The Australian Football League (AFL) tonight announced that three-time Sandover Medal winner Merv McIntosh and ten-time SANFL Premiership Coach Jack Oatey AM had both been named as an official Legend of the Game.

McIntosh and Oatey, now the 30th and 31st Legends of the Game, were joined by four new inductees into the Hall of Fame at tonight’s broadcast function in Debbie Lee, Chris Judd, Nathan Burke, and Rob Wiley.

Lee is the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame.

On the 25-year anniversary of the Hall of Fame this year since its inception in 1996, to ensure that historical greats of the game were recognised for their contributions to Australian Football, the selectors specifically examined the records of deceased members only for consideration of Legend status this year.

A standout ruckman, Merv McIntosh played 217 games for Perth in a war-interrupted career between 1939-1955, winning a Premiership in his final year. A three-time Simpson Medallist and Sandover Medallist, McIntosh also claimed Perth’s Best and Fairest award seven times during his eleven-years at the club.

McIntosh is arguably best known for his Simpson Medal winning performance in the 1955 WAFL Grand Final, leading his side to a two-point victory over East-Fremantle after trailing by 34-points at half-time.

Also named an official Legend of the Game, Jack Oatey AM was recognised as a ten-time Premiership coach for Norwood and Sturt in the SANFL.

Coaching more than 500 wins across his career for Norwood, West Adelaide, and Sturt, Oatey had the SANFL Grand Final Best on Ground Medal – the Jack Oatey Medal –named in his honour in 1981, while still an active coach.

Making history as the first woman to be inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame, women’s football pioneer Debbie Lee was recognised for her years of service to the game as both player and then administrator. After a stellar on-field career, Lee led the creation of the first women’s team in Melbourne’s western suburbs (YCW Spurs), to her current role as General Manager, Women’s Football at the Western Bulldogs.

Dual Brownlow Medallist Judd was inducted in his first year of eligibility after a stellar career with West Coast and Carlton, Wiley recognised as a great of the WAFL in the 1970s /1980s who also starred with Richmond in the VFL and Burke lauded for a brilliant career with St Kilda.

Hall of Fame selection chair Richard Goyder, in his opening address for the broadcast, also stated that, as previously advised earlier this year, Adam Goodes had declined induction to the Hall of Fame, after the game had failed to adequately support him in the closing years of his playing career.

Mr Goyder also said Norwood centreman Garry McIntosh, a dual SANFL premiership player in 1982 /84 and games’ record-holder for the Redlegs, declined entry to the Hall, advising he had not played the game for personal honours.

The Australian Football Hall of Fame was established in 1996 and serves to recognise players, coaches, umpires, administrators, and media representatives who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian football.

The 2021 AFL Hall of Fame selection panel was comprised of Tanya Armstrong, Graham Cornes, Ross Glendinning, Karen Lyon, Bruce McAvaney, Michael O’Loughlin, and David Parkin.

Background on the new inductees follows and all previous inductees and legends are listed in the 2021 AFL Record Season Guide. 

Inductee Career Records:

Merv McIntosh - Elevated to Legend status (Player)

  • 217 games for Perth 1939-41 and 1946-1955
  • 24 games for WA
  • Premiership, 1955
  • Seven-time Best and Fairest award 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1954
  • Three-time Sandover Medal winner 1948, 1953, 1954
  • Three-time Simpson Medal winner 1952, 1953, 1955
  • Carnival All Australian, 1953
  • Tassie Medal 1953

Jack Oatey AM - Elevated to Legend status (Coach)

  • 162 games for Norwood, 1940-1941 and 1945-1952, 218 goals
  • 19 games for Norwood-North (wartime league), 1942-1944, 15 goals
  • Five games for South Melbourne 1944, four goals
  • Seven games for SA, Captain in 1949 and 1950, coach in 1949, 1950 and 1959
  • Five-time Premiership player 1941 (player), 1943 (player), 1946 (player-coach,) 1948 (player-coach), 1950 (player-coach)
  • Four-time Best and Fairest winner 1940, 1941, 1942, 1945
  • Captain, 1945-52
  • Coached Norwood 1945-1956, 229 games for 148 wins, 80 losses, one draw and three Premierships 1946 1948 1950
  • Coached West Adelaide 1957-1960, 87 games for 59 wins, 28 losses
  • Coached Sturt 1962-1982, 470 games for 314 wins, 152 losses, four draws and seven Premierships 1966-1970, 1974 and 1976
  • 12-time Premiership player overall with ten premierships total as coach in 1946, 1948, 1950, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1976
  • Captain / Coach / First Rover, Norwood Team of the Century
  • Coach, Sturt Team of the Century
  • SANFL Hall of Fame
  • SANFL Grand Final Best on Ground Medal has been Named in his honour, the Jack Oatey Medal

Debbie Lee

  • 302 VWFL games
  • Five-time Helen Lambert Medal for the VWFL competition Best and Fairest 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2001
  • Six-time All Australian
  • 16 State games for Victoria
  • Six-time State Captain for Victoria
  • Three-time Premiership player – 1991 (East Brunswick Scorpions), 2004 and 2011 (Spurs)
  • Premiership Captain, 2004 (Spurs)
  • Lisa Hardeman Medalist (Best on ground in Grand Final – 1991 and 2004)
  • Seven-time Club Best and Fairest winner
  • Club Captain at St. Albans Spurs from 1991-2004
  • VFL Women’s Rising Star medal has been named in her honour, the Debbie Lee Rising Star Medal
  • The AFL’s National Championships best player award has been named in her honour, the Debbie Lee Medal
  • Member of AFL Women’s Advisory Group
  • Current General Manager, Women’s Football at the Western Bulldogs Football Club

Chris Judd

  • 279 games and 228 goals for West Coast and Carlton
  • Premiership captain, 2006
  • Two-time Brownlow Medalist, 2004 and 2010
  • Norm Smith Medal, 2005
  • Two-time AFL Players Association MVP 2006, 2011
  • Five-time Best and Fairest 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Six-time All Australian 2004, 2006, 2008 (Captain), 2009 (Vice-Captain), 2010, 2011 (Vice-Captain)
  • Captain 2006-2007 (West Coast) 2008-2012 (Carlton)

Nathan Burke

  • 323 games for St Kilda 1987-2003, 124 goals
  • 11 games for Victoria
  • Three-time Best and Fairest winner in 1993, 1996, 1999
  • Four-time All Australian in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999
  • St Kilda Team of the Century
  • Captain 1996-2000

Rob Wiley

  • 179 games for Perth 1974-78, 1984-88, 415 goals
  • 95 games for Richmond 1979-83, 127 goals
  • 18 games for West Coast 1987, 24 goals
  • 14 games for WA, two games for Victoria
  • Three Premierships 1976 (WAFL), 1977 (WAFL), 1980 (VFL)
  • Eight Best and Fairest awards 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1984, 1985, 1986
  • Two-time All Australian 1984, 1986
  • Two-time Leading Goalkicker 1976 1977
  • Captain 1985-86
  • Perth Team of the Century
  • Perth Captain Coach 1988
  • Perth Coach 1989
  • East Fremantle Coach 2016-18
  • WAFL Hall of Fame
  • Perth FC Hall of Fame, Legend