TRARALGON-born superstar Kelvin Templeton was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame last week.

Templeton played 177 games and kicked 593 goals for Footscray and Melbourne from 1974 to 1985, with a trophy case full of awards including a Brownlow Medal (1980) and two Coleman Medals (1978, 1979).

Templeton joined the Bulldogs after an exceptional senior year at Traralgon in the Gippsland League (then Latrobe Valley Football League), kicking a century of goals at just 16-years-of-age.

“Latrobe Valley was the toughest, the best country competition amongst other country teams over a couple of years, and Latrobe Valley (had) quite a few ex-VFL players,” Templeton said on stage upon being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, June 18.

Templeton played alongside a number of Gippsland call-ups, most namely fellow Brownlow recipient Bernie Quinlan (Traralgon) and former Richmond coach and AFL Umpire Manager, Jeff Gieschen (Maffra) – who sat at Templeton’s table at the night of the celebration in Melbourne.

“There were quite a few country full backs who weren’t all that happy about a skinny 16-year-old jumping all over their back taking marks,” Templeton said of his time in Gippsland.

“So, it was quite a tough year, but what it did was really prepare me for the following year which was to come to Melbourne and play in the (VFL), I had a pretty tough year of senior competition before that.”

The soon-to-be two-time Coleman medallist booted six goals in his debut against Collingwood in Round 3, 1974.

“I was 17, I hadn’t played in an atmosphere like Victoria Park… I remember I couldn’t concentrate, the noise, the movement was something I hadn’t experienced,” he recalled.

“Someone whacked me from behind (and) the next thing I knew I was dusting myself off and the umpire was putting the ball in my hand, my first kick in VFL football was five-metres out dead in front.

“The blow really had the opposite effect as to what was intended because what happened was my head cleared (and) the noise receded and all of a sudden I was in the game, and it went on from there.”

Besides the personal silverware Templeton would acquire, the biggest career highlight would come in Round 13, 1978 against St Kilda in which he kicked 15 goals nine behinds (a still standing record for the most individual scoring shots).

“Most of the points I kicked, a lot of them were in the third quarter… then what happened in the last quarter was quite unexpected because we just dominated the last quarter… all of a sudden, the ball was just streaming into an open forward line (and) there was not much St Kilda could do and that enabled me, in that last quarter, to kick eight goals,” Templeton said.

A member of Footscray’s Team of the Century, Templeton was heralded by his teammates for being one of the first professionally-minded players in the league, taking on additional weight programs and acquiring different training methods from athletes in other sports like with Raelene Boyle’s sprint team and the Australian Olympic wrestling squad.

During another struggling season for Footscray in 1980, losers of as much as 11 games in a row and only five wins for the year, the then four-time club leading goal kicker was moved up to centre half forward, where he averaged 19 disposals and kicked 75 goals on his way to winning the Brownlow Medal, however, spoiled of his moment on the night.

“I was actually told beforehand, not only that, in those days, they use to jumble up the rounds, so, with 10 or so votes to count, I’m sitting quite a way behind but I know what’s going to happen, so I had to feign looking very surprised… but it was a great thrill, of course,” Templeton said.

While he only played one final in his career, a seven-point loss to Geelong in the 1976 Elimination Final, Templeton played 10 games for Victoria in State of Origin football.

Post career, Templeton took on assistant coaching roles under Tom Hafey and Col Kinnear at the Sydney Swans and subsequently become chief executive of the club from 1995 to 2002, being a key driver in getting Tony Lockett from St Kilda.