Roger Merrett

Roger Merrett (born 19 April 1960) is a former Australian rules footballer who played in two Victorian Football League premiership sides with the Essendon Football Club in the mid-1980s before moving to the fledgling Brisbane Bears, later captaining the new club for seven seasons. Well known for his fierce, hard attack on the ball and his dashing moustache, he struck fear into the hearts of opposition players over a long career. He is considered by many as the greatest Brisbane Bear in the club's short history.

Roger Merrett
Personal information
Date of birth (1960-04-19) 19 April 1960
Original team(s) Kaniva
Debut Round 1, 1 April 1978, Essendon
vs. South Melbourne, at Windy Hill
Height 195 cm (6 ft 5 in)
Weight 100 kg (15 st 10 lb; 220 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1978–1987 Essendon 149 (148)
1988–1996 Brisbane Bears 164 (285)
Total 313 (433)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1998 Brisbane Lions 11 (3–7–1)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1996.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Playing career

Merrett was a strong competitor for the Essendon Football Club during his career, playing in two flags in 1984 and 1985.

He moved to the Brisbane Bears in 1988 as captain. Merrett became a strong and inspirational captain of the Bears, at first alternating in the ruck with Mark Mickan. After John Hutton's inconsistent form at full-forward reached an end, Merrett's tired legs were moved permanently to the position where he was able to use his height and kicking abilities to spearhead the club as their leading goalkicker for many seasons before Alastair Lynch proved a suitable replacement.

He played on for many years, earning the nickname Roger the Dodger (with reference to his age) before his eventual retirement.

Coaching career

Merrett held coaching ambitions for much of his career, and on his retirement at the end of the 1996 season, he was immediately recruited by his coach John Northey to fill an assistant coaching role at the Brisbane Lions (formed in 1996 from a merger between the Bears and the Fitzroy Football Club). However, relations between the two men were cool, and half-way through the 1998 season, with the Lions at the bottom of the ladder, Northey was sacked as coach and Merrett was asked to be caretaker coach for the rest of the year. At the end of this season, however, Merrett was not retained as Brisbane Lions coach. The coaching position instead went to Australian football legend Leigh Matthews. Merrett has not been closely involved in football since, outside of occasional club functions at Brisbane and Essendon.

Life after football

Merrett now lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, where he operates a post office. He also provides special comments for ABC Radio broadcasts of Brisbane Lions home matches.

The Brisbane Lions' award for their best-and-fairest player over a season, the Merrett-Murray Medal, is part-named after him.

For 2009 AFLQ season, Merrett was part-time assistant coach for AFLQ power house, Southport Sharks.

On 18 January 2011, Merrett suffered a stroke, thought to be related to a hereditary heart condition.[1]

In 2016, he joined the Bond University Bullsharks in a volunteer capacity and to assist his son Ben who took on the reserves coaching job.


  • Holmesby, Russell; Main, Jim (2004). The Encyclopaedia of AFL Footballers: Every Brisbane and Fitzroy AFL Player Ever. Melbourne: BAS Publishing. ISBN 1-920910-09-3.

1977 Victorian under 17 - Australian premiers

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