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Dean Bailey

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Dean Bailey
Bailey in 2011
Personal information
Full name Dean Bailey
Nickname(s) Bails
Date of birth (1967-01-18)18 January 1967
Date of death 11 March 2014(2014-03-11) (aged 47)
Original team(s) North Ringwood (EFL)
Height 179 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 78 kg (172 lb)
Position(s) Utility
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1986–1992 Essendon 53 (19)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2008–2011 Melbourne 83 (22–59–2)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1992.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2011.
Sources: AFL Tables,

Dean Bailey (18 January 1967 – 11 March 2014) was an Australian rules football player and coach. He played for the Essendon Football Club and was the senior coach of the Melbourne Football Club, as well as an assistant coach at Essendon and Port Adelaide and the Strategy & Innovation Coach at the Adelaide Football Club (Adelaide Crows).[1] Bailey died of lung cancer on 11 March 2014.[2]

Playing career

Bailey played 53 games for Essendon, mainly as a centreman. He wore guernsey numbers 42 and 31, and preceded Dustin Fletcher in wearing the latter number.[3][4]

Coaching career

After retiring as a player he became a development coach at the Essendon Football Club and helped the club to their 2000 premiership.

He joined the Port Adelaide Football Club in 2002 as an assistant coach, a position he held in their 2004 premiership season.

Melbourne senior coach

At the end of the 2007 season, he was appointed as the new senior coach of the Melbourne Football Club for the 2008 season.

Season 2008 started badly for Bailey, with the Demons losing their first six games by lopsided margins before winning its first match of the season against Fremantle in round seven.

Things did not get better, as the Demons lost the next six games, however they won their second game in Round 14 against Brisbane. Then they lost the next five games and won their third game in Round 20 against West Coast. Melbourne finished 16th at the end of the 2008 season, claiming the wooden spoon with three wins and 19 losses.

The 2009 season started with three losses for the Demons before an inspiring and unexpected win by eight points against Richmond in their round four clash at the MCG. At the mid-way point of the 2009 season, the Demons sat last on the ladder with one win and eleven losses, but Bailey retained his commitment to youth and gave many youngsters on Melbourne's list valuable experience over the first half of the year. The club finished the 2009 season with four wins and 18 losses and finished last on the ladder for the second year running.

The 2010 season began with a first round-loss to Hawthorn by 56 points in which the playing group and Bailey were criticised in the media for their on-field performance. But the Demons bounced back in their second game of the season, losing to eventual premier Collingwood by just one point. Round three saw the Demons chalk up their first victory of the season, a 16-point victory over the Adelaide Crows. This was followed by big victories over Richmond and the Brisbane Lions, the latter considered to be a major upset at that point of 2010, as the Lions were undefeated at the time, and fielded big name players including Brown and Fevola.

Despite elevated expectations the Demons then went on to lose their next three games. A narrow victory over Port Adelaide in round 9 however gave fans something to celebrate. Again the club suffered several more losses following the win, as well as a nail biting draw to Collingwood in the annual Queens Birthday Clash. The club found some form again in the following weeks, beating Essendon in round 15, narrowly losing to Fremantle in round 16 (after a huge comeback) and winning again in round 17, thrashing 2005 premiers Sydney by 73 points. A 10-point win over struggling Brisbane at the Gabba and then Richmond at the MCG followed. Ultimately the Demons finished 12th on the ladder at season's end, a somewhat huge improvement from the past two seasons.

The 2011 season saw the Demons experience great fluctuations in form. Starting the season with a draw against Sydney, the team was well beaten by Hawthorn in the second round, despite leading at half time. Consecutive victories followed, with a narrow win over the Brisbane Lions, and league newcomers Gold Coast by 90 points. Following a bye, the club suffered a 54-point defeat at the hands of West Coast, before bouncing back the following week, thrashing Adelaide by 96 points, recording their biggest ever victory against them. It was also their biggest win under Dean Bailey to date. Three losses followed, followed by a surprise victory over Essendon.

The traditional Queen's Birthday clash, which had been drawn the previous year, turned into a blow out with Collingwood winning by 88 points, the biggest margin in a Queen's Birthday clash to date.[citation needed] The Demons then went on to record another massive turnaround, recording their biggest ever victory over Fremantle, by 89 points the following week. This was followed up with a victory over Richmond. The next week saw Melbourne face the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium. It was a disappointing week for the Demons as they lost by 64 points. Melbourne had the bye the following week, before yet another turnaround followed in a win over Port Adelaide in Darwin, before losing to Hawthorn by 54 points the following round.

In Round 19, Melbourne suffered a 186-point defeat against Geelong at Skilled Stadium, the defeat marking the second greatest losing margin in VFL/AFL history. The day after the match, a board meeting was scheduled, where Bailey's sacking was announced by club president Jim Stynes.[5] He left the club with only 22 wins from 83 matches; a winning percentage of just over 25%.

Bailey was credited for the way he rebuilt the club following the retirements of David Neitz, Adem Yze, Russell Robertson, Jeff White and Matthew Whelan amongst others, and not condemned for his aforementioned dismal winning percentage during his tenure at Melbourne.[citation needed] Bailey had stated that he "did the right thing by the Melbourne Football Club" and took the club in a new direction by obtaining high draft picks used to recruit Jack Watts, Jack Trengove and Tom Scully.[6] In addition it was revealed he deliberately played key players in different positions.[7]

Eighteen months after his sacking as Melbourne coach, an investigation into the club's 2009 season found Bailey and then football manager Chris Connolly guilty of "acting in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the competition". This related most specifically to a meeting in July 2009, which became known colloquially as "the vault", in which Connolly allegedly openly discussed the potential benefits to the club of tanking.[8] Bailey, then an assistant coach at the Adelaide Crows, was banned from coaching for the first sixteen rounds of the 2013 season, meaning he could not engage with any players during his suspension.

Adelaide assistant coach

On 4 October 2011, Bailey was appointed to the Adelaide Football Club in a new role as a strategy and innovation coach.[1]

In a statement released by Adelaide on 27 November 2013, it was revealed that Bailey was suffering from cancer and was on indefinite leave.[9] He never returned to work, though he did visit the club in late 2013 and early 2014 during pre-season training before his untimely death in March.[10]

Personal life

Bailey was married to Caron and had two sons.[2]


Bailey died on 11 March 2014, following a battle with lung cancer.[2]


  1. ^ a b ""Bailey joins Crows in new role"". Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Rucci, Michelangelo (11 March 2011). "Former Melbourne coach and Adelaide assistant Dean Bailey dies after cancer battle aged 47". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Toast - Vale - Dean Bailey Bombers". Big Footy Forum. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Dean Bailey - Player Bio". Australian Football. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Dean Bailey sacked as Melbourne coach". The Australian. Australian Associated Press. 31 July 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  6. ^ Bailey 'coached for picks' -
  7. ^ Pierik, Jon (5 August 2011). "Demons players told of 'developing roles'". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ Wilson, Caroline (20 February 2013). "Demons cleared, guilty fined". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  9. ^ Homfray, Reece (27 November 2013). "Adelaide assistant coach Dean Bailey diagnosed with cancer". Herald Sun. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  10. ^ Dean Bailey's impromptu visit at training gives Adelaide Crows a lift, Herald Sun, 6 December 2013
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