Denis Pagan

Denis Pagan (born 24 September 1947) is a former Australian rules football coach and player in the VFL/AFL.

Denis Pagan
Personal information
Full name Denis Pagan
Date of birth (1947-09-24) 24 September 1947
Original team(s) Carlton U19
Height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 85 kg (187 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1967–1974 North Melbourne 120 (5)
1975–1976 South Melbourne 023 (0)
Total 143 (5)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1971 Victoria
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1993–2002 North Melbourne 240 (150–90–0)
2003–2007 Carlton 104 (25–77–2)
Total 344 (175–167–2)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1976.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2007.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Playing career

Pagan played 120 games for the North Melbourne Football Club between 1967 and 1974, kicking 5 goals, mainly due to his permanent spot as a hard-nosed defender in the back pocket. He represented Victoria in interstate matches in 1971.

After the Grand Final loss to Richmond in 1974, Pagan was pushed out by Barassi. Although Pagan's dwindling form and the club's reassessment of its squad in the aftermath of 1974 loss, Pagan then moved back to his original roots (excepting Carlton, where Barassi expelled him in 1966) to South Melbourne for two seasons, 1975–1976, playing 23 games and kicking 0 goals. However, these events did not deter Pagan from his dedication to the North Melbourne football club, despite Barassi's authoritative coaching style.

In 1978, Pagan played for Port Melbourne in the Victorian Football Association.[1]

Coaching career

Early coaching career

Pagan's coaching career began when he took the role of captain-coach of the Yarraville Football Club in the VFA second division in 1979. He piloted the team to the 1980 minor premiership and Grand Final, but the club lost the Grand Final against Brunswick.[2] Pagan then returned to North Melbourne, and had great success as its Under-19s coach over the following decade. Pagan led the team to nine consecutive Under-19s Grand Finals from 1983–1991, resulting in five premierships: in 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991.[3] After the AFL's Under-19s competition was disbanded at the end of 1991, Pagan was signed by the Essendon Football Club, where he led its reserves team to the Victorian State Football League premiership in 1992.[4]

North Melbourne Football Club

Pagan returned again to North Melbourne in 1993, and was appointed senior coach. He had an immediate impact at the Kangaroos, taking the side to the finals that year. They went on to premierships in 1996 and 1999, and reached at least the preliminary final every year from 1994 to 2000.

He was known for pioneering a successful tactic which was termed "Pagan's Paddock", based around his key forward Wayne Carey.[5] The coaching strategy involved moving all forwards out of the 50-metre arc and midfielders bombing the ball into empty space. The key forwards would run with the flight of the ball to take a mark or running goal.

By the end of his term at North Melbourne, he had established an impeccable reputation as a senior AFL coach and the longest serving coach in the club's history. His worst season at North Melbourne was 2001, when the club missed the finals for the only time during his 10-year term at the club.

Pagan quit the North Melbourne Football Club at the end of the 2002 season, despite the team finishing 7th – a better result than expected after Wayne Carey left the club at the beginning of the year after his much-publicised affair – to sign a lucrative deal with the Carlton Football Club.

Carlton Football Club

At the end of 2002, Pagan was appointed coach of the Carlton Football Club, replacing Wayne Brittain, under whom Carlton had won the wooden spoon in 2002; Brittain had a year remaining on his contract, and was paid out by the club. Pagan's attempt to rebuild the side was not helped by the fact the club had been hit with salary cap breaches which prevented the club from rebuilding its playing list in the short term. As a result of these penalties, in 2003, Carlton endured another unsuccessful season, finishing fifteenth. Employing a recycled player policy in an attempt to rebuild the team for the 2004 season, Pagan led Carlton to eleventh on the ladder, which was Carlton's highest placing under Pagan, and carried this into a pre-season premiership in the 2005 Wizard Cup. However, this proved to be a false dawn, and Pagan led Carlton to consecutive wooden spoons in 2005 and 2006. There were talks that he may have been sacked at this point; however, it was decided to extend his contract until the end of the 2008 season.

