GARY DEMPSEY was recruited from the Footscray Technical School Old Boys Club ( Victoria ) by the Footscray Bulldogs in 1967 and played 207 Games, kicking 105 Goals until the end of the 1978 Season, when he transferred to the North Melbourne Kangaroos, playing 122 Games and kicking 39 Goals until his retirement in 1984. Dempsey proved to be one of the bravest Australian Football Players of all time, and many of his Australian Football Cards, and those of many of his contemparies are available at qualityafltradingcards.com.
Dempsey is acknowledged as one of the finest ruckmen to have played our game. His high levels of performance and longevity are astounding when you consider that he was told that he would never play another Game, after suffering serious burns in a bushfire in 1969. He was tall, strongly built, athletic and an exceptional mark, particularly in contested pack situations. Dempsey was the ultimate Team Player, providing an armchair ride for his Team’s Rovers and on-ballers, and was rarely beaten.
Gary Dempsey won many Honours, Awards and Accolades during his playing career, including:- Club Best and Fairest Player Award ( Charlie Sutton Medal ) at the Footscray Bulldogs for 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, Captain of the Footscray Bulldogs in 1971, 1972, 1977, 1978, North Melbourne Kangaroos Best and Fairest Player Award ( Syd Barker Medal ) in 1979, State representation for Victoria on 22 occasions ( Captain in 1972 ), selected as an All Australian in 1972, selected in both the Footscray Bulldogs and North Melbourne Kangaroos Teams of the Century, winner of the Brownlow Medal in 1975, runner-up in the Brownlow Medal in 1970, and an inaugural inductee to the Australian Football League Hall of Fame in 1996.
Dempsey’s impressive list of achievements are capped with the honour of being the player to have polled more Brownlow Medal Votes than any other Australian Football Player in VFL/AFL History. His feat of achieving a Top 10 Finish in Brownlow Medal Voting on 13 separate occasions is astonishing, and is a record that is unlikely to ever be equalled. Dempsey missed very few games during his career, due to injury, and combined with his supreme aerial dominance, with many eye-catching marks around the ground, the Field Umpires were continually drawn to the impressive skill levels he displayed.
When his career at the elite level ended in 1984, Dempsey transferred to the Southport Football Club on the Gold Coast in Queensland, where he continued to display a highly competitive brand of football for a number of years. After retiring as a player, he was appointed as a specialist Coach at the Western Oval with the Footscray Bulldogs ( now the Western Bulldogs ). His horizons were further broadened at the end of the 2005 Season, when the Carlton Blues signed him up as their Specialist Ruck Coach.
Gary Dempsey was unfortunate that he played in average Teams for most of his career, and it was the thirst for success that enticed him to switch from the Bulldogs to the Roos for the 1979 season. He joined the list of great VFL/AFL Players who completed distinguished careers without ever tasting Grand Final Success and Premiership euphoria. Dempsey was a very fair player, always humble in the media and in the company of the General Public, and there are many current day players who could benefit from the exemplary Gary Dempsey attitude and behaviour models.
( Image courtesy of cartoonsandcaricatues.com.au ).