Erwin Dornau

Erwin Dornau

A Queensland Schoolboy representative who went on to be the first Queenslander to play AFL football. A Kedron junior he debuted for the Redlegs as a 16-year-old. Following service in the RAAF in World War II he returned to Kedron and was the dominant centre half back of the Queensland competition. He represented the Maroons in 1946-47 and caught the eye of South Melbourne scouts when runner-up in the 1947 Tassie Medal at the Hobart national carnival.

He signed initially for the Swans for a 13-week trial before being named on their senior list for 1948 under the guidance of coach ‘Bull’ Adams. He debuted for South in Round 1 against Collingwood in front of 47,000 fans, wearing the No.17 jumper for the first time. He polled 11 votes in the Brownlow Medal in his first season, and in a five-year stint with the Swans was B&F runner up and won two ‘Best Clubman’ awards.

Played 54 games at South between 1948-52 and went on to coach successfully in many Victorian country leagues as he carved out a career in football. His travels took him to Leeton in the Riverina and Catani in Gippsland before he returned to Melbourne to lead McKinnon to three consecutive flags in the strong Federal League.

Stayed involved with South Melbourne through the Past Players Group, serving as its President in 1981. A lifetime highlight included nomination for the Queensland Team of the Century in 2003, where he shared the spotlight with those for whom he had paved the way.

He passed away in Grand Final week 2008.

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