Cameron Bruce

Cameron Bruce (born 30 September 1979)[1] is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Melbourne Football Club and Hawthorn Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He is currently serving as an assistant coach for the Carlton Football Club.[2] During his AFL career, he was known for his aerobic capacity and neat kicking skills.[3]

Cameron Bruce
Bruce in April 2018
Personal information
Full name Cameron Bruce
Date of birth (1979-09-30) 30 September 1979
Original team(s) MHS Old Boys (VAFA)
Draft No. 64, 1999 national draft
Debut Round 1, 2000, Melbourne
vs. Richmond, at Melbourne Cricket Ground
Height 190 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 89 kg (196 lb)
Position(s) Midfield
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2000–2010 Melbourne 224 (210)
2011–2012 Hawthorn 010 00(1)
Total 234 (211)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2012.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Club career

Early days at Melbourne

He attended Melbourne High School and played for Melbourne High School Old Boys following his schooling. It was from MHSOB that he was drafted in 1999, at the relatively old age of 20. He was Melbourne's last selection in that year's draft, taken as the club's sixth pick, and 64th overall, behind team-mates Brad Green, Paul Wheatley and Matthew Whelan.[4]

At 20, and after one year in Melbourne's Junior Development Squad, he made his debut for the Demon senior side against Richmond in Round 1 of the 2000 season, kicking a goal with his first kick in AFL football. He played in Melbourne's impressive run to the Grand Final, but had to withdraw from the final match of the season due to injury.[5] Given the number 32 guernsey, he quickly adapted to AFL football, receiving a Rising Star nomination in his debut season, and finishing runner-up to David Neitz in the club's best-and-fairest in 2002.[6] He was a member of the International Rules sides of 2002 and 2004.

Developing his game

Bruce developed his game as a midfielder, but from 2005 he has been used in attack, across half-back and also as a tagger – the latter role seen notably through his tagging of high-profile players such as James Hird, Chris Judd, Adam Goodes and Nathan Buckley.[7] Because of his ability to adapt to new positions and roles within the side, versatility is often highlighted as one of his main strengths,[6][8] and he has been regarded as the most versatile player in the league at various stages throughout his career.[7][9] He enjoyed a solid run of form in 2004, which he carried through to the 2005 season – enjoying a particularly fruitful period early in the season – before suffering a serious shoulder injury sustained from a heavy tackle which ended his season prematurely.[10]

Established player

In 2006, he played a pivotal role in Melbourne's eight-game winning run, which came on the back of losing their first three matches of the season. He kicked the winning goal against Sydney in round 4 and received 10 Brownlow votes throughout the season, his most in a season to date.[11] He finished second in the club's best-and-fairest and had one of his more consistent seasons – he was one of only two players to average more than 22 disposals and kick more than 20 goals for the season. (The other was Chris Judd.)[12] The 2007 season was hugely disappointing for Melbourne, where they were unable to convert narrow losses into wins and being outclassed on other occasions. Bruce celebrated his 150-game milestone in Round 4, and averaged 24 possessions for the season. He achieved a career-high of 35 possessions against the Kangaroos in Round 9, but his goal tally was well down on previous seasons, kicking just nine majors for the season.[13] His preparations for the 2008 season were hampered by injuries suffered in pre-season, but he was selected in Round 1 and played in the first fourteen matches of the season for Melbourne. New Demons coach Dean Bailey used Bruce chiefly in defence in the early stages of the season, where he picked up Brad Johnson and Cameron Mooney among others. Bailey handed Bruce a more attacking role during the middle of the season, generally playing either off half-back as a rebounding defender, or on the wing. Bruce kicked two goals in all three of Melbourne's wins for the season. He played in all 22 of Melbourne's matches for the season (the only Demon player to do so) and averaged more than 24 disposals per game.[14] He won Melbourne's best-and-fairest for the season, polling 75 votes – 15 more than second-place Brock McLean.[15]

Melbourne leader

Following the retirement of David Neitz in 2008, Bruce was named co-captain of the team alongside James McDonald for the remainder of the season. This came on the back of his role in the leadership group in 2007. McDonald was named as permanent captain for 2009, with Bruce as vice-captain. Bruce resumed his place in the midfield for 2009 and rotated equally between the forward- and back-flanks. He recorded 30 disposals and nine marks against Collingwood in Round 2. He kicked the 200th goal of his career in a 22-point loss to Hawthorn in Round 9. Bruce played his 200th game in round 16, 2009.

