South Australian football legend Neil Kerley dies in car crash at Walker Flat

The king of South Australian football, Neil Kerley, has died aged 88 in a car crash in the Murraylands.

Known to many as “Knuckles”, he spent more than five decades in football as a player, coach and pundit.

The crash happened at Walker Flat in the Murraylands just before 5.30pm on Wednesday.

His car towing a trailer crashed through a fence and into a paddock on Mallee Road.

The SANFL superstar famously took West Adelaide to the 1961 premiership as captain and coach and led South Adelaide from the bottom of the ladder to a flag in 1964.

He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1997, and will be remembered as one of the sport’s brightest stars.

After starting his football career in the country, he spent his first full season in the SANFL with West Adelaide in 1956.

He lost to Port Adelaide in three grand finals, before leading the Bloods to the ’61 flag against Norwood.

The match was played in 35-degree heat and became known as the “Turkish Bath Grand Final”.

Kerley in action
Neil Kerley in his football days. He turned 88 in February.

Kerley was sensationally sacked as West’s captain-coach after losing the 1962 grand final to Port, and in 1964 moved south.

He joined Glenelg in 1967, ending his playing career three years later, but continuing as coach and taking the Tigers to their second premiership in 1973.

Kerley returned to West Adelaide to win another premiership in 1983, and also coached West Torrens and Central District.

He was prominent in the media, often appearing alongside good friend KG Cunningham.

He became the Adelaide Crows’ inaugural football manager, assisting his former pupil Graham Cornes.


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