John K. Watts - Football Career

Football Career

John Watts' love of Australian rules football came at a young age when he would take the Tram with his Grandfather to Perth Oval to see East Perth Football Club play. With his dream of one day playing league football with his favourite club firmly in his mind, he signed up to play with the Bayswater Junior Football Club. It was during these years he worked on developing his skills as a footballer to be selected at the professional level. He was soon noticed and at a young age was selected to play in the Junior Reserves for his beloved East Perth Football Club.

To his football credit, after only playing a few reserves matches, Watts debuted for the East Perth Football Club on a half back flank against Subiaco at the age of 17 in 1954 and would become a regular player with the club.

Under Coach Jack Sheedy's guidance East Perth Football Club quickly became the outstanding side in the competition. East Perth made the Grand Final and won in 1956, 1958 and 1959, with John K Watts as Full Back in every one of these Premiership Teams along with Graham "Polly" Farmer. John Watts ended up playing 166 games as East Perth's primary fullback from 1954-1962.

After the 1962 season had finished with East Perth Football Club, John received many good offers from the then Victorian Football League (now Australian Football League) clubs of St Kilda, Essendon, and Geelong. Initially, John wanted to and was nearly selected to play for Essendon, but instead decided to follow his friend Graham Farmer to the Geelong Football Club.

He went on to play for Geelong Football Club from 1963 until 1965 including their 1963 Premiership win over the Hawthorn Football Club. A Premiership win that Geelong Football Club would not win again until 44 years later in 2007. Although footage of John Watts' single-handed mark in the 3rd quarter of the Premiership match became the signature piece of footage from the 1963 Grand Final at the time, it was the club theme song that he penned for the Club to use if they won (which they did) that would become his lasting legacy. The club theme song is still played today at all home games, away games won and Premiership wins with Watts' original lyrics.

In 1966, Watts moved to Tasmania to Captain/Coach the Hobart Football Club. In his first year in this role he led them to a premiership. This success would make him the only Australian rules football player to have played in three premiership sides, for three different teams, in three different states. He is also one of the few to captain and coach a team at the same time as winning a premiership for a professional side.

In 1968, John retired from football

Although a highly respected player, he is possibly best remembered for his off-field antics, and could be described as the epitome of a "club man". He was (and mostly still is) always found at all the club's social events entertaining everyone with his stand up routine or "belting" out a tune on the piano. Both these qualities would prove beneficial in his later career.

It was during these events that he wrote several club anthems. He wrote the East Perth Football Club, Swan Districts and Geelong Football Club theme songs.

In March 2008 he was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.

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