Full Name: BILL BURNS
Date of Birth: 19/08/1884
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Debut: 02/05/1908, Round 1, Melbourne
Last Game: 13/05/1916, Round 2, Fitzroy
Seasons: 1908-09, 1912-13, 1916
Total Games: 53
Total Goals: 10
William was a centre-half-back and ruckman. He was a strong mark and played the game in a very hard, straight-ahead fashion. 1909, his second season with Richmond, certainly wasn’t his year. Firstly he injured his hand during a half time warm up and was unable to take any further part in that game and then he was suspended for 44 weeks after being found guilty of a kicking charge. The suspension was later reduced after he successfully appealed.
Originally from Geelong, he later played with West Perth and East Fremantle.
In 1911, Burns sensationally supported a Reform Party, who were hoping to overthrow the existing committee. All members of the Reform Party were defeated. Burns decision appeared to put him off-side with the club.
In April, 600 Richmond members petitioned for Burns to be selected in Richmond's Round 1 side, despite him not having attended training. The club refused, and did not select him. In May, Burns applied for a clearance to StKilda. The League refused citing that the 'good character' portion of his application from the club was missing. In July, he obtained a permit to play for Beverley, a local side in Richmond. A benefit concert was arranged during the year to raise funds for him.
Come January 1912, a meeting to discuss the reform of the Richmond Football Club is held at the Town Hall.
Reform Party members call for players to be paid according to merit rather than on a uniform rate of one pound per game. Current committee members were howled down by the audience.
Burns attempted to join the Reform Party for that year's election with his name listed at the top of the nomination form, however the incumbent committee refused his nomination as he was without a playing permit. In March, a crowd of 3,000 attend Richmond’s annual meeting, and the Reform Party candidates win all positions contested. Only William Maybury is returned from the old committee. He was placed on both tickets owing to the disqualification of Bill Burns.
Burns is re-registered as a player and was selected for Rd 1 1912 vs StKilda, his first game for the club since Rd 10 1909.
In the Rd 3 clash vs Sth Melbourne he remarkably kicks the winning goal in the dying minutes and is chaired off the ground.
By August, Burns was Richmond’s acting captain for several games Ted Ohlson was injured.
In early 1913 he was active in travelling around country to bring players to Richmond - notable Bill Mahoney back from Adelaide, and crack Tasmania player Jack Pennicott. But Pennicott never came across despite Burns being very confident the club would sign him.
After the 1913 season, Burns went to East Fremantle and played in their 1914 premiership. In May of 1916, almost 3 years after he left the club, he lined up without a permit, for Richmond against Fitzroy. It was his last game with the club.
Barwon Juniors 1903-06 ; Geelong 1904, Games 2, Goals 0 ; South Bendigo 1907-08, Games 26.
West Perth 1910 ; East Fremantle 1914, 1917-23, Games 104.