Former Claremont and Geelong star Denis Marshall has been elevated to legend status in the WA Football Hall of Fame.
Marshall played 285 matches - 175 for the Tigers, 84 for the Cats, 18 for WA and eight for Victoria after making his debut at age 17.
He won four fairest and best awards at Claremont and one at Geelong in 1966, the same year he was named in the All Australian team.
Marshall was promoted tonight at the annual Hall of Fame induction. The 2013 inductees included Tom Wilson, Frank Hopkins, Ray Richards, George Young, Chris Lewis and Peter Bell.
Right from his earliest days Marshall revealed the poise and exquisite skills of a champion footballer. A teenage prodigy, he quickly developed into one of the country's outstanding players.
Deniston Clive Marshall, born in Fremantle on October 17, 1940, was a strongly-built right-footer who was wonderfully balanced and adept by hand and foot on both sides of his body. A magnificent half-back flanker, he also was a brilliant centreman and a commanding player at centre-half-back and centre-half-forward. He was fast, fearless, a strong overhead mark and renowned for his superb drop-kicking.
Marshall was 17 when he made his league debut for Claremont in 1958 and rarely had a young player made such a dramatic impact. In the following year he made his interstate debut for WA and received the first of his four fairest-and-best awards for Claremont.
He also won the club award in 1961, 1963 and 1970. He was a key member of the WA side which won the national championship in Brisbane in 1961 and was runner-up to Haydn Bunton for the 1962 Sandover Medal.
Marshall maintained his sublime form in interstate football when he was named as WA's best player against Victoria in 1963. At the end of that season he was recruited by Geelong and was an immediate star in the VFL.
He retired after the 1971 season, having played 175 league matches for Claremont, 84 for Geelong, 14 for WA and eight for Victoria. He was remarkably versatile and had the ability to perform at the highest standard in almost every position on the ground.
It was not uncommon, when matches were held on windswept grounds, for Marshall to play at centre-half-forward in the quarters Claremont were kicking with the wind and at centre-half-back or full-back when they were against the breeze.
Marshall was noted for his outstanding skills on both sides of the body, a rarity in the 1950s and 60s. He had the great skill to pinpoint the ball to a teammate on the run. He was also noted for his ability to absorb intense physical punishment, particularly in his first year at Geelong when he was being "tested" as the new star. He maintained his composure and never resorted to retaliation.
In 2004 legendary Geelong player and coach and media personality Bob Davis declared that Marshall was one of the most accomplished and complete footballers he had ever seen. He rated him in the top four footballers he had seen at Geelong since 1950, along with Bernie Smith, Graham Farmer and Gary Ablett.
In a poll conducted by the Geelong Advertiser newspaper in 2000, football fans (asked to rate Geelong's best 10 players of all time) ranked Ablett No. 1, Farmer No.2 and Marshall No.3.
Marshall was inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and is a member of the AFL Hall of Fame and Geelong's Hall of Fame.He became the 15th WA Football ‘Legend’, joining Haydn Bunton Jnr, Barry Cable, George Doig, Graham Farmer, Stan Heal, Phil Matson, Merv McIntosh, Steve Marsh, George Moloney, Graham Moss, Jack Sheedy, John Todd, WJ ‘Nipper’ Truscott and Bill Walker.
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