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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

Jack Regan

Jack Regan

1930-1941, 1943, 1946
18
Other Guernsey Nos.
1, 16, 19, 2, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27

196 CFC Games Played

3 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
12 September 1912
Date of Death
11 August 1988
Recruited From
Northcote
Collingwood Debut
Round 3, 1930
Height:
185cm
Weight:
83kg

Biography

It will always remain a sore point for Magpie fans that, when the AFL decided to announce a Team of the Century as part of its centenary celebrations in 1996, it couldn’t find room for any Collingwood player. And the most staggering non-selection of all was Jack Regan’s failure to secure the full-back post.

This was a man who completely redefined the way full-backs could play. Instead of a stay-at-home ‘goalkeeper’ type, Regan decided to fight fire with fire and take on the high-flying forwards of his day at their own game – competing with them in the air and on the ground, footballer versus footballer. It produced some of the most thrilling one-on-one contests the game has ever seen – most of which Regan won. He was the lynchpin of the Magpie defence in the back-to-back flags of 1935-36, won a Copeland Trophy and placed three other times, and captained both his club and Victoria.

That might not have been enough for the wise heads who chose that AFL centenary team. But it was more than enough to secure his standing among those he played both with and against. Asked in 1946 to name the best full-back he’d ever seen, triple Brownlow Medallist Haydn Bunton responded as if it were a stupid question. “The best full-back? Why, Jack Regan of course. He was streets ahead and the rest were nowhere.” His fellow Brownlow legend Dick Reynolds was asked the same question the next year, and also plumped for Regan, as did Richmond’s Percy Bentley. And Gordon Coventry was in no doubt either.

“The more I saw of Regan the more I thought how fortunate I was to be playing with instead of against him,” Coventry wrote in the Sporting Globein 1938. “Endowed with height and pace, few forwards could hope to take a mark if Regan was flying in from behind, whilst it would be practically an impossibility to spoil him for a mark if he was in front.”

The man generally considered the game’s best full-back before Regan, Richmond’s Vic Thorp, was also a fan: “Regan is a champion in that position,” he wrote. “Everything that goes to make a good full-back is his. His anticipation and judgement are particularly good. He is at his best soaring over the pack from behind. His judgement then is uncanny, and his marking must rival that of anyone. No forward I have seen can beat this fellow in the air.”

There were plenty of outstanding full-backs who came after Regan too, of course – famous names such as Fred Goldsmith, Geoff Southby and David Dench. But they weren’t Jack Regan. And only Dench could claim to have brought something different to the role, whereas Regan broke entirely new ground: here was a full-back whose sense of artistry and adventure made him as exciting to watch as the forwards with whom he did battle.

He was tall (about 185cm) and lightly built, and exceptionally quick for a key position player. But his main assets were his leap, his hands and his kicking. He was a magnificent, high-flying mark – not unlike a defensive version of Ron Todd at the other end of the ground (though much more graceful) – and a beautiful drop kick with either foot. His judgement was seemingly flawless, especially in deciding when to spoil and when to go for a mark.

But perhaps the defining characteristic of his play was courage. Not the normal kind of football courage, usually displayed backing into packs or throwing yourself at the ball, but the courage to back his skills against some of the finest full-forwards the game has known. With opponents as talented as Pratt, Mohr, Vallence, Moloney, Todd, Titus and Margitich, that was no small thing. His battles with South Melbourne’s Bob Pratt, in particular, are the stuff of football legend – two high-flying superstars who went at each other in a battle of pure football skills. There was little or no negativity: no blocking or scragging, double-teaming or crude attempts to spoil that would ‘accidentally’ result in a blow to the head. Instead they’d soar against each for marks, with Regan’s sole nod to his role being a willingness to punch the ball even once he was up in the heavens. These were thrilling duels that came to be a highlight of every Collingwood-South clash of the era.

Regan was born in Northcote and was much more interested in cycling than football as a youngster, being regarded as a promising junior with the Northcote Amateur Cycling Club. A mate encouraged him back into footy and, after one game with Northcote reserves, Collingwood sent out an invitation.

