SANFL is mourning the passing of South Australian Football Hall of Fame member Fred Bills. Click here to read SANFL History Centre’s David Jenkins’ obituary for the West Torrens Champion.
By DAVID JENKINS
Fred Bills (West Torrens Football Club)
1959 – 75 (313 games, 58 goals)
It seems almost inconceivable that West Torrens legend Fred Bills could no longer be with us. He was a larger than life character around the football club in his time there and a much loved player even among the opposition players and supporters.
Freddie Bills was as tough as any player could be, hard at the ball, courageous and with an ability to carry injuries and not complain. Those injuries, and there were many, eventually took their toll on Fred and in recent years he struggled to get around as his mobility was challenged. Never quick, he was even slower than usual during the last few years, often reduced to a mere shuffle.
If his injuries impacted on his later years it’s no great surprise. Fred gave himself plenty of opportunity to be knocked around in 313 magnificent games for the Eagles. He also represented South Australia on seven occasions. However, it was at West Torrens where he made his reputation as one of the toughest, and nicest, fellows to play the game. He was also one of the game’s greatest characters in a golden era for South Australian football and he epitomised everything that is great about the game.
Fred Bills never won a premiership but he did win four Best and Fairest awards for his beloved Eagles. More importantly, he won many friends from his involvement in the game and he was a credit to his club, his family and himself.
When he died in March 2018, aged 76, the game lost one of its greatest players and he will be sorely missed by his family, his teammates, the Eagles supporters and, indeed, by all who crossed his path during his long service to the game.
To view Fred Bills’ career highlights, click here.
CHIEF SANFL WRITER