Max O'Halloran

Career: 1974
Debut: Round 15, 1974 v Richmond, aged 22 years, 54 days
Games: 5
Goals: Nil
Last game: Round 19, 1974 v Footscray, aged 22 years, 82 days
Guernsey No. 22
Height: 178cm (5'10")
Weight: 85 kg (13.7)
DOB: May 20, 1952

Wearing guernsey #22, Max William O'Halloran played 5 games for Carlton after crossing from Footscray in 1974 where he played 13 games for 2 goals in his time at the Bulldogs (1972 to 1974). O'Halloran shared his debut with Alan Mangels.

Max O'Halloram transferred to VFA club Oakleigh for the 1975 season. In 1978, O'Halloran would head to Northern QLD where he would become a successful player, premiership coach and QAFL administrator in the Cairns region.

O'Halloran was originally from Ulverstone in Tasmania.

Decades of dedication of football rewarded

It takes a fair helping of subterfuge to catch Max O’Halloran off guard. The former VFL player thought all he would receive at an AFL Queensland dinner in Brisbane was a free feed until he heard his name called out. In front of a packed function room, O’Halloran was presented a merit award in recognition of his services to Queensland Football. The 58 year-old is rarely short of a word, or a speech for that matter, but had no inkling he was in line for the honour. “I just thought I was going down because someone had pulled out. I was caught completely off guard,” O’Halloran said, “It was really a wonderful honour to receive.” O’Halloran played at a top level for Footscray and Carlton football after moving to the Far North in 1978. After playing a season for South Cairns, O’Halloran was appointed player-coach of Norths in 1979 and led the Tigers to two premierships during his reign. In 1992, he became assistant coach of the newly formed Cairn Saints before taking over the top job and guiding the club to their second premiership in 1995. Two years later he was appointed assistant coach of the Queensland Country representative side. O’Halloran also served on the AFL Cairns board from 1998-2007. - AFL Cairns (2011).

Cairns Footy Still A Shining Light

The boy from Ulverstone, Tasmania, has travelled a long road in his VFL/AFL journey, both in terms of time and sheer kilometres. His administrative role at AFL Cairns was as part of a powerful board that developed the game in the northern city to a level that has been the envy of other leagues. Along with Cairns footy luminaries Reg Lillywhite, Jeff Hopgood and Russell Beer – and plenty of other willing contributors – Max has been an integral and vital part of the league’s history – and its future. Long before his impact on Cairns footy, Max was noted by spotters in Tasmania as a good thing for the transition to VFL footy. He received offers from South Melbourne, Footscray, Carlton and Collingwood – certainly a sought after commodity – before going to Footscray. “They gave away their best players at Footscray” he noted. A club which would later give away names such as “Barry Round, Bernie Quinlan, Kelvin Templeton, George Bissett and Gary Dempsey” already had players on the move in the early seventies, which is why Max chose the Bulldogs. After just 13 games at Footscray, O’Halloran found himself traded to Carlton in a swap for star Blue Ian Robertson. He wanted to go to Melbourne, but when Carlton offered him a traineeship, he went to the Blues. O’Halloran played five games for Carlton before eventually going on to play at Oakleigh in the VFA - ironically alongside Roberston who had also left VFL ranks for Oakleigh.

Life changes eventually brought him north to Cairns. As well as his skills behind the scenes, O’Halloran was a force as a coach, guiding North Cairns Tigers to four flags and Cairns Saints to one. He remembers the early days at AFP (Australian Football Park now Cazalys Stadium) when you could look out through the bricks of the old change rooms at the southern end where Cazalys is now. He described the field as “long and narrow and covered in sensitive weed”. Max remembers Sundays with pliers out on the field removing the sensitive weed so you could play on the oval without slashing our limbs on the vicious sensitive weed. He also remembers past great players from local and VFL ranks coming to play, and delights in his description of former Essendon star, Leon Baker, as looking like a “broken down surfie”. However, it was behind the scenes that O’Halloran and the Cairns boards of the time changed the game. When he arrived he saw the game in cairns as “primitive”. But the risk taking and foresight of fellow board members Lilliwhite, Hopgood and Beer saw the introduction of pokies to Cairns “two or three years ahead of the city’s first casino”. It was enormously successful and turned over the money which would later allow the board to pay off Cazalys Stadium among other things. Even today, the standard of grounds across the Cairns region is arguably higher than anywhere else in the country. This is due to those business decisions, as well as AFL Cairns giving clubs now $30 000 a season to address ongoing costs. The decisions that would later be made to bring AFL Premiership matches to Cairns were born out of these earlier business decisions.

Max sees the loss of the premiership game as “terrible”. He believes that AFL Cairns dropped their guard and the loss of the game could be ten times harder to get back again as Tourism Queensland would be reluctant to reinvest based on falling figures leading up to the loss. However, he sees this as an opportunity. O’Halloran believes that the doors are now open for AFL Cairns to pursue other avenues. He cites the Under 18 national championships, NTFL, NEAFL and even possibly a hub for Oceania footy as potential growth areas which will recalibrate the footy pathways for Cairns players. All have their challenges, financially and logistically, but all are worthy of investigation to grow again despite losing the AFL Premiership matches – at least for now. Max O’Halloran considers himself “a lucky boy” to have had such a VFL/AFL journey and beyond. He is proud of his life memberships with North Cairns and AFL Cairns and his AFL Contribution to Footy Merit Award. He is equally proud of being able to walk into a reunion of players where he coached in Echuca where he is still remembered for his contributions. But, importantly, he is very proud of the growth in Cairns footy, the role he has played in that growth and the prospects for the future. Each of the players interviewed share this much in common – the AFL Premiership match may be gone, but there is still much to be excited about in Cairns. There is still a shining light. - Wesley Hull (13 March, 2019).

In 2012, O'Halloran announced his intention to run for Division Seven of the Cairns Regional Council, as a part of "Unity 2012", a team of candidates led by Bob Manning.

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Max O'Halloran | O'Halloran's Blueseum Image Gallery
Contributors to this page: Bombasheldon , molsey , Jarusa , tmd1 and admin .
Page last modified on Wednesday 17 of January, 2024 14:42:18 AEDT by Bombasheldon.

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