Gavin Wanganeen

Gavin Wanganeen – Retired Australian Rules Football Player

Gavin Wanganeen is considered to be one of the finest Australian Rules football players to have ever played for Essendon and Port Adelaide.

gavinwanganeenBorn on 18th June 1973, Gavin Wanganeen’s full name is Gavin Adrian Wanganeen and is a descendant of Kokatha Mula People.

Gavin Wanganeen has played AFL for both Essendon and Port Adelaide and has played for South Australian National Football League. Till date, his remembered as one of the finest players to have played AFL. He belonged to a footballing family and is known for his several awards and achievements throughout his playing career.

Playing Career

1991-1996: Essendon Club

Gavin’s AFL career started with Essendon in 1991. Immediately after his debut, he became an attacking defender. In 1993, he became the first ever aboriginal Australian to win the Brownlow Medal.

For that same season, Gavin Wanganeen was also recognized as a key player of the Premiership win for Essendon. Gavin entered the list named ‘Champions of Essendon’ in 2002 and was voted as the 19th best player ever to play for the club. Gavin played a total of 127 games for Essendon and kicked 64 goals.

1997-2006: Port Adelaide

Before Gavin started playing for Essendon in 1991, he actually played for South Australian National Football League with Port Adelaide. In 1997, he returned back to Port Adelaide as inaugural captain.

Gavin Wanganeen went on receiving 11 Brownlow votes. However, after his first season with Port Adelaide he had some serious injuries. Eventually at the end of 2000 season of AFL he gave up his captaincy. Interestingly, as soon as he relinquished his captaincy, he returned to his best possible form and in 2003 once became a favourite for the Brownlow medal.

In 2004 season, Gavin went on to win his second premiership medal for Port Adelaide. Gavin played a total of 173 games for Port Adelaide and kicked 138 goals in total.


The 2006 season was his last when he completed 300 AFL games in total. Gavin Wanganeen retired from football after he seriously injured his right knee while playing for Port Adelaide Magpies in the South Australian National Football League. He and Adam Goodes of the Sydney Swans are the only 2 aboriginal players to achieve the amazing feat of 300 games or more.

Coaching Career

His career as a coach started late and was appointed as the senior coach of the football team of Pulteney Grammar School.

Awards And Achievements

Gavin Wanganeen was one of greatest AFL players of all time. He has several awards and achievements under his belt which are listed below:

  • 1990 – SANFL premiership player for Port Adelaide.
  • 1990 – SANFL’s Rookie of the Year.
  • 1991 – Rookie of the Year for AFLPA.
  • 1992, 1993, 1995, 2001, 2003 – All Australian Team member.
  • 1993 and 1994 – Member of pre-season premiership side for Essendon.
  • 1993 – Winner of Michael Tuck Medal.
  • 1993 – Winner of Brownlow Medal.
  • 1993 – Member of Premiership Side for Essendon.
  • 1997 – Member of Team of the Century for Essendon.
  • 1997-2007 – Captain of Port Adelaide.
  • 2001 and 2002 – Member of pre-season premiership side for Port Adelaide.
  • 2002 – 19th player selected to be on the list of ‘Champions of Essendon’.
  • 2003 – Brownlow Medal (equal 2nd).
  • 2003 – Runner up for Leigh Matthews Trophy.
  • 2003 – Winner of Best and Fairest for Port Adelaide.
  • 2003 – Player of the Year in Inside Football.
  • 2004 – Member of Premiership Side for Port Adelaide.
  • 2004 – Achieved AFL Life Membership.
  • 2004 – Earned the Most Outstanding achievement in AFL.
  • 2005 – Was the member of the Indigenous Team of the Century for half-back flank.
  • 2006 – Earned Life Membership of Port Adelaide.

There is absolutely no doubt that Gavin Wanganeen is one of the finest AFL players to have run on field and no matter how many great players come in the recent years, Gavin will continue to shine as a bright star on the AFL sky for ages to come.

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