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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Paul Sproule

Member 2016

Born 16 December 1944

Paul Sproule started his football journey with the Hobart Football Club and carved a successful playing career in Victoria before returning to Tasmania as a coach and garnering a reputation as one of Tasmania’s finest ever football minds.

Paul made his first appearance in senior football with Hobart at the age of 17 in 1962. It did not take long for the talented teenager to secure a place in the senior team. By 1966 he had been a member of two Hobart Tigers premiership sides.

At the age of 22, Paul joined Essendon ahead of the 1967 season. After his first season was ruined by a badly broken leg, Sproule made his first senior appearance with the Bombers in 1968 against Hawthorn, booting five goals in a 73-point win.

Paul debuted with the Richmond Tigers in 1972 and was a member of the Richmond’s back-to-back premiership teams in 1973 and 1974.

After 86 games and four seasons with Richmond, Paul returned to Tasmania in 1976 as the captain-coach with Sandy Bay. Under Paul, the club won the premierships of 1976-1978. In 2001, Paul would be named as one of Sandy Bay’s greatest three coaches. Paul retired as a player after Sandy Bay’s 1978 triumph and returned to the Hobart Football Club; and coached Hobart to the premiership in 1980. Paul returned to coach Sandy Bay in 1983-1984. In 1985, Paul returned to Richmond to coach.

In 2002, Paul was named as captain-coach of ‘Hobart’s Greatest Team: 1942-2002’. He was recognised as a legend in Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2013 Paul was awarded life membership of the Richmond Football Club. In 2016, Paul became an AFL Tasmania Hall of Fame icon.

Paul has also made a significant contribution to Tasmanian sport as a member of the AFL Task Force which helped bring AFL football to Tasmania, and as Director of Events Tasmania, in which his role included serving as the State Government’s representative for York Park and Inveresk Precinct and the redevelopment of York Park (later Aurora Stadium) into an AFL-standard venue, and also in brokering the deal that saw Hawthorn play four matches a year at the ground from 2001.