Tigers mourn former stars

Friday, November 25, 2016 - 10:47 AM by Ken Casellas

Claremont Football Club members and supporters are mourning the deaths in the past week of talented players Neville Roberts and Murray Ward who excelled in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Roberts, fondly known as Nifty, and “Micky” Ward made their debut in league football in the first-round match of the 1955 season when lined up against Swan Districts at Subiaco Oval on April 16. 

There were eight debutants in that match against Swans, the others being new captain-coach John Hyde, Kelvin Allsopp, John Caffel, Bob Gabrielson, Ron Hall and Doug Hogue.

The 19-year-old Ward, a speedy rover, made an outstanding debut and kicked four goals to play a major role in Claremont’s 1q3-point win, 12.9 to 10.6, after the Tigers had begun brilliantly, scoring 5.8 and holding Swans scoreless in the opening quarter.

Roberts played on a half-forward flank and during his career he also played at centre-half-forward, in the ruck and occasionally at centre-half-back.

Roberts, recruited from Boyup Brook, was the 431st Claremont league footballer and Ward, a champion athlete and star footballer from Aquinas College, was No. 432.

Ward, who fractured a leg in his third league appearance (against Subiaco at Claremont Oval on April 30, 1955), played 71 league matches for the Tigers, kicking 109 goals. His final appearance was against Perth at Lathlain Park on September 8, 1962.

Roberts retired after playing in his 100th league match for Claremont, against Subiaco at Subiaco at Subiaco Oval on April 13, 1963.

Ward was assistant coach to Graham Moss when the Tigers beat South Fremantle to win the 1981 league premiership and again when Claremont lost consecutive grand finals in Swan Districts in the next two years.