He is known by fans of The NRL Footy Show for doing "That's Gold!" after scoring a goal against Collingwood in the traditional Queen's Birthday fixture in 2005. Bruce is often nicknamed "Cameron The Bruce", particularly by commentator Rex Hunt, a reference to the famous Scottish warrior Robert the Bruce.


In November 2010, it was reported that Bruce had been training with the Hawthorn Football Club, after being given permission by the AFL. Bruce was subsequently drafted by the Hawks with the fifth selection in the pre-season draft.[16] A few hours after he had been drafted by the Hawks, Bruce had revealed on SEN, a Melbourne-based sports-talkback radio station, that he had already been handed the number 17 guernsey, made famous by Hawthorn legend, Michael Tuck.

Midway through the 2012 season, Bruce announced his retirement from football, citing a persistent back injury as the cause.[17] He retired having played 234 AFL games, including 10 with the Hawks, and kicked 211 goals.

Coaching career

Bruce was appointed as a development coach with the Hawks in 2013. After impressing in his role as a development coach, he was promoted to a senior assistant coach with the Hawks in late 2013.[3] On August 22, 2017 it was announced that Bruce would leave Hawthorn at the end of the 2017 season to become a senior assistant coach at Carlton.[18]


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2000 Melbourne 321922131107818854141.
2001 Melbourne 3222311814810525381341.
2002 Melbourne 32242011216152368121470.
2003 Melbourne 32202518205137342101341.30.910.36.917.15.11.7
2004 Melbourne 3222342322919942899811.
2005 Melbourne 321520141679326073271.30.911.
2006 Melbourne 322421193032345371751000.90.812.69.822.47.34.2
2007 Melbourne 321691419418337796660.60.912.111.423.66.04.1
2008 Melbourne 32221312244287531147770.60.511.
2009 Melbourne 321998213266479114580.50.411.
2010 Melbourne 322167210304514116730.30.310.014.524.55.53.5
2011 Hawthorn 17914679516250280.10.47.410.618.05.63.1
2012 Hawthorn 17100448200.
Career 234 211 161 2310 2137 4447 1229 639 0.9 0.7 9.9 9.1 19.0 5.3 2.7

Honours and achievements

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
2000 0
2001 0
2002 0
2003 8
2004 9
2005 8
2006 10
2007 5
2008 2
2009 0
2010 4
2011 0
2012 0
Total 46


  1. Player profiles – Official AFL Website of the Melbourne Football Club
  2. "Coaches". Hawthorn Football Club. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "October 1999 Draft Results". Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
  5. Burgan, M. David Neitz – the leader Archived 9 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine,, 17 August 2007, accessed 3 September 2008.
  6. The Age – Team countdown – Melbourne
  7. – AFL 2007 Season Preview Archived 10 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Player Profiles – Melbourne FC – Cameron Bruce Archived 8 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. NavSports – AFL 2007 Preview Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. "AFL to tackle hidden joint toll – Chip le Grand". Archived from the original on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
  11. Footy Wire: AFL Statistics – Cameron Bruce career stats
  12. "AFL 2007 – Cameron Burce, Yahoo!7 Sports". Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2007.
  13. Cameron Bruce AFL Profile – Footy Wire: AFL Statistics
  14. Cameron Bruce 2008 AFL Statistics –
  15. Holmesby, L. Bruce wins best and fairest Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine,, 2 October 2008, accessed 3 October 2008.
  16. The Learned One (7 December 2010). "2011 AFL Pre-Season Draft". Triple M. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  17. Macgugan, Mark (16 July 2012). "Broken Hawk retires". Australian Football League. Archived from the original on 19 August 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  18. Sam, Edmund (22 August 2017). "Hawk Bruce to join Bolton at Blues". Herald Sun. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  19. Cameron Bruce Player Profile at AFL Tables
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