AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
15 October 1982 (age 40)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 166d
Last game: 34y 336d
Height and weight
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 101 kg
North Melbourne; Australia; West Coast; East Perth; West Coast Reserves
North Melbourne: 20
West Coast: 21
North Melbourne (2017)
Ron Andrews (Uncle)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|West Coast Reserves||WAFL||2019||10||0||0.00||—||—||—||—||—|
AFL: 11,096th player to appear, 34th most games played, 84th most goals kickedNorth Melbourne: 884th player to appear, 2nd most games played, 6th most goals kickedWest Coast: 231st player to appear, 179th most games played, 122nd most goals kicked
The remarkable AFL career of Drew Petrie began as a Kangaroo at Arden Street in North Melbourne 2001, and ended in 2017 as an Eagle in a semi final played in front of a small crowd in Western Sydney, a location it would have been virtually impossible to imagine hosting a final when he first pulled on the boots.
Hailing from Ballarat, Petrie arrived at the Kangaroos as a potential key forward. With Wayne Carey still dominating the forward line at North Melbourne, Petrie was not expected and hardly likely to have a huge impact in his first season, 2001, and he didn't, playing the first two games of the season before being dropped. He returned in round six, spending a significant amount of time in the ruck and collecting 16 hitouts, but was in and out of the side for the remainder of that year.
Carey's sudden departure from the club in acrimonious circumstances created greater opportunities for Petrie in 2002, but injury prevented him taking his place in the senior side until midseason. He rejoined the side in round 13 of that season and played every game, including North's Elimination Final loss to Melbourne, for a modest return of 10 goals.
The next two seasons saw Petrie establish himself as a permanent member of the Roos' line-up, as someone who could take a strong contested mark, always provide a contest in the forward line, and more than hold his own when in the ruck. He kicked 28 and 20 goals in those two years, neither of those great ones for the club, which finished 10th both times. 2005 and 2006 saw his goal output drop, but this was largely due to extended periods spent rucking, particularly in the former year. He returned to being a more permanent forward in 2007 - a year in which the Kangaroos made it all the way to a preliminary final - kicking a career-high 38 goals (second behind Corey Jones in the club goalkicking), including a standout performance against the Western Bulldogs in which he kicked seven goals - six of those in the first quarter!
North made finals again the following season, only to be eliminated in the first week. Petrie's season output was 17 goals 15, although he did spend much of the latter part of the season shouldering ruck duties. A consistent 2009 saw him top the club goalkicking with 27 but foot injuries virtually wiped out his 2010 season, the big man making it onto the field for just two games.
Petrie put those woes behind him in 2011, having perhaps his best season yet. As well as topping the goalkicking for a second time, he finished third in the club best and fairest voting. After a slow start to 2012, he hit a purple patch in July and August and at one stage looked on track to take home the Coleman Medal. He finished the year with 58, his best ever return,
From 2013 through 2016, Petrie continue to be a more than solid if rarely spectacular contributor. He would lead the club's goalkicking list again in 2014 and 2015 (sharing the award with Jarrad Waite in the latter season), as North again contested finals without making a Grand Final.
In 2016 he became the fifth Kangaroo to reach 300 games. His form continued to be solid but a decision by coach Brad Scott and the North hierarchy to go through as process of on-field regeneration saw Petrie, along with other stalwarts Brent Harvey, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo, receive the news that they would not be offered contracts in 2017.
Feeling he still had more to offer the game, Petrie accepted an offer to move to the other side of the country and play with the West Coast Eagles, mainly as a ruckman (with Nic Naitanui to miss the entire season with a knee injury). Petrie debut for the Eagles in round one but broke his hand and sat out the next two months. He returned in round 10 and immediately established himself as a core member of the side. As West Coast advanced to the finals, Petrie did a more than creditable job when rucking and could be relied upon to kick a goal when resting up forward. His 16 games in the blue and gold yielded 16 goals.
Petrie had canvassed the idea of playing on in 2018 during the 2017 season but the Eagles' semi final loss to GWS at the Sydney Showground in front of under 15,000 fans would prove to be his curtain call, the big warrior deciding that 17 seasons at the top level had been enough.
Petrie will not be acknowledged by many with the word 'star' but one doesn't manage to play 332 games in 17 seasons at the top level without being a very, very good player. Petrie did just that, extracting all that he could out of his abilities, and the history books in years to come should recognise him as a Shinboner great.
Author - Andrew Gigacz