Phil Walsh

The Footy Almanac community extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Phil Walsh, and to all those close to him.

This is a terrible tragedy.

It is a time of immense sadness; a time when we consider all violent deaths and all premature deaths. Every one is so awful. This is a very public example of this reality.

Inevitably, we re-consider our own lives. This is not a selfish response. It is understandable.

My heart goes out to the Walshes, and all who suffer.


About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Well said John.

    Sad, sad, sad.

  2. Sitting here numbed. I like to think that I have seen most things and that little surprises or shocks me these days.
    But this punches the guts at so many levels. The personal tragedy. The sudden randomness. The link to so many social issues that we casually discuss as throwaways – now shoved right in front of our noses in a way that makes it hard to ignore their real life consequences.
    The waste – for so many people.
    Walsh was an assistant coach at my Eagles in a premiership, but he kept a low profile, and that barely made an impact on me, He was just a name. One of those smart tactical back room boys.
    But he came out into the light with the Crows senior coaching job, and suddenly I thought “Wow. This is one of the most decent and honest and smart and hard working and humble blokes.”
    At a very real and personal level he became a bit of a template for how I should behave when challenges come up.
    His banning of gambling sports from the TV’s in the Crows clubrooms had me lost in admiration at his no-nonsense cut-through-the-bullshit actions that would have a long term positive impact on young men and culture.
    He is gone. His example goes on. RIP.

  3. Dreadful. The impact will be enormous.

  4. Chris Daley says

    Thanks for finding those words for us John. Deep sympathy to all in pain and suffering.

  5. Peter Schumacher says

    This is one of those awful events where were you were and what you were doing when you heard this. Was will always be etched on your memory. The tragedy of this both personal and professional is unspeakably sad.

  6. jan courtin says

    The fragility of life! The sadness. Feeling for his family, especially Phil’s son.

  7. Dan Hansen says

    Tragic news, My heart goes out to all who have been effected.

  8. Dave Brown says

    Absolutely gutted this morning. Hopefully Phil will remembered as a person who looked at footy from the perspective of the best interests of the game. Saw a bit further than most of us week to week morons.

  9. Earl O'Neill says

    Our thoughts and feelings to the family, friends and colleagues of the tough, no-nonsense ‘bogan from Hamilton’ who referenced Van Gogh.

  10. Ben Footner says

    I’m shattered. Sitting at my desk absolutely numb. I didn’t even know the bloke.

    I can’t even begin to imagine how family, friends, colleagues, players feel.

  11. Well said John. Terrible news to wake to. I hugged my kids extra tight. A very sad day.

  12. The Wrap says

    As horrendous and as saddening as this shocking event is, it’s not something that’s just happened. It goes on throughout the wider community on a daily basis. Now that it’s in the face of the Football community, maybe the Football community can attack this scourge with a united front.

    And let’s look at a different way of attacking it. Because what we’re doing now is clearly not working.

  13. Cat from the Country says

    Family violence is abhorrent in all forms. I feel I do not want to play against the Crows this weekend. Why not give borh teams 4 points and not play?

  14. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Shattering news well put as usual,JTH and some spot on comments above.The SA players openly admit they played too soon after,Phillip Hughex death,the issue and life is more important all games should be cancelled IMO

  15. Well said JTH and all above. Just unbelievable to see the headlines this morning.

  16. Horrible. I saw the story of a mans death in Adelaide on the 601 news just after 07-30. I thought nothing about it. Then in the car heard the news flash re the identity of the person. Staggering. Deepest condolences to family and other loved ones. Family violence in its a range of form is a horrible blight in Australia. Now we have, sadly, a high profile victim. Sadly, what is to be done?


  17. thanks for that note. Nick Waterlow Art curator at COFA (UNSW) where my wife works suffered a similar fate due to mental illness.

    Our best wishes to the Walsh family and the SA football community.

  18. I’m trying to recall Phil’s playing career. I recall his debut season at Collingwood, 1983, where he was recruit of the year. He then went to Richmond as part of the asinine conflict both teams found themselves embroiled in. I have some recollection of his time in Brisbane where was the first Brisbane player to win their Best and Fairest.

    He was fast striding, long kicking wingman, who sadly has been taken too soon.


