Dean Michael COX

Year Inducted 2019
Date of Birth 1st August 1981

Player 2000-2014 (East Perth 2000-2003, West Coast 2001-2014)

Games 316 (East Perth 26, West Coast 290)

Goals 178 (East Perth 9, West Coast 169)

Honours: East Perth premiership player 2000; Simpson Medal 2000 (WAFL Grand Final); West Coast Eagles premiership player 2006; West Coast Eagles Club Champion 2008; West Coast Best Clubman Award 2006; All-Australian 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012; Ross Glendinning Medal 2011.

At the height of his powers in the mid-to-late-2000’s, Dean Cox was the living definition of a mobile ruckman, displaying his versatility as West Coast’s 'fifth midfielder' and dominating opponents as the premier ruckman of the competition. His ruck skills and mobility earned Cox six All-Australian selections and an AFL Premiership and he also won West Coast's fairest and best award in 2008 while finishing in the top three on four other occasions.

Towering at over 200cm, Cox was ranked among the AFL’s top 10 tallest ever players when he retired at the end of the 2014 season and finished his career with 290 games, a club record still standing at the time of his 2019 WA Football Hall of Fame induction. Cox also finished his career with a then AFL record 6628 hit outs to stamp his name as one of the most influential ruckmen in the history of the competition.

Speaking to The Australian Newspaper as Cox narrowed in on West Coast’s games-played record, former coach Ken Judge said: “He has probably revolutionised ruck play because he plays like a ruck rover. For a bloke of his size, what he was doing was incredible. That he has been able to maintain that for a long time is a credit to his durability.”

Dean Michael Cox was born on August 1st 1981 and grew up in the north-west WA town of Dampier where he was an enthusiastic young sportsman who always had a bat or ball in his hands and played football for the Dampier Sharks.

His uncle George Michalczyk, a former Australian rules player and well-known WA football identity himself, recommended Cox to WAFL club East Perth where he showcased his height and raw athleticism playing Colts in 1999 and earned an invitation to attend pre-season training with the West Coast Eagles and a speculative selection at number 28 in the 2000 Rookie Draft.

A solid 2000 season with the Royals saw him cement a place as the first ruckman in their grand final team and collect a Simpson Medal as the best player in the grand final in his first season. Elevated to West Coast’s senior list in the 2000 National Draft, Cox made his AFL debut in Round 2 of the 2001 season.

After struggling early with the fitness demands of AFL football and trying to break into the side as a back-up ruckman to Michael Gardiner, Cox’s opportunity finally presented itself when Gardiner went down with a knee injury in 2004. He seized the chance with both hands and worked hard on his running and fitness, covering enormous distances for a ruckman as he set about redefining the role.

Cox really came of age during the 2005 season, where he became a dominant player for the Eagles and earned his first All-Australian selection. He topped the year off with a terrific finals series, including a strong performance in West Coast’s losing Grand Final to Sydney.

He continued to display his dominance over the next four seasons, playing a pivotal role in West Coast’s 2006 Premiership and extending his All-Australian selection to four consecutive seasons from 2005 to 2008. He was again named All-Australian in 2011 and 2012.

Cox announced mid-way through the 2014 season that it would be his last, but that he would stay on with the Eagles as a ruck coach.

Speaking to media at the time, Coach Adam Simpson described Cox as a legend of the game and said a coaching role would suit the champion ruckman. "I've seen what he's done with the club, he's the heartbeat of this place," he said. "I think there's a long future there with his coaching."

In 2017 it was announced that Cox would be leaving the Eagles after a combined 18 years of playing and coaching to become an Assistant Coach at the Sydney Swans and continue his life-long involvement with football.