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Department of Premier and Cabinet

John Leedham

Member 2014
b. 20 May 1928

John Leedham is one of the greatest footballers Tasmania has produced.

He is regarded by most as the best Tasmanian player not to have played in the VFL/AFL and was one of the finest players in the country in his era.

He started his football career at North Launceston in 1946, aged 17.

Playing as centre half forward and on the ball, John was a member of the NTFA premiership teams in 1946, 47, 48, 49 and 1950 as well as three Tasmanian state premiership teams.

He almost played in the VFL for the Melbourne Football Club in 1948, but a knee injury saw him return to Tasmania.

After 124 games with North Launceston, including a stint as captain-coach, he crossed to TFL club North Hobart. He coached North Hobart from 1954 - 1959 and steered them to the premiership in 1957.

John represented Tasmania in the 1947, 1953 and 1958 Australian National Football Carnivals, performing very well in Adelaide in 1953 when he was chosen as the sole Tasmanian representative in the first ever All-Australian team and finished runner-up in the Tassie medal for the best player of the carnival.

In the 1958 carnival he captain-coached Tasmania to two of Tasmania’s greatest ever victories; wins over both South Australia and Western Australia.

In 2004 he was selected as ruck-rover and vice-captain in the official Tasmanian ‘Team of the Century’ and then in 2005 was an inaugural inductee as a Legend in the AFL Tasmania Hall of Fame.

John was elevated to AFL Tasmania icon status in 2014.