AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
1 August 1981 (age 41)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 250d
Last game: 33y 22d
Height and weight
Height: 204 cm
Weight: 104 kg
East Perth; West Coast
West Coast: 20
East Perth (2001)
Dick Michalczyk (Uncle)George Michalczyk (Uncle)
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AFL: 11,108th player to appear, 114th most games played, 542nd most goals kickedWest Coast: 138th player to appear, 2nd most games played, 13th most goals kicked
Dean Cox played 290 games for West Coast in a career that spanned 14 seasons from 2001 to 2014. Originally from Dampier, Western Australia, he debuted with the East Perth Football Club in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) in 2000. After winning the Simpson Medal as the best player in the grand final, Cox was recruited to West Coast with the 28th pick in the 2001 Rookie Draft. He made his debut the following season, and his since played in a premiership side in 2006, and won the club's best and fairest award in 2008. Playing almost exclusively as a ruckman, Cox is considered one of the best players in his position in the AFL, having been selected in the All-Australian team five times.
Cox was a naturally gifted sportsman who excelled at sports whilst growing up in Dampier, Western Australia. His uncle George Michalczyk, a former Australian rules player himself, recommended Cox to the club he began his senior career with, East Perth.
Cox played colts for East Perth in 1999 and at the end of the season was invited to train with the West Coast Eagles in their pre-season. He impressed enough for him to be rookie-listed, however he struggled in pre-season training and was criticised for being slightly uncoordinated.
Meanwhile he played senior football for East Perth. He began the season fifth in the order of an impressive list of ruckmen, but by season's end he had impressed so much he earned a place as the first ruckman in their grand final team and collected a Simpson Medal for his efforts.
The Eagles then put him on their senior list and he made his AFL debut in 2001. Initially he showed few signs of his potential at that level. However, he was persisted with. He is recognizable by his intimidating 204 cm and 107 kg frame, ranking among the top 10 tallest players in the AFL at the time of writing.
He came of age during the 2005 season, where he became a dominant player for the Eagles and is now considered one of their best. He topped the year off with a terrific finals series, living up to his high standards. Two incidents stand out in particular for Cox – one where in the Qualifying Final against Sydney he took two saving marks in defence to secure the game in the dying moments, where his team got home by less than a goal. Unfortunately, the other moment that stands out had the Eagles on the other end, where in the Grand Final three weeks later, again against Sydney, he took a strong mark on the half-forward line and speared the ball in towards a pack in the dying moments. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Leo Barry took a saving mark and secured the Swans a victory by less than a goal.
Cox got off to a superb start to the season and was one of the premier players in the competition early. He is still playing well and has established himself as one of the leagues premier ruckmen, averaging over 20 hitouts and almost 20 disposals per game through Round 8 of the 2006 Season. However, in Round 13 he met with a hard bump from Bulldog Adam Cooney, which left him with a broken collar bone. He returned to the side, and was a key figure in the Eagles thrilling 1 point win of Sydney in the 2006 AFL Grand Final, running Sydney ruckman Stephen Doyle and Darren Jolly ragged. Cox played 21 games in 2006, took 141 marks and bagged 14 goals.
Dean Cox was a very versatile ruckman, who tends to cover much ground. Sometimes considered to be the Eagles 'fifth midfielder', Cox is a modern example of a mobile ruckman. He effectively won knock-outs and could assist the likes of midfielders Daniel Kerr, Matthew Priddis and Matt Rosa. Cox was widely considered as the premier ruckman of the competition over many years, as seen by his selection in six All-Australian teams.