Ben Allan
Personal information
Date of birth (1968-10-15) 15 October 1968 (age 53)
Place of birth Perth, Western Australia
Original team(s) Claremont (WAFL)
Debut Round 7, 1990, Hawthorn
vs. Collingwood, at AFL Park
Height 182 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 83 kg (183 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1987–89, 1996 Claremont 066 0(67)
1990–1994 Hawthorn 098 0(72)
1995–1997 Fremantle 047 0(34)
Total 211 (173)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1988–1995 Western Australia 006 (2)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2001 Fremantle 13 (2–11–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1997.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Benjamin Thomas Allan (born 15 October 1968) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for the Hawthorn Football Club and Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL), and for the Claremont Football Club in the West Australian Football League (WAFL).

In a short but decorated playing career, Allan was appointed the inaugural captain of Fremantle, and is one of only two footballers to have won three consecutive Simpson Medals, the other being Barry Cable. He won the medal in 1988 and 1990 for being the best player in a State of Origin match involving Western Australia, and in 1989 as best on ground in the WAFL Grand Final.

Early life

Allan was educated at Aquinas College, Perth[1]

Playing career

He played as a rover (or follower). He was a premiership player with Claremont in the WAFL before be drafted to the Hawthorn Football Club in the Australian Football League where he played 98 games and won their best and fairest in 1991 as well as a premiership. He was an All Australian player in 1993 and 1994.

Fremantle career

Having previously coached Allan at Claremont, Gerard Neesham the inaugural Fremantle coach, targeted Allan to return to Western Australia. As the most experienced and highly decorated player in the initial 45 man squad, he was named Fremantle's first captain. He was the only former All-Australian, the only club best-and-fairest winner and one of only 2 former premiership players in the original Fremantle squad of 50

He played all 22 games in 1995 and finished third in the best and fairest award. In the Round 5 match against Footscray at Whitten Oval, he had the chance to win the game with a kick after the final siren from 70 metres out. Reflecting on the game in an interview for Fremantle's official website in 2019, Allan shared his thoughts as he was lining up to take the kick:

“I took a mark and the siren went and I had the shot – it was like the dream had come true. I thought to myself ‘there’s a bit of a breeze here going right to left, if I can just punch this at the right goal post I reckon I can kick it.’ I used to try torpedo punts quite a bit during games and it was just the classic opportunity to let one rip. I reckon if I hit it pure on the ball I could have made the distance with that little breeze.”[2]

The kick fell short, allowing the Bulldogs to escape with a two-point victory.

Injuries took their toll in 1996, restricting Allan to 8 games for the season. In 1997 he relinquished the captaincy to Peter Mann and managed to play 17 games. However, a degenerative knee condition caused Allan to retire from football at the end of the 1997 season. He had played 145 AFL games in total, along with 66 for Claremont and 6 state games, earning him a position in the WA Football Two Hundred Club.

Coaching

Allan stayed at the club as an assistant coach in 1998. When it became clear Gerard Neesham would not coach Fremantle in 1999, Allan tendered his resignation pending the appointment of a replacement. When interviewed by new head coach Damian Drum, he was told no position would be available. His disappointment was obvious, telling the media

"this is a real kick in the teeth. I saw my involvement at the club as long-term. It was a huge decision to leave Hawthorn and it seems everything has gone sour since. My career was cut short by injury and now this. It is very hard to swallow. This means Drum and the club believe I have nothing to offer – or they have made a huge mistake. The only thing that has kept me buoyed is the fact that in this industry all players and coaches get kicked in the guts at some stage."[3]

Ironically, three years later Allan was called on as senior caretaker coach to replace Damian Drum who was sacked after the team's 10th consecutive loss, a diabolical performance against the Sydney Swans at the Sydney Cricket Ground in round nine, 2001. Despite his role three years previously as assistant coach, Allan did not view the appointment as leading to a permanent position. On being made coach, he told the media:

"I'm not in a caretaker role to try to further my career for next year. If you look at the history of caretaker coaches, they all wanted to have a crack at it for the next year. I'm there to help out. It gives the club time to look for someone who's been there and done that and then I can go off on my merry way. If we win every game for the rest of the year I still won't be the senior coach next year."[4]

Fremantle won two of the remaining 13 matches with Allan as caretaker senior coach and finished last on the AFL ladder. Allan as the caretaker senior coach was demanding rather than inspiring and was openly critical of the playing group. At the press conference after a home loss to Port Adelaide he told the media:

