The honour of winning the fairest and best award in any team at any level carries a high degree of satisfaction and achievement and some great football names have claimed the reward at the East Perth Football Club.
While the presentation of an award for the "Most Brilliant Player" was made in the club's early days, the award has been officially listed on the club's Honour Board since 1926 and after several name changes and formats, it has now become known as the FD Book Medal.
Recent Hall of Fame inductee Larry (Plum) Duffy heads the Book Medal list, winning the award in 1926 as a seasoned rover who was on his way to playing in all seven premierships from his debut year of 1919 through to 1927.
William (Billy) Thomas was the first player to win back-to-back medals in 1928-29, but that was quickly superceded by a hat-trick of wins to Herb Screaigh in 1932-33-34 and a fourth three years later.
Graham (Polly) Farmer won his first fairest and best in his second season, 1954 and he continued that dominance for six of the next seven years - broken only by his teenage friend and Sister Kate's colleague Ted (Square) Kilmurray in 1958.
Players like Derek Chadwick, Mal Brown and Peter Spencer collected successive medals, with the latter two also adding a third down the track and there have been several other multiple winners such as Stephen Curtis, George Giannakis, Peter Miller, Ryan Turnbull and Aaron Marley.
The effort of Marley, a tough and courageous defender from the coal-mining town of Collie, is worthy of mention.
Always something of a reluctant city player, the country product became a "medal specialist" in his career. If he wasn't winning a fairest and best or a premiership medallion at East Perth, he was claiming the Hayward Medal for the South West League's best player or the Pike Medal for best-afield in a grand final - or just another premiership medal with the Collie team of Mines Rovers and later with the amalgamated Collie Eagles.
The 2000 season wasn't only a premiership drought-breaker, with the club's first flag in 22 years, but it was a three-way tie with Marley joining David Swan and Rod Wheatley, who collected his second the next season.
The Missing Link
Football club records can often pose mysterious puzzles and East Perth's list of fairest and best players was no exception.
For many years the Honour Board in the club's foyer had the word "unrecorded" alongside the year of 1930, with no official records able to indicate who won this trophy.
Club historian Bill Forrest's continuous search of records had failed to provide the answer and he had listed 17 players from the 1930 season who played 12 or more games and suggested that the fairest and best player would have been one of those.
Despite a general appeal to club members for a copy of the 1930 annual report, or any knowledge of the award, the mystery remained.
However, during one of Forrest's regular cleaning sorties among the club's records after the shift to Leederville Oval, he discovered a discoloured and tattered piece of paper with several newspaper cuttings attached. A photo headed "East Perth Backs Prominent" had the caption "W. Gilbert (Subiaco follower and forward) appears to have little chance of getting the ball - M. Ryan, Davies and Baker, all of East Perth, have the advantage of numbers in this aerial duel."
The photo was very discoloured, but pasted on the back was a newspaper cutting headed - "East Perth Club's Meeting" - with the date of 1930 written across the top.
The article recorded the club's 1930 annual general meeting, showing a balance sheet with a deficit of 234 pounds (a considerable amount in 1930), which was put down to a multitude of causes, including the Depression being felt in the State - an explanation of why no annual report was printed in 1930.
Listed in the newspaper report was a resume of the season and a complete list of trophy winners - including the 1930 fairest and best winner, Albert Davies.After being ‘unrecorded' for more than 70 years, Albert Davies has finally taken his place as a winner of the FD Book Medal on the club's fairest and best Honour Board and a missing link in East Perth's history has been solved.
Below is the complete list of F.D Book Medalists:
1948 &1952 FD Book Medallist
Graham "Polly" Farmerholds the record for
the most FD Book Medals. He won seven in
1954,55,56,57,59,60 & 61
Ted Kilmurray won his only FD Book
Medal in 1958, between Farmers
run of 7 medals
Clubgames record holder Derek Chadwick
wonback to back medals in 1963 & 64
Mal Brown won three medals
in his time at the Club in
1969,70 & 72
Peter Spencer was the best player
at the Club in 1975,76 & 83
Another multiple winner George
Giannakis, he won Medals in
both 1987 & 89
Ryan Turball won 3 FD Book Medals
in 1991,93 & 99
Paul Peos was the Clubs best player in
1996 and later went on to coach
the League side ten years later
In 2000 a record three players tied
for the FD Book Medal. David Swan
pictured, was one of the three
Troy Wilson won two FD Book Medals
The most recent winner of the
Medal is Frank Agostino