Malcolm Blight

Malcolm Blight
Malcolm Blight
Personal information
Full name Malcolm Jack Blight
Date of birth 16 February 1950 (1950-02-16) (age 61)
Place of birth Adelaide, South Australia
Original team Woodville (SANFL)
Height/Weight 182cm / 89kg
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)

1968–????

1974–1982
SANFL
Woodville
VFL
North Melbourne

163 (359)

178 (444)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
South Australia
Victoria
7
7
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1981
1989–1994
1997–1999
2001
Total
North Melbourne
Geelong
Adelaide
St Kilda
16 (6–10–0)
145 (89–56–0)
74 (41–33–0)
15 (3–12–0)
250 (139–111–0)
1 Playing statistics to end of 1982 season .
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2001.
Career highlights

Malcolm Jack Blight AM (born 16 February 1950) is a former champion Australian rules football player and coach, and current television commentator. During the 1970s and 1980s Blight played for the Woodville Football Club in the South Australian National Football League and the North Melbourne Football Club in the Victorian Football League. He coached North Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide (with whom he won two Premierships) and St. Kilda. Blight was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996. The name Blight is of Cornish origin.[1]

Contents

Football career

Woodville Football Club, SANFL

Malcolm Blight began his career in 1968 at the Woodville Football Club in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL). He won the Best and Fairest award with Woodville in 1972 and the Magarey Medal the same year as the league's "fairest and most brilliant".

After his stint in the VFL, Blight finished his playing career in the SANFL, as playing coach of Woodville Football Club from 1983 to 1985. He was club best and fairest in 1983 and in his last season of playing football (1985) topped the league goalkicking list with 126 goals.[2]

He was the first player to win both the Magarey Medal and Brownlow Medals, the only player to top both the SANFL and VFL goalkicking lists, and the only player to captain both Victorian and South Australian representative sides.

North Melbourne Football Club, VFL

Blight was recruited by the Kangaroos and, although he was reluctant to join at first, he went on to play 178 games for the club between 1974 and 1982.[3] He was a member of the Kangaroos' premiership sides in 1975 and 1977, and in 1978 won both the Brownlow Medal and the Syd Barker Medal for being the best and fairest player in the VFL and for North Melbourne respectively.

Blight was consistently one of the most brilliant players in the VFL during the 1970s. Besides taking spectacular marks, he was also a prolific goalkicker, renowned for his ability to kick the torpedo punt and high flying marks. In 1982, Blight won the Coleman Medal for leading the VFL in goalkicking, and led the Kangaroos' goalkicking four times during his career.

80m goal after the siren

In a moment that has since passed into Australian Rules folklore in 1976 Blight kicked a famous goal after the siren against Carlton. After kicking two goals in time-on in the last quarter, Blight marked an estimated 80 metres from the goals. North Melbourne were still trailing by one point – only a goal would win the game. Many assumed Blight's effort would be futile and spectators were already entering the playing arena. However, Blight unleashed one of the biggest-ever torpedo punts winning an improbable victory for North Melbourne. This moment was the focus of a recent television commercial, Toyota's Memorable Moments, which featured Blight.

Infamous Moments

On one occasion, against Richmond Blight infamously ran past an open goal to mistakenly kick a behind, not realizing he had made a mistake.[4]

Another infamous moment was against Hawthorn, when he kicked a behind to draw North to within 1 point of the Hawks at the siren, but was then offered another kick for an infringement, whereby a goal would win the match. Blight kicked the ball out on the full, giving Hawthorn the win. Although the difficult conditions of Arden street oval, (muddy and wet), he failed to notice the man on the mark moved from left to right, hence Blight's error was his lining up the shot: as he was not looking at the goal, but focussed on where the man on the mark was. Thus the combination of wet, muddy conditions and his miscalculation, resulted in missing the goals and points altogether.

