Full name James Francis Conway ‘Jim’
Born 14 June 1925 Died 3 December 2003 (aged 78)
Hall of fame: Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame, Inducted 2009
East Fremantle’s 1950 Sandover Medallist Jim Conway was a highly skilled, elusive, goal kicking rover who represented his club on 180 occasions, initially in 1943, when the WANFL’s wartime under-age competition was still in operation, and then from 1946 to 1956. In his first season of full scale, open age competition he was a member of Old Easts’ winning Grand Final side against West Perth.
Best remembered as a rover, Conway was, despite his small physical stature, sometimes used at centre half forward, in which position he was surprisingly effective. Besides winning a Lynn Medal (East Fremantle’s fairest and best player award) in the same year as his Sandover, he twice topped the club’s goal kicking list (his 77 goals in 1951 being especially meritorious), and represented Western Australia in the interstate arena 15 times. He captained the club in 1948, 1951 and 1956.
After one particularly dazzling display it was noted: “East Perth had as much chance of bottling up Conway as a cat would have of catching an asbestos mouse through a furnace at the East Perth powerhouse.”¹
After leaving Old Easts at the end of the 1956 Conway spent some time in country New South Wales before being somewhat surprisingly appointed non-playing coach of Claremont in 1964. He promptly lifted the Tigers, who had finished last the previous year, to their first premiership since 1940 (achieved, somewhat ironically – and no doubt especially sweetly – at the expense of his former club, East Fremantle). An innovative and adventurous coach, he spent five seasons at the helm at Claremont, but things gradually went downhill after 1964 with the side finishing third, fifth, fifth and sixth.
When East Fremantle announced its official ‘Team of the Century’ in 1997 few if any long-standing supporters would have been surprised to see Jim Conway named as first rover.