Dean Cox is a name that will forever be remembered in the football world. A premiership ruckman with six All-Australian selections, Cox has had an enormous career at West Coast and made a significant contribution in the wider community.
One of the most decorated ruckmen in the game’s history, Cox revolutionised his position through an ability to play as ‘an extra midfielder’ once the ball left the stoppage.
Cox was drafted by West Coast with pick 28 in the 2001 Rookie Draft after winning the Simpson Medal in the WAFL for a best on ground performance in East Perth’s premiership side the previous season.
Following his AFL debut during the 2001 season, Cox formed a formidable ruck combination with Michael Gardiner and the pair rucked in tandem over the next few seasons.
The 204cm ruckman had a break-out season in 2005, with an average of close to 24 hit-outs per game. He also led the Eagles to the Grand Final against Sydney where they fell short by just four points.
Redemption came the following year with the Eagles defeating the Swans by one point in the 2006 Grand Final. Cox’s 20-possession performance was instrumental in West Coast’s victory.
2008 was considered by many West Coast followers as his best season from a personal perspective. He averaged career-high numbers for possessions, and his efforts were rewarded with the club’s Best and Fairest award.
Later in his career, Cox acted as a leader to emerging ruckman Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett, contributing to their on-field development.
Late this year he announced his retirement to end a remarkable 290-game career.
“I’ve built a career where I thought I could have a real impact in games, where I was at a level consistently doing that,” said Cox.
“If I was to continue next year I would probably do an injustice to myself and what I have established throughout my career.”
Congrats to Dean Cox on his career. Im sure every younger playa has tried to emulate ur game, I have! Maybe 1 more battle in 2 weeks! #champ
— Sam Jacobs (@samjacobs24) July 21, 2014
Congratulations to Dean Cox on an outstanding career. Revolutionized the role of the Ruckman.The best I've seen play our great game #bigcox
— Hamish mcintosh (@HMcintosh01) July 21, 2014
He also opened a restaurant – called Beluga, in Claremont, Western Australia – with former teammate Andrew Embley.
“Both myself and Andrew Embley, entering the twilight of our careers, thought we’d try something a little bit different,” Cox said.
The 2014 Madden Medal winner will be announced on Friday, September 30.