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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

Bruce Andrew

Bruce Andrew

1928-1932, 1934
1
Other Guernsey Nos.
27, 30

62 CFC Games Played

11 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
28 February 1908
Date of Death
6 June 1996
Recruited From
Abbotsford
Collingwood Debut
Round 13, 1928
Height:
174cm
Weight:
69kg

Biography

Over the years, names as famous as Ted Whitten and Ron Barassi have laid claim to being ‘Mr Football’. But Collingwood has its own claimant to the title – and it’s not Jock McHale, or Lou Richards or any of the other best-known former Magpie champs.

Rather, the ‘Mr Football’ tag would sit most appropriately with former winger Bruce Andrew. Not so much for what he achieved as a player – though two Premierships and 62 games in the strongest Magpie teams of all time is nothing to be sneezed at – but for what he did for the game in general.

It’s fair to say that nobody in the history of the game has done more to promote Australian football than Bruce Andrew. He took it to country towns around Victoria, pioneering interstate forays into NSW and Queensland and even internationally into Papua New Guinea. He used books, newspapers, town hall lectures illustrated with coloured lantern slides, radio, newsreel film specials and, later, television to spread the word as far and wide as he could, with a fervor that bordered on the evangelical. He devoted his life to this cause, and broke new ground with almost every avenue he tried.

But if Bruce was Collingwood’s ‘Mr Football’ then his senior career could hardly have started with less fanfare. He was only told about his debut in 1928 by a tailor ringing him at work on a Friday to ask his measurements for a new pair of shorts he would need the next day. Bruce was initially confused, and it was only when the tailor insisted on making white shorts rather than black that he realised he must be in the seniors rather than the seconds.

But the lack of ceremony didn’t end there. It was the tailor who told him to go to Victoria Park that night and pick up his jumper. But the jumper had no number, and Bruce had to get his mum to sew on the No. 27 that night. Then he had to go to George Connor’s estate agency to pick up an entry ticket. But the next day, after taking a cable tram to Fitzroy, the surly gate attendant didn’t recognise him and at first wouldn’t let him in to the Brunswick Street ground.

Luckily things got a little easier for Bruce from that time on, and nine weeks and nine games later he was part of a Collingwood Premiership team.

It had been a meteoric – and slightly bizarre – rise for the Abbotsford youngster. He’d been a gun full-forward for Abbotsford who topped the ton in 1926, and was making a name for himself up forward with Collingwood Districts (including a bag of 10 against St Kilda) when he was unexpectedly given his senior debut – on a wing! Jock McHale had asked seconds coach Hugh Thomas to send up his fastest player, and Bruce Andrew fitted the bill. So even though he’d never played there before, his first game for Collingwood came on a wing.

Remarkably, he settled into the role easily. Indeed, as things turned out, he was ideally suited to wing play. He was one of the speediest players of his day and loved haring down the open spaces on the flanks. He also had terrific evasive skills and could duck, turn and weave to get himself out of tight spots. Andrew later admitted that his was a game based almost exclusively on his blistering breakaway pace. He had a slim build and was not physically strong, nor was he renowned for his marking. He’d mostly used punt kicks when shooting for goal, but McHale insisted on stab kicks from his midfielders, so Andrew worked with Billy Libbis and Harry Collier and soon became one of the finest kicks in the game.

After the 1928 Premiership win, Collingwood celebrated in style with a picnic on the Mornington Peninsula. While diving into shallow water at the baths there Bruce fractured his neck – apparently finishing a promising football career. But he stunned everyone by returning to running with his neck in a brace after just a couple of months in hospital, and even more remarkably was back in the team for the opening game of the 1929 season.

Further injuries ruined the rest of 1929, but he was back for the 1930 Premiership. He retired after the 1932 season, became a vice-president of Collingwood in 1933, and when he returned to the seniors for the last few games of 1934 achieved the rare distinction of being a playing vice-president. He gave up senior football after that but continued to train, taking the field for the seconds from time to time.

