Australian Football

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Key Facts

Full name
Laurence Dwyer

Known as
Laurie Dwyer

Nickname
Twinkle Toes

Born
6 November 1938

Died
17 October 2016 (aged 77)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 202d
Last game: 31y 282d

Height and weight
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 65 kg

Senior clubs
North Melbourne

Jumper numbers
North Melbourne: 27

Family links
Leo Dwyer (Father)David Dwyer (Son)Anthony Dwyer (Son)Andrew Underwood (Son-in-law)

Laurie Dwyer

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
North MelbourneV/AFL1956-1958, 1960-1964, 1966-1970201340.1735%18.392.892.85115
Total1956-1958, 1960-1964, 1966-1970201340.1735%18.392.892.85115

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 6,702nd player to appear, 614th most games played, 2,679th most goals kickedNorth Melbourne: 477th player to appear, 32nd most games played, 175th most goals kicked

Nicknamed "Twinkle Toes" because of his pre-eminence as a ballroom dancer, Laurie Dwyer could equally have earned that the same moniker through the fancy footwork he displayed in a fine 201-game career at North Melbourne between 1956 and 1970. Dwyer's game total would have been far greater had not a back injury sustained in a workplace mishap robbed him of two full seasons on the field.

Recruited locally from North Colts, Dwyer became a regular fixture on the wing at Arden Street from the moment he made his debut as a 17-year-old against South Melbourne in round seven, 1956. He played every other match in that season, claiming the runner-up place in the club's best and fairest award. 

Dwyer went from strength to strength over the following two years, and was a vital part in North rise to the finals in 1958. The Shinboners lost the Preliminary Final that year by 20 points to eventual premier Collingwood, and prior to the start of the following year, Dwyer injured his back at work to the extent that he missed the entire 1959 season. 

The 1960 season saw come back better than ever and he finished third in that year's Brownlow Medal count, despite the Kangaroos winning just five games and finishing a lowly 11th on the ladder. While North was largely unsuccessful, consistent seasons followed for Dwyer in 1961 (a year which saw him win the best and fairest and finish second in the Brownlow Medal), 1962 and 1963 before his back problems intervened once more, forcing him to miss several games in 1964 and another full season in 1965.

Dwyer returned to the playing field early in the 1966 season and immediately found the form that had made him star. In 1967, despite missing the start of the season with a wrist injury, Dwyer again placed second in the Brownlow Medal and claimed his second club best and fairest award. He received another setback in late 1969 when he contracted glandular fever, the illness keeping him from playing until late in 1970. He returned to play a final six games late in that year, playing his 200th game in the penultimate round of the season.

Dwyer's career came to an end at the close of that season, his wonderful skill across 201 games later earning him a deserving place on the wing in North Melbourne's Team of the Century. Dwyer's father Leo was a Shinboner stalwart in the 1920s and 1930s, while his sons David and Anthony carved out useful career with the Kangaroos. 

Laurie Dwyer passed away in 2016 at age 77.

Author - Andrew Gigacz

Sources

Encyclopedia of Australian Footballers, Wikipedia

Footnotes

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