  19. E.regnans says

    Yes thoughts with all affected.
    Admirable words, JTH.
    Life is again shown to be tricky.
    And domestic violence is again shown to have terrible consequences.
    “his is a very public example of this reality.”

    May love and life find a way.
    Go well.

  20. Rabid Dog says

    Lost for a comment.

  21. Dennis Gedling says

    Shocking. That’s all I can say.

  22. Terrible news. I had to hear it twice before I could believe it. Phil’s tragic death is a loss to all who love our game.

    Condolences, Burkie

  23. Paul Young says

    Hear Hear John.

    Yesterday another coach of great significance, Jim Bradley passed away at the age of 94 at his nursing home in North Essendon. Jim Bradley was a legend in professional foot-running both here and in Scotland. His training methodology was adopted by Allan Wells who used it to win the 1980 Olympic Gold medal. Jim had a very productive & successful athletics coaching career spanning four decades. He was able to coach until he was 90.
    Jim was the fitness adviser to North Melbourne in its first premiership in 1975 and before that spent three years at Essendon under Des Tuddenham. If you are not familiar with athletics, I guess Jim’s (infamously) known as the bloke who was knocked out in the 1974 Windy Hill brawl between Essendon and Richmond.

    Sadly Phil Walsh was just starting on his senior coaching journey and looked certain to coach for several year, probably well into his 60’s. He seemed a natural at the caper. Alas it was tragically cut short. We can only imagine what Walshy could have achieved had he another 39 years available to him……

    RIP Walshy. Condolences to the family and friends & everyone who follows footy.

  24. Phil Dimitriadis says

    I was at his first game in 1983 and wondered where this unknown number 41 with a raking left came from. Impact was immediate. Breath of fresh air as a coach. Gone too soon.
    Isn’t footy supposed to be an escape from these kinds of tragedies? Just awful.
    RIP Phil Walsh.

  25. One word sums this up right now for me “Sad”. As for the future I just can’t find a word that can capture the reality of this or the enormity. Look after those close to you now and always.

  26. grapevine says

    A truly sad happening to wake up to. Hopefully losing someone high profile to DV will strengthen resolve to help those in need

  27. no one is safe from the scourge of mental illness

  28. Just shocking on so many levels.

  29. Paddy Grindlay says

    Cannot emotionally comprehend the loss of such a brilliant man. R.I.P Phil Walsh

  30. Luke Reynolds says

    Well said John. What a horrible, horrible tragedy.

    I could see the merits of the round continuing without the Crows game, as well as abandoning the entire round. There was and is no right answer.
    I’m not long home from the Collingwood v Hawthorn game. I debated for much of the day about whether I should go, and whether I wanted to go. Glad I went. Glad I was there with 75,000 other footy fans. The evening was handled very respectfully by both clubs, the players and the fans. Stick together. Do what you think is right and respectful. It’s all we can do.

  31. Dave Nadel says

    Like everyone else I was shocked, horrified and saddened by Phil Walsh’s murder

    I have been attending the Australian Society for Sports History Conference in Darwin. At the close of the conference we linked arms and remembered Phil Walsh. The linked arms gesture is a protest against domestic violence.

    I thought the post match response by Collingwood and Hawthorn was an excellent gesture of respect and mourning and kudos to Alistair Clarkson and Nathan Buckley for initiating it.

    I remember Phil Walsh’s one season at Collingwood and I remember being very cross when the Tigers poached him after one season (mind you the Pies had poached Cloke and Raines from Richmond the season before so we didn’t have much moral grounds for outrage)

    Despite the fine response at the MCG last night I think it would have been better if the AFL had POSTPONED the rest of the round. They could have done this. There is always a week left in reserve in case of a drawn grand final and they could have staged the balance of Round 14 after Round 23. Too late now.

  32. There is so much about this tragic case we don’t know’; hopefully this comes out down the track.

    One thing that I do know, is the horrible toll of family violence in Australia. It is one thing to learn from this tragedy, it is something more important to do something to tackle family violence. Whilst leaving scarves, holding hand sand hugging are good expressions of public feeling for this horrible event, it is important to use this energy to build a strong community movement to challenge and stop family violence.


  33. Peter Flynn says

    Agree with Dave Nadel, Rulebook and Dips.

Leave a Comment