Haydn Bunton, Jr.

Haydn Bunton, Jr.

Haydn Bunton Junior (born 5 April 1937 in Melbourne) was a famous player and coach of Australian rules football. He became the youngest ever coach in a major league of Australian rules, when he was appointed coach of Norwood Football Club in 1957.

Bunton was regarded as a tough and skilful player and was a very successful coach in both the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL) and South Australian National Football League (SANFL). (His father, Haydn Bunton, Sr., won three Brownlow Medals in the VFL and three Sandover Medals in the WANFL.)

The younger Bunton was inducted into the coaches section of the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996, as well as the Western Australian Institute of Sport Hall of Champions in 2003 and was made an inaugural member of the WA Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and SA Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Playing career

He was named an All-Australian player at the age of 19, in 1956, while at North Adelaide in the SANFL, where he played 54 games between 1954-1956. In 1956, Bunton finished runner-up for the Magarey Medal (to Dave Boyd). In 1957, he was a non-playing coach of Norwood, having "stood out" as a player for the year due to a transfer dispute with North Adelaide, who would not clear him. [cite book |last=Pash |first=Jeff |authorlink= |coauthors=Paul Depasquale |title=The Pash Papers Australian Rules Football in South Australia 1950-1964 |year=1999 |publisher=Pioneer Books |location=Australia |id=ISBN 0-908065-48-5 | pages=p. 85 ] In 1958-60, he played for Norwood, in spite of a serious knee injury, sustained in a car accident in Tasmania in 1959.

Bunton enjoyed another remarkable year in 1961, when he was recruited by Swan Districts in the WAFL as captain-coach, captained Western Australia to a (then) rare win at the Australian championships, and oversaw Swan Districts' first ever premiership, the first of three consecutive premierships for the club. The following year Bunton won the Sandover Medal, for the league's "fairest and best", completing a unique father and son achievement.

In 1965-67, Bunton returned to Norwood, bringing his total number of games for the club to 97.

Coaching career

After retiring as a player, Bunton coached Subiaco (WANFL) from 1968 to 1972; South Adelaide (SANFL) from 1975-1982; returned to Subiaco in 1984-89, including WAFL premierships in 1986 and 1988; and Sturt (SANFL) in 1992-1994.


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