Falcon joins Hall of Fame
LEGENDARY West Perth centreman Mel Whinnen was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.
Whinnen (75) was in Melbourne to receive the honour, while goalkicking master Bernie Naylor – who died of cancer in 1993 – was inducted posthumously.
Whinnen was a pacy and elusive midfielder who won an incredible nine best and fairest awards at West Perth, where he played 371 games from 1960-1977.
That included premierships in 1960, 1969, 1971 and 1975, and he was runner-up in the Sandover Medal in 1964 and 1971.
Whinnen told the AFL Record: “I was surprised I was even considered.
“I was a local West Perth boy, I loved the club and loved watching my heroes play, and then I got to play with them,” he said. “How lucky was I?” West Perth tragic and commentating doyen Dennis Cometti ranked Whinnen among a rare collection of players, as quoted by AFL.com.au.
“Mel was a wonderful player who had this Ablett-esque quality where he’d be running full pelt with the ball and stop suddenly and go the other way, and it would throw everyone out,” he said. “I’ve only seen three or four players do that.”
Former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy was inducted as a Legend, while former Geelong defender Matthew Scarlett, Carlton great Wayne Johnston, Hawthorn’s Terry Wallace and Melbourne forward David Neitz were other inductees.
Mel Whinnen (right) with fellow West Perth great Bill Dempsey after a ‘golden oldies’ match.