Tributes are flowing as Essendon mourn life member John ‘Killer’ Kilby following his death at the age of 87.
The long-time trainer worked at the Bombers from 1965 all the way up to 2018.
He was head trainer for three premierships in 1984, 1985 and 1993 and part of the medical team for a fourth in 2000.
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Essendon will wear black armbands in Sunday’s AFL clash against Geelong at the MCG to remember Kilby.
“John Kilby was part of the fabric of the Essendon Football Club,” president Dave Barham said.
“His contribution across almost 60 years as a volunteer was immense.
“He will be missed by everybody and we send our condolences to his family and close friends.
“Killer, thank you for all you have done for this club, you will never be forgotten.”
Essendon’s trainers and staff award, won last year by Sam Draper and Andrew McGrath, is named after Kilby.
Such was Kilby’s relationship with players – who in the 1960s gave him his nickname – that 2010s players David Hille and Chris Heffernan bought him a Jack Russell.
“It was an idea that we had some time ago now,” Hille said in 2014 of introducing Kilby to ‘Rusty’.
“I think he also gives Killer a wonderful friendship.”
Former player and assistant coach Robert Shaw said Essendon had lost “a great man”.
“Dedicated his life to his football club,” Shaw wrote.
“Loyalty and dedication to your players is unmatched. Taping ankles and serving (the) club since the 60s.”
The ‘proud Tasmanian’ passed away after the AFL’s announcement that the Apple Isle would get its own team, Shaw noted.
Kilby was honoured with a spot on the team’s banner when he crossed 50 years of service in 2015.
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