GRAHAM “POLLY” FARMER has earnt Hero Status in his life, which was formed from a 2 year old member of the “stolen generation” to the acclaim of his honourable appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1971. Farmer became the First Australian Rules Footballer to be bestowed this honour by the Queen of England. His AFL Hall of Fame Card and cards of many Geelong Cats Football Club Players are available at qualityafltradingcards.com.
Polly Farmer was recruited by the Geelong Cats in 1962 from East Perth Football Club (Western Australia) at the age of 27 years, where he had played 176 Games and kicked 157 Goals between 1953 and 1961 . During this time Farmer had won the East Perth Club Best and Fairest Player Award on 7 occasions , was a member of 3 winning Premiership Teams, won the prestigious Sandover Medal on 3 occasions and had won the Tassie Medal in 1956 as Best Player at the Interstate Carnival in Perth.
Farmer was a gifted athlete who had overcome a bout of Polio as a young child which had left his left leg shorter than his right leg, and his Victorian Playing career at the Geelong Cats was thought to have disastrously ended in the opening minutes of his very first game in 1962, when he suffered a severe knee ligament injury that kept him out of Football for the rest of the season. However no-one counted on the Farmer dedication and drive that saw the resurgence of the Cats Legend in 1963 at 28 years of age.
In 1963 Graham “Polly” Farmer revitalised and revolutionised Australian Football forever with his dominant use of attacking handball that is such an integral core skill of our modern game. Farmer was a powerful, well-balanced, mobile and highly-skilled Ruckman who utilised his strong leap to win ruck contests, often taking the ball cleanly and off-loading sharp, precise hand-passes of 25 metres and further to rovers such as Billy Goggin who would receive the masterly handballs at top speed and overpower the opposition. The dominance that Farmer displayed over the other VFL Clubs at the time is evidenced with his 1963 performances as Geelong Club Best and Fairest Player, his enormous contribution culminating in Geelongs winning Premiership Team and runner-up in the Brownlow Medal to triple winner Bobby Skilton.
“Polly” Farmer went on to play 101 Games and kick 65 Goals for the Geelong Cats until 1967 , had won a further Geelong Club Best and Fairest Award in 1964, and his humility was as pronounced as the silky masterful ruckwork impressions left on all Club spectators, who were lucky enough to see one of the Greatest Australian Football Players in action. Farmer returned to Western Australia in 1968 to Captain and Coach the West Perth Football Club in a further 79 Games , leading the Club to winning Premierships in 1969 and 1971. He won the West Perth Club Best and Fairest Player award in 1969 and proved his resilience by winning the Simpson Medal at 34 years of age at the Australian Football Championships in Adelaide during the season.
Farmer was an inaugural inductee to the Australian Football League Hall Of Fame in 1996 and confirmed as one of the 12 “Official” Legends of the Game to that time. His playing record speaks for itself and his 392 League Games earnt many honours, including 10 Grand Final appearances, 6 winning Premiership Teams, 5 representative State Games for Victoria, 31 State Games for Western Australia, All Australian Selection in 1956, 1958 and 1961 and Captain of the Geelong Cats Football Club from 1965 to 1967.
“Polly” Farmer retired as a player in 1971 and was lured back to Geelong as Senior Coach from 1973 to 1975 where he did not enjoy a harmonious retationship with the Club Hierarchy and was unable to instill success into the playing group. He subsequently returned home to Perth where he was appointed Senior Coach at the East Perth Football Club for seasons 1976 and 1977 , and although achieving some success , was replaced by Barry Cable as Coach in 1978 due to conflict within the Club.
Farmer subsequently set up the Polly Farmer Foundation to assist Aboriginal people to achieve their full potential and has been honoured with one of Perth’s main arterial roads being named the “Graham Farmer Freeway” in the year 2000. When we evaluate the cards he was dealt in life, and the considerable mental and physical challenges he confronted and defeated with courage and honour, “Polly” Farmer can truly be regarded as a “LEGEND”.
( Image courtesy of fullpointsfooty.net ).