Donald Don

Date of Birth: 17/08/1900
Height: 175 cm ( 5-9 )
Weight: 76 kg ( 12-0 )
Guernsey: 17
Debut: 04/06/1917, Round 4, Fitzroy
Last Game: 29/09/1928, Round GF, Collingwood

Seasons: 1917-28
Total Games: 158
Total Goals: 157

Premiership 1920-21,
Leading Goalkicker 1918 - Goals 19, 1919 - Goals 31,
Victorian Representative Team 1927-28 Games 2.
VFL team vs Bendigo 1928
1928 losing Grand Final captain.
RFC Hall of Fame member.

Donald started at Richmond as a rover but later in his career became full-back after Victor Thorp retired.
Recruited from a Richmond church team, he was a skilful, talented player who knew where the goals were when playing on the forward line. Although not a tall player, he was a fine mark, glorious long drop kick and relied on anticipation rather than pace to win the ball. He was awarded Life Membership in 1926, and he was vice captain in 1928. In the absence of Alan Geddes (who was suspended), Don captained Richmond in the 1928 Grand Final.
He was a member of the 1920 and 1921 Premiership sides as well as the 1919 and 1928 Grand Final sides. He won the Club Goalkicking award in 1918 and 1919 and he represented Victoria on two occasions. His highest individual goal tallies were 6 against Essendon in Round 16 of 1920 and 5 against Collingwood in 1919. At times a fiery player, he served a total of 20 weeks in suspensions during his career, including eight arising from an incident during a Finals game against Carlton.
Don retired in April of 1929, and later wrote for the Sporting Globe. He died in 1982. In 2015, Donald Don was inducted into the Richmond Football Club Hall of Fame

Extract from W.S. Sharland's article in The Argus, 28 April 1928 on Donald Don's career:

There is no better known footballer in the Victorian League than Donald Don, Richmond’s great full-back . As a player and a man I have always had the greatest regard for Don, because in addition to being a good footballer, he has the interests of other players at heart. He is also an intellectual fellow who takes a keen interest in what goes on in the world.

Don has always had a great love for football, but has been tempted to retire once or twice when he was in trouble with the tribunal. He is a splendidly built young fellow, still in his twenties. He started with the Tigers when he was in his teens, way back in 1917. He is easy to pick on the field because of his conspicuous mop of snowy hair.

Don was born in the industrial suburb of Collingwood, a fact of which he is very proud, because he knows that some of the best sportsmen produced in Melbourne have hailed from Collingwood.

As a lad young Don went to a Collingwood State school, and there he acquired a love for football. Later he shifted to Richmond, and at the age of 15 he was showing great promise as a player. Collingwood would have liked to secure his services, but it was not to be, as he had a residential qualification for the Tigers, and they wanted him in the side.

When Don went to Richmond as a mere youngster good judges like "Dad" Maybury and his son, Percy, were convinced that here was a very promising footballer. ‘Barney’ Nolan was then coach of the Tigers, and he was satisfied that Don was a boy of great possibilities. "Donny" went straight into the side, and. as everybody knows, he has been one of the Tiger stalwarts ever since . . . Richmond soon found that he possessed the quality of versatility to a marked degree. They found that he trained hard and regularly, and was always in good physical condition. Not only that, they found that on the field he could be played with success in practically any department. Don liked roving and forward play.

When Richmond had their great premiership sides of 1920 and 1921 in full swing young Don was a valuable member of the side. The first ruck consisted of Bernie Herbert, Dave Moffatt and Clarrie Hall, who were three grand players. Then the second ruck, consisting of Dan Minogue, Hughie James and Donald Don, was little, if at all, inferior to the first ruck. Don was a strong, tenacious rover who had great stamina. He also had speed and was clever when in possession of the ball, as he could turn quickly and kick accurately over distances or when passing .

When he was disqualified by the Tribunal, Don was inclined to give the game up. He felt that he had had enough, and it was only the repeated persuasions of the Richmond committeemen which induced him to change his mind. In addition to roving and playing forward he figured prominently across the centreline when played there.

The retirement of that great full-back, Victor Thorp, was a big blow to Richmond, and they were somewhat dubious as to the possibility of filling his position satisfactorily. Hitherto Don had felt a great dislike for the full-back position, and once refused to play there. In 1927, however, he conceived a strong liking for the position, and began practising there. His good kicking and sound judgment soon fitted him admirably for the position, and Richmond selectors had no hesitation in placing him full-back.

Every football enthusiast knows how Don played last year. His form throughout the season was consistently good, and at times he was brilliant. Long experience enabled him to cope with the methods of the opposing forwards. Don was one of the few full-backs who held Gordon Coventry at bay. He is always a hard trier, and is a man who bumps hard and fearlessly. His stocky build and speed make him a formidable opponent when tearing through the crushes. Don has played for Victoria on numerous occasions, and has always performed satisfactorily. He played for Victoria in the Carnival side last year, but was unfortunate in having his shoulder badly hurt in one match, and this kept him out of the finals. Had he been in the Richmond side, it is just possible that the Tigers would have beaten the Magpies for the premiership. That is a big thing to say, but Don is a player of great experience, who at any time might turn possible defeat into victory.

Richmond Ramblers 1915-16


Rd 10 1921