Paul Kelly (Australian rules footballer)

Paul Kelly (born 28 July 1969) is a former Australian rules footballer, winner of the Brownlow Medal and captain of the Sydney Swans for ten seasons. He was and still is known to Swans fans everywhere as "Captain Courageous".

Paul Kelly
Personal information
Date of birth (1969-07-28) 28 July 1969
Place of birth West Wyalong, New South Wales
Original team(s) Wagga Tigers (Riverina Football League)
Height 179 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 83 kg (183 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1990 2002 Sydney 234 (200)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2002.
Career highlights



  • Sydney Best and Fairest 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997
  • Sydney Captain 1993-2002
  • Sydney Swans Team of the Century (forward, vice-captain)
Sources: AFL Tables,

Born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Kelly initially played rugby league for Wagga Brothers but turned to Australian rules football at age 15.[1] Recruited to the AFL by the Swans, Kelly made his debut in 1990 after being the best player in his school, and was appointed captain in 1993, won the Brownlow Medal (the AFL's highest individual honour) in 1995, won club best and fairests in 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997, All-Australian selection in 1995, 1996 and 1997 (the last two as captain), and the AFL Players Association's Robert Rose Award for Most Courageous Player in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2000.

Kelly led the Swans to the AFL Grand Final in 1996—its first since 1945—and was considered one of the best players in the competition during the mid-1990s, but from 1998 onwards was severely hampered by injuries. Kelly retired after 234 AFL games and served as the Swans runner in 2003 before retiring to his farm near Wagga Wagga. His autobiography, Swan Song, was published in 2003 and covers the period until his retirement from football. His No. 14 jumper has since been retired for 5 years, before it was brought out again, this time to be worn by Craig Bird.

In 2005, Kelly was on hand to present the premiership cup to Paul Roos and Barry Hall after the Swans' nailbiting 4-point Grand Final win.

In 2006, he presented the Brownlow Medal to former team mate, Adam Goodes.

He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in July, 2007.[2]

During Paul’s early rugby league playing career with Wagga Brothers, he often used to work on his defensive tackling skills by requesting his good mate and mentor, Mark Jelly Jelbart, to run at him. Paul and Jelly spent hours running at each other, at pace or with added goose steps, perfecting Paul’s ability to take down bigger, faster and more allusive players. A skill that helped him become an AFL legend. Mark, AKA Jelly as he was known around the Wagga scene, was self proclaimed rugby union star who believes he was once good enough to make first grade. As it’s jellys 50th today, it’s great that we recognise his efforts in helping his great mate Paul to become an AFL star.


 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)
1990 Sydney 4510244843911580.
1991 Sydney 1420142021917339252510.
1992 Sydney 142281631021652663730.40.714.19.823.92.93.3
1993 Sydney 142011626915342255670.60.313.57.721.12.83.4
1994 Sydney 1418151222620643270420.80.712.611.424.03.92.3
1995 Sydney 1422151128515343868770.70.513.
1996 Sydney 14251813371205576128700.70.514.
1997 Sydney 14232630376178554100401.11.316.37.724.14.31.7
1998 Sydney 1416271122910833764281.70.714.36.821.14.01.8
1999 Sydney 1421282526713740486291.
2000 Sydney 148102673810531161.
2001 Sydney 141113111174816552281.
2002 Sydney 1418131320013533561650.70.711.17.518.63.43.6
Career 234 200 174 2984 1793 4777 845 594 0.9 0.7 12.8 7.7 20.4 3.6 2.5

Honours and achievements

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
1992 4
1993 11
1994 11
1995 21
1996 14
1997 21
1998 1
1999 7
2001 3
2002 10
Total 103
Green / Bold = Won


  1. "Kelly, Paul". Sporting Hall of Fame. Museum of the Riverina. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2007.
  2. Paul Kelly in Hall of Fame from the Daily Telegraph
  3. Paul Kelly's player profile at AFL Tables
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