Hibbins the greatest amateur of them all

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Nick Armistead

Not only was he arguably the greatest Amateur player of all time but Geoff Hibbins was a student of the game and one of the first to adopt the switch kick, according to nephew and Collegians champion Mark Hibbins.

Speaking on the ‘Clubs in Focus’ Podcast, the dual premiership coach & two-time Moore medallist echoed his late father’s words regarding his uncle’s astute game sense.

“My dad (Lex) would tell me how good Geoff was,” Mark said.

“Geoff was a bit of a thinker and he was probably one of the first coaches who said we don’t just get the ball and kick it forward.

“He was very big on watching the soccer and he would try and bring the ball down the other side or what people would talk about switching the play now.”

Geoff was captain/coach of Collegians for four seasons, but it was his prowess as a player that set him apart from all others.

By the end of his career, Geoff had won three Woodrow Medals (A Section), two Moore Medals (B Section), six club best & fairest awards and starred in five A Section premierships.

He is the only player in VAFA history to win three Woodrows, with Ayce Cordy (Uni Blues), Jake Williams (De La Salle), Brendan Iezzi (Old Trinity), Bernie Dinneen (Marcellin), Matthew McConvill (Ormond), Norman Beattie (Coburg), Jock Nelson (MHSOB) and Lindsay Hassett (Geelong) each winning the award twice.

His prolonged greatness is no more evident than the fact he won his Woodrows 10 years apart; 1951, 1958 and 1961. He holds the mantle for the highest recorded number of A Section votes in one season when he polled 36.5 in 1961.

For a short time, Geoff decided to try his hand in the VFL where he played 33 games with St Kilda from 1952-54. However, unlike many others at the time, Geoff played VFL as an amateur and thus was not required to sit out the mandatory two-year period upon returning to Collegians.

When perhaps his legend could not grow much more, Geoff also captained the representative VAFA side which defeated the VFL/VFA team in an exhibition match during the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.

For a full rundown of Geoff’s accomplishments and in-depth interviews with Mark Hibbins, Alec ‘The Chief’ O’Brien, Shura Taft and Nick Roach, tune into the VAFA’s ‘Clubs in Focus’ Podcast tomorrow.