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It would be fair to describe Wayne Currie as an accidental star.

“I dreamed of playing at the top level, but never considered myself good enough, and nothing happened in my junior days to suggest I might consider a league career,” he told us.

“I fronted up for the State Schoolboys trials, in which they’d play a full on game, with one on one contests, and as blokes were identified as possible selections, they were taken from the ground.”

“I played five quarters in a forward pocket!”

Currie gave up cricket as his summer sport and took up Athletics as a sixteen year old in 1969,  with an eye on the State Championships. “I definitely wasn’t thinking about playing footy,” he said. “but when I went to watch a few mates play in a fourths game for Perth at Bassendean Oval, I suddenly thought: “I could get a game at this level.”

He joined in the club training, but wasn’t selected until the end of the first round. When finally receiving a call up, he excelled to the extent that he won the fairest and best award despite only playing for two thirds of the season, and was promoted to the thirds side for the finals.  Still concentrating on athletics following the 1971 football season, Currie wandered down to Lathlain as the league and seconds squads were doing 1972 pre season training. “One of the coaching staff noticed me standing on the outskirts watching, and walked over, asking me why I wasn’t taking part,” Wayne recalled. “I told him I thought it was a league session, and he replied: “That’s right, and you’re in the squad.”

“I handed him my car keys, jumped the fence, and joined in.”

Son of Robert(Sam) Currie, who wore the black and white of Swan Districts in 1941, Wayne Currie went on to play a hundred and thirty seven games for Perth, share in two premierships, and represent his State.

The Demons selected Currie for the second league game of the 1972 season, against Swan Districts, in which the nineteen year old played his part in an eighty six point demolition of the black and whites. He went on to play nineteen games that year, but suffered the “second year blues” in 1973, in and out of the league side, and played in a winning reserves grand final under coach Ken Armstrong.    

Wayne found an unexpected supporter early in his career.

“A bloke walked over to me and introduced himself,” he said. It was Terry Moriarty, who played 253 games for Perth and is the club’s longest serving player. “Terry took an interest in me and followed my career, giving advice and encouragement.”

Currie hit top form the following season, and established himself as a regular member of a Perth combination that became a powerhouse in the mid seventies. His ball handling skills were complemented by immaculate delivery to forwards, and he went on to make a hundred and thirty seven appearances for the Demons, playing State football in 1977.

His first grand final was against East Fremantle in 1974, and Currie admits he was nonplussed at who he was actually playing on. “The blokes they had running through the middle throughout the game was a cavalcade of stars, and every time I looked around I had someone new alongside me. Hollins, Peake, and Melrose were just a few.”

Wayne’s 1975 season got off to a bad start, with an injury that occurred in the last pre season match against East Fremantle, when he found himself sandwiched in team mate Rob Lawrence’s shirt front on Tony Micale, the resulting shoulder damage causing him to miss the first month of the season. However, despite Perth having a difficult year, with a procession of injuries to key players, Currie gained some consolation by being runner up to fairest and best Rob Wiley.

Helped by the recruitment of Richmond ruckman Dean Herbert to collaborate with Wim Rosbender, and Gary Gibellini from East Fremantle, Perth swept to power in 1976. They became a dominant side in the mid seventies, and appeared odds on to duplicate their sixties feat of a hat trick of flags when defeating East Perth by twenty three points in the 1976 grand final and East Fremantle by seventy three points a year later.

September 23, 1978 turned out to be a wet grand final day.

“I lived in Lathlain, and picked my girl friend up at Como. During the drive from Como to Subiaco we experienced all four weather seasons,” Wayne recalled. “It was a great game and East Perth deserved their two point win, but the things I remember most about that game were the performances of Rob Wiley, who got a kick on the right knee early in the first quarter, forcing him onto his left foot all day, and Peter Bosustow.”

Bosustow kicked seven goals on a waterlogged  Subiaco Oval, not the best scenario for a high flying full forward, and put in a virtuoso performance in the last quarter to almost snatch the game. 

Currie’s State debut was at Subiaco Oval against Victoria in 1977, on a half forward flank alongside brother in law Steve Hargrave at centre half forward, with Ken Armstrong as coach. His performance on St Kilda star Trevor Barker was good enough to clinch a place in the side for the clash with South Australia a month later, when he lined up on a half forward flank opposed to Robert Klomp. Although in a losing side against the Vics, Wayne was part of a forty point win over the Croweaters, kicking one goal while Perth team mate Chris Mitsopoulos booted five.

A knee injury on the last training night before the end of the 1979 season signaled the end of Wayne Currie’s league football career. “I thought it was a ligament,” he recalled. “It turned out to be a torn ligament, and my knee continually filled with fluid. I had my medial cartilege completely removed, but that was to be the end of my football days at Perth.”

Wayne rues the fact that it was only months later that keyhole surgery for the same injury was used, with a notable recipient of the treatment being Collingwood forward Peter Daicos.  

Currie later coached at Kalamunda Junior Football Club when his boys, Kiel and Jason,took the game up. Wayne was also involved with Perth Football Club’s Development Squads in 2004 and Perth 2000’s in 2004 and 2005. These days he can often be found at first light on Collier Golf Course. He is married to Diane, and they also have a daughter, Laura.  

Currie is a great advocate of the value of athletics training and participation. “I found it increased my burst speed, and being mostly an individual sport, you had nowhere to hide poor performances,” he said. “It was my phys ed teacher, John Fuhrmann, who got me into athletics and taught me how to train seriously.”

He regards Brian Peake of East Fremantle and Peter Spencer(East Perth and Subiaco) as his toughest opponents, and while admitting he wasn’t playing when Barry Cable was at his best, he, reckoned that Rob Wiley was the best he had played with.

“It was a fabulous period for someone who didn’t reckon he was good enough to play league footy,” Wayne Currie reflected. Currie was definitely good enough, achieving star status as one of the Demons playmakers in back to back premierships,and also playing at Interstate level.  

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