1962 - Kenneth James Eustice
Looking every inch the clean-cut business executive in his street clothes, Ken Eustice the footballer was, ostensibly at least, equally tidy, but once he entered the fray he became a veritable dynamo whose play was replete with courage, determination and considerably more skill than was sometimes realised. Throughout his career, he set ever higher standards for himself, and was frequently frustrated when he witnessed team mates holding back, or failing to supplement their talent with maximum effort. After South Australia crumbled in the second half of the interstate championship decider against the VFL on home turf in 1969, Eustice, who had been a strong, 4 quarter performer on a wing, acidly observed, "Pressure football is only the determination to keep running and check. Some players became weary just as they do in club games. That's when they cried, 'enough'. Frankly, I thought it was a weak effort."
Eustice's own approach to the game was wholehearted in the extreme. His league coaches were unanimous in praising his attitude, both to training, and to games themselves. His propensity for running out games to their conclusion, irrespective of the scoreline or his own personal form, was a trademark.
Eustice made his senior debut with West Adelaide in 1958, and the following year broke into the state team for the first time. Thereafter, he only ever missed selection for the state when injured.
Adept in a variety of positions, Eustice starred for westadelaidefc on a wing in their 1961 grand final win over Norwood, the same position he occupied for much of a 1962 season that yielded a Magarey Medal. When playing for South Australia he was often named on a half back flank, while his 4 season stint as captain-coach of Central District saw him eke out a reputation as one of the finest centreman in the game.
Despite being a West Adelaide product, Eustice's approach to the game bore many of the characteristics espoused by Port Adelaide mentor Fos Williams, himself an avowed and ardent Eustice admirer, and it was largely because of Eustice's influence that Central District, in its early years, developed a style of play in which the old fashioned virtues of passion, aggression and determination often helped compensate for a basic lack of talent. That said, it would be wrong to suggest that Eustice saw football as a game for mindless thugs. In a coaching manual published in 1967 his key advice to young, aspiring footballers was, "Always keep your cool. Play with your head as well as your body. Try to play intelligently - but always play with determination.".
Ken Eustice finished his 224 game league career at Glenelg, winning a best and fairest award in 1969 to add to his 1967 win with Centrals. Somewhat surprisingly, he never managed to win West Adelaide's top award, but there can be little doubt of his right to be regarded as one of that club's - and South Australia's - finest ever footballers.