Ian Cahill

Ian (Sheriff) Cahill

Where did you play your junior footy?

  • All at South Bunbury. Played my first U/13 game at 7 years old and played U/13’s for 5 years under Phil Crabb & Morry Maher.
  • Never won any Premierships in my junior footy – we were always near the bottom. That changed when I played Thirds (now Colts) when we had a great team coached by Morry Maher – many of these players went on to play League footy for South.
  • I played my first Reverses game when I was 14 after Sport Buswell watched me play. He came and asked for my father’s permission for me to play and sure enough he gave it. I remember playing against Carey Park and Gordon Bazzo bumped me over. He came back and helped me up to my feet. As he did so he said to me “Go back to kindy kid”.


What was your playing number?

  • 4


Regarding football – who were the most influential people for you?

  • Undoubtedly my dad and two brothers. We used to kick the footy in the back yard every night until it got too dark to see.
  • Gerry McNeill – our coach in 1984 & 1985. Gerry was ahead of his time with his coaching philosophy and gave me the freedom to play to my strengths.
  • Doc Manea – who took me under his wing when I was young and skinny and gave me lots of great advice.


What are some of your Football Highlights?

  • I played in 7 winning Grand Finals from 11 or 12 Grand Final appearances. I was lucky enough to play in a great era at this club. I played for 21 years and was in a Grand Final every second year.
  • Coached the Reserves to a Grand Final win in 1993.
  • I was assistant coach to Ray Rendall when the League also won in 1993.
  • Coached the League team in 1994 & 1995.
  • Played in 4 WA State Country teams.
  • Won the Fairest & Best for the South West at the Westfarmers Country Championships in 1984.
  • And the big one is the Comradery with my teammates. I don’t see my teammates too often these days but when we do catch up it’s like being with my brothers.


What is your greatest achievement at South Bunbury?

  • Playing in 3 undefeated Premiership teams – 1980, 1984 & 1988

Any characters stand out to you & any stories you’d like to share?

  • There are so many great characters. All are good people and most probably didn’t get the credit they deserved. Roy Buswell, Fred Buswell and Neville Buswell are a few that come to mind.
  • Dr Bob doing his call of a ‘Truck load of chooks going over Wilke’s Crossing’ is a classic.
  • Not willing to share any details but our trips to Rotto and Bali were good times.


Who is the best player you played with at South Bunbury & why?

  • Leon Baker – he couldn’t kick too far and he wasn’t great overhead but he had this amazing ability to go to the next level (SWFL to WAFL to AFL) and perform. He had this gift where he could weave out of a pack so effortlessly. You can’t coach that and Bakes had it in spades. I used to watch him at training to try and understand why he was so good. He did the little things that others didn’t, like sprint through after kicking the ball. Whether it was a conscious thing or not I don’t know but he just trained that way all the time.



Who was your toughest opponent?

  • Darren O’Brien from Collie in the local competition was one who stands out.
  • I played on Gary Buckenara (Subiaco & Hawthorn) when the WA State County team played the WA State Amateur team. I lined up on this young skinny freckle faced kid and thought ‘gee I’m going to have a good day today’. He ended up being the Amateur’s best player that day!


How many games did you play for South Bunbury?

  • 277 or 278 – I’m not sure?


Most games played for South Bunbury – how does that sit with you?

  • I don’t really think about it. I just loved playing footy and wanted to play for as long as I could.


How did you get the nickname Sheriff?

  • My dad was a policeman and his friend was Bluey Stafford. Bluey and his mates used to call dad the “Sheriff of Bunbury” so as soon as I turned up at the club I was the “Little Sheriff”.


Where are you now?

  • Living in Bunbury


What do you do?

  • I have my own consultancy business called Elite Ocean where I coach people in Leadership. And a lot of my teaching is based on what I learnt during my football career.


Do you have an interest in footy at the moment?

  • No but I do like to get down to the South versus Bunbury and Carey Park games when I can. And the finals of course.


Who will win the 2020 AFL Premiership?

  • Dockers – I’ve followed the Dockers ever since Gerry (McNeill) went there.


Do you like how football is played today?

  • The speed and skill of the players today is at another level. As a spectator I don’t like the congestion in the game but you’ve got to admire the athleticism of today’s players.


Any other things you’d like to share with South Bunbury members?

  • During these hard times continue to support this great club.