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Perth Stars recognised by AFL

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 8:37 PM by Peter Kennedy

Two Perth champions, ruckman Merv McIntosh and rover Rob Wiley have been recognised in the latest additions to the AFL Hall of Fame.

McIntosh, who was affectionately known by football fans throughout his career as “Big Mac”, has been promoted from member of the Hall of Fame to Legend status – the highest honour that can be awarded, joining another club legend, Barry Cable, at the elite level,

Wiley played in two Perth premiership sides – 1976 and 1977 – and was a prominent member of Richmond’s VFL premiership side in 1980.

McIntosh, who grew up in Cannington made his debut with Perth in 1939. He enlisted in the infantry when World War II broke out, and did not return till the end of 1945.

He immediately stamped his mark on the game as the league’s leading ruckman and captained the State team at the 1947 Hobart carnival – the same year he won the first of his three Sandover Medals.

He swept all before him in 1953 when he won his second Sandover Medal as well as the Tassie Medal for best and fairest in the Adelaide carnival.

Big Mac saved one of his greatest games for his last – the 1955 grand final against East Fremantle. Perth broke a 48-year premiership drought by two points, and he won his third Simpson Medal for best afield.

He was not only a foundation member of the AFL Hall of Fame in 1996 but also a foundation WA Football Hall of Fame Legend in 2004.

Wiley joined Perth from Scotch College and made his debut in 1974. All up, in 178 league games with Perth he kicked 415 goals and was the club’s leading goalkicker in both premiership years.

He also played 95 games with Richmond and was described in the AFL Encyclopedia of Football as a player “with great pace (who) read the play beautifully”.

Wiley rejoined Perth after returning from Victoria and captained and coached the league side, as well as playing with the West Coast Eagles in their inaugural 1987 season.

He won eight Butcher Medals with Perth, one more than Big Mac and Barry Cable, and is the Eagles current number one ticket holder.

Perth president Bob Shields said all members and supporters would be delighted that the brilliance of the two champions who had been acknowledged at the highest level.

“As his captain in 1974, I well remember Rob Wiley coming in for his first game, in which he Kicked 1.8 due to nerves,” Shields said. “A measure of the determination of this 17-year-old came at training the next week where he practised goalkicking for hours. It is now legend, he kicked 8.1 in the next game, and I knew then we had another champion.”

”On meeting Merv at the club as a 17-year-old player, I was able to tell him that I was the son of Joan Ward. He laughed, as he remembered her as a young schoolgirl on the way home, taunting Merv about her big brother Frank Ward, a contemporary East Perth player. They were both Cannington boys.

“Even in old age, he was a huge man, and a true champion.”