Malcolm Blight in action for North Melbourne

THERE wasn't one thing Malcolm Blight couldn't do as a football player and coach.

Multiple premierships as a player and as a coach, the VFL's last playing-coach. He won a Brownlow Medal, a Magarey, best-and-fairests, All-Australians, and in the last of his nine wonderful years for North Melbourne in the VFL, with 100 goals in the 1982 season, he added a Coleman Medal to his collection.

Blight is the latest guest on's special series Centurions, highlighting the VFL/AFL's elite 28 players (21 still living) who have kicked 100 goals in a season.


"It was the first time ever that I had played the one spot," Blight said of his 100 goals in 1982. "I remember someone wrote a story about it about two-thirds during the season, and because there were 100-goalkickers around at that time, saying no one would kick it this year, and they were probably right at the time and I just had, after the injuries had finished, a good run into the finals."


Blight, an official Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend, coached Geelong to losing Grand Finals in 1989, 1992 and 1994, and the Adelaide Crows to winning ones in 1997 and 1998. He lasted just 15 matches as St Kilda coach in 2001.

"That's the tapestry of me – it hasn't been perfect," Blight said. "Nothing is perfect, and how that decision (at the Saints) was made, how they employed me and didn't know me, that's the strangest part of it.

"Who knows how it started, why it started, but it certainly finished."

Malcolm Blight during his time as St Kilda coach in 2001. Picture: AFL Photos

Blight said he got great joy out of helping impact the extraordinary career of Gary Ablett senior, who kicked 100 goals in a season on three occasions, twice under Blight.

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"Gary thought of himself more as a half-forward flanker, not as a key-position player, so the transition from that wing/half-forward role to go to full-forward,  he didn't know everything, and he admitted to it, so to actually spend some time with him to, let's say, show some full-forward tricks, I enjoyed and it was probably the best part," Blight said.

"I loved coaching, I loved teaching, and it was a bonus that he actually kicked a hundred a couple of times. And he enjoyed it too, he enjoyed the actual teaching and the working on it."

Blight laments the current era of coaching.

"The coaching became an issue of 'don't get beaten by too much'," Blight said. "Otherwise, you lose your job quicker. That team defence is a reasonable way to do it, but I will tell you now, for the last 10 years, and let's call it modern footy, if you don't kick 15 goals you don't win the Grand Final.

"One of the things I find distracting and disappointing that you make a bloke – six foot seven and a pretty good centre-half-forward – you make him run 15kms and never touch the footy. Now, is that the best use of that talent? Every coach now, if they asked themselves that question, they wouldn't do it. And you know what also, most of the coaches now, nearly all of them, haven't played in this era. So they are actually playing follow-the-whoever."

Malcolm Blight and Mark Bickley hold Adelaide's 1998 premiership cup aloft. Picture: AFL Photos