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Premiership Dog Harvey Stevens passes away at 86

Daniel Talia of the Adelaide Crows and Michael Talia of the Western Bulldogs pose with their grandfather prior to the 2013 NAB AFL Rising Star Award at the Crown Palladium, Melbourne on September 04, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Harvey Stevens with Daniel and Michael Talia at the 2013 NAB AFL Rising Star presentation

HARVEY Stevens, who played in the ruck in Footscray's 1954 premiership team, has passed away.

He was 86.

Stevens was the grandfather of Adelaide defender Daniel Talia and Sydney defender Michael Talia, who he vigorously defended last year when he was accused by the Bulldogs, who he played for at the time, of handing game-sensitive information to his brother ahead of the Dogs-Adelaide elimination final in 2015.

Recruited from Reservoir, Stevens started his League career at Collingwood in 1948 where he played 52 games over the next five seasons.

He played at full-forward in the side that lost the 1952 Grand Final to Geelong in what turned out to be his last game for the club.

Stevens was seen to be unfit when he returned for pre-season training the following year, although another version of events is that he was a convenient scapegoat for the Grand Final defeat.

He immediately crossed to Footscray, won the best and fairest in his first season and played in the club's first premiership team the following year. He only arrived at the MCG 30 minutes before the game after having left his football boots at home.

All up, he played 72 games for the Bulldogs from 1953 to 1957.

Only seven members of the famous 1954 premiership team - Angus Abbey, Peter Box, Jim Gallagher, Herb Henderson, Doug Reynolds, Don Ross and Ron Stockman – are still alive. 

The Bulldogs tweeted their condolences on Wednesday.