Born Fremantle WA
19 April 1923 – 26 September 1993
There is very little doubt that World War II prevented South Fremantle full-forward, Bernie Naylor from becoming the State’s greatest goal-kicker. He was a goal-kicking genius; the master of the spiraling torpedo punt, especially from long range and his War-interrupted career saw him kick 1034 goals in 195 league games at the incredible average of 5.3 goals per game.
A product of school football at CBC Fremantle, Naylor debuted for South Fremantle in 1941 but missed the next four seasons due to war commitments. He resumed playing in 1946 and was a key figure in South’s golden era, playing in six premiership teams. He headed the WAFL’s goal-kicking table six times, five of those with century-plus tallies and his final game was the club’s third successive grand final victory in 1954 in which he bowed out with seven goals.
Naylor’s highest season tally of 156 in 1953 stood as an Australian record for 15 years – and he added 11 in the finals- and in that season he kicked 23 goals against Subiaco, from a team tally of 35 – an Australian senior match record that still stands. In that game he didn’t kick a goal in the second quarter but atoned with 12 in the third. Other remarkable games were against East Fremantle (1952) when he kicked 19.1 from a team total of 24.9 and year later he posted 18.3 from 30.17 against Subiaco.
Naylor’s fame was based around his ability to lead fast to elude his rivals and his strong marking. He was prepared to lead well out from the goal, as his torpedo punt was a accurate weapon from any range. Naylor played 15 State games, kicking 45 goals and his 20 finals matches with South produced 103 goals, maintaining his average of over five goals per game. A club fairest and best winner in 1953, in an era of many South Fremantle stars, Naylor was the team’s leading goal-kicker in each of his ten years with the Club.
His goal-front exploits have made him an iconic figure in Western Australian football. The medal presented to the WAFL’s leading goal-kicker each season is now known as the Naylor Medal.