George Owens

Australian Football | Inducted: 2004

Born Kalgoorlie WA
20 August 1900 - 7 October 1986

The East Perth Football Club forged some early-century folklore, with seven premierships form 191-27, including five straight - a record that has now stood for more than 80 years.

George (Staunch) Owens was one of only three players to feature in all of those grand final triumphs. He was in East Perth's first premiership side in 1919 and there again in 1920,21,22,23,25 and 27. There were losing grand finals in 1918 and at the end of his career in 1928 and 1932.

Standing 180cms tall (5ft 11in), he played most of his 195 games as a ruckman, winning the 1925 Sandover Medal, in an era when you could only win the Medal once. Although relatively short for a ruckman, he was blessed with an outstanding leap.

As a State player, he represented Western Australia 17 times, including two Australian carnivals. He missed a third with a broken arm and was judged best-afield in the 1926 clash with Victoria, in Perth. The Melbourne Argus newspaper labeled him the best footballer in Australia and a 1946 poll in Perth's Daily News rated him the best of all time in the West.

As a typical Goldfield-bred youngster, Owens was quickly into football and played his first game for the powerful East Perth club as a 16-year old early in the 1917 season. The club's annual report for 1925 saluted his Sandover Medal triumph with the following tribute.

This year we have the pleasure to record the fine play of Geo. (Staunch) Owens, who has been adjudged the fairest and best player for the season. He represented the State in many matches and during his participation on behalf of your club, has done yeoman service - WAFL president Mr Moffat echoed the opinion that Mr Owens was one of the foremost footballer's in the State and that his exhibitions were such that no-one would cavil at the decision."

While it was an era of football where East Perth was a "brilliant team" under the legendary captain-coach Phil Matson, there were many great individuals, and Owens was one of the best. He won East Perth's fairest and best award six times between 1917 and 1932 and was generally considered the man around whom Matson operated his slick team-work.

On his retirement in 1932, Owens turned to umpiring in his desire to give something back to the sport. He controlled 135 league games, including 20 finals and five grand finals - 1935-37-38-39 and 1941.