In 1966, East Perth colts coach Ray Pages-Oliver paid a visit to a young sixteen year old ruckman , who had been starring with East Perth- Highgate juniors. For the East Perth Football Club it was to be a fortuitous visit by Pages-Oliver, because the young Ian McCulloch was to give the club many good years of service. Playing most of his first season in the colts and reserves, McCulloch showed in his league debut, against Swan Districts, that he would be a long term proposition for the Royals. Rucking against Cyril Litterick and Keith Slater, both State representatives that year, he acquitted himself well, and stayed in the side for the remaining four games of the year, including a losing grand final against Perth. A hard working six foot three ruckman who employed good use of the body, McCulloch led the Royals ruck for three seasons, before Wanneroo, in a push for a first-ever Sunday League premiership, enticed him to play for them in 1969. It was a great year for the Roos, under coach Joe Fanchi, and they duly took the flag, with a scintillating grand final display by McCulloch not only ensuring a win, but igniting the interest of new East Perth coach, Mal Brown. Brown wasted no time in getting the big man back to where he rightfully belonged, with two more seasons of good football, which in turn, attracted the interest of Fitzroy's talent scout, Bruce Wilkinson. Ian lined up with the Roys in 1972, and went on to play seventy games with the middle of the table club. Fifth was the closest they came to finals over his four years, while McCulloch didn't let them down, winning the Fitzroy Businessman's Association Fairest and Best Award for 1973. Back at Lotons in 1976, McCulloch continued with the Royals until calling it a day after the 1979 season, at the age of thirty one. After half a season as a player at Collie Mines Rovers in 1980, he captain coached the side the following season, when they were beaten in the grand final. In 1987, Ian returned to the coaching ranks, with a return to the scene of his 1969 success, Wanneroo, where he tasted premiership champagne again, in his second season, 1988. After a year with East Perth reserves as mentor, McCulloch was subsequently appointed East Perth League coach for three seasons, 1989-91, making the finals in 1991. A hotelier for twenty five years(how many Royal hangovers have been instigated at the Brisbane?), Ian is now a TAB agent at the Dogswamp agency. He has been a member of the Western Australian Golf Club at Yokine for four years, where he enjoys the company of a host of other stars of the East Perth past. Like most East Perth players we have interviewed, the name of “Polly” Farmer received pride of place when asked about best players. However, in Ian's case, it was as best he'd played against, as McCulloch never actually played with the great man. Best he played with went to Kevin Murray and a Fitzroy teammate, Gary Wilson. In his one hundred and ten games with East Perth, Ian McCulloch served the club well, and his performances at both East Perth and Fitzroy underlined his value as a top level ruckman. At the Wanneroo club, McCulloch is deservedly recognised as one of their greatest ever.
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