Gunnedah Bulldogs AFL club founder Brian Lenton will be one of 100 inductees into the NSW/ACT AFL Hall of Fame, with a gala dinner to be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground in May.

To honour the significant contributions of 100 players, coaches, administrators, umpires, and media personalities alike, the Hall of Fame recognises Lenton as a player, coach and administrator throughout leagues around the NSW state.

Hall of Fame honours are rare and Lenton, who grew up in the south west NSW town of Whitton in the AFL centric Riverina district, is set to rub shoulders with national AFL hall of famers such as all-time leading AFL goal kicker Tony Lockett, the Daniher brothers Terry, Neale, Anthony and parents Jim and Edna as well as legendary multiple AFL premiership-winning coach Allen Jeans.

Lenton has 69 years of experience in AFL football, dating from 1956 until the current day, where he is often seen today in his usual post operating the time clock during the Bulldogs men’s and women’s home matches at Wolseley Oval.

On the back of Lenton, what is now a fully functional and AFLNSW registered league, can be traced back to 1977 where Lenton founded the Gunnedah Bulldogs and was a pioneer in the formation of league football in Northern/North Western NSW – now known as the AFLNSW North West competition.

“Back when we were aiming to get football competition started in the (North West NSW) area, there was no (Sydney) Swans side or any other real influence within the area,” Lenton said.

“Outside of the ABC showing AFL on TV at 10.30 on a Saturday night, it was down to people in surrounding towns to get something started.

“So a lot of hours driving to other towns to get it going – that’s probably something I’m pretty proud of and to see the competition still going today.”

While humble in his recognition, Lenton was full of praise for those who helped him achieve this emphatic milestone, but was quick to acknowledge the “abundance of help” he received along the way.

“You don’t do it on your own, it’s nice to be recognised but as I say there’s always help along the way.

“There’s some incredible names on the list of 100.

“I’m honoured to just be mentioned in the same breath of some of the people let alone be on it,” a humble Lenton said.

Understandably, Lenton is a life member of the Gunnedah Bulldogs club and upon the gesture of his exclusive hall of fame recognition at state AFL level, some of his proudest moments are of a personal note and of those closest to his heart through his time with the Gunnedah Bulldogs AFL club.

“You play and do what you do for premierships and I was fortunate enough as a player/coach with the club (Gunnedah Bulldogs) to win two but also three solely as coach of the club.

“But I’m just as, if not more proud, of my daughter Natasha winning the club’s inaugural women’s premiership in their first season in 2020.

“And as I am for my grandsons Chad and Jake representing the club in a grand final together, and my son Nathan who’s played top level AFL in Sydney and Canberra,” Lenton reflected.

When asked about some of his most memorable moments with the Gunnedah club, Lenton couldn’t put a finger on one specifically, such is the nostalgic history through his incredible longevity of influence on the club and the North West competition.

In a playing capacity, Lenton represented the ACT under 19s in the 1960s and played first grade AFL in Canberra, while also having a major influence around the Riverina through various sides throughout his AFL endeavours.

The gala dinner is set down for the Sydney Cricket Ground – the venue that hosted the first AFL match of any description in Sydney in 1881.

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