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Tough, but boy could he play
By SHAUN PHILLIPS and MICHAEL WARNER
THE image of the stony-faced enforcer meting out rough justice often obscured the on-field achievements of Jack Dyer.
So said current Richmond skipper Wayne Campbell yesterday as he joined the throng of stars to have paid tribute to the much-loved Captain Blood.
"With the image of Jack being tough and hard, I think some people forget what a good player he was," Campbell said.
"He was in the best 21 players of all time in the last century -- he was named in the AFL team of the century."
Richmond president Clinton Casey said there was no bigger and few better than Captain Blood: "When he retired in 1949, he was the game's
longest-serving player, with 312 games.
"He won a record six best and fairests at Richmond. The Richmond Football Club best and fairest award is named after Jack Dyer.
"He was an inaugural legend of the AFL hall of fame, the inaugural immortal in the Richmond hall of fame, a member of the AFL team of the century, captain of Richmond's team of the century, premiership player in 1934 and premiership captain-coach in 1943.
"Jack Dyer was the embodiment of that ruthless, win-at-all-cost, eat-'em-alive spirit that is famous at Tigerland.
"He was fearless, committed and honest, and no person wore the yellow and black jumper with more honour than Jack Dyer."
Geelong legend Bob Davis said Dyer was one of the game's greats.
"Australian rules football wouldn't be where it is today without Jack Dyer, there's no doubt about it," Davis said, referring more to Dyer's celebrated media career than his playing achievements.
Former Tiger player and president Neville Crowe said Dyer epitomised everything that was great about the Richmond Football Club.
"I had the good fortune to be around Jack and spend a lot of time with him," Crowe said.
"A great bloke, great player, great captain and a great coach. I burst into tears when I heard the news."
Crowe said Dyer had done it hard during Richmond's continuing 23-year premiership drought.
"One thing you know, he absolutely loves this footy club," he said.
Tributes poured into Richmond supporter bulletin boards.
James Taylor, 68, recalled the importance of football, and players like Dyer, during the hard years of the 1930s and '40s.
"Nobody was sprightlier, nobody could leap as high or kick as long as my glorious Tigers, and the king of them all was No. 17, Jack Dyer, the fabulous and feared Captain Blood," Mr Taylor wrote.
"And he wasn't a big man, certainly not in the mould of, say, Roy Wright. I bet there are wingers playing today who are bigger and taller than Jack Dyer, but, boy, he could hit hard.
"Jack belongs to us, to all the Tiger supporters, and he was a gentleman. He made my world worthwhile. He was our Captain Blood."
Another fan remembered Dyer as "a fine leader of men, a champion of footballers and most importantly, a true gentleman".