Gary Ayres
Personal information
Full name Gary James Ayres
Nickname(s) Conan
Date of birth (1960-09-28) 28 September 1960 (age 61)
Original team(s) Warragul
Height 190 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 95 kg (209 lb)
Position(s) Defender
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1978–1993 Hawthorn 269 (70)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
Victoria 6 (4)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1995–1999 Geelong 116 0(65–50–1)
2000–2004 Adelaide 107 0(55–52–0)
2008-2021 Port Melbourne 244 (160–81–3)
Total 467 (280–183–4)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of Round 2, 2021.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Gary James Ayres (born 28 September 1960) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for the Hawthorn Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He is currently the senior coach for the Montrose Football Club in the Eastern Football Netball League (EFNL). Ayres' playing career is honored by the existence of the Gary Ayres Award, an annual award given to the player judged best-afield by the AFL Coaches Association throughout each AFL finals series.

Playing career

Hawthorn Football Club

Beginning his playing career with Hawthorn in 1978, he had an illustrious career spanning from 1978–1993, playing 269 games and booting 70 goals.[1][2]

He was part of a total of 5 premiership teams – 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, and 1991. He won the Norm Smith Medal twice, adjudged best on ground in 1986 and 1988 and is one of only four players in the history of the AFL to do so.[3][4]

Ayres captained Victoria against Tasmania in the 1989 State of Origin contest.[5][6]

He captained the Hawks in his final two years from 1992–1993.[7][8]

Gary played most of his football in defence, particular the back pocket position. He was nicknamed "Conan" by fans in reference to his powerful upper-body physique. He used his body to good effect in body on body contested situations. Ayres' height and weight was 187 cm / 100 kg. Allan Jeans described Ayres as "a good driver in heavy traffic"[9][10][11]

In 2020, Ayres revealed that the circumstances that led to his retirement from his playing career with Hawthorn at the end of the 1993 season, was after a disconnect with senior coach Alan Joyce and his frustration after being dropped to the reserves side.[12]

Statistics

[13]
Legend
 G  Goals  K  Kicks  D  Disposals  T  Tackles
 B  Behinds  H  Handballs  M  Marks
 #  Played in that year's
premiership team
AFL playing statistics
Season Team No. Games Totals Averages (per game) Votes
G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
1978 Hawthorn 33 2 3 0 9 8 17 4 1.5 0.0 4.5 4.0 8.5 2.0 0
1979 Hawthorn 7 10 11 12 72 26 98 19 1.1 1.2 7.2 2.6 9.8 1.9 0
1980 Hawthorn 7 7 5 4 44 17 61 16 0.7 0.6 6.3 2.4 8.7 2.3 0
1981 Hawthorn 7 3 0 0 12 5 17 3 0.0 0.0 4.0 1.7 5.7 1.0 0
1982 Hawthorn 7 14 0 0 120 110 230 50 0.0 0.0 8.6 7.9 16.4 3.6 2
1983# Hawthorn 7 18 1 1 189 95 284 68 0.1 0.1 10.5 5.3 15.8 3.8 6
1984 Hawthorn 7 21 2 2 294 96 390 92 0.1 0.1 14.0 4.6 18.6 4.4 12
1985 Hawthorn 7 24 1 3 289 95 384 89 0.0 0.1 12.0 4.0 16.0 3.7 2
1986# Hawthorn 7 25 5 1 278 173 451 78 0.2 0.0 11.1 6.9 18.0 3.1 0
1987 Hawthorn 7 24 5 4 238 157 395 95 44 0.2 0.2 9.9 6.5 16.5 4.0 1.8 5
1988# Hawthorn 7 22 1 8 308 133 441 113 32 0.0 0.4 14.0 6.0 20.0 5.1 1.5 11
1989# Hawthorn 7 24 5 3 307 169 476 105 48 0.2 0.1 12.8 7.0 19.8 4.4 2.0 6
1990 Hawthorn 7 22 15 8 248 153 401 69 46 0.7 0.4 11.3 7.0 18.2 3.1 2.1 4
1991# Hawthorn 7 22 14 10 245 174 419 74 50 0.6 0.5 11.1 7.9 19.0 3.4 2.3 0
1992 Hawthorn 7 14 1 1 143 114 257 53 25 0.1 0.1 10.2 8.1 18.4 3.8 1.8 2
1993 Hawthorn 7 17 1 1 148 98 246 59 23 0.1 0.1 8.7 5.8 14.5 3.5 1.4 1
Career 269 70 58 2944 1623 4567 987 268 0.3 0.2 10.9 6.0 17.0 3.7 1.8 51


