Phil Krakouer Signed Photo while Playing at North Melbourne

Claremont 1978 – 1981 90 Games and 192 Goals

North Melbourne 1982 – 1989 141 Games Goals 224

Footscray     1991   7 games 7 Goals

More outwardly placid than his older brother Jim, Phillip Brent Krakouer played the game with equal vim, panache and effectiveness, most noticeably when in concert with his sibling. If his somewhat ungainly kicking style perhaps gave the misleading impression that he was a late convert to the sport, just about everything else he did suggested that he was a born footballer.

Recruited by Claremont from North Mount Barker Football Club, Phil Krakouer journeyed to the city to join his brother, who had already had a season in the big time, in 1978. Playing mainly on the half forward line, he was an immediate success, although it would probably be fair to suggest that, at this stage of his career, he was a less eye-catching performer than his brother.

Inevitably, throughout their respective careers, the vast majority of which were spent together, pundits and fans alike often posed the question, ‘which Krakouer brother is better?’ It is quite a beguiling issue, no less so in hindsight, for while there can be no denying that, overall, Jim garnered more in terms of individual awards, he also undoubtedly let his team down on more occasions as a result of his frequent, often costly trips to the tribunal. As to which of the brothers possessed the greatest amount of pure football talent, Jim at least had no doubts:

I reckon (Phil) has a bit more skill than I have and he seems to be able to get out of a pack with the ball easier. He’s not bad when it comes to kicking goals either.
Also, he’s a bit better tempered than I am and this could help him ……
I’m sure Phil will prove to be the better player in the long run.¹

In 1982, having helped the Tigers to the previous season’s WAFL premiership, both Krakouer brothers moved to the VFL, where they saw out the remainder of their playing careers. Krakouer spent eight seasons with North, playing 141 matches and kicking 224 goals. He also spent a season with Footscray in 1991. Phil Krakouer’s senior WA(N)FL career with Claremont comprised 90 games. He also represented Western Australia four times.

Football in the 21st century has already given rise to some spectacular aboriginal ‘double acts’ – one thinks of the Materas, for example, and the Burgoynes – but the prototype, and still arguably the greatest such partnership, was provided by a pair of brothers from Mount Barker, who delighted football fans across the land for well over a decade, and whose surname still elicits a sense of both expectation and excitement in the minds of football supporters of a certain vintage.

Author – John Devaney