News Cable A True Legend
Cable A True Legend
Posted on 15/06/2012
By Peter Kennedy
THE CABLE CAREER
Games 405: Perth 225; East Perth 43; North Melbourne 116; WA 20; Victoria 1.
Premierships: Perth 1966-68; North Melbourne 1975, 77; East Perth 1978.
Honours: Sandover Medal 1964, 68, 73; runner-up 1965-66; Simpson Medal in Perth's hat-trick of premierships 1966-68, 1969 carnival, State of Origin 1977; Tassie Medal 1966 carnival; All-Australian 1969; Perth fairest and best 1965-69, 71, 73; Perth captain-coach 1972-73; North Melbourne best and fairest 1970; East Perth captain-coach 1978-80; North Melbourne coach 1981-84; MBE for services to football 1979; WAFC Hall of Fame 2004; AFL Legend 2012.
Barry Cable's elevation to Australian Football League legend comes exactly 50 years after he started his senior career in the WAFL with Perth.
Barry arrived at Lathlain Park -- now Brownes Stadium -- in 1962 as an 18 year-old, on the recommendation of former club ruckman Bert "Sixer" Sykes, who was in business in Narrogin, where Barry grew up -- the youngest of 10 children.
Legendary coach Ern Henfry realised his talent and Barry quickly won a position as a wingman in the league side -- captained by veteran rover Dick Walker -- with the racy Harold Little on the other wing.
Occasionally Henfry would throw Barry onto the ball, resulting in some friction between the coach and the young ball magnet. But the coach prevailed, Barry accepted his new role and acknowledged he would have to work harder on his fitness, which he did.
I received some insight into the Cable approach when I asked Chris Devlin, who played 29 games in 1963-64, about Perth's new rising star. I wanted to know what his strengths were. I asked Chris whether it was pace over the first five yards (pre metric) that was a key factor. Was he Perth's fastest off the mark?
"Well if he's not already, he certainly will be next season," was Devlin's reply. "My tip is that he'll be working on his sprinting during the summer." And he was right.
Barry "arrived" as a champion in 1964 when he won the first of three Sandover Medals and gained State selection for the first time. But centreman Pat Dalton (this year's club legend) took out that season's Butcher Medal for Perth's fairest and best. The next year Barry won the first of his seven Butcher Medals.
When Malcolm Atwell was appointed captain-coach in 1966, Barry became vice-captain. It was the start of one of the most successful leadership combinations in Australian football history. That year Barry won the Sandover, Butcher and Tassie Medals (fairest and best in a national carnival) as well as the Simpson Medal (first of five) for best afield in Perth's premiership team, kicking six of our 11 goals.
The rest of his career has been well documented. After completing Perth's hat-trick of premierships (1966-68) in which he was best on ground on each occasion, Barry was keen to test himself in Victoria. He signed the contract to join North Melbourne for the 1970 season in the Victoria Park surgery of club doctors Steve and Tom Kargotich.
He showed his class by winning North's fairest and best, and finishing fourth in the Brownlow Medal.
A feature of Barry's career during the '60s was the inability of opposing teams to "rough up" the Perth star. One reason was his elusiveness. Another, according to premiership centre-half-back Bob Shields, was the "security ring" teammates formed around their trump card. Atwell, Ian Rothnie, Bob Page, Ray Lawrence and Shields himself were prominent in this tactic.
Barry returned to Perth in 1971, was captain-coach in 1972-73, and then headed back to North Melbourne and what he has described as "unfinished business", at the age of 31. He stayed four seasons and was prominent in North's 1975 and 1977 premiership teams. He polled a total of 73 Brownlow Medal votes.
Returning to the west for the 1978 season, Perth was chasing another hat-trick of premierships. Barry said Perth "didn't seem greatly interested" in him continuing as a player, and he was appointed East Perth's captain coach, leading them to a two point grand final win over his old club in appalling conditions.
By then he had polled a record 183 Sandover Medal votes (under the 3-2-1 system) and played an extraordinary 405 senior games at state and club level.
It was no surprise that Barry was named first rover in Perth's Team of the Century in 1999. And he would have been delighted that sons' Shane and Barry also played league football, with Shane being co-captain of the league side from 1996-99.
One of our club's favourite sons, the late Merv McIntosh -- the greatest ruckman of his era -- was admitted to the AFL Hall of Fame in 1996.
The Perth Football Club salutes a true champion.
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