Career : 1925 - 1928
Debut : Round 2, 1925 vs Essendon, aged 19 years, 49 days
Carlton Player No. 411
Games : 20
Goals : 11
Last Game : Round 9, 1928 vs Footscray, aged 22 years, 80 days
Guernsey No. 4
Height : 179 cm (5 ft. 10 in.)
Weight : 85 kg (13 stone, 5 lbs.)
DOB : 21 March, 1906
Although he never reached his full potential during his stay at Princes Park from 1925 to 1928, William (Bill) Koop won two Reserve-Grade flags with the Blues, before crossing to the VFA and transforming himself into one of the Association’s best backmen. He stood only 179 cm tall, but his agility and aerial skills made him a star as a key position defender in inaugural Premiership teams for both Northcote and Prahran.
Bill was born in Dimboola, Western Victoria in 1906. He played football locally until he moved to Melbourne to join the police force in 1925, and was invited to join Carlton the same year. Seen as a capable all-rounder who took a good mark for his size and was steady around the goals, he made his senior debut in guernsey number 4 at Princes Park on Saturday, May 9, 1925, when the Blues played host to Essendon and lost by 45 points. Koop played as a follower that afternoon, as he did throughout most of the next two seasons. He was honest and kicked the odd goal, without ever really justifying a regular starting spot.
Still, he helped create a minor history when Carlton easily accounted for Geelong in the 1926 Reserves Grand Final, winning the club’s first flag at that level. He then missed the entire 1927 season – probably because of his police duties. Back for 1928, he managed another five senior appearances by round 9, but then spent the remainder of the year in the lower grade. In what turned out to be Koop’s last game in navy blue, Carlton captain-coach Jimmy Goonan led his team to a third straight Reserves flag that September, defeating Geelong by 31 points in front of 8000 people at the MCG on Melbourne Show day.
In 1929, Koop was cleared to Northcote, where he joined a number of his colleagues from the police force in a disciplined team under captain-coach Percy Rowe. The Brickfielders had recruited brilliantly, and Koop soon settled into centre half-back and formed an outstanding defensive line with two other ex-VFL flankers in Greg Stockdale (Essendon) and Jack Wood (North Melbourne). Northcote finished on top of the ladder, and went on to destroy Port Melbourne by 42 points in a one-sided Grand Final to claim the club’s first-ever VFA Premiership.
By then however, Koop had been stationed at St Kilda for some time, and was finding it near-impossible to get to training. In 1929, he asked for a clearance to Prahran and Northcote reluctantly let him go. Over the next eight seasons, Bill was a star in defence for the two Blues, winning the Recorder Cup as the Best and Fairest player in the competition in 1931, and adding another trophy to his cabinet when Prahran claimed their precious breakthrough VFA Premiership in 1937 with a 4-point victory over Brunswick.
He retired after that triumph, having notched up 146 games in a career that more than 50 years later would earn him a place in Prahran’s Team of the Century.
In a sad postscript to his story, Bill passed away on the 14th April, 1950, aged just 44.
Career Highlights1926 Reserves Premiership
1928 Reserves Premiership