Mick Cronin (footballer)

Mick Cronin (footballer)

Deverick John 'Mick' Cronin (born 18 March 1911 at Wagin, died 1 September 1979 at Perth) was an Australian rules football player, umpire and television commentator in Western Australia.

"Mick" Cronin, West Australian footballer and sports commentator.


Private life

He was the son of native-born parents Michael Henry Cronin, farmer, and his wife Nellie Agatha, née Dawson. Although of Methodist background, Mick completed his primary education at a convent-run boarding-school at Toodyay, then worked as a delivery-boy and as an apprentice to a butcher at Harvey.[1]

In 1930 he was recruited by East Perth Football Club which found him a job with a grocer in Perth. Cronin was later employed at Whitty's lottery agency and at Boans Ltd department store. In the 1930s he was also a middle-order batsman with the Subiaco Cricket Club.

On 6 April 1940 Cronin had married a stenographer Roma Chipper at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Perth. That year he opened a confectionery shop at the Hurlingham Picture Theatre, South Perth.

Mobilized in the Citizen Military Forces in January 1942, he served at home in the Australian Imperial Force for the duration of the war, engaged mostly in anti-aircraft activities. He was discharged with the rank of sergeant in October 1945, after which he ran snack shops in central Perth.

He was a successful agent for the Scottish Amicable Insurance Co. in 1966-79.

A man of natural wit and bubbly charm, sincere, honest and forthright in his manner, Cronin was popular in sporting circles and esteemed for his community work. He was a Freemason, and a lifelong non-smoker and teetotaller; he enjoyed punting on the horses and liked a game of golf. Cronin died suddenly of a ruptured aortic aneurysm on 1 September 1979 at Royal Perth Hospital and was cremated; his wife and son survived him.

Playing career

He played 164 games for East Perth from 1930-41 winning the club's fairest and best award in 1931.

In 1936 Cronin was made Captain - a role he would hold until the end of the 1940 season.

A forceful, energetically dynamic performer, Cronin was just as much at home on the half forward line as in the centre, and it was as a half forward flanker that he represented the Royals in their winning grand final team of 1936.

Cronin earned his first Western Australia cap against South Australia in 1933 after being selected as part of the squad for the Sydney Carnival and went on to play 12 games for his state.

He was then at the peak of his form during the 1937 interstate football carnival in Perth when he put in two near best on ground performances in helping Western Australia to annihilate South Australia by 19 goals, and get to within 8 points of an all powerful 'Big V' combination. His performance earned him the inaugural Tassie Medal.

In 1939, he took over as coach of the club from Jerry Dolan, steering his side to the finals. Herb Screaigh took over in 1940, but Cronin was again coaching in 1941 after a series of bad leg injuries limited his playing appearances, and adversely affected his form when he was able to front up.

He was made a life member of the club in 1941.


After his playing career he became a league umpire and he umpired the entire 1947 WANFL finals series (in those days there was only one field umpire during a game). It was also 1947 that saw him venture to Hobart to umpire in the first post-war Australian interstate championship series.

Well known for his didactic style, he taught football to juniors in Perth colleges and the South Perth district.

Cronin again coached East Perth from 1951 to 1955 - with his best successes coming in 1952 and 1953 when East Perth made it to the 1st semi final but lost. He also coached the state in 1951.

His coaching may not have reaped much for the Royals, in fact his final stint came at the end of a prolonged era of frustration for the club. However under Cronin the calibre of such players as Ted Kilmurray, Paul Seal, Kevin McGill, John Watts, Ray Webster and most notable of all Graham 'Polly' Farmer joined the club. From this one would suggest that he helped lay the foundations for the East Perth golden era that would begin when Jack Sheedy took over in 1956.

Benefiting from a football boom in Perth, Cronin became a dominant figure on TVW-7's weekly 'World of Football' television programme from 1965 until his death; he earned respect for his sincerity and knowledge, but aroused controversy by his frankness and dogmatism. Meanwhile, he also broadcast football matches over radio 6IX and contributed through a ghost writer to a weekly column, 'On the Back Page', in Sports Review.

Football highlights

  • 1930-1941 176 Games (164 East Perth; 12 WA)
  • Coached: East Perth 1941, 1951–55; Western Australia 1951
  • Premiership Captain for East Perth 1936
  • Inaugural Tassie Medallist 1937
  • East Perth Captain 1936-50
  • East Perth Fairest and Best 1931
  • WAFL umpire 1947-48
  • Umpired 1947 Grand Final; 1947 Hobart Carnival


The West Australian Football Commission now presents the 'Mick Cronin Best Feature Story or Program' award to the best author/producer/presenter of a television feature story, documentary or program based on the WAFL or the AFL.

He was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame in March 2006.


  1. ^ "Cronin, Deverick John (Mick) (1911 - 1979)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A130597b.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 

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