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Vale John Todd, ‘Legend of the game’

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 - 10:34 AM

With a heavy heart, East Fremantle joins the West Australian football community and the wider football world in mourning the passing of John Herbert Todd, one of the most decorated and influential figures in WA football history.

Todd had an extraordinary career that spanned 721 games coached and 132 games played, with a further 13 games representing WA.

A six-time WAFL Premiership coach, Todd led East Fremantle to our 1974 flag. Over a four-decade career, he coached three WAFL clubs - East Fremantle, Swan Districts and South Fremantle - and guided West Coast to its first-ever finals appearance in the AFL. 

Despite a serious knee injury that curtailed his playing career, he remains the youngest-ever winner of the Sandover Medal and was a carnival All-Australian. Todd was an inaugural Legend of the West Australian Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Coaches section of the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

As quoted in The West, Bob Uittenbroek, who joined East Fremantle as Managing Secretary at the start of the 1974 Premiership season, remembers John as a firm and disciplined coach. ‘He had the respect of the players and the committee, a man well ahead of his time with the coaching methods he adopted.’

President Mark Stewart joined the tributes: ‘John’s contribution to our club will never be forgotten. A legend of our game, just a week ago we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our 1974 Premiership. I know the players will cherish the opportunity they all had to speak with Toddy briefly on the phone during the reunion celebrations.’

In Todd’s own words, in relation to the 1974 flag: ‘The Premiership belongs to the players because they buckled down to the hard work, accepted the discipline and brickbats, and emerged triumphant.’

The East Fremantle 1974 Premiership team recently celebrated their 50-year anniversary with a team lunch and joined our President's Luncheon for the game against Perth - their opponents in the 1974 Grand Final.

Some of the 1974 Premiership players, along with Todd, shared their memories of the day in what is believed to be his last ever interview. Watch the interview here.

Todd’s legacy serves as a beacon for future generations. East Fremantle offers our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. 

John Todd's career record


  • 132 games for South Fremantle, 1955-66

  • 13 games for WA

  • 1955 Sandover Medal

  • 1955, 1958, 1961 Best and Fairest

  • 1961 All Australian (carnival)


  • South Fremantle coach 1959, 1966-68 and 1995-98

  • East Fremantle coach 1973-76

  • Swan Districts coach 1977-87, 1990-94 and 2000-02.

  • West Coast (AFL) coach 1988-89

  • WA coach 14 games

  • Australia coach six games 1984, 1986

  • East Fremantle premiership 1974

  • Swan Districts premierships 1982, 1983, 1984, 1990

  • South Fremantle premiership 1997

  • Australian Football Hall of Fame (coach)

  • WA Hall of Fame (Legend)