James Francis “Jock” McHale (12 December 1882 – 4 October 1953) was an Australian rules footballer for the Collingwood Football Club in the Victorian Football League from 1903 to 1949. He also coached the Collingwood, regarded as the most successful coach in league football history. Originally joining Cobourg at junior club, he was noticed because of his consistency which led him to an invitation to play at Collingwood and debuted in 1903 as a half-back before moving into the center.
Greatest Sporting Achievements
Jock McHale became Collngwood’s premiership player in 1910. He became captain of the club from 1912 to 1913. In 1917, he became premiership playing coach and became premiership coach in 1919, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1935 and 1936. McHale had a huge impact on the club that he coached for 37 years with seven premierships including four uninterrupted flags from 1927 to 1930, an achievement that no other club has ever matched. He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame with a “Legend” status.
Why Was He So Good?
As a player, durability was Jock McHale’s reputation. He wasn’t the most brilliant player during his day but he was a good center who can play the game right. He was also an extraordinary ball handler. He was gifted with a reasonable kick that with his general skills, combined with his powerful play, made him one of the most cutthroat centers in the League. As a coach, reputation and talent didn’t mean so much to him. He selected players based on their form and willingness to “run through walls for Collingwood”. He never created any strategies and complicated team moves but instead, inspired and motivated his players.
What You May Not Know
- His nickname “Jock” came from a caricature of him in a kilt by the Herald cartoonist Wells during the 1920s.
- The McHale Method was a training regime that inculcated machine-like team-play and the main objective of each player is to beat his individual opponent.
- Jock married Violet Mary Angel on 28 April 1909. They have a daughter named Mary and son named John who also played for Collingwood in 1941 and 1943 to 1944.
- His grave at Cobourg Cemetery in Preston, Victoria is part of a self-guided heritage walk with information about his life which is on a sign posted at his gravesite.
Was he a legend?
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