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Bob Quinn: Port Adelaide champion

Bob Quinn
Bob Quinn
In the lead up to the historic first Showdown at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval, Matthew Agius reflects on the careers of the Port Adelaide champions for whom gates, stands, structures and monuments have been named at the new home of South Australian football...

ASK Port Adelaide people who the club's greatest player is and you're sure to get a myriad of responses.

How can you qualify greatness?

Some would say Russell Ebert - the four-time Magarey Medallist, triple premiership player, former captain, coach and arguably the best player going around in the 1970s and 1980s.

Others would say Warren Tredrea - the club's first AFL premiership captain and both a four-time All-Australian and best and fairest winner.

Some would argue Geof Motley - a nine-time premiership player, a man who was never dropped from the club's League side or reported during his 250-game career.

And then of course there's Fos Williams - the man who bred the dogged and determined player culture of Port Adelaide and captain/coached the team to multiple premierships including five of the club's Australian record six-in-a-row.

But if you asked and player or supporter of the club who was around during the 1930s and 1940s - the elder generations of the Port Adelaide faithful - who they rated as the club's best, they would unequivocally say Bob Quinn.

Of the two new northern gates at the Adelaide Oval, one is named for Quinn.

He played 239 games for Port Adelaide between 1933 and 1947 - including seasons with the combined Port/Torrens team during the Second World War.

A dogged forward who kicked 386 goals during his career, he was captain/coach of the Magpies in 1939, 1940 and between 1945 and 1947.

He was not opposed for the captaincy of the club in 1939, and the hierarchy did not hesitate in appointing him coach that year either. 

Quinn possessed a rare understanding of the game and a capability to enact the necessary changes during a game to find the winning edge.

But after just six games of the 1940 season, the club's leader enlisted with the Australian Army and was sent to North Africa to fight with the Allies against the Axis forces in Tobruk.
It was on that battlefield that he would earn the Military Medal for courage, leadership and devotion in battle during August 1941.

True Champion: Bob Quinn was respected by teammate and opponent alike

Returning to Australia and playing with combined Port/Torrens team, he would reclaim the captaincy of Port Adelaide in 1945 and go on to win his second Magarey Medal.

The club described his efforts as ones displaying "grit, determination, daring, skill, unerring in passing and taking the ball."

He would volunteer his time and services during the later years of his career teaching football in schools, colleges, junior clubs and country towns - effectively setting a standard that has been emulated by many of the club's more recent heroes. 

It's no wonder he is viewed in such an impressive light by those who remember his daring exploits on the field.

In addition to the northern gate at the Adelaide Oval, the northernmost grandstand at Alberton is also named after Quinn.

You can't compare greatness among greats when you support a club that has been around for 144 years. Tomorrow, we take a look at a more recent champion and his long list of achievements. Gavin Wanganeen.

Robert Berrima ‘Bob’ Quinn MM † record
DOB: 9 April 1915 DOD: 12 September 2008
SANFL Games: 239 (1933-1947)
SANFL Goals: 386
Port Adelaide Captain/Coach: 1939-1940, 1945-1947
Port Adelaide Best and Fairest: 1937, 1938, 1945, 1947
Port Adelaide leading goal kicker: 1937-1945
SANFL Premierships: 1936, 1937, 1939
Magarey Medal: 1938, 1945
All-Australian captain

South Australian Representative Matches: 15 games
South Australian captain: 1945-1947

Member of Port Adelaide Football Club’s Greatest Ever Team (Right forward pocket)
Port Adelaide Life Member: 1944
SANFL Player Life Member
Port Adelaide Football Club Hall of Fame (1998)
South Australian Football Hall of Fame (2002)
Australian Football Hall of Fame (1996)
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs