Bulldogs coaching great receives national honour

Saturday, September 30, 2017 - 11:15 AM by Chris Pike

NO recognition is too much for West Australian football legend John Dimmer and the dual premiership-winning South Fremantle coach this week was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the AFL Coaches Association.

By the time Dimmer arrived as senior coach at South Fremantle in 2004, he had already put together one of the more remarkable careers in WA football both as a player at Subiaco and East Perth, and a coach in the WAFL with West Perth and even at West Coast Amateur Football Club along with time in the AFL with the Fremantle Dockers.

But his time with the Bulldogs will go down in history as one of the most successful in history of the proud football club.

Following a tough few years for South Fremantle following the 1997 premiership and 1999 grand final appearance, Dimmer quickly arrived and turned the culture around in remarkable fashion.

It began with a first semi-final appearance in that 2004 season with a loss to Swan Districts but by 2005, Dimmer's game plan was in full swing with the Bulldogs running hard off half-back, moving the ball quickly and being a strong, attacking team.

The result was a dominant finals performance by the Bulldogs on the way to the premiership with a 56-point grand final win over Claremont.

South Fremantle again made the grand final in 2006 but lost to Subiaco and again lost to the Lions in the preliminary final of 2007.

An injury-ravaged Bulldogs lost in the first semi-final to Swan Districts in 2008 but everything again came together in 2009. South Fremantle put together a dominant season to finish off with the premiership by beating Subiaco once more in the grand final.

Then after a down year in 2010, it was back to the finals in 2011 for the Bulldogs before a first semi-final loss to Subiaco at Leederville Oval that ended up being Dimmer's last match at the helm.

It brought to an end a remarkable run over eight-year run for Dimmer coaching South Fremantle that resulted in seven finals appearances, three grand finals, two premierships and an overall 108-64.

On top of that, Dimmer was awarded life membership of the South Fremantle Football Club last year.

Just that stint as South Fremantle coach is more than most ever achieve in a lifetime, but it only tells part of the remarkable story of Dimmer's career.

Following success with West Coast Amateur Football Club, Dimmer took over the helm of West Perth in 1995. In five years with the Falcons, he led them to grand finals in 1995, 1998 and 1999 for premiership triumphs in 1995 and 1999. He was also there helping Darren Harris for the 2003 flag.

Dimmer also coached the First XVIII at Christ Church Grammar School and has coached Western Australia in state football. All up, he won 12 premierships in 25 seasons as either a senior coach or assistant coach with South Fremantle, West Perth Claremont, Fremantle and West Coast AFC.

But again his story doesn’t end there. He had a tremendous playing career racking up 171 matches in the WAFL at Subiaco and East Perth along with five state matches. He was a premiership player with Subiaco in 1973 and captained East Perth in 1983.

The Lifetime Achievement Award from the AFL Coaches Association is yet another accolade to add to Dimmer's remarkable career and this one is extra special given it is a national honour.

Considering some of the other names on the list of past winners includes Mark Williams, Neale Daniher, Russell Ebert, John Todd, Neil Kerley and Haydn Bunton Jr only highlights what a tremendous honour the award is.

Presented in conjunction with Momentum Energy this award is in recognition of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution (in any capacity) to the game over a 'footy' lifetime.

2016 - Mark Williams (Essendon, Port Adelaide, GWS, Richmond)
2015 - David Wheadon
2014 - Neale Daniher (Essendon, Melbourne, West Coast)
2013 - George Stone (Hawthorn & Sydney)
2012 - John Beveridge (St. Kilda)
2011 - Russell Ebert (Port Adelaide) & Geoff Walsh (Collingwood)
2010 - Barrie Downs (Adelaide)
2009 - Bruce Reid & Ian Reynolds (Essendon)
2008 - Ian Ridley (Melbourne)
2007 - Wally Miller
2006 - Dr John Grant (VIC)
2005 - John Todd (WA)
2004 - Neil Kerley (SA)
2003 - Haydn Bunton Jnr (WA)