Mark Bairstow

Mark Bairstow (born 24 July 1963) is a former Australian rules footballer who played in both the Australian Football League (AFL) and the West Australian Football League (WAFL).

Mark Bairstow
Personal information
Full name Mark Bairstow
Date of birth (1963-07-24) 24 July 1963
Original team(s) Lake Grace
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 87 kg (192 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1985 1986 South Fremantle 040 0(32)
1987 1994 Geelong 146 (172)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1994.
Sources: AFL Tables,

WAFL career

Bairstow came to South Fremantle Football Club from Lake Grace in 1985 and had an immediate impact, winning the WA Media Guild's Footballer of the Future award, representing Western Australia is a state match against South Australia, coming second to Wally Matera in South Fremantle's best and fairest award and equal third in the Sandover Medal. He was then named as captain in 1986 and represented WA twice more, won the Sandover Medal and South Fremantle's best and fairest award.[1]

VFL/AFL career

As part of then-coach John Devine's mass-recruit-drive in 1986 and 1987, players such as Dwayne Russell, Billy Brownless, Barry Stoneham, Robert Scott, Garry Hocking as well as Bairstow were recruited by the Geelong Football Club. Bairstow signed with Geelong on 26 September 1986, five days before the 12 VFL clubs voted to allow a West Australian club (the West Coast Eagles) to join the competition.[2]

Bairstow debuted for Geelong in 1987 and soon became Geelong's main ruck-rover. In the late 1980s, Geelong's midfield would be among the better in the then Victorian Football League (VFL) with Paul Couch, Andrew Bews and Bairstow teaming beautifully to supply the team's powerful forward line. Bairstow was recognised as a prolific kick-getter, none more so than in 1989 when he amassed 404 kicks during the 22-round home and away season to finish third on the disposals list with 591, behind Paul Couch on 615 and Terry Wallace on 614.[3]

After Geelong's loss in the 1989 grand final, Bairstow retired from VFL football and returned home to Lake Grace, Western Australia to work on his family's farm, while playing for the football side there where he played in another losing grand final.[4]

However, he returned in 1991 and gave Geelong fantastic drive from the centreline that paved the way for Geelong's grand final appearances in 1992 and 1994.

After the 1994 grand final defeat and Malcolm Blight's resignation as coach of the club, Bairstow was advised that he was no longer required at the club by Blight's former assistant, new coach Gary Ayres. Due to the nature of Bairstow's dismissal, he has seldom been back to the club.[5]

Despite a career of only seven years in the AFL, Bairstow achieved All-Australian status in 1987, 1991 and 1992.[6]


  1. Poat, Peter; East, Alan. 1986 West Australian Football Register (24th ed.). Westralian Publishers. p. 10.
  2. Poat, Peter; East, Alan. 1987 West Australian Football Register (25th ed.). Westralian Publishers. p. 84.
  3. Hobbs, Greg (17 September 1989). A Dynamic Trio, Football Record (Vol.78. No.24 ed.). p. 17.
  4. Poat, Peter; East, Alan. 1990 West Australian Football Register (28th ed.). Westralian Publishers. p. 68.
  5. Niall, Jake; Geelong and the stray Cats; The Age; 2003-08-16
  6. 2010 Hall of Fame inductees Archived 24 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine; West Australian Football Commission Inc.; 2010-03-11
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