GOOD thing for Ted Tyson that he did the right thing by his mother.
In the lead-up to the 1930 WAFL season, the promising 20-year-old forward from a prominent Kalgoorlie football family missed West Perth’s opening scratch match against East Fremantle, preferring to play cricket instead.
Tyson’s mother was waiting at the railway station to collect him that morning, but to no avail.
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The club then dispatched a tersely worded letter to Tyson expressing its disappointment and mentioning that his absence left his mother feeling “down in the dumps”.
Tyson pleased his mother – and the club – by turning up to play the next week, this time in the season-opener, also against East Fremantle, and it was the start of a magnificent career that has culminated with his induction into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
His numbers are incredible. He played 232 games for the Cardinals, as they were known, between 1930 and 1945, kicking 1203 goals at an average of 5.25 a game.
He finished six seasons having kicked 100 goals or more, was an 11-time leading goalkicker for West Perth and headed the WAFL goalkicking on four occasions.
His most remarkable game might have been on September 10, 1938, in an eight-point loss to Swan Districts when he kicked 17 out of West Perth’s 18 goals.
The odd aspect to Tyson’s career is how relatively few state games he featured in for Western Australia.
He played just four times, all at the 1933 carnival in Sydney. Before then, George Moloney was the first-choice full-forward for the state, while from 1934 it was East Fremantle’s George Doig, a 2002 inductee into the Hall of Fame, who regularly got the nod.
It seems odd that the WA selectors never thought to pick them at the same time and perhaps instruct the coaches to find a way to make them play alongside each other.
Still, Tyson forged a mighty career. According to his son, Craig, he was not overly tall at 177cm, but was a terrific player at ground level.
"He was a natural right-footer, but could kick equally well with both feet and was reportedly excellent with the snap-shot," he said.
"He told me on a number of occasions that some of the players he played with were very good at delivering the ball, so he didn’t have to rely on high marking. They could pinpoint the ball to him pretty well."
Tyson was the nephew of Charlie Tyson, who played 106 games for Collingwood and 38 for North Melbourne between 1920 and 1929. Charlie had five brothers who all played football to a high standard in Kalgoorlie and elsewhere. One of those was Sam Tyson, who was Ted’s father.
"My father was very serious about his football because he had to travel a lot to train and play in the early days," Craig Tyson said.
"He must have been keen because there wasn’t much money involved. You played for the love of the game."
Ted Tyson remained a keen West Perth man after he retired.
Dennis Cometti, a young West Perth forward before becoming a broadcasting icon, recalls chatting with Tyson, who took a key interest in all the emerging forwards at the club.
"He was just a very nice man," he said.
West Perth people are delighted at what they believe is long overdue recognition of Tyson.
It means that 10 of the 12 players to have kicked more than 1000 career goals in the AFL/VFL, SANFL or WAFL have now made it into the Hall of Fame.
Only Port Adelaide’s Tim Evans and current-day superstar Lance Franklin have yet to make it.
Tyson was exceedingly modest, but as son Craig said, "He would have been delighted and surprised to make the Hall of Fame.
"I never expected it and didn’t believe it would happen."