Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Denis Ryan

Known as
Denis 'Dinny' Ryan


10 July 1916

22 April 1980 (aged 63)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 291d
Last game: 23y 12d

Height and weight
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 83 kg

Senior clubs

Jumper numbers
Fitzroy: 4

1938 Brownlow Medal, 1938 Club Most Improved Player

Denis 'Dinny' Ryan

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 4,243rd player to appear, 3,327th most games played, 1,630th most goals kickedFitzroy: 472nd player to appear, 175th most games played, 71st most goals kicked

Recruited by Fitzroy from Albury, 'Dinny' Ryan's VFL career was cut short by World War II, during which he was wounded at Tobruk.

Ryan made his debut for the Maroons as an underdeveloped 18-year-old in 1935 when, playing in the vital centre half forward position, he immediately caught the eye with his powerful marking and prodigious kicking. If there was a major weakness in his game, however, it was his wayward kicking for goal, and in 1938 the Fitzroy selection committee decided to try him in a new position, centre half back. He was a resounding and immediate success, gaining state selection, being awarded Fitzroy's Most Improved Player Award and - to almost everyone's surprise, including 'Dinny's' - landing the VFL's most prestigious individual honour, the Brownlow Medal.

In 1939, Ryan sustained a serious knee injury, and soon afterwards enlisted for active service in the army. He made an attempt to return to league ranks after the war, but was unable to reach the level of fitness required. 'Dinny' Ryan's VFL career was over after just five seasons and 70 games, but his achievements during that time were sufficient to mark him out as a special player.

Author - John Devaney


Full Points Footy Publications


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.