When Wayne Allard made his league debut for Perth against East Fremantle in round one of the 1991 season he joined club legend Ern Henfry and star player Brian Cousins as members of an elite group to have represented the Demons at that level at the tender age of sixteen. Born in Bentley and playing under tens with the Carlisle juniors, Allard continued his formative years in Darwin, when the family moved there in 1985. As a fifteen year old he was playing league as a rover with local club Nightcliff when the Perth Football Club brought him back home and played him in their colts side. Wayne Allard justified the faith of the Demons by winning the fairest and best for the colts in 1990, and it was a natural progression for the nuggety rover to be promoted to the league side the following season. “It was an education for a young bloke of my age, but there were some great mentors around, including Adrain Barich, Willie Dick, John Gavranich, and Scott Spalding,” Allard reminisced. Coach Ken Armstrong nursed the young tyro early on, and he was to make only a dozen appearances for Perth in his first two seasons, but it was a master stroke by Armstrong in 1993 that saw Allard moved to a back pocket. “There were a few pretty sharp aboriginal players, such as Troy Ugle and the Kicketts, running around kicking goals at the time, and Ken had done his homework about my stint in Darwin, so he must have reckoned my experience playing on the livewire indigenous blokes up there could well come in handy,” Wayne said with a smile. A pacy, compact player at five foot nine and eighty five kg's, Allard developed into a tough, no nonsense defender, with a dependable pair of hands, and he swept all before him in 1993, winning the club's fairest and best. Elected vice captain in 1994 at the age of twenty, he played his hundredth game with Perth the following season. In 1997, Allard lined up in a back pocket for Western Australia against Tasmania. After notching up his one hundred and thirty ninth game at the end of the 1998 season, Allard shocked the Perth club by asking for a clearance to East Fremantle. “It was a hard decision, but I had got to know a few of the East Fremantle boys, and my football had stagnated a bit, so I thought a change might be what I needed,”he said. At East Fremantle, Allard was a member of the 2000 grand final side that lost to East Perth, and played a total of four seasons and fifty four games with the Sharks, retiring from league football at the end of the 2002 season after 194 league appearances. “I'd had a good run, and probably couldn't dedicate myself fully to the team given the growing demands of my work so I knew it was time to step aside for the younger guys ,” he explained. Life after football was to be delayed, however, a call from former Perth teammate Matthew McMurray in 2003 resulting in the cleaning of the boots for a stint at Dalwallinu for about half a season. Retirement plans were shelved again the following year as Allard continued on at Dalli for another season. The following year Wickepin approached Allard to take over as coach for the 2004 season. “Any ideas or ambitions I may have had of coaching rapidly deteriorated after giving it a go. It was an interesting season, and we did OK, finishing fifth, but it wasn't exactly my cup of tea,” Wayne said. Wayne Allard took the game up again recently in, of all places, Hong Kong. “ We were there for twelve months,” he explained. “ I lined up with the Hong Kong Dragons in a competition formed by Aussie expatriots, and we played on Sundays.” He still tries to get to a game at Lathlain to watch good mate Troy Cook when he can, but works on Saturdays, which severely limits his time. Wayne rates Willie Dick as the best player he'd played with. “Electrifying,” was his appraisal of the former Perth and Essendon star. Of those he'd crossed swords with, the names of Troy Ugle, Stephen Bilcich, Derek Kickett, and Brad Bootsma came to mind. “All tough but fair players.” Allard still loves his football, but has concerns about the sanitisation of the game. “There aren't any characters any more, are there?” he said. “The best part of the footy in my days, especially the early ones, were the times we had with blokes like Mick Rea, John Zaikos, Spaldo, Barra and many others of that ilk.” The affable Allard had a couple of humorous moments to share with us.“Against South at Lathlain,” said Wayne, “Scottie Spalding went for a blistering run around the flank and had the goals lined up. One of our new Victorian recruits made an impressive goal saving tackle on the nonplussed Scott, much to the delight of the South players and the chagrin of ours.” “Another game at Claremont, Joe Smith marked right on the siren, close to goal, and on a slight angle,”he said. “We were two points in front. Much to our delight, Joe saw a bloke on his own in the square and promptly dispatched the perfect pass. Of course, the siren had gone and we won by two points.” A financial planner during the week, Allard enjoys being with family and friends on weekends, especially spending time with wife, Fiona, who was a “very handy” State League basketballer a few years ago. With those genes the local AFL clubs might be well advised to keep a check on the progress of the young Allards. At this stage, Allard has two daughters but says there might be room for a few more at home. Let's see what happens!
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