Fraser Gehrig

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Fraser Gehrig
Personal information
Full name Fraser Gehrig
Date of birth (1976-03-03) 3 March 1976 (age 38)
Original team Murray Bushrangers (TAC Cup)
Draft No. 16, 1993 National Draft, West Coast
No. 57, 2007 National Draft, St Kilda
Height/Weight 195 cm / 109 kg
Position(s) Forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1995–2000
2001–2008
Total
West Coast
St Kilda
115 (159)
145 (390)
260 (549)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 2008 season.
Career highlights

Fraser Gehrig (born 3 March 1976) is a retired Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League (AFL) who played for the St Kilda Football Club and the West Coast Eagles. He is the owner of Restaurant – Michelangelo's.

Gehrig was a versatile player during his AFL career, beginning his career at West Coast before becoming known as a powerful goal kicker and Coleman medalist at St Kilda.

Gehrig holds the bench press record at both West Coast and St Kilda and was the best bench press performer in the AFL, and was regarded by many as the strongest and most intimidating player in the AFL.[1]

Early life[edit]

Gehrig grew up in Wodonga, Victoria and attended high school at Catholic College Wodonga.

Career[edit]

West Coast Eagles[edit]

Gehrig began his AFL career at the West Coast Eagles playing as a utility and on the wing. He was known for his strength and versatility.

Gehrig struggled to break into a powerful Eagles lineup during his first few years at the Western Australian club, but he stepped up in 1997 and won selection in the All Australian Team in a forward pocket.

Gehrig had a season on the half forward line in 1998, but struggled with injury and form over the following two years and was traded to St Kilda at the end of the 2000 season. West Coast received David Sierakowski and 2000 AFL Draft selection number 18 (Daniel Kerr) from St Kilda in exchange for Gehrig.

St Kilda[edit]

Gehrig made his debut with the Saints in 2001. He initially played at full-back and finished second in the St Kilda Best and Fairest award in 2001. In 2003 he switched to the full-forward position and this move coincided with St Kilda's rise up the ladder, finishing 10th in 2003 and playing in finals matches in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Gehrig became a powerful and dominant force in the goalsquare and weighed in at 109 kilograms. He quickly became a prolific goalkicker, booting 55 goals in 2003 and 103 in 2004. A large pitch invasion by fans occurred following his 100th goal.[2] Gehrig won back-to-back Coleman Medals in 2004 and 2005 and was named at full-forward in the All-Australian team in 2004.

Gehrig's unique style of play earned him the nicknames "G-Train" for his locomotive-like leads and strong marking. He has twice kicked 10 goals in a match in his AFL career; once against Richmond and once against the Kangaroos.[3]

Gehrig was close to retirement at the end of the 2003 season but then coach, Grant Thomas, managed to convince him to play on. Gehrig signed a one-year deal at the end of the 2006 season and was again a prolific goal-kicker for the Saints, booting 59 goals from 20 matches.

Gehrig played his 200th game in 2005, kicking eight goals as St Kilda thrashed Sydney by 43 points, with Leo Barry being his opponent. He kicked a total of 36 goals playing against Sydney.[3]

Gehrig's 250th game came against Carlton in round 17, 2007. Again, the Saints emerged victors.

Temporary retirement[edit]

Immediately before St Kilda's last game of the 2007 season, on 1 September, Gehrig announced his retirement to the team. Unusually he waved to the dedicated fans in the cheersquad when he came on the field and then played well in a tight contest against Richmond. In the dying seconds of the match Gehrig took a strong mark in St Kilda's forward line and kicked his 540th career goal, one of five that day, to secure the win.[4] Gehrig was chaired off the ground by St Kilda players Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke, bare-chested after giving his famous number nine jumper to a young female fan in the stands.

Comeback[edit]

Three months later Gehrig shocked many by changing his mind and deciding that he wished to continue playing with St Kilda. Having already been removed from St Kilda's playing list, Gehrig was forced to return via one of the AFL drafts and opted for the national draft over the pre-season draft. This option forced Gehrig onto the standard two-year draftees' contract, but allowed the club to redraft him without using an early pre-season draft selection. St Kilda re-drafted Gehrig with its fourth round selection (#57 overall).

