David Neitz

David Neitz (born 22 January 1975), nicknamed Neita, is a retired Australian rules footballer. The strongly built centre half back who became a full forward was the longest-serving captain in the history of the Melbourne Football Club and the first Melbourne player to achieve the 300-game milestone. He is considered one of the greatest ever players to come out of the island state of Tasmania.

David Neitz
Personal information
Full name David Neitz
Date of birth (1975-01-22) 22 January 1975
Place of birth Ulverstone, Tasmania
Original team(s) Parkmore
Height 193 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 100 kg (220 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1993–2008 Melbourne 306 (631)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2008.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Neitz was born in Ulverstone, Tasmania, he was groomed as a potential Australian Football League player from the age of 15 and targeted by the recruiters at the Melbourne Football Club, entering the AFL in 1993 as a key position player, he soon became one of Melbourne's best young prospects.

In 1994, Neitz was named to his first Victorian State of Origin team, and he went one step further in 1995 by making the All-Australian team as well as the Victorian side.

After the retirement of Demons great Garry Lyon, Neitz moved to the full-forward position and began his successful run as one of the AFL's elite goal scorers. He has led Melbourne's goalkicking seven times (1996, 1997 (equal), 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006), and in 2002 won the prestigious Coleman Medal for leading the league in goals, making him not only the first Melbourne player to do so, but also the first Melbourne player to lead the competition's goalkicking since the 1940s. On 8 April 2005, Neitz became the 40th person in VFL/AFL history to kick 500 career goals.

Neitz was appointed captain of Melbourne in 2000, and on 8 April 2005 he broke the club record for most games captained (previously held by Garry Lyon with 112 games as captain). He has been an All-Australian in 1995 and 2002, and played for Australia in the 1998 International Rules Series and 2002 International Rules Series against Ireland. In 2002, Neitz also won his first Melbourne Best and Fairest Award, the Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Medal.

On 8 April 2005, Neitz played his 250th career AFL game, and in 2006 signed a two-year contract extension seeing him through to the end of 2007. Neitz became Melbourne's all-time leading goal-kicker on 19 May 2006, surpassing Norm Smith's previous record of 546 goals. Two weeks later, he broke Robert Flower's long standing record of 272 games, making him the longest serving Demon in history. He played his 300th AFL game for the Demons in the defeat against Collingwood on 17 August 2007.

Statistics

[1]
Legend
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league for the season only
Led the league after finals only
Led the league after season and finals
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1993 Melbourne 382017151619625794120.90.88.14.812.94.70.6
1994 Melbourne 9242218912381312220.10.17.95.113.03.40.9
1995 Melbourne 922332523267299140181.51.110.53.013.66.40.8
1996 Melbourne 922562618166247110222.51.28.23.011.25.01.0
1997 Melbourne 9173022129341637791.81.37.62.09.64.50.5
1998 Melbourne 91433211154215757142.41.58.23.011.24.11.0
1999 Melbourne 91846211535120492172.61.28.52.811.35.10.9
2000 Melbourne 921241920167268126231.10.99.63.212.86.01.1
2001 Melbourne 922383420661267132211.71.59.42.812.16.01.0
2002 Melbourne 924823817850228132233.41.67.42.19.55.51.0
2003 Melbourne 922652814738185101223.01.36.71.78.44.61.0
2004 Melbourne 92169471553218799193.32.27.41.58.94.70.9
2005 Melbourne 91839231182714567202.21.36.61.58.13.71.1
2006 Melbourne 921682616341204106163.21.27.82.09.75.00.8
2007 Melbourne 9152616100331336861.71.16.72.28.94.50.4
2008 Melbourne 9535278352040.61.05.41.67.04.00.8
Career 306 631 368 2455 836 3291 1502 268 2.1 1.2 8.0 2.7 10.8 4.9 0.9

Honours and achievements

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
1993
1994 2
1995 8
1996 10
1997 2
1998
1999 5
2000 6
2001 7
2002 11
2003 8
2004 10
2005
2006 10
2007
2008
Total 79
Key:
Green / Bold = Won

Retirement

Due to a broken disc in the back of his neck, and after playing only five games in 2008, he finally pulled the plug on his AFL career as he announced his immediate retirement on 19 May 2008. In the round nine 2008 match Melbourne vs Hawthorn after the match Neitz was given a standing ovation by the players and the fans. He ended his playing career with several Melbourne records that he'd broken during recent seasons, three in particular: Most games (only player to play 300 games for Melbourne), most goals, and longest-serving captain.[2]

References

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