Gary Dempsey (Australian footballer)

Gary Dempsey (born 22 November 1948) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for Footscray and North Melbourne in the Victorian Football League.

Gary Dempsey
Personal information
Date of birth (1948-11-22) 22 November 1948
Original team(s) Footscray Technical School Old Boys
Debut Round 1, 1967, Footscray
vs. Geelong, at Kardinia Park
Height 197 cm (6 ft 6 in)
Weight 100 kg (220 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1967–1978 Footscray 207 (105)
1979–1984 North Melbourne 122 0(39)
Total 329 (144)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1984.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Dempsey made his debut for Footscray in 1967. In 1969, he spent six weeks in hospital after being burnt by a bushfire near his home in Truganina and was told he would never play football again. Despite this, he defied the odds to return to the playing field and then win his first club best-and-fairest award in 1970. Dempsey would win the club best-and-fairest award five more times, underlining his importance to the underachieving Bulldogs.

Although he had won a number of individual awards, Dempsey yearned for team success and signed with North Melbourne in 1979, winning the club best-and-fairest in his first year there. He played out his career at the Kangaroos, playing 122 games for them, and retired in 1984. Dempsey was named an emergency in the Kangaroos Team of the Century.

Dempsey finished in the top 10 in the Brownlow Medal 13 times. He was named an All-Australian Team member at the 1972 Perth carnival.

In 1996 Dempsey was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

He was named as first ruckman in the Footscray's Team of the Century.

Player honours:

  • Brownlow Medal 1975
  • Runner-up Brownlow Medal 1970
  • Second highest Brownlow votes
  • Footscray best and fairest 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977
  • North Melbourne best and fairest 1979
  • Footscray captain 1971-1972, 1977–1978
  • Footscray/Western Bulldogs Team of the Century
  • North Melbourne/Kangaroos Team of the Century
  • All-Australian 1972
  • Victorian representative (22 games, 8 goals)
  • Represented Australia in "The Galahs" Australian Football World Tour 1968.

Post playing career

Dempsey was appointed Specialist Ruck Coach of the Carlton Football Club at the end of the 2005 season.


  • Ross, John (1999). The Australian Football Hall of Fame. Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 59. ISBN 0-7322-6426-X.
  • Australian Football Hall of Fame
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