After a few lacklustre games, many feared that Gehrig had lost his form and fitness and he was dropped to the reserves. In a last-ditch effort to kickstart his playing the coach selected him in the senior list, but he failed to have any impact. Gehrig revealed that he was suffering from painful arthritis which affected his game and required surgery. St Kilda then put him on its long-term injury list.[5] This move onto the long-term injury list, instead of retirement, meant that St Kilda were able to elevate Robert Eddy from the rookie list. Gehrig's subsequent return to the senior list was a precaution in case of injury to other players, though he did not play for the remainder of the season.[6]

Statistics[edit]

[7]

Legend
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league for the Season only*
Led the league after finals only*
Led the league after Season and Finals*

*10 games required to be eligible.

Season Team # Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1995 West Coast 25 16 21 4 119 51 170 73 11 1.3 0.3 7.4 3.2 10.6 4.6 0.7
1996 West Coast 7 24 12 8 183 117 300 99 22 0.5 0.3 7.6 4.9 12.5 4.1 0.9
1997 West Coast 7 22 31 17 223 80 303 115 21 1.4 0.8 10.1 3.6 13.8 5.2 1.0
1998 West Coast 7 23 42 19 200 92 292 144 18 1.8 0.8 8.7 4.0 12.7 6.3 0.8
1999 West Coast 7 11 19 9 85 46 131 61 8 1.7 0.8 7.7 4.2 11.9 5.5 0.7
2000 West Coast 7 19 34 17 164 77 241 108 15 1.8 0.9 8.6 4.1 12.7 5.7 0.8
2001 St Kilda 9 20 3 5 173 83 256 97 16 0.2 0.3 8.7 4.2 12.8 4.9 0.8
2002 St Kilda 9 12 12 9 81 64 145 60 9 1.0 0.8 6.8 5.3 12.1 5.0 0.8
2003 St Kilda 9 21 55 34 190 62 252 129 22 2.6 1.6 9.0 3.0 12.0 6.1 1.0
2004 St Kilda 9 23 103 39 184 54 238 131 18 4.5 1.7 8.0 2.3 10.3 5.7 0.8
2005 St Kilda 9 22 78 49 177 41 218 114 12 3.5 2.2 8.0 1.9 9.9 5.2 0.5
2006 St Kilda 9 22 71 37 173 39 212 123 12 3.2 1.7 7.9 1.8 9.6 5.6 0.5
2007 St Kilda 9 20 59 35 173 34 207 110 14 3.0 1.8 8.7 1.7 10.4 5.5 0.7
2008 St Kilda 9 5 9 3 25 7 32 18 1 1.8 0.6 5.0 1.4 6.4 3.6 0.2
Career 260 549 285 2150 847 2997 1382 199 2.1 1.1 8.3 3.3 11.5 5.3 0.8

Career highlights[edit]

  • St Kilda AFL WHL Cup winning side 2004 [8]
  • Coleman Medalist 2004, 2005
  • All-Australian 1997, 2004
  • St Kilda Leading Goalkicker 2004-2007
  • 2nd, St Kilda Best & Fairest 2001
  • West Coast Leading Goalkicker 1998

Controversies[edit]

Gehrig was involved in some off field indiscretions during his time with both St Kilda and West Coast. It was alleged that Gehrig urinated on a patron at a nightclub, although no formal accusations were made. [1]

Gehrig was also charged with the unlawful assault of a woman in an alleged incident during Grand Final week in 2006. Gehrig, with Steven Lawrence and former Brisbane Lions captain Michael Voss, were all charged over a fight in a St Kilda hotel.[9]

Some of Gehrig's onfield incidents earned him penalties, with suspensions mainly for striking incidents against opposition players (once in 2003, twice in 2004, once in 2005 and once in 2007). As well as this, in the "Sirengate" match in 2006, Gehrig conceded five consecutive free kicks whilst scuffling with Fremantle's defenders, three of which were converted into 50-metre penalties, which led to his direct opponent, Michael Johnson, walking the length of the field to give Fremantle a 33-point lead. Gehrig was benched after the indiscretions but it also appeared to be the turning point in the match as St Kilda eventually only lost by one point in controversial circumstances.

Preceded by
Matthew Lloyd
Coleman Medallist
2004-2005
Succeeded by
Brendan Fevola

References[edit]

External links[edit]