Carlton did not improve much in 2007, finishing fifteenth. Between Rounds 12 and 16, Carlton suffered five consecutive heavy defeats, the last of which was a 117-point defeat against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba, in which Lions' full-forward and Coleman Medallist Jonathan Brown kicked a club record 10 goals and earned three Brownlow Medal votes.[6] It proved to be the nail in the coffin for Pagan and his job, and he was sacked the following day on 23 July 2007.[7] He was not bitter at the club's decision, and wanted to go on record that he would never have quit as the coach of the Carlton Football Club. Pagan was replaced by assistant coach Brett Ratten as caretaker coach for the reminder of the 2007 season, who was eventually appointed full-time coach of Carlton before himself being sacked at the end of the 2012 AFL season.[8] Pagan had a year to go on his contract which was paid out in full by the club. Pagan later stated in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper that coaching Carlton was "a very difficult assignment", also taking into consideration the fact that the club had lost valuable draft picks in the wake of the salary cap breaches.[9]

Post coaching career

In 2008, Pagan became a board member for North Melbourne however after the 2008 season he left the position, and he has since had no involvement in football. As of 2017, he works as a real estate agent alongside his son Ryan.[10]


Playing statistics

 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)
1967 North Melbourne 457255515611N/A0.
1968 North Melbourne 261634243825153N/A0.20.315.20.515.73.3N/A
1969 North Melbourne 1719002951030569N/A0.
1970 North Melbourne 1717002742029463N/A0.
1971 North Melbourne 1716002782029865N/A0.
1972 North Melbourne 1718002801329366N/A0.
1973 North Melbourne 1712001461315922N/A0.
1974 North Melbourne 1715001711919017N/A0.
1975 South Melbourne 67007778410N/A0.
1976 South Melbourne 616001652418927N/A0.
Career 143 5 9 1984 135 2119 403 N/A 0.0 0.1 14.0 1.0 14.9 2.8 N/A

Coaching statistics

 W  Wins  L  Losses  D  Draws  W%  Winning percentage  LP  Ladder position  LT  League teams
Season Team Games W L D W % LP LT
1993 North Melbourne 21138061.9%315
1994 North Melbourne 241410058.3%315
1995 North Melbourne 25169064.0%616
1996 North Melbourne 25196076.0%216
1997 North Melbourne 251411056.0%716
1998 North Melbourne 25187072.0%116
1999 Kangaroos 25205080.0%216
2000 Kangaroos 251510060.0%416
2001 Kangaroos 22913040.9%1316
2002 Kangaroos 231211052.2%716
2003 Carlton 22418018.2%1516
2004 Carlton 221012045.5%1116
2005 Carlton 22417120.5%1616
2006 Carlton 22318115.9%1616
2007 Carlton 16412025.0%1516
Career totals 344 175 167 2 51.2%


  1. "Bonnet jnr. a senior". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. 18 April 1978. p. 28.
  2. Marc Fiddian (5 September 1980). "Semi-finalists make changes". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 23.
  3. Ray Jordon (29 September 1991). "Pagan's record deserves tribute". The Sunday Herald-Sun. Melbourne, VIC. p. 34.
  4. Robert Fedele (24 September 2013). "Profile: Denis Pagan has no plans for the paddock". The Weekly Review. Moonee Valley. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  5. The evolution of Pagan’s Paddock, Ricky Mangidis, North Melbourne Football Club official site, August 13, 2015
  6. "TBT: Browny's 10-goal haul". Brisbane Lions. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  7. Carlton sacks coach Denis Pagan - Official AFL Website of the Carlton Football Club Archived 18 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Smart, Nick (30 August 2012). "Carlton sacks besieged coach Brett Ratten". Perth Now. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  9. Denis Pagan's message to Paul Roos: Stay positive, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2014
  10. "Pagan Real Estate :: Home". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  11. "AFL Tables - Denis Pagan - Stats - Statistics". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  12. "AFL Tables - Denis Pagan - Coaching Record". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.