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Football great Bill Dempsey was a star of this year's Hall of Fame award ceremony, telling the fascinating tale of his Simpson Medal.

Key points:

  • Bill Dempsey was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame on Tuesday evening
  • He delighted the crowd with a story about his Simpson Medal which he won for best-on-ground in the 1969 WAFL grand final
  • The medal was lost during Cyclone Tracy before being found again years later

An icon in Perth, the 80-year-old lit up the room at Crown Melbourne after being inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.

The athletic ruckman played 343 games across 17 dominant WAFL seasons for West Perth.

He would return home to Darwin in summer to star in 10 NTFL campaigns for his beloved Buffaloes.

Arguably Dempsey's finest hour as a player was the 1969 WAFL grand final as he combined with the legendary Graham "Polly" Farmer in leading West Perth to premiership glory.

Dempsey was awarded the Simpson Medal as best-on-ground for his dominant performance.

However, his medal was lost during the devastation of Cyclone Tracy which hit Darwin in 1974.

Dempsey said he was able to have a replica made for him, with his mother proudly, but incorrectly, telling friends about her son winning the "Simpson Desert Medal".


On Tuesday, Dempsey recalled the bizarre chain of events that led to his beloved medal being returned to him.

Gold prospectors found the original medal in the Simpson Desert many years later, which was enough proof for Dempsey's mother to feel vindicated.

"She told me, 'Thank you for bringing it back,'" Dempsey said in his speech.

"She said, 'What is Andamooka?' and I said, 'It's in the Simpson Desert.'

"She goes, 'Silly boy, I told you it was the Simpson Desert Medal.'"

A member of the Stolen Generations, Dempsey survived tremendous hardship as a child to become a football great in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

He was one of eight people to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. 

Port Adelaide great Russell Ebert was the 32nd member of the Hall of Fame to be elevated to the status of Legend. 


Posted  14 Jun 2022 14 Jun 2022 Tue 14 Jun 2022 at 7:39pm

Source: Google News