As the son of one of the greatest players to pull on a pair of footy boots, Ted Whitten Junior's life as a footballer was always going to be heavily scrutinised.

But the younger Whitten, who today celebrates his 60th birthday, was made to feel at ease about forging his own career by the great man himself. Speaking in a radio interview on SEN late last year, Whitten Junior said his father's advice to ignore external expectations stayed with him throughout his playing days.

"The old man was fantastic,” said Whitten Junior. “He always said don’t worry about what anyone else says, just make sure you do what your coach says and if he’s happy and the club is happy - as long as you’re giving 100 per cent - that’s fine."

Notwithstanding the at times unrealistic expectations placed on him when he joined the Bulldogs as a 17-year-old in 1974, young Ted carved out a fine career in his own right before it was ended by injury early in 1983, when he was still only 25 years old.

Whitten Junior had a solid debut against South Melbourne in round 4 of the 1974 season, picking up 16 touches in a win at the ground that now bears his father's name, but he found himself in and out of the side until late in the 1975 season when he had a breakout match - also against the Swans - kicking five goals and collecting 25 possessions. 

From that point on, Whitten Junior was to become one of the first picked at the Footscray selection table each week, and his talent and consistency were rewarded in later seasons with selection in Victoria's State of Origin side, an achievement of which his famous father - who viewed interstate representation as the pinnacle of Australian football - was rightly very proud.

Whitten Junior had played 144 games and kicked 133 goals across nine impressive seasons at the Bulldogs when his career came to an abrupt and unfortunate end. Playing against Collingwood in a curtain-raiser to an Ash Wednesday bushfire charity match in early 1983, Whitten had a seemingly innocuous collision with a Magpie that was to end his playing days.

“I just went head-to-head with a Collingwood player, which is something you do every game, but came off second best – as it turned out it was a posterior cruciate ligament I did. Didn’t know it for a while, but that was basically the end of my footy career."

Whitten Junior underwent three reconstructive operations to no avail.

“After the third one I’d just had enough and wanted to play golf, do the fitness stuff and just try to live a general life playing a bit of sport.”

While his playing days were over, the game and the Bulldogs remained in the hearts of Ted Whitten Junior and Senior until the famous "E.J." passed away aged 62 as the result of prostate cancer in 1995.  After his father's passing, Ted Junior established the E.J. Whitten Foundation to help raise awareness of prostate cancer and fund research into the disease. 

Whitten Junior remains the Executive Director of the Foundation to this day.