John Todd addresses his West Coast players during a VFL game in 1989. Picture: AFL Photos

The Australian Football League today said John Todd would be remembered as one of the finest coaches in the history of Australian football, and a leader of men who had influenced hundreds of players across generations of the game in Western Australia.

Todd, a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame and a Legend in the West Australian Football Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 86. He coached three separate WAFL clubs to a total of six premierships across a four-decade career – East Fremantle, Swan Districts and South Fremantle – as well as coaching West Coast to its first-ever finals’ appearance in the AFL after a serious knee injury curtailed an outstanding playing career that still saw him be the youngest-ever winner of the Sandover Medal and a carnival All Australian.

AFL Commission Chair Richard Goyder, chair of the Australian Football Hall of Fame, said the West Australian football community and the wider football world would be deeply saddened by Todd’s passing.

“John Todd was successful in every aspect of his football journey and influenced so much of West Australian football to demand the highest standards and seek for constant improvement,” Mr Goyder said.

“To win premierships at three different clubs is an extraordinary achievement. He moulded players into great teams but I want to acknowledge too that John had an unbelievable love of the game and football people across his entire life.

“In the privilege of being able to spend time with him in recent years, he was still a regular attendee at games, engaged with everyone across football and was a great advocate for the game and what it could do for people and communities. He was incredibly tough, building his career after injury took away his playing days, and he had the highest standards as a coach, but he was also incredibly generous and he was a person who made our game great, particularly in WA in the time when state league football was the pinnacle of the game.

“He was an extraordinary talent from his very first appearance as a 17-year-old, winning a Sandover Medal with South Fremantle, and he will always be remembered too as a part of the WA side that won the national title at the 1961 Carnival.

“He will be deeply missed by all and we will honour his memory at the forthcoming Hall of Fame inductions on June 18, as one of the greatest coaches in the history of football,” Mr Goyder said.

Mr Goyder said the AFL offered its deepest condolences to his wife Meryl, the wider Todd family and his many friends.

John Todd (second from right) with John Platten, Wayne Richardson and Jim Stynes at the 2003 Australian Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Picture: AFL Photos

John Todd's career record

  • 132 games for South Fremantle, 1955-66
  • 13 games for WA
  • 1955 Sandover Medal
  • 1955, 1958, 1961 Best and Fairest
  • 1961 All Australian (carnival)
  • South Fremantle coach 1959, 1966-68 and 1995-98
  • East Fremantle coach 1973-76
  • Swan Districts coach 1977-87, 1990-94 and 2000-02.
  • West Coast (AFL) coach 1988-89
  • WA coach 14 games
  • Australia coach six games 1984, 1986
  • East Fremantle premiership 1974
  • Swan Districts premierships 1982, 1983, 1984, 1990
  • South Fremantle premiership 1997
  • Australian Football Hall of Fame (coach)
  • WA Hall of Fame (Legend)