|Name:||O'Halloran, William Matthew|
|Date of Birth:||b 18 June 1934 (d 13 December 1994)|
|Career:||1953/54 - 1973/74|
|Teams:||St Kilda, University|
|Bowling Style:|| RAMP|
Hero of the drought-breaking 1961-62 premiership and captain of the 1964-65 flag, Bill O'Halloran was one of St Kilda's finest and most respected sons, a Victorian representative and a long-time coach and mentor. He also won the club championship a record seven times.
His service to St Kilda spanned three decades, the array of historic photographs on display in the social rooms, adding to the appreciation younger players have for the club and its history a direct result of O'Halloran's efforts in retrieving them from dusty storage points under stairwells and back rooms and insisting they be cleaned an re-displayed.
Few teenagers had been wooed to the Junction with a greater reputation. O'Halloran som dominated Public Schools cricket that Caulfield Grammar's first XI won three consecutive titles, O'Halloran taking almost 150 wickets and making almost 900 runs. In 1953, he was the Victorian Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year. On his first XI debut he'd taken four for 15 and seven for 0 against Ivanhoe and in his farewell appearance, he took seven for 4 and made 115 against Haileybury.
After his initial first XI appearances in 1953-54, when he was 19, O'Halloran had three seasons with Melbourne University before returning to the Saints and playing through until 1973-74. He was captain for four seasons and coach for six. He also coached North Melbourne before returning in 1979-80 and lifting the first XI into the Grand Final. He was 50 when he played his 232nd and final game, with the thirds, in 1984-85.
His career aggregate of 5368 runs (average 30.32) and 312 wickets (at 17.34) ranks him among the finest allrounders in post-war Victorian club cricket. In 1963-64 he made a personal best 603 runs. Only a handful at St Kilda have played more than his 192 first XI games.
Gutsy and gritty, he liked to build an innings and be well set before unleashing his shots. He wobbled his medium-pacers, invariably hitting the seam and gaining bounce normally reserved for the taller and faster.
While his first-class record was modest, his consistency at first XI club level, especially in the games which mattered, was extraordinary. In 1961-62 he made a season-best 88 in the semi-final against South Melbourne and followed with 136 in the titanic final against much-fancied Fitzroy, prompting Rex Pullen in the Melbourne Sun to write: "St Kilda should inscribe its 1961-62 VCA pennant with the name - BILL O'HALLORAN - in gold!"
In the equally-as-intense 1964-65 final against Footscray, he followed a match-turning seven for 53 with 54 against a new ball attack of ex-Test man Ron Gaunt and the near-express Tony Leigh.
In addition to his two first XI premierships, he was also a member of the club's second XI flag, under Jack Buckland's captaincy, in 1958-59, topscoring in both innings with 59 and 63 and taking 10 wickets for the match.
Fiercely-competitive and with an eye for talent, he was a stickler for high standards and playing the game in the right spirit. He could also be tough and one night at training told a teenage John Ward to "bowl and bowl until I say stop".
When Nigel Murch swore at him, after Barry Morphet was preferred with the wind one day at Northcote, word filtered back to the committee who enforced a one-match suspension. "Bill told me if I apologised I'd be okay, which I did," said Murch, "but someone on the committee got wind of it all. I played in the seconds against Essendon and lost the club championship that year to Billy by a point!"
He was made a life member in 1973.
From "Down At The Junction" by Ken Piesse