Honours and achievements

Team

Individual

Coaching career

Geelong Football Club senior coach (1995-1999)

After his retirement from his playing career, Ayres turned to coaching; starting as an assistant coach under senior coach Malcolm Blight at Geelong for the 1994 season. After Blight's resignation in 1994, following Geelong's defeat to the West Coast Eagles in the 1994 Grand Final, Ayres was appointed Geelong Football Club senior coach for the 1995 season after Blight handed the coaching reigns to Ayres.[14] In his first year and season as Geelong Football Club senior coach, Geelong lost to Carlton in the 1995 Grand Final by 61 points under Ayres, which was their fourth Grand Final defeat in seven seasons. In the 1996 season, Geelong under Ayres finished seventh with thirteen wins, one draw and eight losses, where they made it to the qualifying final losing to North Melbourne. In the 1997 season, Ayres guided Geelong to finish second on the ladder with fifteen wins and seven losses, but however lost to North Melbourne again in the qualifying finals and were eliminated by the eventual premiers Adelaide in the semi finals. In the 1998 season, Geelong with Ayres struggled and finished twelve with nine wins and thirteen losses. In 1999, at the end of a disappointing 1999 season where Geelong under Ayres finished eleventh with ten wins and twelve losses and after the board of Geelong Football Club, that was led by CEO Brian Cook, refused to offer him a contract extension beyond the 2000 AFL season, Ayres quit as Geelong Football Club senior coach to take the coaching position at Adelaide where Malcolm Blight had, again, just resigned.[15] Ayres was replaced by Mark Thompson as Geelong Football Club senior coach.[16][17]

Ayres coached Geelong Football Club to a total of 116 games with 65 wins 50 losses and one draw to a winning percentage of 56 percent.

Adelaide Football Club senior coach (2000-2004)

Ayres once again replaced Malcolm Blight, this time as Adelaide Football Club senior coach at the end of the 1999 season and coached Adelaide from 2000 until 2004.[18] In his first season at the Crows, the club struggled and finished eleventh with nine wins and thirteen losses at the end of the 2000 season.[19] Ayres, however guided the Crows to the final series in the next three seasons in the 2001 season, 2002 season and 2003 season, including reaching the elimination final in 2001, where they were eliminated by Carlton, the preliminary final in 2002, where they were eliminated by the eventual runners-up Collingwood and the Semi finals in 2003, where they were eliminated by the eventual premiers Brisbane Lions.[20] However, during the 2004 season, the club with Ayres found themselves struggling again where Adelaide sat twelve on the ladder with four wins and nine losses after Round 13, 2004.[21] When told he would not continue as senior coach for the 2005 season, Ayres quit midseason.[22] Though he had been given the opportunity to stay for the rest of the 2004 season, he told the Adelaide board that if he could not coach the following year, he would leave immediately. He then walked out of the club's office without shaking hands or responding to media enquiries.[23] Ayres coached Adelaide to a total of 107 games with a 55–52 win–loss ratio to a winning percentage of 51.4 percent. He was replaced by assistant coach Neil Craig as caretaker senior coach of Adelaide Football Club for the remainder of the 2004 season and was eventually employed full-time senior coach.[24]

Post AFL senior coaching roles

Essendon Football Club assistant coach (2006-2007)

In 2006, he returned to coaching as assistant coach at the Essendon Football Club, under senior coach Kevin Sheedy. When Matthew Knights was appointed as senior coach of Essendon at the end of the 2007 season, Knights vowed to modernise the club's support staff, Ayres subsequently lost his position as assistant coach.[25]

Port Melbourne Football Club senior coach (VFL) (2008-2021)