"if they are looking for me to motivate them for the next eight weeks, they are barking up the wrong tree ... clearly out there today we had too many out there today who haven't got strong enough character".[5]

Nevertheless, a dispirited playing group stayed reasonably competitive in many of the remaining games of the season. Allan's two victories were both notable: the first was in Round 18 against Hawthorn at Colonial Stadium, which broke an 18-match, 370-day losing series of matches (and, until round 17, 2021, would be the last time that Fremantle defeated Hawthorn outside of Western Australia),[6] and the second was in the final match of the season against Adelaide. The joyous spirit of this game, played in front of a smallish but passionate crowd in night rain at Subiaco Oval, was rejuvenating for the club and its supporters after the gloom of the Damian Drum years. The new optimism was built on with the appointment of the new coach for 2002, Chris Connolly, who replaced Allan as Fremantle Football Club senior coach and the exciting victories and growing crowds that and the subsequent years brought.

Statistics

Playing statistics

[7]
Legend
 G  Goals  K  Kicks  D  Disposals  T  Tackles
 B  Behinds  H  Handballs  M  Marks
AFL playing statistics
Season Team No. Games Totals Averages (per game) Votes
G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
1990 Hawthorn 37 6 3 4 41 13 54 11 13 0.5 0.7 6.8 2.2 9.0 1.8 2.2 0
1991# Hawthorn 15 25 18 19 350 134 484 72 53 0.7 0.8 14.0 5.4 19.4 2.9 2.1 1
1992 Hawthorn 15 23 12 15 382 132 514 88 30 0.5 0.7 16.6 5.7 22.3 3.8 1.3 5
1993 Hawthorn 15 21 20 14 412 109 521 121 42 1.0 0.7 19.6 5.2 24.8 5.8 2.0 11
1994 Hawthorn 15 23 19 17 390 123 513 101 28 0.8 0.7 17.0 5.3 22.3 4.4 1.2 3
1995 Fremantle 7 22 15 16 370 107 477 84 34 0.7 0.7 16.8 4.9 21.7 3.8 1.5 9
1996 Fremantle 7 8 2 4 87 20 107 23 9 0.3 0.5 10.9 2.5 13.4 2.9 1.1 0
1997 Fremantle 7 17 17 11 194 57 251 65 11 1.0 0.6 11.4 3.4 14.8 3.8 0.6 1
Career 145 106 100 2226 695 2921 565 220 0.7 0.7 15.4 4.8 20.1 3.9 1.5 30

Coaching statistics

[8]
Legend
 W  Wins  L  Losses  D  Draws  W%  Winning percentage  LP  Ladder position  LT  League teams
Season Team Games W L D W % LP LT
2001 Fremantle 13 2 11 0 15.4% 16 16
Career totals 13 2 11 0 15.4%

After football

Allan has had an active media career in print, on radio and on TV, including The West Australian, ABC Radio, 6PR, SEN and the now defunct Fox Footy Channel. Outside of football he has become a successful businessman in the Margaret River wine industry. In 2005 he was elected to the Members position on the board of the Fremantle Football Club. He will hold that position for 2 years before all Fremantle Season Ticket holding members over 18 years vote again.

In March 2012, Allan was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame. He is the first former Fremantle player to be inducted.[9]

Personal life

He is the brother of Packed to the Rafters actor; Jacob Allan

References

  1. ^ Crikey – Famous alumni on Latham's hit list Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Inaugural captain Ben Allan reflects on his after the siren chance". Fremantle Football Club. 30 May 2019.
  3. ^ Steve Lague, 'Allan Cast Aside As Drum Takes Charge', The West Australian (Perth), 9 September 1998.
  4. ^ Craig O'Donoghue, Steve Lague, 'Ben Allan', The West Australian (Perth), 31 May 2001.
  5. ^ Ross Lewis, 'Allan to Show Flops the Door', The West Australian (Perth), 9 July 2001
  6. ^ MacFarlane, Glenn (22 September 2013). "Fremantle charges to its first Grand Final appearance snuffing out Sydney's premiership defence". Herald Sun. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  7. ^ Stephen Silvagni's player profile at AFL Tables
  8. ^ "AFL Tables - Ben Allan - Coaching Record". afltables.com.
  9. ^ "Allan to be first Freo Docker inducted into WA Football Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012.