Blight was indirectly involved in another infamous football incident during the 1980 Escort Cup Grand Final against Collingwood, held at VFL Park, Waverley. Blight kicked the ball to Kerry Good as the siren sounded. However, the umpire did not hear the siren and awarded the mark to Goode who kicked the winning goal to win in controversial circumstances.

Coaching and after coaching

Blight later became a successful senior Australian rules football coach, leading teams for at least part of 16 seasons.[5] Blight became known for employing unorthodox coaching methods to motivate his players.[6]

North Melbourne Football Club, VFL

Playing coach in 1981, sacked as coach after 6 consecutive losses.[7] The following week he rebounded with a club-record 11 goal haul against Footscray, at the Western Oval. Once again, Blight's inaccurate kicking for goal may have prevented him from kicking a club record of a possible 16 to 17 goals. Blight's total as playing coach (Wayne Schimmelbusch was captain[8][9]) was 16 games (6 wins, 10 losses) and the last of the playing Coachs in the VFL.

Woodville Football Club, SANFL

Playing coach 1983 to 1985, continued as non-playing coach to 1987. His tenure as coach concided with the clubs most successful season (1986) in the entire history of the Woodville Football Club, when they reached the Preliminary Final.[10]

Geelong Football Club, AFL

Senior coach from 1989 to 1994, highlighted by Grand Final appearances in 1989, 1992, 1994. Total of 145 games, 89 wins, 56 losses. One of the strangest incidents as a coach of Geelong was his extroverted decision to stand on a metal box to watch the game against the West Coast Eagles in Perth. His excitement of "seeing the game at ground level", was an attempt to get back to basics and some nostalgia.

Adelaide Crows, AFL

Blight's arrival at the Crows at the end of the 1996 season was marked with dramatic effect, with the delisting of four ageing club stalwarts Tony McGuinness, Chris McDermott, Andrew Jarman, and Greg Anderson.[11] This attracted great criticism at the time, but Blight was vindicated by winning the AFL premiership in 1997, and again in 1998. He retired as coach at the end of the 1999 season after an unsuccessful year finishing 13th . His total record as adelaide coach was 74 games, 41 wins, 33 losses with 2 premierships (1997,1998)

St Kilda Football Club, AFL

After being signed for $1 million AUD as senior coach for 2001,[12] Blight was sacked after Round 15 (3 wins, 12 losses).[13] His famous humiliation of the players by making them stay on the ground (Telstra Dome) highlighted the worsening relation between the coach, players and club supporters. Some years later CEO Butterss questioned Blights commitment to the club during his tenure. Blight responded memorably from his position as media commentator with Channel Ten, saying[citation needed]:

"I couldn't give a rat's tossbag whether he thought I could coach or whether anyone thinks I can coach or can play. I'm happy with what I did. So an Adelaide or a Geelong, two very young teams, came from nowhere to play in grand finals? Come on, that's a wank!"

Gold Coast Football Club, AFL

Blight recently joined the upcoming 17th AFL team the Gold Coast Football Club, as a board member.

Media

Blight is currently an expert commentator on Channel Ten's television coverage after previously being a commentator with Channel Seven in 1995 and 1996. In 2006 Blight appeared in a Toyota Legendary moment ad recreating his pearler after the siren against Carlton.

Honours

See also

References

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ron Barassi
North Melbourne Football Club coach
1981
Succeeded by
Barry Cable
Preceded by
John Devine
Geelong Football Club coach
1989–1994
Succeeded by
Gary Ayres
Preceded by
Robert Shaw
Adelaide Football Club coach
1997–1999
Succeeded by
Gary Ayres
Preceded by
Tim Watson
St Kilda Football Club coach
2001
Succeeded by
Grant Thomas
Awards
Preceded by
Russell Ebert
Magarey Medal
1972
Succeeded by
Barrie Robran
Preceded by
Graham Teasdale
Brownlow Medal
1978
Succeeded by
Peter Moore
Preceded by
Michael Roach
Coleman Medal
1982
Succeeded by
Bernie Quinlan

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