Dean Michael Cox (born 1 August 1981) is a former Australian rules footballer and current assistant coach of the Sydney Swans who played for the West Coast Eagles in the Australian Football League (AFL). Originally from Dampier, Western Australia, he debuted with East Perth in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) in 2000. After winning the Simpson Medal as the best player in the grand final in his first season, Cox was recruited to West Coast with the 28th pick in the 2001 Rookie Draft. He made his senior debut during the 2001 season, and played in West Coast's 2006 premiership side. A ruckman, Cox was named in the All-Australian team six times, including four seasons consecutively from 2005 to 2008, and was considered the outstanding player in his position throughout much of his career. He won West Coast's best and fairest award in 2008, and finished in the top three on four other occasions. Cox retired at the end of the 2014 season, finishing his career with 290 games, a club record, and 169 goals.
|Full name||Dean Michael Cox|
|Date of birth||1 August 1981|
|Original team(s)||Dampier Sharks|
|Draft||28th overall, 2001 Rookie Draft|
|Height||204 cm (6 ft 8 in)|
|Weight||107 kg (236 lb)|
|2001–2014||West Coast||290 (169)|
|Representative team honours|
|2008||Dream Team||1 (0)|
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Cox was a naturally gifted sportsman who excelled at sports whilst growing up in Dampier, Western Australia. Played for Dampier Sharks.
His uncle George Michalczyk, a former Australian rules player himself, recommended Cox to the club he began his senior career with, East Perth.
Cox played colts for East Perth in 1999 and at the end of the season was invited to train with the West Coast Eagles in their pre-season. He impressed enough for him to be rookie-listed, however he struggled in pre-season training and was criticised for being slightly uncoordinated.
Meanwhile, he played senior football for East Perth. He began the season fifth in the order of an impressive list of ruckmen, but by season's end he had impressed so much he earned a place as the first ruckman in their grand final team and collected a Simpson Medal for his efforts.
The Eagles then put him on their senior list and he made his AFL debut in 2001. Initially he showed few signs of his potential at that level. However, he was persisted with.
He is recognizable by his intimidating 204 cm and 107 kg frame, ranking among the top 10 tallest players in the AFL at the time of writing.
He came of age during the 2005 season, where he became a dominant player for the Eagles and is now considered one of their best.
He topped the year off with a terrific finals series, living up to his high standards. Two incidents stand out in particular for Cox – one where in the Qualifying Final against Sydney he took two saving marks in defence to secure the game in the dying moments, where his team got home by less than a goal. Unfortunately, the other moment that stands out had the Eagles on the other end, where in the Grand Final three weeks later, again against Sydney, he took a strong mark on the half-forward line and speared the ball in towards a pack in the dying moments. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Leo Barry took a saving mark and secured the Swans a victory by less than a goal.
Cox got off to a superb start to the season and was one of the premier players in the competition early. He is still playing well and has established himself as one of the leagues premier ruckmen, averaging over 20 hitouts and almost 20 disposals per game through Round 8 of the 2006 Season. However, in Round 13 he met with a hard bump from Bulldog Adam Cooney, which left him with a broken collar bone. He returned to the side, and was a key figure in the Eagles thrilling 1 point win of Sydney in the 2006 AFL Grand Final, running Sydney ruckman Stephen Doyle and Darren Jolly ragged. Cox played 21 games in 2006, took 141 marks and kicked 14 goals.
Cox played 21 games in 2007 and all 22 in 2008 as the club missed the finals, in what was a turbulent few years. The departure of Ben Cousins and Chris Judd (Carlton) and questions surrounding the clubs culture meant that Cox had to step up. Many thought he would be appointed Captain for 2008, but the position was awarded to Darren Glass. Cox made the All-Australian Team in both of these years, continuing to be the dominant ruckman of the competition despite playing in a struggling side (mostly in 2008). He also did no harm to his reputation as a ruckman/midfielder, collecting 25 disposals or more 5 times in 2007, and 7 times in 2008, and regularly featuring among the best. Standout games included the Semi-Final against Collingwood in 2007 that went to extra time (which West Coast lost), where Cox collected 27 disposals, 9 marks, 29 hitouts and a goal. In Round 10 of 2008 against Collingwood, again an Eagles loss, Cox gathered 30 disposals, 7 marks, 36 hitouts and kicked two goals.
Dean Cox is a very versatile ruckman, who tends to cover much ground. Sometimes considered to be the Eagles 'fifth midfielder', Cox is a modern example of a mobile ruckman. He effectively wins knock-outs and can assist the likes of midfielders Daniel Kerr, Matthew Priddis and Matt Rosa. Cox is widely considered as the premier ruckman of the competition, as seen by his selection in the last four All-Australian teams.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
Cox married Kerry Lavell at a ceremony at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River in December 2011, having dated her for three years previously. Outside of football, Cox co-owns a seafood restaurant, Beluga, in Claremont, with Andrew Embley, which opened in April 2011.
- Coxy Faces tough opponent Official AFL Website of the West Coast Eagles Football Club. Published 14 May 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- Career Totals and Averages: Hit Outs – AFL Tables. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- "Dean Cox". AFL Tables. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- Cox tees off before SW nuptials – The West Australian online. Published 28 December 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Williams, Gail (2010). West Coast veteran Embley set to open his own restaurant – The Sunday Times. Published 4 September 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Williams, Gail (2011). Catch of the day – The Sunday Times. Published 2 May 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Lewis, Ross (23 December 2012). "Stork delivers for Eagles big man". The West Australian.