|Full name||Gary Pert|
|Date of birth||28 May 1965|
|Height/Weight||189 cm / 97 kg|
|Representative team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1995 season.
Gary Pert (born 28 May 1965) is a former Australian rules footballer who represented Fitzroy and Collingwood in the Australian Football League (AFL). Tall, well-built and strong in the air, Pert played over 200 league games, despite suffering two serious knee injuries in the prime years of his career.
Besides representing Bulleen in junior football, Pert also played for the Victorian Football League (VFL) schoolboys team in Ireland in 1981. He was recruited to Fitzroy, as Bulleen was in Fitzroy's recruiting zone, and made his senior debut in Round 4 of the 1982 season at only 16 years of age. Also making his debut was Paul Roos, with whom Pert formed a great partnership for Fitzroy through the 1980s.
He played State of Origin for Victoria in 1984 at the age of just 18, and was a champion full-back for the Lions (who could be switched to the forward line). In 1985 he won All-Australian selection.
Pert missed much of the first half of the 1987 VFL season due to a knee injury, but was playing again by the end of the season. Prior to the start of the 1988 VFL season, Paul Roos was named captain of Fitzroy, and Pert was chosen as his deputy. On the strong bond between Roos and Pert, David Parkin, who was coach of Fitzroy at the time, said:
They're inseparable in everything they do... On the field, from the time the ball leaves Pert and goes to Roos, there is an understanding there. I don't think I've seen such an understanding relationship between two players... It is remarkable
Early in the season, Pert suffered a bizarre injury when he went to his girlfriend's house for dinner and got a biscuit stuck in his oesophagus. The blockage remained overnight and so the following day he underwent an oesophagoscopy under general anaesthetic. He recovered in time for the Round 5 game against Richmond. He returned in 1989, winning Fitzroy's best and fairest.
At the end of the 1990 AFL season, Pert suffered another knee injury that would rule him out of play for the whole year. The Lions let Pert go, having played 163 games with 42 goals between 1982 and 1990. The Collingwood Football Club subsequently picked him up in the 1990 AFL Draft.
After missing the entire 1991 AFL season with a knee injury that he carried over from Fitzroy, Pert gave Collingwood tremendous service over 70 games in four seasons, continuing to take on and match the best full forwards in the League.
He had two memorable duels with Geelong's Gary Ablett during the 1994 AFL season. In the first encounter, in Round 7, with Geelong leading deep into the final quarter, Ablett, who had already kicked five goals for the match, had dropped back to the goal-square when David Mensch kicked the ball into attack. Ablett took a run and jumped sideways onto Pert's shoulders, taking the ball with his left hand but not controlling it cleanly as he fell backwards. Ablett was awarded the mark, which would eventually win Mark of the Year, but the fall from the spectacular attempt had left him groggy. He missed the subsequent set shot, but Geelong prevailed to win by 28 points.
Pert had his revenge when the two sides met again in Round 22. Despite a suspected broken thumb, he managed to restrict Ablett to just two goals up until late in the third quarter. Then Ablett was strategically shifted to the half-forward flank and picked up by Gavin Crosisca. Ablett promptly kicked two goals to cut Collingwood's lead to one point at the last change. As Collingwood coach at the time Leigh Matthews revealed afterward, Pert requested to mind Ablett no matter where he was playing, which Matthews agreed to. Pert kept Ablett goalless in a tense last quarter and was instrumental in setting up the winning goal for Nathan Buckley. Collingwood won by three points, 15.17 (107) to 16.8 (104).
After retiring, Pert worked as a chief executive officer (CEO) for various high-profile organizations in Melbourne. He was head of Austereo before taking up a position at the Nine Network TV station in December 2006. But that job did not last long. In May 2007, he replaced Greg Swann as CEO of Collingwood.
- Carter, Ron (16 April 1982). "Kink, Barker back: Seven in for first League games". The Age.
- "Sheedy tables his top 20 in 20 years". The Age. 18 July 1985. p. 30.
- Linnell, Garry (5 February 1988). "Fitzroy puts its faith in the Young Lions". The Age.
- Smithers, Patrick (28 April 1988). "Surgery, but Pert may play". The Age.
- Lovett, Michael (ed.). AFL Record Season Guide 2010. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-9806274-5-9.
- Denham, Greg (21 August 1994). "Pert defies pain, and Ablett, to help Pies stay on track". The Age.
- Wilson, Caroline (28 April 2006). "New era ahead as Pies look to life after Eddie". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
- "Pert perks up at Nine". Herald Sun. 8 December 2006.
- Barrett, Damien (11 May 2007). "Pert is Eddie's lifeline". Herald Sun.