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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 - 1:25 PM


The Perth Football Club is mourning the loss of life member, former president and passionate supporter, Damian Matthews, who died at his home on June 17.

Damian joined the club board and became vice-president, taking over as president after the retirement of Brian Lawrence in 2005. The club was struggling on the field, but Damian’s presidency was marked by events that retained the enthusiasm and support of members and supporters off the field.

He initiated successful reunion dinners for the league premiership teams of 1955, the 1960s and the 1970s. The annual Centurions fundraising lunches were bolstered, and a highly successful gala dinner was held at the Government House Ballroom in 2008 to honour three great servants of the club – Dr Steve Kargotich, Len Waldock and Arthur Ransted. The Gala Auction night was also a valuable fundraiser.

Damian had a keen eye on Perth’s traditions. The club history “From Redlegs to Demons” was launched in his first year as president by Premier Geoff Gallop, and he also supported the establishment of the club history centre by the Past Players and Officials Association.

He was a strong supporter of the PPOA’s initiative to chronicle the tragic story of young player Doug Buckingham, who died from a work accident in 1953 after starring at centre half forward in the league side. The coveted best first year league player award is named in his honour. 

Damian initiated the informal nominations committee, which sought to rectify the backlog of club champions and stalwarts who were overdue for recognition in the Hall of Fame and other football awards.

PPOA president Wayne Koch, who initially served on the club board with Damian, described him as a “tireless worker, both in front of, and behind the scenes”. He could also be a hard taskmaster but generously acknowledged the contributions that volunteers made.

Another former board member, Neil Allen, said he and Damian were seconded onto the board by Brian Lawrence, who said “young blood” was required. Damian was given responsibility to recruit new members.

“He was like a man possessed and increased membership greatly over the first couple of years he undertook the task,” Neil said. “He worked so hard making phone calls and following up old and new members to join. Even to the point Damian and I manned a stand in the shopping centre in Northam on a membership drive. We tried to get a nun to sign up but she said she couldn't possibly join the Demons, but preferred the Cardinals (West Perth)!”

Damian, a barrister and solicitor by profession specialising in industrial law, was appointed to the WA Industrial Relations Commission in 2016. But he was forced to retire five years later after being diagnosed with the debilitating motor neurone disease. 

He turned his hand to writing, and with co-author Ken Spillman penned the thriller “Where’s Froggy? – A Sunset Coast Crime Mystery” which was successfully launched at the club in 2023.

The Perth Football Club extends its sincere sympathy to Damian’s parents – Jill and John – also a life member and long term club accounts manager – and the entire Matthews family on their sad loss. One thing for sure. Damian won’t be forgotten by the Demons!

Written by, Peter Kennedy, 18 June 2024

The Perth Football Club is also deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Colts player Harley Corbett.

Harley played six games for Perth FC Colts throughout the 2020 season before moving to play his football for Peel Thunder in 2023.

Our Heartfelt condolences go out to Harley's family and friends during this difficult time.