DOB: 1 June 1901
Died: 14 May 1994
Number: 1 (1924-1931)
Known as "Bunny" due to his pace and elusive turn, Wittman was recruited as the result of a tip to club secretary Andrew Manzie from the gripman on the Hawthorn Bridge to the City tram. They were travelling along Bridge Road when the trammie recognised Manzie and told him that Wittman was tearing apart the competition in Gippsland. Catching the tram again a few weeks later the conductor was so persuasive about the player that Manzie decided to take a closer look.
It turned out that all the reports on Wittman were good and he was invited to Melbourne for a training run. An immediate hit at centre-half forward, he declared that he was happy to have matched it with the best in the business and announced that he would return to Rosedale. After being convinced by the club to come back and kick off his VFL career Wittman played 11 games that season - including a debut described as "one of the most sensational ever registered by a country recruit". After eight games in a row he suffered a fractured ankle but returned for the last three matches of the season.
The next year he established himself on the half-forward line and racked up 19 games. The improving Demons made it to the finals that year, before winning through to the Grand Final in 1926. Winning their first premiership in more than a quarter of a century, Melbourne had Wittman to thank as much as any other player as he booted three goals.
His 1927 campaign was troubled by a wrist injury, keeping him out of the interstate carnival, but he returned to play 19 games the next year.
In 1930 he was selected for the Victorian team but had to pull out when he was unable to take time off work to travel to Adelaide for the carnival.
Wittman was the last surviving member of the 1926 premiership side when he died in May 1994.
|Round 8, 1928||Elbowing||Not Guilty|
|Round 5, 1931||Striking||Not Guilty|
May have also played at Kensington State School. The same article says Melbourne had been pursuing him for some time, the tram story may be apocryphal.