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'Barks' joins the greats

Trevor Barker: Hall of Fame Legend SAINTS.com.au spoke with Colin Carter on Trevor Barker's elevation to legend status at St Kilda's Hall of Fame dinner.
Travor Barker of the Saints takes a mark during a 1970's VFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Geelong Cats.
Travor Barker of the Saints takes a mark during a 1970's VFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Geelong Cats.
The St Kilda football club will never forget Trevor Barker. Football will never forget Trevor Barker. He will live with us forever
Former St Kilda president Andrew Plympton
ON A night where Strength Through Loyalty is a common theme, it seems fitting that Trevor Barker is inducted as an official legend of the St Kilda Football Club.

Barker was in many ways a shining light during a particularly tough time for St Kilda in the 1970s and 1980s.

As the club were perennial cellar-dwellars, Barker was a regular feature on the VFL highlight reel with his spectacular high-marking punctuated by his courageous approach to the ball that often ended in him suffering from injury.

While Barker was seen by many to be the glamour boy of the St Kilda team, he was the heart and soul of a club that reached some dark times throughout his career.

Many football experts noted that Barker could have easily fitted in to the powerhouse teams of the competition and there were plays for his services but his loyalty never wavered and he stuck with the club throughout his entire career.

Standing at just 183cm and weighing no more than 80 kg at any stage of his career, Barker was often forced to play in key position roles against taller and heavier opponents as others didn’t have the ability.

While he was known primarily for his high marking, his tackling was also a big feature of his game and few opponents could get around him.

Barker never played in a final throughout his 231-game career but was a regular Victorian representative as well as being a St Kilda captain and a best and fairest winner.

Recruited from local club Cheltenham, Barker maintained a strong presence in the bayside area. These days, the Sandringham football club’s home ground goes by the name Trevor Barker Oval, while the Cheltenham football club’s home ground has been named after his father Jack.

After retiring from the Saints in 1989, Barker embarked on a coaching career with VFA club Sandringham. He coached the Zebras to flags in 1992 and 1994 before leaving after his second premiership to return to the Saints as an assistant coach to Stan Alves.

Often spoken of as a future head coach of the Saints, Barker had to put his coaching career on hold mid-way through the 1995 season for health reasons.

His intensely private nature meant few knew the reasons behind his health problems, but it was only a few months before he passed away from cancer, aged just 39.

His funeral packed out Moorabbin town hall and closed off surrounding streets as family, friends, former teammates and opponents as well as fans paid their tributes to a charismatic and talented man taken too soon.

Of the many tributes given to Barker at the time of his death, one that still rings true 17 years later came from then-St Kilda president Andrew Plympton in a eulogy at Barker’s funeral who said “The St Kilda football club will never forget Trevor Barker. Football will never forget Trevor Barker. He will live with us forever.”