Legendary Aspley coach John Blair has announced his retirement after more than 30 years and countless achievements from an outstanding career in Queensland.
A member of the AFL Queensland Hall of Fame, Blair has decided to step down as head coach of the Hornets – a position he has held for the past six years – to spend more time with his family.
“With two daughters living overseas and a son in Sydney, John felt that the time was right for Maureen and himself to begin the next chapter of his life,” said Aspley Football Operations Manager, Mark Perkins.
“The club will be speaking with John with the view of continuing his involvement with our football program in some capacity over the coming weeks.
“The club would like to thank both John and Maureen for their six-year involvement at Aspley which took the club to the famous two-point win in the 2014 NEAFL Grand Final, along with six consecutive finals appearances.”
Blair, 63, will retire as an icon of Queensland football since he first arrived in the Sunshine State in 1981.
Originally from Victoria, Blair played 33 VFL games with South Melbourne, Fitzroy and St Kilda from 1975-80 before moving north to captain-coach QAFL club Morningside.
A fiercely competitive and creative half-back, Blair was one of the competition’s best players, winning the 1982 Grogan Medal and representing Queensland 19 times through the golden era of the 1980’s that laid the foundations for the birth of the Brisbane Bears, of which he was later an assistant coach under Robert Walls.
He also won the Ray Hughson Trophy as the competition’s leading goalkicker twice, with Morningside in 1985 and Zillmere in 1988.
Blair returned to coach Morningside in 2002 where the Panthers reached the Preliminary Final or higher in a staggering nine consecutive years, including seven grand finals for four premierships, and overall coached the Panthers on a league-record 328 occasions.
He left Morningside at the end of 2011 – the NEAFL’s inaugural season – and joined Aspley in 2013.
When he took the reins at the Hornets, they were coming off the back of a second-last placing in the NEAFL. By the end of his first season in 2013, they made the Grand Final. A year later, they won the premiership in dramatic fashion against Sydney.
Overall, Blair has coached in 21 finals series at the helm of a Queensland top-tier football club in his past 22 seasons, astoundingly missing out on September action just once.
Blair was also a NEAFL representative coach in 2015 and 2017 – guiding the league to a historic first representative victory against Tasmania in 2015.
By Jess Webster – Also available on the NEAFL website