What the Pies had seen in the raw youngster wasn’t immediately apparent. He spent 1929 with the seconds, playing mostly in defence. He got his first taste of senior football early in 1930 – just over a year after his first training run at Northcote – but didn’t make it off the bench. He was awful in his first two games, and in his third had the ignominy of having 10 goals kicked on him, by St Kilda’s Bill Mohr. He actually crossed back to Northcote in the lead-up to the 1931 season, but both club and player thought the better of it and he came back to Victoria Park – this time as a forward. One day he had the chance to win a game with a kick after the siren, but missed. After later apologising to Jock McHale, the coach gave his now famous reply: “Go and throw yourself in the bloody Yarra”.

Regan improved sufficiently as a forward to eventually gain Victorian selection in that role in 1933. But he was moved to defence again during those interstate games and did so well that Collingwood followed suit soon after his return. From that moment on, he was the game’s best key defender. Known as ‘Snozzle’ to his teammates (his nose was rather large), he won the Copeland in 1936 and was runner-up three other times. He was an automatic State selection between 1933 and 1939, was never even admonished by an umpire and regularly polled well in the Brownlow voting, finishing equal third in 1934, fifth in 1935 and 1936 and sixth in 1937. When Harry Collier retired in 1940, it was no surprise that Regan was chosen to replace him as captain.

After just two years as captain, however, Regan stunned the Collingwood committee in January of 1942 by resigning to pursue a religious life as a lay brother with the Salesian community at Sunbury. Regan had visited the community on many Sundays over the years, umpiring games and helping out the boys with football advice, but few at the club seemed to know his interest was serious enough to lead him away from the game.

A year later he joined the RAAF, and that initially meant he was able to come back to football, again as captain. But war duty kept him away from the game again in 1944-45, and by the time he returned for one final hurrah in 1946 he was 33 and never likely to regain his best form (though that last year did give him the chance to wear the 11thdifferent guernsey number of his career – still a VFL/AFL record). After retirement he captain-coached in Kalgoorlie and country Victoria, then later became secretary of the New South Wales Football League, and returned to Victoria Park in 1970 as assistant to general secretary Peter Lucas, a position which developed into that of football secretary. He held that post for eight years, during which time his sincerity, gentle nature and good humour won him widespread praise.

Regan was a much-loved figure at Victoria Park. And that affection had little to do with how good he’d been as a footballer: it was simply a reflection of his personality and character. If he had been around in 1996, he probably wouldn’t have been too fussed about missing out on the AFL’s Team of the Century. But those who saw him play were very fussed. For them there could be no doubt: Jack Regan was, and always will be, the finest full-back of them all.

– Michael Roberts

Statistics

CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1930-1941, 1943, 1946 196 3 18 68%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1930 4 0 27

1930 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 3 Sydney W 0 27 View match >
Round 4 Geelong L 0 27 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy L 0 27 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 27 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1931 8 0 0 0 27

1931 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 8 North Melbourne W 0 27 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs W 0 27 View match >
Round 14 Sydney W 0 27 View match >
Round 15 Richmond L 0 27 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 0 0 27 View match >
Round 17 St Kilda L 0 0 0 27 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 27 View match >
Semi Final Carlton L 0 27 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1932 19 1 0 0 32

1932 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn W 0 32 View match >
Round 2 Geelong L 0 32 View match >
Round 3 Essendon W 0 0 0 32 View match >
Round 5 Carlton L 0 32 View match >
Round 6 Western Bulldogs W 0 32 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 1 0 32 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 32 View match >
Round 9 North Melbourne W 0 0 0 32 View match >
Round 10 Richmond W 0 32 View match >
Round 11 Sydney W 0 32 View match >
Round 12 Hawthorn W 0 32 View match >
Round 13 Geelong L 0 32 View match >
Round 14 Essendon W 0 32 View match >
Round 15 Fitzroy W 0 32 View match >
Round 16 Carlton L 0 32 View match >
Round 17 Western Bulldogs W 0 32 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 32 View match >
Semi Final Sydney W 0 32 View match >
Preliminary Final Carlton L 0 32 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1933 12 2 0 0 20

