DOB: 29 October 1897
Died : 4 March 1960
Debut: Round 10, 1919 against St. Kilda at MCG
Last Game: Round 18, 1932 against St. Kilda at MCG
From: Wesley College/Latrobe
Premiership Player - 1926
Captain - Coach - 1928 - 1931
Brownlow Medal - 1926, 1928
Victorian state representative - 6 times from 1926-1929 (Captain in 1928/1929)
Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee - 1996
Team Of The Century member
150 Heroes selection
MFC Hall of Fame - 2001
MFC Hall of Fame legend - 2013
Life Member - 1952
Born in Sydney, Warne-Smith started his career in the Metropolitan Amateurs competition after coming to Melbourne as a boarder at Wesley College and discovering Australian Football. He lied about his age while under 18 to join the army during World War I and was gassed by the Germans. Both his brothers were killed in the conflict.
With Melbourne suffering a winless 1919 season on their post-war return to the competition, Warne-Smith was one of the many recruits trialled by the Redlegs. He impressed selectors and played eight games at centre half-back before he decided to try his hand at farming in Tasmania. He spent four seasons playing in the NWFU - captain-coaching to premierships in 1922 and 1924. He was also runner-up in the competition's Best and Fairest award for the 1923 and 1924 seasons.
Richmond identity and future Melbourne coach Checker Hughes spotted Warne-Smith in Tasmania and suggested the Tigers sign him at all costs. They did, but Melbourne appealed and the VFL ruled that he was still tied to the Redlegs.
Despite suffering breathing difficulties as a result of being gassesd, Warne-Smith was still renowned as one of the fittest players in the competition. In 1926 he was made vice-captain and won his first Brownlow Medal with nine votes, four clear of his nearest rivals. The same year the Demons won their second premiership.
In 1927 he was linked to Ballarat side Golden Point, but stayed and was named vice-captain. He became captain-coach in 1928. He would win his second Brownlow Medal that year, and also played for Victoria despite missing a game in Adelaide due to business
Warne-Smith was named at centre-half forward in both the Melbourne and Tasmanian teams of the century.
First game: Round 1, 1928 vs Essendon at Windy Hill
Last game: Round 18, 1932 vs Collingwood at MCG
The Redlegs won the premiership in Warne-Smith's first season, but missed out on the finals thereafter. He initially retired from playing at the end of 1931, but was forced to suit up again in 1932 due to a lack of players. As coach he played under the newly appointed captain Francis Vine.
Resigning as coach again at the end of that year he was succeeded by Checker Hughes for 1933. He started the pre-season, but in March of that year he finally retired from playing.
Warne-Smith retired after being replaced as coach and became a writer for the Melbourne Argus, as well as a veteran of the Second World War when he re-enlisted at 43-years-old. He'd originally been told he was too old to serve, but ended up going to the Middle East, New Guinea and Borneo.
In 1947 he returned to the Demons as a member of the Committee of Management and as a selector. In 1949 he became chairman of selectors and served in that role until his death. He was also on the board of the Melbourne Cricket Club at the same time.
Warne-Smith died of heart disease at the age of 60 in March 1960. The MFC annual report of that year said "We mourn his passing with the certain knowledge that, in having known him, our club has been much the better for it".
Players who served during war
Record - 12/03/1927
Table Talk - 05/05/1927
Table Talk - 23/06/1932
Argus - 28/03/1933
Independent - 31/03/1933
Football Record R1 1933
Sporting Globe - 16/05/1936
Australian Dictionary of Biography
Boyles Football Photos
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