K.M.Bennett Oval - Whyalla, South Australia, Australia


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John McInerney began his League career in 1948 with North Whyalla who were coached by Gordon Barbary (father of Barry)
He was an extremely talented rover, nuggety and tough, fit and fast, wonderfully skilled and blessed with a magnificent football brain.
A born leader who would set and achieve very high standards throughout his football career.
McInerney immediately tasted Finals success with North winning the first ever Grand Final to be played on the Memorial Oval
During his nine year playing career with the Magpies, McInerney was fortunate in playing in more winning grand finals under such outstanding football identities as Bill Sutherland and Donald Neil "Knuckles" Kerley.
After nine enormously successful years with North, McInerney was given the opportunity to coach West Whyalla. Ironically, after unsuccessfully applying for the 'A' Grade coaching position for West Whyalla in 1956, John McInerney was literally 'headhunted' by then West Whyalla Treasurer Mr Arthur Beaton for the 1957 season.
Immediate results were forthcoming. The dynamic Captain-Coach John McInerney lifted his team from third in 1956 to Premiers in 1957, winning 14 of the 16 games they participated in and defeating South by 39 points.
This was the first 'A' Grade premiership for West Whyalla who had entered the competition in 1945 and they completed a clean sweep by winning the 'B' grade and Colts premiership also.
1958 was even more successful with the 'A' grade remaining unbeaten for the year and the club achieving another treble of premierships.
McInerney policy of fostering their juniors and his inspiring and sagacious leadership were instrumental in the Clubs success.
His ability to marshall his troops and never say die attitude had earned him 'The General' tag.
More hard work on and off the Club by McInerney and other Club stalwarts in 1959 produced a treble of trebles, three more premierships.
And in what was supposedly McInerneys last season as a player and coach, and the Whyalla Football Leagues last as a 'stand alone' Association (the Spencer Gulf League (SGL) comprising of Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla was formed in 1961) West Whyalla were once again successful in all three grades in 1960.
McInerney's play and leadership was brilliant in the Grand Final against Centrals as the Dragons romped in by 73 points.
John McInerney, four years as West Captain-Coach, premiers for four years, played 64 games and won 58.
For his dedication and services to West Whyalla, John was awarded Life Membership at the completion of season 1960.
Illness to new coach Ray 'Bulla' McGuire resulted in McInerney assuming the mantle as 'Caretaker Playing Coach' during the 1961 season but the Club missed the finals and McInerney ended the season with a broken collarbone and this time his retirement from playing was confirmed!.
In 1966 McInerney was persuaded to resume his coaching career which he did through to 1975.
In 1967 the Whyalla Football League left the S.G.L.
During this reign 'The General' coached West to premierships in 1967, and 1969 - 1973 (known as the Clubs 'Golden Era' ).
Two of McInerney's sons, Kevin and Peter played together in premierships coached by 'dad' in 1971, 1972 and 1973.
In summary John McInerney coached West Whyalla into 13 Grand Finals and achieved the ultimate success 10 times.

His complete Whyalla Football playing career totalled 258 games and 34 representative games. On Numerous occasions he also coached the Whyalla representative teams.

John's three sons also had distinguished playing careers with West Whyalla, Kevin 309 games which at the time was a club record, Peter 83 (and over 150 games for Glenelg and 2 state games) and Mark 100.
The three brothers were members of the Dragons 1983 Premiership team coached by Graeme 'Fritz' Fargher, who co-incidentally credits John McInerney as having the greatest influence on his own outstanding career.

A footballing dynasty that continues today with the' sons of Mark' displaying all the skills with West Whyalla junior teams.

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