Breen and Colless to headline annual lunch

Content from NSW Australian Football History Society, written by Rod Gillet


The man who famously kicked the point that won St Kilda’s 1966 premiership, Barry Breen (main), and the man who saved the Sydney Swans, Richard Colless, will be the guest speakers at this year’s History Society annual lunch on Tuesday 13 December at the Magpies Sports Club.

Prominent Sydney football identity Simon Kelly will again be the moderator.

Both Breen and Colless are well-known to the AFL Sydney football community.

After playing 300 games for St Kilda from 1965-1982 during which time he played in the 1966 premiership team and the torrid 1971 grand final loss to Hawthorn he moved to Sydney to be captain-coach of Balmain.

Breen led Balmain into the 1983 grand final (their first since 1919) but the powerful East Sydney team coached by Greg Harris proved superior. He then coached North Shore into three grand finals, winning a flag in 1985 when the Bears beat Campbelltown, but went down to Easts in 1984 and Campbelltown in 1986.

He also played six games for NSW including a stint as captain-coach in 1984.

After retiring Breen was Swans CEO from 1988 to 1991, and the General Manager of AFL Tasmania for five years after which he returned to Sydney, where he has been domiciled ever since.


(L-R) Adam Schneider, CEO Richard Collis, Barry Hall and Michael O’Loughlin of the Swans sing the team song after victory at the AFL First Qualifying Final between the West Coast Eagles and the Sydney Swans at Subiaco Oval September 9, 2006 in Perth, Australia.


Richard Colless (above), originally from Perth, who came to Sydney in 1988, is credited with leading the Swans to the “promised land” with premierships in 2005 (after a 72 year drought) and 2012 from near-extinction when he took over as Swans chairman in 1993.

Colless was an outstanding player for UWA in the strong amateur competition, then served as an administrator for the club, before he served on the WAFL Commission and played a leading role in the creation of the West Coast Eagles.

At the request of the AFL, Richard headed up an investigation into the game at the grassroots in NSW and the ACT in 1997 that resulted in far-reaching reforms to the game including full AFL funding, adoption of the AFL brand and the establishment of the NSW/ACT AFL Commission. A precondition was that he chair the commission which he did from 1998 to 2002.

Richard Colless stepped down from his role as Chair of the Sydney Swans in February 2014. His reign at the club had resulted in two premierships (2005 & 2012), four grand final appearances and finals appearances in fourteen of those seasons.  

He is now the Patron of the NSW Australian Football History Society. In this role he has been largely responsible for the initiatives such as NSW Greatest Team in 2019 and the football awards for NSW players in the AFL that includes the Carey-Bunton medal and the selection of a State-of-Origin team each year.


Lunch format:

12pm – 1pm: Presentation of publication awards and panel of speakers – Sky Lounge ((Level 1)

1pm – 3pm: Lunch downstairs in the Club Bistro (no allocated seating) – Ground floor

Bookings are not required. There is no charge for the upstairs session. Attendees purchase their own food and beverages from the club.