1933 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 2 Fitzroy L 0 20 View match >
Round 4 Richmond L 1 0 20 View match >
Round 5 Carlton W 0 0 0 20 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne L 0 20 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 0 0 20 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 0 0 20 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 20 View match >
Round 13 Fitzroy L 1 0 20 View match >
Round 15 Richmond W 0 20 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 0 0 20 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 0 0 0 20 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 20 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1934 18 0 0 0 24

1934 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Sydney L 0 0 0 24 View match >
Round 2 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Round 3 Hawthorn W 0 24 View match >
Round 4 Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Round 5 Geelong D 0 24 View match >
Round 6 Fitzroy W 0 24 View match >
Round 7 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 9 Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Carlton W 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Western Bulldogs W 0 0 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Sydney L 0 0 0 24 View match >
Round 13 Essendon W 0 0 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Hawthorn W 0 0 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Richmond L 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Geelong L 0 24 View match >
Round 17 Fitzroy W 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Sydney L 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1935 18 0 0 0 25

1935 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Sydney W 0 25 View match >
Round 2 Fitzroy D 0 25 View match >
Round 3 Essendon W 0 0 0 25 View match >
Round 4 Geelong W 0 25 View match >
Round 5 Melbourne W 0 25 View match >
Round 6 Western Bulldogs W 0 0 0 25 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 25 View match >
Round 8 North Melbourne W 0 25 View match >
Round 11 Hawthorn W 0 25 View match >
Round 12 Sydney L 0 25 View match >
Round 13 Fitzroy W 0 25 View match >
Round 15 Geelong W 0 25 View match >
Round 14 Essendon W 0 25 View match >
Round 17 Western Bulldogs W 0 25 View match >
Round 18 St Kilda W 0 25 View match >
Semi Final Sydney L 0 25 View match >
Preliminary Final Richmond W 0 25 View match >
Grand Final Sydney W 0 25 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1936 19 0 16

1936 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn W 0 16 View match >
Round 2 Richmond W 0 16 View match >
Round 3 Fitzroy W 0 16 View match >
Round 4 Essendon W 0 16 View match >
Round 5 St Kilda W 0 16 View match >
Round 6 Carlton W 0 16 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 16 View match >
Round 8 Western Bulldogs W 0 16 View match >
Round 9 North Melbourne W 0 16 View match >
Round 10 Sydney L 0 16 View match >
Round 11 Geelong L 0 16 View match >
Round 12 Hawthorn W 0 16 View match >
Round 13 Richmond W 0 16 View match >
Round 15 Essendon W 0 16 View match >
Round 16 St Kilda W 0 16 View match >
Round 17 Carlton L 0 16 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 16 View match >
Semi Final Sydney W 0 16 View match >
Grand Final Sydney W 0 16 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1937 20 0 0 0 22

1937 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 0 22 View match >
Round 2 Sydney W 0 22 View match >
Round 3 North Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 4 Western Bulldogs W 0 22 View match >
Round 5 Melbourne L 0 22 View match >
Round 6 Carlton W 0 22 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda L 0 22 View match >
Round 8 Essendon W 0 22 View match >
Round 9 Fitzroy W 0 22 View match >
Round 10 Richmond W 0 22 View match >
Round 11 Hawthorn W 0 22 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 22 View match >
Round 13 Sydney W 0 22 View match >
Round 14 North Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 15 Western Bulldogs W 0 22 View match >
Round 17 Carlton L 0 22 View match >
Round 18 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Semi Final Richmond W 0 22 View match >
Preliminary Final Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Grand Final Geelong L 0 0 0 22 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1938 13 0 18

1938 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Fitzroy W 0 18 View match >
Round 2 Essendon W 0 18 View match >
Round 3 Richmond L 0 18 View match >
Round 4 Hawthorn W 0 18 View match >
Round 5 Carlton L 0 18 View match >
Round 14 Richmond L 0 18 View match >
Round 15 Hawthorn W 0 18 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 18 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 0 18 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 18 View match >
Semi Final Western Bulldogs W 0 18 View match >
Preliminary Final Geelong W 0 18 View match >
Grand Final Carlton L 0 18 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1939 19 0 18

