Four men sitting for a press conference, a bald man in the centre wearing a suit

Port Adelaide football legend Geof Motley dies aged 88

South Australian football has lost one of its most decorated players with the death of Geof Motley.

Key points:

Geof Motley, 88, died on Tuesday afternoon after a short illness
The Port Adelaide club legend was a member of the Australian and SA football hall of fame
In his 14 seasons with Port Adelaide, he was part of nine premierships including four as captain

In a statement, the Port Adelaide Football Club said the 88-year-old died on Tuesday afternoon after a short illness.

In a 14-year career with Port Adelaide, Motley played in a record nine premiership sides including four as captain.

Although he adopted the rugged Magpie ethos, Motley was never reported in 258 games and never argued with umpires simply because “I have never yet seen one change his decision”.

Motley grew up at Port Adelaide and made his senior debut as a 17-year-old in 1953.

Geof Motley won nine league premierships with Port Adelaide, along with four best-and-fairest awards and a Magarey Medal. (Supplied: Port Adelaide Football Club)

The following season he won the first of what would be Port Adelaide’s record-breaking six flags on end.

In the 1957 grand final against arch-rival Norwood, he was shifted from centre into the forward line to give the Magpies a lift and he responded with seven goals — including four in the last quarter.

“He is the first player I think of when asked to name the player who provided confidence and loyalty at Port Adelaide,” coach Fos Williams once said.

“He was a most reliable footballer whether at half-forward or half-back.”

When Williams stepped down as coach in 1958, Motley captain-coached the Magpies to the premiership — an achievement he considered his greatest moment.

“I found his [Williams’s] shoes pretty big to fill,” he said later.

“We lost our first minor round game and then won the rest.

“It was probably the most important moment of my football life, I would suggest, because if you coach and captain and do all that sort of stuff it adds more significance to it.”

Four men sitting for a press conference, a bald man in the centre wearing a suit

David Koch says Geof Motley represented the club with “great distinction”.(AAP: Kelly Barne)

Two seasons later, he was replaced as coach by Williams but remained at Alberton where he captained the club to three more premierships.

He was Port Adelaide’s club champion four times and won the Magarey Medal in 1964.

Motley was selected 28 times for South Australia and was part of the side that defeated Victoria on the MCG in 1963.

While his heart was always at Alberton, he coached North Adelaide in the late 1960s and served on the match committee at Sturt where his son, Peter, played.

In 2008, Motley was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and the Port Adelaide players race at Adelaide Oval is named in his honour.

Port Adelaide chairman David Koch said Motley was “one of our all-time greats”.

“Born and raised in the Port Adelaide district, all Geof knew was the Port Adelaide Football Club,” he said.

“It was his world, his life. All he wanted to do was represent Port Adelaide. And he did that with great distinction.”

The club’s chief executive officer, Matthew Richardson, said Motley’s contribution to football in South Australia was “enormous”.

He described Motley as “strong, imposing” and “balanced, skilful and so versatile” on the field.

“We pass on our heartfelt condolences to Geof’s children Wanita, Peter and Brett and extended family,” he said.



Author: Russell White