Full Name: DALE WEIGHTMAN
Date of Birth: 03/10/1957
Height: 170 cm ( 5-7 )
Weight: 69 kg ( 10-12 )
Debut: 01/04/1978, Round 1, Carlton
Last Game: 28/08/1993, Round 22, St Kilda
Total Games: 274
Total Goals: 344
Honours:Premiership 1980, Captain 1988-92, Best & Fairest 1986-87, Victorian Representative Team Games 20 Goals 31, All-Australian Team 1985-86, 1988, Tassie Medal 1985, Simpson Medal 1985.
Seasons: 1977-79, 1993
Total Games: 21
Total Goals: 27
Dale was a champion rover with Richmond over 17 seasons. Recruited from Mildura Imperials to Richmond’s Under/19 team in 1977, many thought he would be too small to last in the VFL; however, in a short space of time all doubters were silenced. Dale started well with the Thirds and was a member of their 1977 Premiership side as well as playing in several reserves’ games. Wearing the number 43 jumper, he made his senior debut in Round 1 of 1978 against arch-rivals Carlton. He acquitted himself well and showed the promise of things to come. Three weeks after his debut he was back in the reserves; however, this did not deter him as he quickly established himself as a quality footballer.
Nicknamed “The Flea”, he formed part of a very formidable first ruck combination with another former Mildura boy, Mark “The General” Lee. It often appeared as if these two had played football together throughout their junior careers such was their understanding. Ironically, he took over from Mark as club captain in 1988. A plucky, aggressive player, he always supplied plenty of cheek and muscle to the opposition while Mark was never far away if things heated up. During his AFL/VFL career, Dale was reported 16 times and received a total of 19 weeks suspension.
He was one of the best exponents of handball in the modern era. The speed and precision at which he could shoot a handball out of a pack and hit a teammate was uncanny. He had tremendous vision and evasive skills, which allowed him to get out of some very tight situations and create a loose man. He was a very accurate kick whether passing or kicking for goal. He was also a fine team man who excelled in setting up forward moves and doing the team oriented things that supporters often miss. At times it appeared as if he had a sixth sense in the way he could read the play. His highest individual goal tally with Richmond was 5 and he scored this tally five times.
Although only small in stature, he had tremendous heart and endeavour which enabled him to overcome both injuries and diabetes during his career. Despite suffering from diabetes he still had the stamina to rove for most of the game. His courage did have a downside as he was concussed six times, tore and dislocated his shoulder, suffered broken ribs and four broken noses as well as numerous sprains and strains.
He was a member of the 1980 Premiership and 1982 Grand Final teams. He won the Best First Year Player award in 1978, was vice captain in 1987 and captained the club in 77 games between 1988 and 1992. He won the Best and Fairest award in 1986 and 1987, and ran second in 1991. He was awarded Life Membership in 1987. He was an inspiring captain who set a great example for a young, inexperienced team during his five years as leader.
Dale also excelled at the highest level of football, the interstate clashes. He represented Victoria 20 times, and gained selection in the All-Australian team in 1985, 1986 and 1988. He also won the “E.J Whitten Medal” as Victoria’s Best player in 1986 and 1990 as well as the “Simpson and Tassie” medals. Unfortunately, time and injuries caught up with Dale and he bowed out of the AFL after the Richmond Reserves were defeated by Footscray in the 1993 semi-final. On that day Richmond saw a true legend who ranks with the likes of Dyer, Hart, Bourke, Bartlett and co finally end a very successful career. He remained loyal to Richmond throughout his career, despite overtures from St.Kilda and Carlton at various times.
Unlike most footballers, he didn’t disappear from the spotlight when he retired from the AFL. In 1994, he was appointed as playing-coach of South Launceston Football Club in Tasmania’s Statewide League. During the 1995 season, Dale was reported for striking an opponent and subsequently received a 14-match suspension. After serving just six matches, an appeal to the Tasmanian Supreme Court saw the penalty quashed due to a loophole that had been discovered. He quickly returned to the playing field, however, his luck didn’t last long. He was again reported and later suspended for five matches. Dale then retired after this. To add to his woes, South Launceston didn’t have the best of seasons and during one game had to endure a goal onslaught that finished with their opponents kicking 47 goals for the game. In 1996, he is assistant-coach of Finley Football Club. Apart from his football, he was also a fine cricketer and represented the Mildura area in the Country Week competition. His nephew, Leigh Colbert, is currently playing with Geelong and his brother, Mark, played for the Richmond Reserves in 1987.
Mildura Imperials U/15 1973-74 ( Honours - Club Best & Fairest, Competition Best & Fairest ) ; Mildura Imperials U/17 1974-76 ( Honours - Premiership 1974-76, Club Best & Fairest 1976, Competition Best & Fairest 1976 ) ; Mildura Seniors 1976 , Games 1, Goals 3 ; Melbourne High School 1977 ( Honours - Premiership Herald Shield 1977 ).
South Launceston Captain/Coach 1994-95, Games 20.