West Australian champion Ray Schofield. Pictures: Supplied

ALL SORTS of rivalries permeated through the rich post-war West Australian football scene through the 1940s and 1950s, but there was one individual matchup that thrilled fans for the best part of the decade.

Bernie Naylor was the star full-forward for South Fremantle. Ray Schofield was the champion full-back from West Perth. And they played on each other for years, their legendary duels enthralling fans every time.

Naylor went into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2018. Such was the evenness of their battles that it was just a matter of time before Schofield joined him.

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Schofield began his football career as a full-forward and after serving in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1944-45, made his senior WANFL debut for West Perth in 1946 and 12 months later, he played for the Cardinals, as they were, in the losing 1947 Grand Final.

Then came the move to full-back, at the behest of coach Stan 'Pops' Heal, and it is where he starred for the next decade.

As full-back, he was West Perth's best and fairest five times – in 1948, 1950, 1953, 1954 and 1955. He played in West Perth premierships in 1949 and 1951.


"He was very hard to play on," said his son Kevin, who never saw him play but grew up with all the stories from the old-timers at West Perth and others who watched him in action.

"Bernie Naylor used to say you had to get away from him, otherwise you wouldn't get a look in.

"Otherwise, it was his kicking ability. His drop-kicks from the backline used to land in the centre of the ground. And he was a hard player. He was renowned for his hardness."

Schofield was also a swingman well before the role came into vogue and towards the end of his career, he returned to the forward line and was West Perth's leading goalkicker in 1957.

Ray Schofield (left) walks from the field with opponent Ron Tucker. Picture: Supplied

He became captain-coach in 1958, his final season and in round 10 he played his 248th game to become the state's games record holder. He then became the first elite footballer to play 250 games.

He retired with 259 games and 169 goals to his name.

Schofield also played 22 interstate matches for Western Australia including the 1950 Brisbane and 1953 Adelaide Carnivals.

He was selected as full-back in West Perth's official Team of the Century and in 2004 was one of the inaugural inductees in the WA Football Hall of Fame.

His brother Trevor Schofield also played 147 games for West Perth as well as 18 for Claremont.

WA champion Ray Schofield. Picture: Supplied

Schofield was a remarkably loyal person. After a few seasons playing in the Sunday competition, he returned to West Perth as a trainer in 1963 and was at the club for every game and training session until 1990.

And after retiring to Mandurah, he would regularly catch the train to Joondalup to watch his beloved club.

This approach mirrored his working life. He left school at the age 14 and joined his brother at Vinegar Brewery when it was based in West Perth. The company later moved to Wembley and he worked there until he retired.

He only ever had one footy club and one employer.

"Very loyal and very generous," Kevin Schofield said. "Just a champion footballer and champion bloke. Everyone's just sort of gobsmacked that he's been recognised for his efforts, and it's been just brilliant. Words can't describe it."

Schofield died in 2017, aged 92.

Ray Schofield

  • 277 games. 261 goals. 23 state games
  • 72 career Sandover Medal votes (best finish 4th in 1950)
  • Breckler Medal winner 1948, 1950, 1953, 1954, 1955
  • WPFC premiership player 1949, 1951
  • WPFC leading goalkicker 1943, 1947, 1957
  • WPFC captain 1952, 1957. WPFC captain-coach 1958
  • WA Football Hall of Fame member
  • WPFC Team of the Century (full back)
  • WPFC Life Member