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Verstegen finds fame 40 years on
Verstegen finds fame 40 years on

Hans Verstegen reckons his great mate Ken McAullay owes him a Simpson Medal.

Teammates at North Maylands as boys, the pair became premiership winners with East Perth in 1972.

But while McAullay got the nod as best on ground in the 15-point grand final win over Claremont, the two have spent the past four decades debating the inequity of the classy defender receiving the medal ahead of one of the WAFL's gutsiest rovers.

"I've told Ken McAullay for 40 years that he's got my Simpson," Verstegen said.

"He knows it too."

Verstegen will never get the medal but he has received another honour that he considers even more rewarding.

The 204-game veteran last night joined seven other inductees into the East Perth Hall of Fame.

"This is probably the pinnacle of my career in a lot of ways," he said. "I won a flag and worked pretty hard to play 200 games but to be honoured in this way means a great deal."

The others honoured were 1920s premiership president Harry Mann and that era's players Albert Western, Harry Sherlock, Ernest Allen and William Hebbard as well as dual flag winners Kevin McGill and John Hayes.

Verstegen and Hayes were together in that 1972 victory which ended a decade or more of heartache for the Royals.

The club lost seven grand finals in 12 years before Mal Brown's team broke the drought.

Verstegen, who won the club's fairest and best in his first season in 1967, played in a grand final loss that year and in four of his first five.

But he was unstoppable in 1972 with a superb roving display that complemented the dominance of big men Ron Alexander, Eddie Pitter and Brad Smith.

"It was a great team and things worked out for us on that day," Verstegen said.

He played in another loss in 1976 but was unable to take part in the next triumph in 1978, having given up his battle with the knee cartilage issues that had dogged him for years.