Vale Don Gilbourne.

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Vale Don Gilbourne.

Postby Magellan » Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:15 am

Rooster Hall of Famer and Team of the century back pocket Don Gilbourne passed away on January 7, aged 88.

It is with much sadness that we report the passing of North Premiership captain, 3 time premiership player, NAFC and SANFL Hall of Fame member, NAFC Team of the Century Back Pocket and club and League Life Member, Don Gilbourne.

Don was born in Prospect in 1931, he grew up on Maud Street and attended Blair Athol Primary School, thus he was always a North Adelaide man. He played his junior football with Prospect Methodist Football Club before being invited to join North’s Colts in 1946 and going onto to make his league debut in July 1949 against Norwood. Such was his form in his first year that he was part of the premiership 20 that won the drought breaking flag in that year.

As a young player Don was primarily a half forward flanker and in 1951 he was awarded the most Improved Player trophy. Such was his improvement that he represented the state for the first time in 1952 and was part of the record breaking 1952 premiership side.

His career was blossoming but in between the 1952 and 1953 Don had a serious motor cycle accident which threatened to end his career but he was back playing league football by May of 1953. Despite the setback Don’s career continued steadily and he was awarded the Services Rendered trophy in 1954 and most attentive to training in 1956.

Around that time Don was shifted to the back pocket and such was his mastery of this position that he not only won state selection in 1957 and 1958 but he also won the O’Halloran Trophy for being South Australia’s best player in the 1957 interstate game against Victoria.

In 1959 Don won the club’s Best and Fairest award before he was made league captain in his 12th season for the club in 1960. And what a memorable year it was. Don played in his third premiership, being the first player in 55 years to achieve that record and he was considered to be in the best three players on the ground in the thrilling five point victory over Norwood. Don formed a magnificent combination with 18 year old full back, Bob Hammond and without their brilliant defence there is no doubt that North would not have won the flag. Legend has it that Don had the ball when the siren rang to signal that North had won a famous victory.

Don continued as captain of the club in 1961 and he was awarded a trophy for sound defensive play before ending his career in 1962. In that final year he became only the second NAFC player behind Ken Farmer to play 200 games for the club and there were great celebrations when Don was chaired from the ground after a win against arch rival Norwood.

Don was renowned throughout the state as one of the finest exponents of the drop kick to have ever played the game and was also universally respected as a scrupulously fair player. A very humble man, it was reported that Don told the other members of the SANFL Hall of Fame that he didn’t belong in such illustrious company and no less that the great Bob Hank told him “of course, you do”.

Don remains with Bob Hammond one of the only two triple North Adelaide premiership players in the past 115 years.

Don passed away on January 7th at 88 years of age after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Pat, children, grand children and brother Bob, who also was a North league footballer and Prospect and interstate cricketer. Don will be sadly missed by a generation of North supporters and members.


Donald Harold Albert Gilbourne

Playing Record:

Career: 1949-1962 (14 seasons)

Club Games/ Goals: 206 (198 premiership, 8 other), 79

State Games/ Goals: 10 / 2

Finals Games/ Goals: 13 / 5

Total: 229 Games / 86 Goals


Achievements:

Premiership Player: 1949, 1952, 1960

Grand Finals: 1949, 1951-52, 1960

Club Captain: 1960-1961

Club League Best and Fairest: 1959

T.S. O’Halloran Trophy (BOG in State match): 1957
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Re: Vale Don Gilbourne.

Postby Corona Man » Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:42 am

Vale indeed.

As a small child, we lived next door to the Gilbournes.
1961, 1971, 1976, 1978, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015.... And don't you forget it!
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Re: Vale Don Gilbourne.

Postby robranisgod » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:32 pm

I just remember Don Gilbourne. I can still picture him kicking magnificent dropkicks. If anyone can find footage of the 1960 Grand Final you can see him kick one of his characteristic droppies in the heart stopping last quarter of that game.
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Re: Vale Don Gilbourne.

Postby robranisgod » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:46 pm

robranisgod wrote:I just remember Don Gilbourne. I can still picture him kicking magnificent dropkicks. If anyone can find footage of the 1960 Grand Final you can see him kick one of his characteristic droppies in the heart stopping last quarter of that game.


And here is the footage :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id_Mtv29Suw

Early in the footage you see Don Gilbourne winning the toss against Peter Aish. At about 2 minutes 45 you see the characteristic drop kick of Don Gilbourne and at the end of the tape you see Don Gilbourne being congratulated by Peter Aish as the North players try to chair Don from the ground.
Other players I can recognize easily are Hank Lindner, number 3 for North, Billy "Cheeky Charlie" Thomas, number 14 for North, Bob Hammond, number 18 (and 18 years of age. You see one of his typical strong spoils and a dash where he bounces a couple of times. From Norwood, John Lill is number 3 and Haydn Bunton number 7. I can see Bill Wedding run on to the ground at the start of the game. Sadly only Lill, Bunton and Hammond are still with us from those players, but I guess it is 60 years ago.
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