Fans Players

‘Crazy eyes’ Grimes the most courageous

Former Melbourne captain Jack Grimes shares his earliest memories of growing up with brother Dylan and details how proud he is of the player he has become at Richmond after the Tigers’ star defender was voted by his peers as the AFL Players’ Association’s Most Courageous, presented by Movember.

I always knew Dylan had great potential, especially in the role that he was playing in defence.

But the heights that he’s reached over the last two years have been pretty amazing.

I still watch him these days and I’m amazed at what he can do out there on some of the best players in the competition.

When Alex Rance went down with a season-ending knee injury in round one, it presented a great challenge for him to rise to the occasion.

Dylan would have been shattered for Rancey first and foremost, but he would have really relished the extra responsibility and extra opportunity that lay ahead for him.

Growing up you’d throw him a challenge and he was the type of kid that would thrive in that environment. All of his family knew he wouldn’t shy away from it all, he’d be excited for what lay ahead.

There’s been times where I know he’s really missed Rancey, but for Dylan’s development as an individual footballer it’s one of the best things that’s happened to him because it’s thrust him into that leadership role.

Growing up in a house of four boys, you can imagine what happened when myself, Nathan, Dylan and Tom were competing against each other in the backyard.

Dyl would be the first to tell you that all of us boys picked on him and that he had to fight for himself because we all ganged up on him and there is some truth to that.

Especially Nathan and I (the oldest two Grimes boys), we had some seriously good run-ins with him.

If you back Dylan into a corner he’ll fight his way out of it and we learnt that pretty quickly. As much as we hated to say it we were terrified of him because if you throw a challenge at him in that sense he’d find a way to get out of it.

He’s always had that fight in him and loved a bit of brotherly confrontation. He certainly didn’t shy away from it that’s for sure.

We played a bit of everything in the backyard. Dylan was a horrible cricketer, but tried his hardest. What he lacked in skill he made up for in competitive spirit (laughs).

Basketball was never really his sport either. He never understood the concept of fouls because he’d use his elbows and knees when we’d drive to the basket and make us earn our points, much like his opponents have to do on the footy field.

Dyl loved a good wrestle as well. I stopped doing that when he got to about 10 years old because he got too strong and too competitive.

He’d start getting these “crazy eyes” we used to call it and you could see that from a mile away. That competitiveness came out on the footy field in such a good way and that inner drive has helped him get to where he has got to.

It’s been amazing to watch his journey especially the last few years once my career finished at the Demons. I’ve got nothing but admiration for the way he’s gone about it.

He really is egoless and he’s done so much away from the field as well.

I think that’s what Dylan does really well. He escapes from footy when he needs to and when it’s footy mode again he gets right back into it. He’s got a really good balance.

As a brother and a supporter of his it’s been great to see his development especially the way he’s performed this year.

To see the way he’s been playing and hopefully leaning towards a successful September ahead that’s an exciting proposition for him and our family could not be more proud with everything he’s achieved.

Robert Rose Most Courageous Award, presented by the Movember Foundation

Dylan Grimes – 146

Mitch Robinson – 105

Jarryn Geary – 78

Nick Haynes – 66

Joel Selwood – 63