

Max is the patriarch in a family which includes two other grandsons who have played in the AFL.

Ben Ross played 14 games with North Melbourne in 2008-2009 and four games with Hawthorn in 2014, with career bests of 25 possessions and one goal. And Michael Ross played two goal-less games with Essendon in 2011 for a best of 25 disposals.

All are a part of a sizeable family of Max and Laraine Papley, who have four children, 12 grand children and one great grandchild.

And they are a part of a football history which goes back to the late 1950s when Max Papley, born on July 31, 1940 and a life-long South Melbourne fan, attended South Melbourne Technical School, the same school as childhood hero Bob Skilton.

Oddly, he began his career with the Melbourne Fourths, or under-17s, and at 179 centimetres was told by his coach he was too small.

He played at Port Melbourne YMCA before joining VFA club Moorabbin when the family had moved into the area.

He played as a small full-forward and quickly became one of the VFA’s premier players. He played 96 games in five years with the club, and captained Moorabbin to the 1963 VFA flag, kicking six goals in the Grand Final.

In February 1964 he was cleared to South Melbourne to begin a career that would span four years in the then VFL from 1964-1967, during which time he played at half-forward and in the centre. He won the best and fairest in 1966 and was a Victorian representative.

He finished his career at South Melbourne at 27 when appointed captain-coach of VFA club Williamstown. He led the club to the Grand Final in each of his first three years, won the second-division premiership in 1969 and captained the VFA against Tasmania in 1968.

After retiring in 1970 he stayed on as coach until 1972, playing a handful of comeback games in 1972, and in 2003 was named in the centre in the Williamstown Team of the Century, which also included Swans champion Barry Round in the first ruck.

Max Papley played his entire career at South Melbourne in jumper number 11, and after two years in number 41 Tom Papley switched to number 11 last year following Jeremy Laidler’s retirement.

It is a famous Swans number, worn most often for the club by former captain Stuart Maxfield (200 games).

Next best on the number 11 games list is Brownlow medallist Peter Bedford (178), Team of the Century member Mark Browning (174) and Jim Dorgan, who in 1957 was Club Champion and third in the Brownlow Medal.

Bob Pratt, the club’s leading all-time goal-kicker, played his first three years and 50 games in number 11, and the legendary Roy Cazaly played his last four years and 67 games in number 11.

At 22, Tom Papley, already with 32 games in number 11, is young enough to challenge the Maxfield record.

With 21 goals this season he leads the Swans’ count as he looks to emulate his grandfather’s effort of topping the Swans goal-kicking in 1964, and, enjoying a real breakout year in his fourth season, he is a player who could well replicate his grandfather’s Bob Skilton Medal.

But already Papley has his place in club history via his efforts of Round 12.

He became the 153rd player among the Swans’ all-time player list of 1422 to kick five or more goals in a game. So he has done something that 1269 Swans players have never done.

Furthermore, he now ranks 29th quickest among 64 members of the 100-goal club after reaching that mark in his 72nd  game and, most significantly, he was the 14th youngest Swan to 100 goals at 22 years and 331 days.

For the historically minded,  Pratt was the youngest Swan to 100 goals at 19 years and 242 days, followed by Tony Morwood (20/14), Skilton (20/231), Lindsay White (21/21), Steve Hoffman (21/324),  Michael O’Loughlin (22/64), Len Mortimer (22/113), Adam Goodes (22/131), Barry Mitchell (22/139) and Ray Moore (22/228).

Tony Lockett was quickest to 100 goals for the Swans, reaching triple figures in 18 games, followed by Lindsay White (22), Simon Minton-Connell (26), Lance Franklin (31), Ted Johnson (33), Warwick Capper (33), John Roberts (34), Barry Hall (35), Bob Pratt (40) and Ray Moore (40).

Among current players in the 100-goal club, Jarrad McVeigh was 25 years and 109 days and 140 games, Franklin 28/119 and 31 games, Sam Reid 25/94 and 100, Kieren Jack 26/and 136, Luke Parker 23/328 and 125 and Josh Kennedy 28/41 and 162.

Roy Cazaly (33/145), Barry Round (32/110) and Dennis Carroll (30/193) have been the only Swans players to kick their 100th goal for the club beyond their 30th birthday. 

Jude Bolton, who kicked his 100th goal for the club in his 218th game, took most games to this milestone. Behind him and beyond 150 games were Carroll (191), Vic Castle (172), Mark Browning (170), Kennedy (162), Gary Brice (156) and Paul Kelly (155).