Matthew Primus

Matthew Richard Primus (born 12 January 1975) is a former coach of the Port Adelaide Football Club and Australian rules footballer, captain and All Australian ruckman. He is currently an assistant coach at the Gold Coast Football Club.[1]

Matthew Primus
Personal information
Full name Matthew Richard Primus
Date of birth (1975-01-12) 12 January 1975
Place of birth Geelong, Victoria
Original team(s) Geelong Falcons
Draft No. 2, 1995 National Draft, Fitzroy
Height 198 cm (6 ft 6 in)
Weight 109 kg (240 lb)
Position(s) Ruckman
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1996 Fitzroy 020 0(5)
1997–2005 Port Adelaide 137 (76)
Total 157 (81)
International team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2002 Australia 2
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2010–2012 Port Adelaide 47 (13–34–0) 27.66%
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2005.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2002.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2012.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

AFL career

Fitzroy career

Early career (1996)

Primus began his career with the Fitzroy Football Club in what was to be their final season in the AFL. At the end of the season, he had played 20 games and kicked five goals, becoming one of their key players. Primus signed with the Port Adelaide Football Club as an uncontracted zone player during their AFL establishment in 1996.

Port Adelaide career

Career high (1997–2002)

After finishing second in Fitzroy’s 1996 best and fairest and in the same position in Port Adelaide's 1997 best and fairest, Primus had established himself as one of the game's top ruckmen, but his close losses in the best and fairest counts would be a pointer to the bad luck he would face later in his career. 1999 saw Primus play only two games before a serious knee injury ruled him out for the year, yet the Power managed to improve on their combined record of 19-23-2 to reach seventh position. As his star rose as a player, Primus was also getting noticed off the field, being voted Cleo Magazine's ”Most Eligible Bachelor” in 1998. After the Power had a disappointing season in 2000, Primus was promoted to captain of the club in 2001, and led the team to a minor premiership in 2002 with only two losses in their last twenty home-and-away games before lack of finals experience told.

Injuries (2003–2004)

In 2003 Primus was hampered by hamstring and knee injuries, and only played nine games. The worst was yet to come, however, and 2004 would be the ultimate heartbreak for Primus. In his return game in Round 3, he suffered an ACL rupture after his left knee bent the wrong way, requiring a knee reconstruction and putting him out of the game for the rest of the 2004 season. Warren Tredrea took over the captaincy, and after plenty of near-misses in the finals, Port Adelaide would go on to win the premiership that year, with Primus missing out.

Final season (2005)

In 2005, Primus made another return to the AFL. His form was not indicative of the Primus of old, however, and it seemed Port were playing Primus out of respect that he was the captain. Not only that, but Port Adelaide were not the same strong side they were just a year earlier. While they eventually had a few results go their way and managed to scrape into the finals, Primus injured his knee again in the final round of the home-and-away season. He was expected to miss only the finals series at first, but later scans revealed that he would require a third knee reconstruction. The likelihood that he would not be able to play until 2007 meant Primus announced his retirement from the AFL at the age of 30.


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles  H/O  Hit-outs
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T H/O G B K H D M T H/O Votes
Totals Averages (per game)
1996 Fitzroy 12205716313730061413390.
1997 Port Adelaide 222611798926874382550.
1998 Port Adelaide 2184210512823355342890.
1999 Port Adelaide 2210951441280.
2000 Port Adelaide 22112812416328779453150.
2001 Port Adelaide 1229513715629385604880.
2002 Port Adelaide 12423814018032091754901.
2003 Port Adelaide 195134276122151110.
2004 Port Adelaide 1141751255114.
2005 Port Adelaide 1181210878717450352890.
Career 157 81 43 985 977 1962 526 349 2615 0.5 0.3 6.3 6.2 12.5 3.4 2.2 16.7 41

Coaching career

Port Adelaide (2006–2012)

Primus was an assistant coach to Mark Williams from December 2005 to July 2010.[3]

Just over midway through the 2010 season, with the Power’s record getting worse week by week, Williams stepped down as coach after Round 15, and Primus was appointed the caretaker coach for the remainder of the 2010 season.[4] As caretaker coach, Primus won five of his seven games in charge, with two of them against in-form teams Adelaide and Hawthorn, and earned numerous praises from players, staff and supporters for the job in 2011.[5] The club administration had started the search for a new coach and it was believed that the Power would appoint someone who had never been associated with the club before.[6] Nevertheless, Primus was appointed as the senior coach of the club for three years.[7]

In 2011, Primus' first full season as the full-time Port Adelaide senior coach, the side won only three games, finishing second-last, narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon with a win in the final round of the season against Melbourne, at the expense of Gold Coast. He finished 2011 with a 3-19 win-loss record. In 2012, he coached the team to a 5–13 record after nineteen rounds, but after the team's 34-point loss to struggling expansion team Greater Western Sydney in Round 19, Primus was informed that his contract would be terminated one year early at the end of the season; he opted to step down as coach immediately, on 6 August 2012, rather than coach out the remaining four matches, and he was replaced by Port Adelaide assistant coach Garry Hocking as caretaker.[8] He left Port Adelaide with a winning percentage of just 27.7%.[9]

Gold Coast (2013-present)

On September 25, 2013, Primus was announced as an assistant coach of the Gold Coast Suns.[10]

Personal life

Primus married Melissa Tucker in January 2007. They have three daughters together, Skye (born April 2006), Holly (born July 2007) and Georgia (born August 2008). He is also the grandson of former Geelong Football Club player, captain and coach Reg Hickey.

Honours and achievements




  1. "Football Staff". Gold Coast Football Club. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  2. "Matthew Primus". AFL Tables. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  3. Lovett, AFL Record Guide To Season 2007, p. 227
  4. "Primus appointed - Official AFL Website of the Port Adelaide Football Club". 11 July 2010. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  6. Niall, Jake (16 July 2010). "Top assistants in frame for senior Port job". The Age. Melbourne.
  8. Rucci, Michelangelo (6 August 2012). "Matthew Primus told he will not coach Port Adelaide next year". Herald Sun. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
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