IAN STEWART was recruited by the St Kilda Saints from Hobart (Tasmania) in 1963 and played 127 Games, kicking 25 Goals for the Saints until finishing his playing career at the Club in 1970. Stewart then transferred to the Richmond Tigers in a direct swap for Tigers Star Billy Barrot for Season 1971, going on to play 78 Games, kicking 55 Goals for the Tigers until his playing retirement in 1975. Stewart is widely regarded as one of the greatest Australian Football Players of all time, and some of his Football Cards and those of team-mates and players he has coached and influenced are available at qualityafltradingcards.com.
Ian Stewart was a highly skilled , beautifully balanced and extremely courageous player who is one of only 4 players in Australian Football History to have won the prestigious Brownlow Medal on 3 occasions, and he is the only Player to ever win the Award at 2 separate Football Clubs. His prolific ball-winning ability, combined with his precise foot passing on either side of his body, and his sure hands in marking contests , proved an insurmountable load of talent for the vast majority of his opponents to overcome. Stewart was a career Centreman who had an extraordinary on field understanding with dazzling Darrel Baldock, a fellow Tasmanian who dominated at Centre Half Forward for the Saints during this successful period. Stewart & Baldock were the driving force behind St Kilda making their Second Ever Grand Final in 1965, however they were beaten by a more experienced Essendon Team on the day. The Saints resolve was at its peak in 1966 when Ian Stewart was brilliant throughout the Season, and his 1966 Finals Performances were overwhelming and crucial to St Kilda winning their First Premiership Flag ( Saints defeated Collingwood Magpies by 1 point) in their 94 year history as a Football Club. Ian Stewart won the Brownlow Medal in both 1965 and 1966 to stamp his genius on the Australian Game forever.
Ian Stewart added the St Kilda Saints Best and Fairest Player Awards of 1964 , 1966 , Victorian State Representation and All Australian Selection in 1966 , to his Dual Brownlow Medal successes in 1965 and 1966, and was elected St Kilda Club Captain in 1969. Unfortunately Stewart had a falling out with Saints Coach Allan Jeans during 1969, relinquished the Club Captaincy for 1970 and struggled through the season under an injury cloud, and was thought to be finished as a player at the elite level at the age of 27 years. During the off season, Stewart, who still harboured a burning desire to prove to football pundits that he could hold his own at the Top Level of the sport, assisted engineer the most unpopular football trade to that time, when he transferred to the Richmond Tigers.
Stewart blitzed his opposition from his first game at the Richmond Tigers in 1971 and went on to win the Tigers Best and Fairest Award as well as his third Brownlow Medal. Stewart formed what appeared to be an almost telepathic understanding with Richmonds champion Centre Half Forward Royce Hart (another ex- Tasmanian player), and this pair proved almost unstoppable as a combination through to Stewarts retirement. Regular Finals appearances continued to enhance Stewarts reputation as a big game player, and his sterling contributions saw the Ricmond Tigers win the 1973 Grand Final. Ian Stewart holds the unique record of winning Brownlow Medals and Premierships at 2 different Clubs.
Ian Stewart retired in mid 1974 after playing his 200th VFL/AFL game , and ironically missed out on being part of the 1974 Ricmond Tigers winning Premiership Team. Richmond convinced Stewart to make a playing comeback in Season 1975 , however after only 5 Games Stewart pulled the pin due to due to persistent injury impacting on his ability to perform at the standard to which he was accustomed.
South Melbourne Swans ( now Sydney Swans), appointed Stewart as its Senior Coach in 1976. He was a hard-nosed strict disciplinarian who worked wonders in lifting the Swans from 1975 wooden spooners to Finals Representaion in 1977. He left the Swans role after their 1977 Finals loss, but was subsequently re-appointed for Seasons 1979-1981. The Swans were in financial difficulty at the time, and it is thought that Stewarts identification and development of younger playing talent was instumental in the successful re-location of the South Melbourne Team to the Sydney Swans after the 1981 Season.
Ian Stewart left an indelible mark on Australian Rules Football, and his induction into the Australian Football League Hall Of Fame and selection as an AFL Hall Of Fame Legend says it all.