4 August 1960 (age 62)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 261d
Last game: 26y 26d
Height and weight
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 86 kg
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|Total||1978-1980, 1982-1986, 1988, 1990-1996||156||29||0.19||—||—||—||—||—|
Though he played only 79 games for Footscray between 1978 and 1986, Robert Groenewegen is one of the Bulldogs' favourite sons from that period. Groenewegen arrived at the Western Oval at the same time as his Braybrook teammate Doug Hawkins. The pair had dominated in the Footscray District League, with Hawkins continually driving the ball to the Braybrook forward line, where Groenewegen would mark everything that came his way.
Groenewegen debuted for the Dogs in Round 4, 1978 kicking one goal against Melbourne. He played a prominent role in Footscray's 21-point win over Essendon later that season, and appeared destined for big things. Over the next couple of years he was a semi-regular member of the Dogs' line-up, occupying the centre half forward and centre half back positions, but a knee injury saw him miss the entire 1981 season.
Further knee problems plagued Groenewegen for the remainder of his career and he was never able to regain the leap that had made him a star at Braybrook. Notwithstanding his limited on-field input, he was always seen as a great clubman and amused players and fans alike with his occasional off-field antics.
After playing his last senior game for the Bulldogs in 1986, Groenewegen captained the Footscray Reserves in 1987. He then moved to Hobart and captain-coached Glenorchy, taking them to a Grand Final in 1988. He returned to Melbourne and played a season with Williamstown in 1989, before heading to Tasmania again, where he played another seven seasons for North Launceston before hanging up the boots after captain-coaching the side to the 1995 TFL premiership.
Groenewegen is now the ground manager at York Park in Launceston which hosts several AFL matches every year.
Author - Andrew Gigacz