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Ball Legend Skwirowski means everything to Swans

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 - 4:13 PM

Embracing history especially in the season you are celebrating 90 years in the competition is crucial and the Swan Districts' Ball Legend is Bill Skwirowski and President Peter Hodyl couldn't think of anyone better.

Having your face, name and list of achievements on the Burley footballs for any WAFL seasons is among the most significant means of tribute a club can pay to any great servants, and there are few men who bleed Swan Districts more than Bill Skwirowski.

Skwirowski is the ball legend for Swan Districts in 2024 in recognition of not only what he did in a glittering playing career that included being part of the triple premiership run of 1982-83-84 but also his lifelong commitment to the football club.

Skwirowski made his debut for Swan Districts as a 19-year-old in 1975 and would go on to play 207 games up until his last during the 1988 season, and along the way he would become one of most decorated and respected players in club history.

Becoming a permanent member of the defensive unit, Skwirowski was part of the preliminary final for Swans in 1975 and then by 1980, played in the Grand Final loss to South Fremantle, the preliminary final of 1981 and then the three premiership triumphs in 1982, 83 and 84.

Skwirowski also represented Western Australia throughout his career having originally come from Collie, but he soon called Bassendean home and now is enshrined in the history of the Swan Districts Football Club.

He is a life member at Swans and now will forever be remembered as having his face and accolades on the footballs of 2024, and Hodyl has no doubt it means the world to him.

"It absolutely means a lot to him," Hodyl said.

"I was only over at Bill's house a couple of weeks ago and he was very, very proud to take me into his study and in pride of place are his three premiership photos, his medallions, his jumper and all of that stuff from his career.

"Then the footy he received with all his stats on it that's sitting I'm sure right next to all that other stuff now. Swans means everything to Bill and I think Bill means everything to Swans in return."

Celebrating the history of any football club is crucial and remembering the former greats is something that Swan Districts takes seriously when selecting who will be enshrined as a ball legend each season.

Last year it was a teammate of Skwirowski, Mike Richardson, and now he takes the honour on for 2024 and Hodyl hopes that all the current players this season take notice of his accomplishments, and seek him out at some stage themselves.

"Our ball legends are exactly that, legends of our football club," Hodyl said.

"As a young player playing your first half a dozen or 20 or 30 games, you sort of look at the footy and see guys like Billy Skwirowski on there and the games that he's played, the achievements he had and the photo of the man, and it's a very special thing.

"I remember playing alongside Bill and even on training days, he would have been one of only two or three who really took their training seriously. He would come to training and arrive with skinfolds that would probably leave a lot of AFL players in their wake today.

"The rest of us were taking it seriously, but he was absolutely fastidious about everything he did, who he played on and things like that.

"So to see him recognised on our ball as our ball legend this year, from my personal standpoint, he is someone who had a lot of influence on me as a footballer as well as a person.

"He still is such a genuine soul and is someone I've always looked up to. Hopefully some of the current players can see some of his history down on the ball and get a chance to talk to him this year, and learn a bit from that so good on Bill."