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Island state legend...

Fred Pringle


Career : 1923 - 1924
Debut: Round 4, 1923 vs Essendon, aged 23 years, 155 days
Carlton Player No. 383
Games : 22
Goals : 7
Last Game : Round 18, 1924 vs Richmond, aged 24 years, 259 days
Guernsey No. 4
Height : 180 cm (5 ft. 11 in.)
Weight : 82.5 kg (13 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : 22 December, 1899


Frederick Neville Pringle was born of British parents in Assam, India, five days before Christmas 1899, and died in Tasmania in 1982. In between, he served Australia in war, played 22 matches in for the Carlton Football Club, and became one of the great figures of post-war Tasmanian football.

Fred’s father was a tea-planter and merchant who spent most of his working life in India, but his mother apparently wanted her children raised in western society. Therefore, at the age of five, Fred, his two older brothers and his mother arrived in Hobart, to join a family member already established in the Island State.

In the ensuing years, Fred grew into an outstanding young footballer who played at senior level for the Cananore Football Club before his sixteenth birthday. But in 1915, with World War 1 causing death and destruction on an unprecedented scale, all Tasmanian football was suspended for the duration of the conflict. Fred was anxious to make a contribution to the war effort, so he gained his parent’s consent and volunteered for military service in May, 1917.

After training as an artillery gunner, he embarked on a troopship bound for England in February 1918. A few months later, he was in action in northern France when an enemy bullet grazed his head, and he wore the scar as a reminder of his good luck for the rest of his life. He was on recuperation leave in England in November, 1918 when the war ended, but it was June of the following year before he got back to Hobart and thought about pulling on the yellow and black vertical stripes of Cananore once more.

When he did, in 1920, Pringle became one of the stars of a strong competition. Although not quite a ‘six-footer’ (183 cm), he was a genuine all-rounder who could play forward or back, short or tall. Fast and strong, he was a superb high mark, and read the flight of the ball like few others. With Pringle at either centre half-forward or centre half-back, Cananore won successive TFL and State Premierships in 1921-22, and it wasn’t long before Carlton’s recruiting team came calling.

Fred crossed Bass Strait to join the Blues in 1923, arriving at a club that had been a worthy finalist the previous year, and was confident of doing better under captain-coach Horrie Clover. But riven by injury, innuendo and disunity, Carlton’s house of cards collapsed on itself late in the year, and the ragged Blues were bounced down the ladder to seventh. Wearing guernsey number 4, Fred played seven games and kicked three goals in his debut season, mainly at half-forward.

When former Fitzroy champion Percy Parratt was appointed coach of Carlton in 1924, Pringle was shifted into defence and almost immediately blossomed into the force the Blues had expected him to be. He played another 15 matches as a running half-back flanker or back pocket, and his form was so good he was selected in the Victorian state team twice during the year.

Even so, Carlton’s fortunes as a whole did not improve. Five straight losses mid-season dropped the Blues to last on the ladder, and only a couple of good wins in the run home lifted the team to seventh at year’s end. When Pringle played in the Blues’ last game of the season against South Melbourne at the Lake Oval – and kicked two goals in an 18-point defeat – he must have already decided that he wouldn’t be going on with his VFL career.

Fred went back to Tasmania, where he was appointed captain-coach of Cananore at the age of 24, and began the next spectacularly-successful stage of his football career. It started with the Canaries’ challenge match against Port Adelaide in Hobart, prior to the 1925 finals. The South Australian heavyweights were expected to win easily, but Cananore’s tenacity and skill overwhelmed the visitors by a huge 174-point margin; 31.30 (216) to 5.8 (38). Inspired by Pringle, the Canaries then went on to win three straight TFL Premierships - and State Championships – in 1925-26-27.

Fred rounded off an illustrious career when he represented Tasmania for the sixth time in the 1927 Australian Football Carnival in Melbourne, before retiring a year later, still in his prime at the age of 28. Married to his wife Bernice in the 1930’s, Fred worked as a public servant for much of his life, and ultimately served as Secretary in the Tasmanian Attorney General’s Department.

On November 12, 1982, Fred passed away on his beloved Island State. Twenty-one years later – in 2003 - he was posthumously honoured as one of the inaugural inductees into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame.

Farewell To Fred Pringle

The Cananore Football Club gave Fred a send off for his move to Melbourne with his employment in the Federal Customs Department, and his links to Carlton.
To read, click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23629442

Tassie Rep

Fred played for Tasmania against South Australia in Adelaide August 29 1925
The News (August 27) described him;
F. Pringle - Formerly of Carlton (Victoria). He is the best of the ruckmen. Powerful and fast he feeds the rovers and forwards well.

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Fred Pringle | Pringle's Blueseum Image Gallery

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