John Arrived in Melbourne to join St Kilda Jan 1970
July 28, 2010
Although Bowls was probably the last thing on John McIntosh's mind after retiring from football in 1972, it was the repercussions of his league career that would eventually see him step onto the bowling green.
Golf and tennis took the place of football immediately after John's departure from the VFL scene.
After continuing his sporting career as a more than handy golfer, with a thirteen handicap, the legacy of a dozen years of physical clashes in the ruck and at centre half forward at Claremont and St Kilda caught up with McIntosh, and, with the walk over nine holes becoming increasingly difficult, he accepted an invitation to visit the greens of Dalkeith-Nedlands Bowling Club one day in 1985.
Coming under the influence and coaching of Harley Trigg, John took to the game like a duck to water, playing pennants immediately, and within three years he was skippering a rink and had won a club singles. It was to be the first of three singles championships, with the most recent this year, in which he triumphed over State Singles runner up Luke Richardson.
A winner of nineteen club trophies, encompassing all championship events, McIntosh is at the peak of his form after twenty five years in the game, two knee reconstructions, and two new hips. With Ross Donald and Ross McKenzie he also won the State Sixty and Over Triples this season.
A loyal and dedicated club stalwart, who has served Dalkeith-Nedlands in many capacities, John has in recent years been club captain, selector, and head of the committee responsible for raising sponsorship, and has done a tremendous job in each, especially the latter. Despite his personal achievements, he regards the success of the club as the biggest highlight of his period there. "We have gone from third division, through all the top divisions to the Premier League in 2008," he said. John Goddard gets the nod as the best player he has seen, along with Harley Trigg.
John McIntosh had an outstanding football career.
Along with "Polly" Farmer, Jack Clarke, Merv McIntosh, Les McClements, Stephen Michael, and Graham Moss, he ranks as one of the best ruckmen produced in Western Australia.
Hailing from Beverley, where his father ran a hardware store, he played in the town's first ever premiership as a seventeen year old, with a stint at Pinjarra before joining the Claremont Football Club in 1962.
East Perth had high hopes he would wear blue and black, as he was eligible for the Royals, his father Dave having been an East Perth league player.
At 6 ft 3(190cm) and 14 stone(89kg), he was a mobile ruckman who was a telling influence around the ground, and was equally effective at centre half forward or centre half back. As a matter of fact, he played in most positions on the ground during his career, such was his versatility.
During his eight years with the Tigers, McIntosh won Claremont's Fairest and Best Award twice(1966 and 69). In both of those seasons he received All Australian selection, plus a Simpson Medal in 1966. Saint Kilda had been in touch with McIntosh for some years, and in 1970 he made the move.
He hit the ground running at Moorabbin, as the Saints became a force in the VFL. A barnstorming season in 1971 was to end in bitter disappointment for both McIntosh and the Saints, after he suffered a knee injury in the second semi final. Without the big man St Kilda lost the grand final.
John Recovering from cartilage removal 1965
His form in that year did not go unrecognised. Runner up in the Brownlow Medal, McIntosh was also named ABC Footballer Of The Year.
John regarded Footscray and North Melbourne ruckman Gary Dempsey as hardest to beat, but reserved his courage choice for one of the water boys at St Kilda. "In 1971, Ian Stewart, who was a chronic nervous vomiter, called for help from the bench,"John related. "Out raced the water boy, who breathlessly asked what he could do to help the champion centreman."
"Pointing to a pile of fresh regurgitation, Stewart replied: "See if you can find my chewy.."
The following season another knee injury effectively ended his career. He had played 146 games with Claremont and 53 at St Kilda, with eighteen appearances for WA and one wearing the Big V.
Son Ashley became a star full back in the AFL, and was a dual premiership player with West Coast, as well as a club champion and All Australian, playing 242 games, Nathan McIntosh was also an Eagles squad member, but a career-ending foot injury prevented him from continuing a promising career.
Wife Gwenda, formerly Gwenda Don, who won several State Singles Tennis Championships, as well as representing Western Australia in the Wilson Cup, took up bowls recently, and played in North Beach's first division red side last season.
John McIntosh was highly respected throughout the football world as one of the nice guys of the sport, and these days enjoys similar status in the bowling fraternity.
At a time when club loyalty is becoming a rare commodity, his twenty five years of dedication and service at Dalkeith-Nedlands, as well as his efforts on the green, are a credit to a man who is a sporting icon in Western Australia.