1939 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 0 18 View match >
Round 2 Sydney W 0 18 View match >
Round 3 Western Bulldogs W 0 18 View match >
Round 4 St Kilda L 0 18 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy W 0 18 View match >
Round 6 Hawthorn W 0 18 View match >
Round 7 Richmond W 0 18 View match >
Round 8 Carlton W 0 18 View match >
Round 9 North Melbourne W 0 18 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 18 View match >
Round 13 Sydney W 0 18 View match >
Round 14 Western Bulldogs W 0 18 View match >
Round 15 St Kilda W 0 18 View match >
Round 16 Fitzroy W 0 18 View match >
Round 17 Hawthorn W 0 18 View match >
Round 18 Richmond W 0 18 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne L 0 18 View match >
Preliminary Final St Kilda W 0 18 View match >
Grand Final Melbourne L 0 18 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1940 9 0 23

1940 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Sydney W 0 23 View match >
Round 3 Carlton W 0 23 View match >
Round 8 Richmond L 0 23 View match >
Round 13 Geelong L 0 23 View match >
Round 14 Carlton L 0 23 View match >
Round 15 North Melbourne W 0 23 View match >
Round 16 Melbourne L 0 23 View match >
Round 17 Essendon L 0 23 View match >
Round 18 St Kilda W 0 23 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1941 18 0 1

1941 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond L 0 1 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 1 View match >
Round 3 Fitzroy W 0 1 View match >
Round 4 Western Bulldogs W 0 1 View match >
Round 5 Melbourne L 0 1 View match >
Round 6 Carlton L 0 1 View match >
Round 7 North Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 8 Essendon W 0 1 View match >
Round 9 St Kilda W 0 1 View match >
Round 10 Sydney L 0 1 View match >
Round 11 Geelong W 0 1 View match >
Round 12 Richmond W 0 1 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 0 1 View match >
Round 14 Fitzroy W 0 1 View match >
Round 15 Western Bulldogs W 0 1 View match >
Round 16 Melbourne L 0 1 View match >
Round 17 Carlton L 0 1 View match >
Round 18 North Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1943 13 0 1

1943 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 North Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 2 Richmond L 0 1 View match >
Round 3 Western Bulldogs L 0 1 View match >
Round 4 Carlton W 0 1 View match >
Round 6 St Kilda W 0 1 View match >
Round 7 Essendon L 0 1 View match >
Round 8 Melbourne L 0 1 View match >
Round 10 Sydney L 0 1 View match >
Round 11 Hawthorn L 0 1 View match >
Round 13 North Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 14 Sydney L 0 1 View match >
Round 15 Fitzroy W 0 1 View match >
Round 16 Melbourne L 0 1 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1946 6 0 2

1946 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn W 0 2 View match >
Round 5 Richmond L 0 2 View match >
Round 6 Western Bulldogs L 0 2 View match >
Round 7 Geelong W 0 2 View match >
Round 14 North Melbourne W 0 2 View match >
Round 15 St Kilda W 0 2 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 196 3 0
Avg/Game   0.02 0.00
Legend
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number

329

Total AFL Games
196
Total AFL Goals
3
CFC Debut
Round 3, 1930
CFC Last Game
Round 15, 1946
Recruited From
Northcote
Full Name
Jack Regan
Nickname
Snozzle

Awards

  • AFL Hall of Fame
    1996
  • Champion of the Colony
    1938
  • Life Members
    1942
  • x2
    Austral Cup
    1934, 1937
  • CFC Hall of Fame
    2004
  • CFC Team of the Century
  • E.W. Copeland Trophy (Best and Fairest)
    1936
  • x3
    Runner up Best and Fairest (R.T. Rush Trophy)
    1934, 1937, 1941
  • x3
    Team Captain
    1940, 1941, 1943
  • x2
    Premiership
    1935, 1936
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