John Schultz (footballer, born 1938)
|Full name||John Schultz|
|Date of birth||28 September 1938|
|Original team(s)||Caulfield Grammarians|
|Height||191 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||89 kg (196 lb)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1968.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
He had been a champion high-jumper at Caulfield Grammar School, winning the senior high jump at the 1955 Associated Grammar Schools Combined Athletics Meeting (as had South Melbourne's Jim Taylor in 1948). He also played for the school's First XVIII, a team which also contained other future VFL players, Ron Evans of Essendon and Ron Cabble of Hawthorn.
Schultz was recruited by Footscray from country side Boort, having previously played briefly with Caulfield Grammarians Football Club in the Victorian Amateur Football Association (he broke his arm at the opening bounce of the first Caulfield Grammarians' practice match of the 1956 season).
Schultz was considered a "gentle giant", known as much for his fairness as for his brilliance. An effective knock ruckman, he was acclaimed for good tackling, elegant marking and hard, fair bumping. Roy Wright, another "gentle giant" and Brownlow medallist, helped him early in his career: "after lining up on Roy Wright in one of my first matches, he came to the dressing rooms after the match and gave me a few hints on things I did and didn't do right". Compared with others of his day, Schultz had exceptional stamina and he seemed to be able to run just as quickly at the end of a match as he had at its beginning.
Schultz won the Brownlow Medal in 1960 (when only 21 years old) by one vote from Fitzroy's Kevin Murray. He was Footscray's best and fairest player five times (1960, 1962, 1964–66). Schultz played for Victoria 21 times, and was an All-Australian in 1961.
In 1961, Footscray, playing a fast game using the soon-to-be-outlawed "flick pass", won through to their second Grand Final, this time against Hawthorn, who were playing in their first Grand Final. On a hot day, in front of over 100,000 spectators, the Hawks, dubbed Kennedy's Commandos for their fanatical approach to fitness, overran the Bulldogs in the second half to claim their first VFL premiership.
His younger brother Robert, also from Caulfield Grammar School, played two senior games for Footscray in 1963.
Fittingly for a man who was known for his fairness and never once reported, Schultz later served on the league tribunal. He once said, "I love nothing more than seeing someone shake another player's hand after a tough game – that's the ultimate in sportsmanship." In 1996 Schultz was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame with the following citation:
- Rucking giant who never let the side down. Set the standard for the modern ruckman.
Schultz is still heavily involved at the Bulldogs, serving as a mentor to the playing group. He was given the honour of handing the Premiership cup to Easton Wood, Luke Beveridge and Robert Murphy after the Western Bulldogs won the 2016 AFL Grand Final.
- Knox, K. (8 August 1967). "Schultz Turns on a Vintage Game". The Age. p. 24.
- Geoff Slattery (ed), The Brownlow, Slattery Media, Docklands, 2010, p. 139.
- Baum, Greg (23 September 2016). "AFL finals: New Dogs pulling off old tricks at Footscray". The Age.
- Geoff Slattery (ed), The Brownlow, Slattery Media, Docklands, 2010, p. 138.
- Wood, Lauren (26 September 2016). "Premiership cup presenters and field umpires named for 2016 AFL Grand Final". FoxSports Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Ross, John (1999). The Australian Football Hall of Fame. Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 118. ISBN 0-7322-6426-X.