In a recent post imention was made of the merits of former Swan Districts rover Billy Walker in comparison to a present day player. It is always hard to compare players of different eras, especially for those too young to have seen them in action, but with the lull in footy action and news it is worth having a look at the career one of this State’s most decorated players. Billy Walker was born at Huntley, New Zealand in February 1942. His family moved to Narembeen , a small town which has produced a number of star WAFL players. He made his debut for Swans in 1961, retiring in 1976. In that period he managed to chalk up 305 games for Swans plus 20 appearances for WA. He won four Sandover Medals,a Lindy Award for WA Sportsman of the Year, a Simpson Medal, Swans fairest and best five times, Daily News Footballer of the Year twice, ABC Footballer of the Year once, and Channel 7 Footballer of the Year twice. Walker topped Swan Districts goalkicking once and won an All Australian blazer. He also captain-coached Swans for three years and played in three consecutive premiership sides under Haydn Bunton. Walker was chased as a nineteen year old by all eight WAFL clubs but settled on Swans because of their “country style activities”. Swans were the reigning wooden spooners, and he only intended to see if he could match it with the top bracket. A premiership in that year plus the enthusiasm and inspiration at the club, with the little general Bunton junior at the helm ensured Walker wasn’t going anywhere else in a hurry. And he never did. Despite offers from Victorian clubs he was a one club stalwart at Bassendean, joining the club’s Board of Directors after his playing days were over and becoming President of the club. Walker could kick goals with either foot, was an in and under player who was fleet of foot and had the knack of seeming to be everywhere the ball happened to bounce. One of his strengths was just that..his strength, which made tackling him a difficult proposition. The sixties was a great era for WA football, with many true stars of the game running around, such as Farmer, Cable, Todd, Sheedy, Whinnen, John McIntosh, Mal Brown, Dempsey, Bunton, Chadwick, Sorrell, Slater, Austin Robertson, Gerovich, Bagley, Kilmurray and France. To achieve the team success and individual honors of the magnitude Bill Walker did was certainly an achievement to marvel at, and does give him the right to be compared with any player of any era.
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