Western Australia has produced ruckmen who in their era were without peer throughout Australia. Merv McIntosh, Les McClements, Graham Farmer, Jack Clarke, and Stephen Michael were unbeatable in their day, and have enjoyed legend status ever since. A worthy addition to that exclusive group is Graham Moss. Moss not only proved his greatness in Western Australia with Claremont, he imposed himself onto the Victorian football scene with Essendon in explosive style in 1973, being runner up for the Brownlow Medal in his first season. He went one better in 1976 and won the coveted trophy, after finishing in the top five of the award in 1975. Taking off the Essendon fairest and best in 1974, 5, and 6, Moss was also the winner of the “player of the year” prizes offered by the “Observer” and “Truth” newspapers in 1976, the year he captained Essendon. “The Sun” selected him in their All star teams of 1975 and 76, the latter as vice captain. He represented Victoria in 1974, 75, and 76, for a total of five appearances, and from his eighty four games at Essendon kicked sixty seven goals. A product of the Dalkeith-Nedlands juniors, Graham Moss played his first game for Claremont at the age of eighteen, in a back pocket against West Perth, in the first game of the 1969 season. He was soon moved into the ruck, and made such progress that he debuted for Western Australia the following year, against South Australia at Subiaco Oval, where, with the presence of Graham Farmer and Bill Dempsey, he helped form an impressive onball partnership. At six foot five and sixteen stone, Moss was agile for his size, as well as a strong mark, and worked constructively with his rovers and midfielders. He was very strong in pack situations and could hold his ground against several opponents. A destructive force in the forward line, he was indeed a goal scoring ruckman. Moss was among Claremont's best in their premiership year of 1972, and the Tigers were already resigned to the fact that they would be unable to hold onto their star, faced with the talent scouts hovering from the East. Essendon had been in constant touch with Moss throughout his career, and the persistence paid off when he signed with them for four years after the 1972 season. Moss went into contract proceedings with a position of strength, however, and he made a stipulation that he could return after four years if he so wished, a stipulation that turned out to be a wise move. Well aware of the situation, Claremont offered Moss their coaching job after the 1976 season, which Moss accepted, much to the chagrin of the Bombers, and in so doing, he turned his back on a lucrative future in Melbourne to return home. Times had changed for the Tigers since the euphoria of seventy two, and onfield the club was struggling. At twenty six, Moss had taken on another challenge. As a playing coach, no one could have done more for a team than the star ruckman did in the ensuing eight seasons, winning the club's fairest and best in each of the four years following his return. The players responded, and Claremont returned to finals football, finally winning a flag under Moss in the 1981 season, and were runners up in the following two years. In 1977, Graham Moss was the winner of the Simpson Medal as WA's best player in the inaugural State of Origin match, against Victoria. The Graham Moss Medal later became the trophy awarded to the best player of State of Origin games. Retiring as a player after the 1983 season, Moss continued as Claremont coach until the end of the 1986 season, when he was appointed General Manager of the West Coast Eagles, a position which was to be the forerunner of a career in club and organisational management for Moss. He played a further one game in 1985, giving him a total of 343 league games, consisting of 254 at the Tigers and 89 with Essendon, plus a further twenty for WA (as well as captaining the side) and five with Victoria, a grand tally of 368. He was also an All Australian. A member of the AFL Hall of Fame, as well as being named a Legend, and also an inductee at the West Australian Hall of Fame, Graham Moss is definitely in the elite as far as ruckmen of our game are concerned, and was a star of two States.
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