Years Coached: 1957, 1958, 1965 - 1967
Haydn Bunton made his league debut at 17 with North Adelaide in 1954 and was just 19 when Norwood controversially appointed him coach to replace Jack Oatey in 1957. Bunton had won All-Australian selection the year before and North refused to clear him as a player, but he nearly pulled off a great upset as a rookie coach when Norwood lost the grand final by just 11 points to Port Adelaide despite first quarter injuries to Eric Butler and Ron Dickson.
As captain-coach in 1958 he suffered domestic pressures and rumours of dissension among some players, prompting him to move to Launceston in 1959. There his courage was manifest when he was badly injured in a car accident. His smashed kneecap replaced with muscle, Bunton embarked on a painful rehabilitation program under Percy Cerutty in the Portsea sandhills. A small, chunky, quick-witted player with great handball skills, Bunton returned to Norwood in 1960 as a member of Alan Killigrew’s team which frustratingly went down to North Adelaide by five points in the grand final.
Bunton had another stint as Norwood captain-coach from 1965-67, but his rewards came in Western Australia with four premierships and a Sandover Medal with Swan Districts and three premierships with Subiaco. He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2002 as a coach.
P Robins July 2014