Ashley McGrath – Retired Australian Rules Football Player
Indigenous Australian rules footballer in AFL with great kicking skills.
Ashley Vernon McGrath is an indigenous footballer in the AFL. Born on 20 May 1983 in Northam, Australia, McGrath was expected to be a top pick in the 2000 season, but was prevented from playing with a badly broken arm. He has three brothers Toby, Cory and Bradley, who were the products of the South Fremantle Club. Ash always had the desire to lead the Bulldogs.
Football Career (2000 to 2014)
Ashley McGrath was selected in AFL Draft 2000 with thirteenth pick. He was expected to be a top 5 pick, but a broken arm prevented him from playing U18 National Championship. He followed the steps of his brothers into the AFL, when the Brisbane Lions recruited Ash in their team in 2001. He established himself as a good player and became a regular member by being an important player of third AFL premiership.
Ash has a good preparation ahead of his 14th AFL season, but failed to perform well as he suffered a calf injury on the eve of pre season campaign. The injury was more troublesome than was expected and kept Ash sidelined for 4 months. He was given coaching by Melbourne Victory Goalkeeping coach Steve before the start of the series.
The year 2005 was a great year for Ash, where he found a number of opportunities. He returned via NEAFL and was recalled to the senior side in Round 15 to take on North Melbourne. He played 5 games – 3 of which he started as a substitute. He struggled a lot before being sent back to reserve.
The first half of the 2009 season was smeared with poor performance and disposals. After the mid-season break, Ash played well. This period was considered to be the best period of his career. He has 30 disposals against Greelong. With average disposals of 20 per game, he played the remainder of the season.
Ashley McGrath was trialled as a half-back flanker with greater success levels in the 2008 season. In the year 2013, Ashley set shot from 50m after the siren and won the Lions game against Geelong. He became a 36th AFL player to play 200th game in the AFL, after that he was selected as Australian International Rules football team’s goalkeeper in Ireland. He was the only Brisbane Lions player selected for the team.
Post Football Career
Ashley McGrath announced his retirement in August 2014. He was retired a last player from triple premiership winning sides of the Brisbane Lions. It was the end of his career. Ash was afforded one final match in Round 22 against Fremantle after announcing his retirement. There was no fairytale around this time, unlike his 200th match. He, however, brought the audience to its feet by kicking a goal in the final game. His football career ended up with 170 goals and 214 games in total.
Awards and achievements
- AFL National Draft 2000
- Brisbane Lions AFL premiers 2003
- AFL rising star nominees 2003
- Indigenous ALL stars team 2009
- Indigenous All Stars team 2013
- Australian Squad – International Rules series 2013
- 3 times Lions premiership coach
- Football director at his club