PAT DALTON - CHAMPION CENTREMAN

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 2:19 PM

By Peter Kennedy

Pat Dalton, who died on January 8 aged 77, held down the key centre position in Perth's premiership sides in 1966-67-68 - the most successful era in the club's hIstory. He capped off a brilliant career by winning the Sandover Medal in 1970.

Pat was one of three brothers to make their mark in the league side. Oldest brother Don played 118 games, Barry 29 and Pat notched 217 games in a stellar career from 1960 to 1971.

He first came to prominence for South Perth in the Perth junior competition and represented the club in the fiercely contested under-age combined sides matches. He played under coach Jack Ensor in the Thirds (now Colts) 1960 premiership team.

In his first full year in the league side he won the coveted Doug Buckingham Memorial Trophy for most outstanding junior player. It was the prelude to an outstanding career of service to our club.

Pat established himself as Perth's key centre man and, under legendary coach Ern Henfry, won his first Butcher Medal for fairest and best in the league side in 1964. Ern had told him early on that he had the ability to win a Sandover but the extraordinarily modest centreman never really entertained the idea.

He retained the spot when Malcolm Atwell took over as captain-coach in 1966 and was a prominent player in the hat-trick of premierships under Atwell's strong leadership.

Pat represented WA in 1969 and had an outstanding season in 1970 when he won his second Butcher Medal and the Sandover. He retired in 1971.

Pat had great rivalry with several champion opponents during the 1960s. West Perth's Mel Whinnen was first opposed to Pat in junior games. "I always thought I had a bit of pace on Pat, but it never seemed to count because he would cleverly 'drift' away from me and his team mates, seeing him in the clear, had the confidence to use him to attack or score," Mel said.

East Fremantle's Ray Sorrell described Pat as "a formidable opponent, hard at the ball (and me)," and East Perth's Derek Chadwick said: "Pat wasn't a high mark but his ability to read the play and dispose of the ball with precision always made him a dangerous opponent."

Pat was awarded Life Membership in 1968, was selected on the interchange bench in Perth's Team of the Century in 1999, was Club Legend in 2013, and was an inaugural inductee in our Hall of Fame in 2015.

The Perth Football Club extends its sincere sympathy to Pat Dalton's family and close friends on their sad loss. Pat always epitomised the best features of our national game. He will be sorely missed.