This was when Bruce really turned his attention to the wider world of football. He was the editor and publisher of some of the earliest books on the game, and directed and produced educational films as early as 1936. He spent a huge amount of time educating junior players, taking his magnificently illustrated lectures to football clubs and public halls throughout Victoria and into Tasmania. He also played a key role in replacing the baseball curtain-raisers at Victoria Park with an organised series of schoolboy football matches, a competition which Bruce helped run for some 20 years.

Almost inevitably, he ended up with the Australian National Football Council, spending 27 years as their secretary/field director, promoting football to many previously neglected areas in Queensland, New South Wales, the A.C.T and New Guinea. He also maintained a high media profile (he’d started his working life at the Herald and Weekly Times and acted as their War correspondent when he was in the RAAF), broadcasting games for 3DB, writing for the Sporting Globe, and serving as a member of the World of Sport panel, where he is fondly remembered as a stern-faced judge on the Champion Kick segment. So great was his all-round contribution to football that he was awarded an MBE.

Bruce Andrew was a pioneering giant of our game, and the impact of his work continues to be felt today. As former St Kilda great Neil Roberts wrote in 1974, when Bruce finally stepped down from the ANFC: “There is something sort of sacred about this friendly, self-made man. He’s earned a reverence in football that will never be matched. There will never be another Bruce Andrew – because pioneering can be done but once.”

– Michael Roberts

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Statistics

CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1928-1932, 1934 62 11 9 75%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1928 9 0 27

1928 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 13 Fitzroy W 0 27 View match >
Round 14 Richmond W 0 27 View match >
Round 15 Hawthorn W 0 27 View match >
Round 16 St Kilda W 0 27 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 0 27 View match >
Round 18 Carlton L 0 27 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne D 0 27 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne W 0 27 View match >
Grand Final Richmond W 0 27 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1929 4 5 0 1

1929 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond W 1 0 1 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 2 0 1 View match >
Round 10 Carlton W 0 1 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 2 0 1 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1930 11 0 1

1930 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond W 0 1 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 1 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy L 0 1 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 1 View match >
Round 13 North Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 14 Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 15 St Kilda W 0 1 View match >
Round 16 Western Bulldogs W 0 1 View match >
Semi Final Richmond W 0 1 View match >
Grand Final Geelong W 0 1 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1931 16 3 0 0 1

1931 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 1 0 1 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 1 View match >
Round 3 Sydney W 0 1 View match >
Round 5 Carlton L 0 1 View match >
Round 6 St Kilda W 0 1 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 8 North Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs W 0 1 View match >
Round 10 Essendon L 1 0 1 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 0 1 View match >
Round 14 Sydney W 0 1 View match >
Round 15 Richmond L 0 1 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 0 0 1 View match >
Round 17 St Kilda L 0 0 0 1 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 1 0 1 View match >
Semi Final Carlton L 0 1 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1932 18 3 0 0 1

1932 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn W 0 1 View match >
Round 2 Geelong L 0 1 View match >
Round 4 Fitzroy W 0 1 View match >
Round 5 Carlton L 0 1 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 1 View match >
Round 9 North Melbourne W 1 0 0 1 View match >
Round 10 Richmond W 0 1 View match >
Round 11 Sydney W 0 1 View match >
Round 12 Hawthorn W 0 1 View match >
Round 13 Geelong L 0 1 View match >
Round 14 Essendon W 0 1 View match >
Round 15 Fitzroy W 0 1 View match >
Round 16 Carlton L 0 1 View match >
Round 17 Western Bulldogs W 1 0 1 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 1 0 1 View match >
Semi Final Sydney W 0 1 View match >
Preliminary Final Carlton L 0 1 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1934 4 0 30

1934 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 15 Richmond L 0 30 View match >
Round 17 Fitzroy W 0 30 View match >
Round 18 North Melbourne W 0 30 View match >
Semi Final Sydney L 0 30 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 62 11 0
Avg/Game   0.18 0.00
Legend
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number

321

Total AFL Games
62
Total AFL Goals
11
CFC Debut
Round 13, 1928
CFC Last Game
Semi Final, 1934
Recruited From
Abbotsford
Full Name
Cyril Bruce Andrew

Awards

  • AFL Hall of Fame
    1996
  • Life Members
    1938
  • Best First Year Player (Harry Collier Trophy)
    1928
  • x2
    Premiership
    1928, 1930
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