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TOPIC: Len Harman

Len Harman 5 months 1 week ago #162343

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West Perth have boasted many fine half backs over the years, and there have been many debates arguing about who were the best.
The club went for Harold Boyd, Brian France, and Ted Flemming in their official Team of the Century, which was announced in the year 2000, and few would argue with their choice, but barking at their heels would have been many others, including a man who captained the club as a seventeen year old in his first season.
It was the year 1942, and due to the Second World War, the WANFL decided to run an under-age competition until the hostilities with Japan subsided, the open league resuming in 1945. With players of the ilk of Harman, Fred Buttsworth and Jack Larcombe at West Perth, and others such as Frank Sparrow, Ray Perry, Terry Moriarty, Ken Caporn, Frank Treasure, Jimmy Conway and Jack Sheedy beginning their long and outstanding careers, it was a high standard of football during those three years nevertheless.
Captaining his side to a premiership, Harman was runner up for the Sandover Medal, one vote behind team mate Laurie Bowen, who was actually a Swan Districts player wearing the cardinal colours due to Swans not fielding a side that year.
Len spent the next three years with the Armed Forces all points north to Borneo, before resuming at Leederville in mid 1946. West Perth put up valiant efforts that season, going down to East Fremantle’s undefeated side by four points in the second semi final, and a goal on grand final day. “It would probably have been an injustice if we’d won it,” Harman commented. “They were a very good side, and deserved to win the premiership that year.”
A strong mark and determined competitor, Len was an outstanding junior in the Temperance League, and won several League fairest and best awards. A year after he was voted best player in the under seventeens, younger brother Frank was the recipient of the same trophy. Len and Frank (who played forty seven games for West Perth) would later be teammates in the 1949 premiership triumph over Perth.
The 1947 Hobart Carnival was a memorable one for Western Australian football, and Harman was part of it. In a controversial finish Western Australia were triumphant for the first time away from home over Victoria, but lost the carnival on percentage to the Vics, after the two, with South Australia, finished level on two wins and a loss.
WA rover Harry Carbon earned the nickname “Hobart Harry” by making a throwing motion when on the mark as Victorian full forward Fred Fanning was about to kick at goal after the final siren, with his side five behinds down. Whether it actually distracted Fanning or not is a matter of opinion, but the kick went off line and WA won by four points. Carbon had previously stated that he had set his sights on Hobart, but even the brash Harry wouldn’t have envisaged the scenario that unfolded.
Len Harman lined up with Bill Alderman and Bill O’Neill on the half back line in that epic match, after having debuted in a back pocket alongside Ray Starr and Jack Murray in the opener against South Australia. He went on to play in eight WA second sides, and was captain against North Melbourne in 1953.
A member of two open competition premiership teams (1949 and 51), he played in five losing grand finals- 1946,47,48,52, and 53, and inevitably rose to the occasion in big games. The Simpson Medal seemed to be in his grasp in several of those, and he was unlucky not to be awarded at least one.
Truckdriving to far flung areas interfered with football, and it ultimately led to Len Harman’s league retirement in 1954. He later played for a season and a half with Sunday League side Scarborough before answering an SOS from West Perth seconds coach Ray Schofield to help out, finally hanging up the boots after the losing 1956 grand final. He was a committee member at the Cardinals in 1957 and 58, and in 1968 and 69 was enlisted by Polly Farmer to be the captain coach’s off-field match day advisor.
He and wife Laurel have two daughters, Lorraine and Lesley.. “all the L’s.”
South Fremantle’s star centre half forward of the fifties, Laurie Green, was Len’s choice as hardest opponent, “he was quick and hard to handle,” while Fred Buttsworth, Popsy Heal, and Ray Schofield were the best among the many stars he played with. He also had a lot of time for South centre half back “Scranno” Jenkins. “I biffed Scranno one day,” Len said, “and the bugger returned the favour. I gave him one back, and said: “better give it away, Scranno.” He said: “If I go I’ll be taking one of you young buggers with me.”
Len Harman was one of the stars of the great West Perth side of the late forties and early fifties. His two hundred and eight games in an interrupted career stamped him as one of the club’s stars of that period, and one of it’s alltime great players.
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Len Harman 5 months 1 week ago #162385

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Thanks Bird, i intended to do a post yesterday but got caught up with work. Thanks for posting Lens passing mate.

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