Bernie Naylor

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Bernie Naylor
Bernie Naylor.png
Bernie Naylor
Personal information
Full name Bernard George Naylor
Date of birth (1923-04-19)19 April 1923
Date of death 26 September 1993(1993-09-26) (aged 70)
Original team(s) Fremantle C.B.C Old Boys
Debut South Fremantle
Position(s) Full-forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
(1941,1946–1954) South Fremantle 194 (1034)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1954.
Career highlights
  • South Fremantle premiership side 1947–48, 1950, 1952–54
  • Leading goalkicker (WANFL) 1946–48, 1952–54
  • Most goals in a single WA(N)FL game: 23 (vs Subiaco, 1953)
  • Most goals in a single WA(N)FL season: 167 (1953)
  • Australian Football Hall of Fame

Bernard George Naylor (19 April 1923 – 26 September 1993) was an Australian rules footballer who was one of the most successful full-forwards in the history of the West Australian Football League. The WAFL now awards the leading goalscorer each year the Bernie Naylor Medal.[1]

Naylor began his football career with Fremantle Christian Brothers College Old Boys of the WAAFL in 1940[2] and made his debut for South Fremantle in 1941. Naylor kicked sixty goals in his debut season, including nine in the first semi-final against Claremont, but the Second World War caused the WANFL to revert to an underage competition for three seasons. Owing to military service in Darwin Naylor did not wear the red and white again until 1946,[3] when he scored 131 goals to head the WANFL goalkicking for the first of six occasions. The following season, Naylor played in the first of six South Fremantle premiership teams over an eight-year period that is generally regarded as the strongest team in WA(N)FL history,[3] being one of three players present in all six Grand Final victories.[4] Naylor naturally became the first choice full-forward for interstate games, but after having injury problems during the 1949 season was surprisingly played as a half-forward flanker for part of the next two seasons.

In 1952, however, Naylor asserted himself as one of the greatest goalkickers in the history of Australian Rules with a tally of 147 goals, which beat George Doig’s 1937 record of 144. Included in this was a haul of nineteen goals against East Fremantle that put the blue and whites out of the finals for the first time in thirty-seven seasons.[5] The following season was even more brilliant as Naylor won South Fremantle’s best and fairest award, an achievement none of the WANFL’s previous great full forwards had ever managed, and broke his own record with 167 goals including eight in the Grand Final against West Perth.[6] Against lowly Subiaco Naylor kicked a total of 48 goals in three games, including a still-standing WANFL record of 23 (including 12 in a quarter) in their third meeting, plus eighteen in their first despite leg problems.[7] After the Grand Final South Fremantle played twice against the champion Footscray defence.[a] The teams won one game each;[8][9] with Naylor kicking a further 7 goals.

In 1954, Naylor was again leading goalkicker with 133, but his work as a property developer meant he intended to retire after the season.

In ten seasons and 194 games with South, Naylor kicked 1034 goals,[10] as well as another 45 goals in 16 games for Western Australia.[11] He was the leading goalkicker for South Fremantle in all ten seasons that he played at the club, kicking over 100 goals on five occasions.[12] He was only held goalless in a match on four occasions.[6]

Naylor relied for his success on long torpedo punts[13] and extremely fast leading to space: unlike his successor John Gerovich he was not a spectacular high mark but had a safe pair of hands and considerable strength from his 86 kilograms (190 lb) frame.[2]

He was inducted to the Fremantle Football Hall of Legends in 1996 and the West Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2004.[14] He was inducted into the WA Hall of Champions in 2005.[15]


a Footscray’s home-and-away average of 53.28 points "Against" per match in 1953 is the lowest in the VFL/AFL since 1920.


  1. ^ WAFL List of Bernie Naylor Medalists
  2. ^ a b ‘Another in our series of Football Stars: Bernie Naylor’; Western Mail, 6 August 1953, p. 1S
  3. ^ a b Devaney, John; Full Points Footy’s WA Football Companion; pp. 261-262. ISBN 9780955689710
  4. ^ "Bulldogs Bark Edition 1 - 2009" Archived 14 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ ‘Naylor Equals Record by Kicking 19 Goals’; The West Australian, 1 September 1952, p. 1
  6. ^ a b Hothersall, James; Australian Football Facts & Feats
  7. ^ ‘A Leg-Weary Naylor Kicks 18 Goals’; The West Australian, 4 May 1953, p. 15
  8. ^ ‘Roving Pair Take Chief Honours’; The West Australian, 19 October 1953, p. 27
  9. ^ ‘A Nine-Point Victory Gives Footscray Its Revenge’; The West Australian, 19 October 1953, p. 27
  10. ^ "Wife Receives The Cheque". The West Australian. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 11 October 1954. p. 21. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  11. ^ Devaney, John. "Bernie Naylor biography".
  12. ^ South Fremantle Leadership List at
  13. ^ "Forward's Next Goal". The West Australian. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 30 June 1954. p. 31. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  14. ^ 2004 WAFL Hall of Fame Inductees Archived 5 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ WAIS; Without Compromise Archived 30 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine.; Summer 2005–06