Perth champion gets State blazer pocket

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 9:13 AM by Peter Kennedy

Bert Wansbrough, the 1955 premiership vice-captain, and his wife Norma, didn't know what to expect when three club members visited their Beverley home recently.

Brian Sweetapple and Greg Dart from the Past Players and Officials Association, and Peter Kennedy, were on a mission: to deliver a replica of the crest on Bert's 1956 State team blazer pocket for the national carnival in Perth.

Bert is very proud of a montage of crests from various football and other blazers he has worn during a celebrated sporting career. But the 1956 carnival blazer pocket was missing.

His good friend and Beverley councillor David White noted this gap, and made inquiries as to how it could be rectified, without Bert's knowledge. Eventually he contacted Peter Kennedy, who suggested Brian Sweetapple might have access to a 1956 blazer through the club's History Centre.

Brian got to work with Greg Dart, and together they hit the jackpot. There was indeed a pocket with the crest in good condition, which they had duplicated. The gap in Bert's collection was filled.

Bert was also presented with a mounted cutting from The West Australian, noting his crucial role in Perth's nail biting two-point win over East Fremantle in that 1955 grand final. It was headed "Wansbrough Comes To Side's Rescue" and noted how, after being switched at half time from centre half back to full forward, he had kicked four goals in the third quarter to put Perth within reach of victory after a poor first half.

An epic last quarter, in which the whole side lifted and champion ruckman Merv McIntosh played at his brilliant best in his last game, saw Perth break a 48-year premiership drought.

Bert travelled from the family farm each week to play 127 games between 1952 and 1958. He kicked 167 goals for Perth and was named on a half back flank in Perth's Team of the Century. He was Club Legend in 2008.

Bert continued his football career with Beverley, adding to his illustrious record by leading the home team to a premiership as well.

He has the Demons' 2018 fixtures on his desk, and plans to make the trip to the city to see a winning game at Lathlain Park.