In 2008, Ayres was appointed senior coach of the Port Melbourne Football Club in the Victorian Football League. He is the longest-serving coach in the club's history. Ayres has coached Port Melbourne to two premierships and three minor premierships, which included the club's perfect 2011 season, in which the club won all 21 of its premiership matches.[26] Ayres then led the club to another premiership in 2017. Ayres left the Port Melbourne Football Club at the end of the 2021 season, after he served as senior coach of the club for a total of fourteen years. Ayres came to this decision after being overlooked for re-appointment as senior coach for the 2022 season, when the club decided not to renew his contract as senior coach, when it expired at the end of 2021.[27]

Head coaching record

Team Year Home and Away Season Finals
Won Lost Drew Win % Position Won Lost Win % Result
GEE 1995 16 6 0 .727 2nd out of 16 2 1 .667 Lost to Carlton in Grand Final
GEE 1996 13 8 1 .614 7th out of 16 0 1 .000 Lost to North Melbourne in Qualifying Final
GEE 1997 15 7 0 .682 2nd out of 16 0 2 .000 Lost to Adelaide in Semi Final
GEE 1998 9 13 0 .409 12th out of 16 - - - -
GEE 1999 12 10 0 .545 11th out of 16 - - - -
GEE Total 63 46 1 .578 2 4 .333
ADE 2000 9 13 0 .409 11th out of 16 - - - -
ADE 2001 12 10 0 .545 8th out of 16 0 1 .000 Lost to Carlton in Elimination Final
ADE 2002 15 7 0 .682 3rd out of 16 1 2 .333 Lost to Collingwood in Preliminary Final
ADE 2003 13 9 0 .591 6th out of 16 1 1 .500 Lost to Brisbane in Semi Final
ADE 2004 4[n 1] 9 0 .308 (resigned after R13) - - - -
ADE Total 53 48 0 .525 2 4 .333
Total 116 94 1 .552 4 8 .333


[28]

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Ayres resigned following round 13 with a record of 4-9 and Neil Craig took over as interim head coach, leading the Crows to a 4-5 record. Thus, the first 13 games are credited to Ayres and the final 9 to Craig.

Other roles and contributions

Awards

On 24 October 2000, Ayres was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for contribution to Australian Football.[29]

Media career

In 2005, Ayres spent the year in the media on Fox Footy Channel. Prior to that he also had a stint on Seven's Talking Footy.

References

  1. ^ "GARY AYRES". Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Gary Ayres". 24 March 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  3. ^ "GARY AYRES". Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Gary Ayres". 24 March 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  5. ^ "GARY AYRES". Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Gary Ayres". 24 March 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  7. ^ "GARY AYRES". Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Gary Ayres". 24 March 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "GARY AYRES". Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Gary Ayres". 24 March 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Sacked: Gary Ayres lifts lid on his final days at Hawthorn, Geelong and Adelaide". 5 June 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  13. ^ Gary Ayres' player profile at AFL Tables
  14. ^ "AFL: Malcolm Blight reveals merciless boos that sparked him to quit as Geelong coach in 1994". 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Sacked: Gary Ayres lifts lid on his final days at Hawthorn, Geelong and Adelaide". 5 June 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Geelong's nine-year journey". 27 September 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  17. ^ "Every club's biggest 'what if' moment of the AFL era – Part Three". 21 June 2021. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Past Senior Coaches (AFL)". Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Past Senior Coaches (AFL)". Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  20. ^ "Past Senior Coaches (AFL)". Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Past Senior Coaches (AFL)". Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Sacked: Gary Ayres lifts lid on his final days at Hawthorn, Geelong and Adelaide". 5 June 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Past Senior Coaches (AFL)". Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  24. ^ "Past Senior Coaches (AFL)". Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  25. ^ Herald Sun: Knights cleans out assistants Gary Ayres, Dean Wallis
  26. ^ Sam Wharton (21 March 2016). "Gary Ayres Extends Coaching Contract". Port Melbourne Football Club. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  27. ^ "VFL: Gary Ayres, Port Melbourne to part ways after 14 seasons". 30 July 2021. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  28. ^ "AFL Tables - Gary Ayres - Coaching Record". Afltables.com. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  29. ^ "Gary James Ayres". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 6 January 2012.