Matthew Pavlich : biography
Matthew Pavlich (born 31 December 1981) is a professional Australian rules footballer currently playing with the Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).
A versatile player, Pavlich is widely regarded as one of the premier AFL centre half-forwards of the modern era, achieving All-Australian selection six times in the years between 2002 and 2008, twice representing Australia in the International Rules Series and representing the Dream Team in the 2008 Hall of Fame Tribute Match.
Pavlich has played his AFL entire career at Fremantle where he is a six time best and fairest winner and club captain since 2007.
Born in South Australia, he made his AFL debut in 2000 and wears guernsey number 29.
In December 2010 Pavlich married long-time girlfriend Lauren O'Shannassy. In March 2013, their daughter Harper was born.
Pavlich was born in Adelaide, South Australia and is a fifth generation Australian. His mother is of Scottish and German descent and father Steve is of Scottish, Irish and Croatian descent. Steve played along with Matthew's two uncles at the West Torrens Football Club and also coached at junior and reserve level.
Pavlich played school football at Sacred Heart College in Adelaide and followed the footsteps of his father, playing senior football for the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles before he was drafted into the AFL.
Matthew Pavlich was recruited by Fremantle (the Dockers) with the fourth selection in the 1999 AFL national draft. Pavlich had nominated for the 1998 draft, but was overlooked by several clubs. Most notably the Adelaide Crows instead drafted 17 year old Ken McGregor who went on to play 158 games between 1999 to 2008, and cross town rival Port Adelaide who instead chose 17 year old Adam Morgan who played only 3 games between 2002 to 2003 for Port.
Early career (2000–2001)
With the 2000 AFL season starting early than normal and the WAFL due to the 2000 Summer Olympics later that year in Sydney, Pavlich only played one game for South Fremantle in the Westar Rules before making his AFL debut in round 5 2000 against Melbourne. Pavlich achieved the rare feat of kicking 2 goals with his first 2 kicks in the AFL. He went on to play the remaining 18 games for the season, earning himself a Rising star nomination in Round 17 while contributing consistently and finished ninth in the club's best and fairest award.
The 2001 Season saw Pavlich spend more time in the Forward line. He managed to underline his potential with some eye catching performances including two 4-goal hauls against the Brisbane Lions which earned him 2 brownlow votes, the first of his career. Pavlich went on to play 21 games for the season, finishing with a respectable 28 goals. In an otherwise disappointing season for Fremantle, Pavlich was the shining light as he started to realise his true potential.
Rising career (2002–2004)
2002 was the season that would set up Matthew Pavlich for the rest of his career. In a widely unexpected move, new Fremantle coach Chris Connolly moved Pavlich into a defensive role. Playing against some of the power forwards of the competition, Pavlich underlined his versatility and talent as a footballer, as he displayed a smooth transition into the role. He showed the uncanny ability of shutting down opponents, while gathering plenty of possession and setting up play further up the ground. This saw him earn his first All-Australian selection at fullback at the age of 20.
In the 2003 season he was again called upon to play a different role, Pavlich was this time thrust into a midfield role, while also pushing up to half forward. This allowed him to gather multiple possessions forward of centre and develop into a strong goal-kicking midfielder. Playing all 23 games for the season, including the club's first final, Pavlich finished off averaging 18.7 possessions per game, and executed his damaging midfield role perfectly with 37 goals. He was rewarded with a second selection in the All-Australian team for the 2003 season, this time named on the Half Forward Flank.
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