David “Rubber” O’Halloran
Footballer – 8/9/55 – 11/4/12 – By Gaye Haug
David Neil O’Halloran, who died suddenly at age 57, was a former Australian rules footballer who played with Hawthorn in the VFL (now AFL).
As the third of four children to Isabel and Neil O’Halloran, David was a sports crazy kid who slept with a football on his bed in winter and a cricket bat in summer. Schooled at North Balwyn Primary school and later at Ivanhoe Grammar, he made valuable contributions to his schools, captaining the first 18 football team, the vice captain of a combined grammar school team and member of the school first 11 cricket team which won the AGSV premiership in 1972. Not surprisingly, David is honoured in the Ivanhoe Grammar Hall of Fame.
On completing school he began work as a Property Manager at Gray and Johnson Real Estate in Preston and worked in this capacity throughout his entire business life. He never worked in real estate sales though and flatly refused to have a mobile phone. It is almost certain he is the only real estate agent of the modern era not to own one! After leaving Gray and Johnson, he and two partners built their own business Cody Real Estate in Vermont, which in later years merged with Docking Real Estate.
Football and cricket were David’s loves. His first football club was the Park Orchards Junior Football Club where the first signs of his ability to be a great team player came to the fore. He also enjoyed his time at the Ivanhoe Cricket Club. A Hawthorn scout who saw David’s skill was keen to sign him, but David refused to speak with him as Ivanhoe Grammar had just lost and being a passionate player, he was inconsolable. David confessed to Don Scott recently how thankful he was that the scout persisted with him. He joined the Hawthorn Football Club in 1974 playing in the under 19s where he took a little time to find his feet but soon blossomed under the guidance of Brian Coleman. In 1975, he moved up to the seconds and he made his senior debut in 1976. He played all 25 games in a remarkable debut season that culminated in winning the Grand Final as well as the Cazaly medal for the best first-year player.
Rubber played in various defensive positions during his career and was a member of a premiership side again in 1983. A Victorian representative twice, O’Halloran was selected in the 1982 ‘Team of the Year’ by the VFL and after ending up on the losing grand final team two years later he left Hawthorn, finishing with 160 games.
After footy, David kept himself fit with running, until his knees and ankles said “no” to running and he became a bike rider. He didn’t like fuss and rode his bike in shorts and a t-shirt. He was a lycra-free zone. David was born a strong leader and became a wonderful coach to the Under 15 boys in 2011 and Under 17’s in 2012 at Blackburn Football Club where his son Tom plays. He was well known around the club for his unique encouragement and support.
Above all his sporting achievements, David excelled as a family man. He was happiest at home with the family he and his wife Karen created. His children Tom and Georgia were his inspiration. David’s style was always quiet yet determined. Like Atticus Finch from his favourite book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, he was a gentleman and role model for his children. He suffered a heart attack while bike riding with mates on holiday at his favourite place, Merimbula. He is survived by his wife Karen, children Tom and Georgia and his three siblings, Geoffrey, Sue and Peter.