Tributes flow for AFL coach Jeans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tributes flow for AFL coach Jeans

By Greg Buckle and Robert Grant 13/07/2011 07:02:35 PM Comments (0)

Allan Jeans could reduce some of footy's toughest men to tears and he could also bring out the best in them.

Tributes flowed on Wednesday for the legendary AFL coach who died aged 77 after battling fibrosis of the lung.

A legend at St Kilda after guiding the Saints to their only flag in 1966, Jeans later turned Hawthorn into one of the game's greatest combinations, winning premierships in 1983, 1986 and 1989.

A former policeman who had a great talent for giving stirring addresses to his team, Jeans was renowned as one of the league's toughest coaches and greatest motivators.

After a 77-game playing career with St Kilda, Jeans became coach of the Saints in 1961.

Following 16 years with the club, he was appointed coach of Hawthorn in 1981 and went on to guide the Hawks through a famous era.

Under Jeans, the Hawks dominated the competition. They appeared in every grand final from 1983 to 1989, although Jeans was absent due to poor health in 1988 when Alan Joyce took over and won the flag.

Jeans' two most famous moments were leading St Kilda to a one-point triumph in 1966 and getting the injury-hit Hawks over the line by a goal in 1989.

Jeans later had a short stint at Richmond in 1992, winning only five out of 22 games.

Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton, one of the game's most feared forwards, admitted he was "a blubbering crying mess" on the phone to former team-mate Robert DiPierdomenico after hearing of Jeans' passing.

"He was more than just a football coach," Brereton said.

"I spoke to him about 48 hours ago and I knew it was the last time I was ever going to speak to him.

"It's a really sad thing when somebody who's had such a profound effect on your life says goodbye to you and you know it's the last time.

"He stopped taking guests out at his care facility and I rang him and I told him everything I always wanted to tell him, like you wanted to tell your dad before it's too late.

"I told him that from 15 years of age, I heard his voice more than my own father's for the next 10 or 12 years, five or six days a week.

"And 90 per cent of it was not about football. It was about life and how you conducted yourself."

Hawthorn's premiership star Gary Ayres recalled how tears welled up in his eyes as he ran out onto the ground to start the second half of the 1989 grand final against Geelong.

Jeans had demanded his players "pay the price" and not take any short cuts in an epic grand final which took a heavy injury toll on both sides.

Ayres said Brereton, who was suffering internal injuries from a heavy bump at the start of the game, was also in tears as they ran back out onto the ground.

Brereton said Jeans was the sort of coach who would try to turn a player into a good person before trying to make him a good footballer.

"(He was) the most morally sound man I've ever come across," he said.

"(He) could motivate you to do stuff that I didn't think myself or my body was possible or capable of doing."

Hawthorn's 1986 Brownlow Medallist DiPierdomenico said Jeans had moulded him as a person.

"(He) guided me and gave me the opportunity in life where maybe other people would have given up," DiPierdomenico said.

Renowned St Kilda hard man Carl Ditterich said Jeans' influence on the game had been astounding.

Jeans is survived by his wife Mary and children Peter, David, Louise and Lizzie.

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