Where Are They Now?: Peter Metropolis

 

by Ron Head

They don’t come much more maroon and gold than Peter Metropolis.

Playing one hundred and fifty eight games over nine years, captain of the club, and part of a premiership, he went on to serve for fourteen years as a committeeman, including eight as President.

Yet in his first year as a player, he walked out.

Austin Robertson senior had talked me into trying out with Subiaco in 1965, Peter explained to Footygoss went down there, played in the reserves for six weeks while in the meantime the league side were really battling, with one win. I hadn’t looked like getting picked, I was studying engineering, time was a problem, so I just stopped going

And the funny part was that I don’t think anyone knew I’d gone, he laughed.

Eventually Robertson implored with me to go back, which I did, and I was back in the reserves for the first week, before playing the last six games with the league side.

A Wembley junior, Metropolis was playing under fourteens at the age of ten, as a wingman, with Gary Carvolth in the ruck, before playing for Scotch College. At the University of WA, he won the best player award for the colts and A Grade in consecutive years.

Playing the season opener in 1966 on a wing, Metropolis was moved into the centre, a position that suited his style of play. He was a skillful gatherer of the ball, who collected possessions at will, and possessed good foot skills, whether kicking at goal or delivering to a team mate.  In 1968, Metropolis tied with Ross Gosden for the fairest and best award, but lost on a countback.

Selected for Western Australia three times, he was forced out with hamstring problems twice, but was part of the State side in 1970 against Tasmania at North Hobart. I lined up on a half back flank, he said, with a wry grin. I’d never played there before. I made mention of the fact to one of the coaching staff, and was told to just go out and get a kick. We lost by two points.

Peter captained Subiaco in 1971 and 72, standing down the following year after Ross Smith’s appointment as playing coach, but was part of the selection committee, along with Smith, Austin Robertson junior, and Brian Sierakowski. To the surprise of many, he sat on the bench until the twenty minute mark of the last quarter.

Metropolis announced his retirement before the beginning of the 1974 season. I had some injury concerns, and my time was a problem as well, he said. Peter always looked on his football as a sport. There was no money in it those days, so I couldn’t make it my number one priority, he said. I had a career off the field to worry about, providing for a young family. As an illustration of how reliable football was at putting bread on the table, he gave an example: When the hot gospeller, Alan Killigrew, was our coach in 1967, we won one game and drew one. We were only paid on wins, and my pay for the year was eighty seven dollars.

Appointed playing coach of Sunday League club, Victoria Park, Peter was also lured back to the fold by new playing coach, David Parkin, in 1975, as assistant coach. David asked me for some advice, as the team wasn’t going well, Peter said. I gave him some. Stop playing, retire, and be a non playing coach, I said. Parkin did retire, but probably more because of injuries than my advice,

Victoria Park made the semis, but a knee injury forced the end of Metropolis’s playing career in 1976. A two year coaching stint with Wembley yielded a flag and a runners up trophy. Subiaco then appointed him reserves coach for two years, in which time he was league runner for Ken Armstrong and a selector.

In 1991, Metropolis began his fourteen year span as a committeeman at Subiaco. Elected as President in 1997, he was to preside over many decisions that were to consolidate the strength of the Subiaco Football Club, which were reflected by the presence of the club in seven of the eight final rounds of his term, including a couple of grand finals and a premiership. 

Among the negotiations that were conducted during that time were the buildings at the new Leederville complex. He also takes pride in initiating the writing of Subiaco’s History and recognition of the great players and volunteers who made the club what it is. He paid tribute to the initial efforts of Kevin Merifield, subsequently reinforced by the work of Michael Carlyle, David Williams, and Brian Warren, as previous Presidents of the club.

Peter told us of the time he was almost dropped from two teams.

 It was when Bunton was coach, he said. Bunts, Legs, Ocker, Eakins, and myself went to a nightclub one Saturday night after a game. We had training next morning at eight, so my alarm was set. I was horrified when I woke at nine, raced to the club, and ran into Bunton as he was coming out of the rooms. After apologising for being late, I trained for two hours.

On the Thursday night, announcing the team, he said: all the same except for Metro. I said what the.... to which he replied: You missed training.

I copped it sweet, and on the Saturday morning, I was cruising for time until it struck me that my boots were in my locker at the club.(league players’ boots were taken care of on match days, but ressies blokes had to take care of their own) Rushing to the oval, I found that there was no one there and I couldn’t get in. I saw Bunts, who told me to borrow a pair at Bassendean.

Back to the car, and that was when I noticed the flat tyre.

On arrival at the ground, twenty minutes before the start of the game, I was told by Mike Pethick, the reserves coach, that I wasn’t playing because I was late. My reasons were wasted on deaf ears. I walked out of the rooms, and Basil Fuller chased after me to tell me I was playing after all. I ended up sitting on the bench for three quarters, wearing a pair of boots that were a size too small. Pethick put me to centre half forward for the last quarter, and I had much delight in kicking five goals.

The two lost toenails completed the day.

Peter told us of Bunton’s brush with the law.

He was going the wrong way up a one way street when he got pulled over by a blue vehicle. The copper said: Didn’t you see the arrows? to which Bunts replied: I didn’t even see the Indians.

He rated Perth wingman Greg Brehaut as hardest to beat when he was a wingman, and Mel Whinnen as a centreman. Cam Blakemore, Laurie Kettlewell(to whom Peter is related through marriage), Austin Robertson, Wally Martin, Reg Hampson, and Fred Davenport were the best he played with.

Almost retired, Peter Metropolis is a civil engineering consultant, after many years as a main roads engineer. He is a vice patron of Subiaco Football Club, and still a keen supporter, enjoying golf and fishing. He and wife Tina are extremely proud of their two children, who have certainly inherited the Metropolis sporting genes. Daughter Dayna played State netball, while Daniel played a hundred and fourteen games with West Coast, six at Fremantle, and just under a hundred for Subiaco. 

Subiaco have had some outstanding administrators over the last thirty years, men who have taken the club from a basket case to a power. Peter Metropolis is one of these. Add his hundred and fifty eight quality games and it’s quite a contribution.  

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