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Gary Ayres

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Gary Ayres

Gary Ayres
Personal information
Full name Gary James Ayres
Date of birth (1960-09-28) 28 September 1960
Original team(s) Warragul
Height/Weight 187cm / 95kg
Position(s) Defender
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1978 – 1993 Hawthorn 269 (70)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1995 – 1999
2000 – 2004
116 (65-50-1)
107 (55-52-0)
223 (120-102-1)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 2004 season.
Career highlights

Gary James Ayres (born 28 September 1960) is a former Australian rules footballer for the Hawthorn Football Club and currently the senior coach for the Port Melbourne Football Club in the Victorian Football League.


  • Playing career 1
  • Post-playing career 2
    • Coaching career 2.1
    • Media career 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Playing career

Beginning his football career with Hawthorn in 1978, he had an illustrious career spanning from 1978–1993, playing 269 games and booting 70 goals.

He was part of a total of 5 premiership teams – 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, and 1991. He won the Norm Smith Medal twice, adjudged best on ground in 1986 and 1988 and is one of only three players in the history of the AFL to do so.

Ayres captained Victoria against Tasmania in the 1989 State of Origin contest.

He captained the Hawks in his final two years from 1992–1993.

Gary played most of his football in defence, particular the back pocket position. He was nicknamed "Conan" by fans in reference to his powerful upper-body physique. He used his body to good effect in body on body contested situations. Ayres' height and weight was 187 cm / 100 kg. Allan Jeans described Ayres as "a good driver in heavy traffic"[1]

Post-playing career

Coaching career

After retiring, Ayres turned to coaching; starting as an assistant coach to Malcolm Blight at Geelong. After Blight's resignation in 1994 (following Geelong's Grand Final defeat to the Eagles), Ayres was appointed senior coach for the 1995 AFL season. In his first year, the Cats lost to Carlton in the Grand Final (their fourth Grand Final defeat in seven seasons) by 61 points. In 1999, at the end of a disappointing season (Geelong finished 11th) and following the Geelong board's refusal to offer him a contract extension beyond the 2000 AFL season, Ayres quit as Geelong coach to take the coaching position at Adelaide where Malcolm Blight had, again, just resigned.

Ayres coached Adelaide from 2000 until 2004. When told he would not continue as coach for the 2005 season, Ayres quit midseason. Though he had been given the opportunity to stay for the rest of Season 2004, he told the Adelaide board that if he could not coach the following year, he would leave immediately. He then walked out of the club's office without shaking hands or responding to media enquiries. He left Adelaide with a 55–52 win-loss ratio. He was replaced by Neil Craig, who coached for the remainder of Season 2004 and was eventually employed full-time.

In 2006 he returned to coaching as assistant coach at the Essendon Football Club, alongside veteran Kevin Sheedy.

When Matthew Knights was appointed as senior coach of Essendon at the end of the 2007 season, Knights vowed to modernise the club's support staff. Ayres subsequently lost his position as assistant coach and left to "pursue other football opportunities".[2]

Ayres was appointed senior coach of the Port Melbourne Football Club in the Victorian Football League for Season 2008. Ayres coached Port Melbourne to the minor premiership, but lost the Grand Final to the North Ballarat Roosters.

In 2011, he coached Port Melbourne to a premiership after a perfect season, culminating in a 56-point win over Williamstown Football Club

On 24 October 2000, Ayres was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for contribution to Australian Football.[3]

Media career

In 2005 Ayres spent the year in the media on Fox Footy Channel. Prior to that he also had a stint on Seven's Talking Footy.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Herald Sun: Knights cleans out assistants Gary Ayres, Dean Wallis
  3. ^ "Gary James Ayres".  

External links

  • Gary Ayres's statistics from AFL Tables
  • Gary Ayres's profile from
  • Footywire: Gary Ayres Coaching Record
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Simon Madden
Norm Smith Medallist
Succeeded by
David Rhys-Jones
Preceded by
David Rhys-Jones
Norm Smith Medallist
Succeeded by
Gary Ablett
Preceded by
Malcolm Blight
Geelong Football Club coach
Succeeded by
Mark Thompson
Preceded by
Malcolm Blight
Adelaide Football Club coach
Succeeded by
Neil Craig
Preceded by
Saadi Ghazi
Port Melbourne Football Club coach
2008 -
Succeeded by
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