Legendary head trainer dies

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 3:57 PM by Peter Kennedy

The Perth Football Club is mourning the death of Life Member and legendary former head trainer, Ted O’Callaghan. He was aged 101.

Ted was a trainer for 18 years, including 16 years as head trainer, a period which covered the hat trick of premierships (1966-68) under Mal Atwell as captain coach, and the 1976 premiership team coached by Ken Armstrong.

Club champion Barry Cable described Ted’s contribution to football in general, and Perth in particular, as “outstanding”.

“I was privileged to be at the club at that time as a youngster,” Barry said. “Ted was head trainer and without question he was able to get me through games which normally I would not have been able to do. He helped me achieve my 400 senior games with his expertise in treating injuries.

Perth’s 2018 Legend, Colin Lofts, described Ted as a “greatly respected icon” within the club.

Colin, who was also the 1976 premiership skipper, said: “Ted worked closely with Steve and Tom Kargotich (the club doctors) in attending to the medical needs of the players. He was always ‘feared’ by the players for his legendary treatment of ‘corks’. He insisted on ‘rubbing them out’.”

Simpson Medallist Allan Stiles agreed with Colin's comments about Ted's treatment of 'corks', adding: "He was a great character and had a great relationship with the players. His dedication to both the players and the club was amazing."

Ted remained extraordinarily active in retirement, and a big group of players attended his 100th birthday celebration in 2016.

He was born in Narrogin in 1916 and attended the Kulin School and St Ildephonsus College at New Norcia. He then embarked on a lifelong career in the WA Government Railways, retiring in 1976.

Ted raised a few eyebrows in 1978 when he accepted an invitation from Barry Cable to come out of retirement after Barry was appointed captain coach of East Perth, which defeated the Demons in a tight, rain soaked grand final by two points.

“Players can change clubs so why not head trainers?” he said in his defence.