Gavin Wanganeen will officially be elevated to Legend status in Essendon's Hall of Fame this month. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Stylish. Fearless. A playmaker who could make the football talk.

This unique blend of traits underpinned the trailblazing career of Gavin Wanganeen, who will this month be officially elevated to Legend status in Essendon's prestigious Hall of Fame.


Playing 127 of his 300 AFL games in a brief but brilliant period at the Bombers, Wanganeen was drafted to Essendon with pick No.12 in the 1989 national draft, making his AFL debut in the Bombers’ win over Richmond in round two, 1991.

A rake-thin teenager, he'd built a reputation as a premiership forward with Port Adelaide in the SANFL, playing a variety of positions in his initial games for the Bombers.

But in a moment of genius at the MCG against Sydney in round 11, 1992, Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy switched Wanganeen to defence in a move that would prove to be the turning point of the then-19-year-old's career.

Intent on doing more than simply locking down opposition forwards, Wanganeen revolutionised the role of a back-pocket player, bringing attacking flair, a crazy-brave approach and daring rebound game that saw him accumulate stats akin to an on-baller.

His game quickly rose to astonishing heights, seeing him earn his first of five All-Australian selections in 1992.

Just 12 months later, at the tender age of 20, Wanganeen achieved the ultimate in team and individual success - a premiership medal with the 1993 Baby Bombers and the coveted Brownlow Medal.


Wanganeen's Bronwnlow triumph saw him become the first First Nations player to win the League's highest individual honour, the first Bomber to win the medal in a premiership season, and its youngest winner since Fitzroy's Denis Ryan in 1936.

Gavin Wanganeen with the 1993 Brownlow Medal. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Leaving behind an incredible legacy after six seasons at Essendon, Wanganeen made the difficult decision to return to Port Adelaide ahead of its inaugural AFL season in 1997, adding another 173 matches to become the first First Nations player to reach 300 VFL/AFL games.

Despite his switch to the Power, Wanganeen sits firmly among the greatest to have donned the sash, with red and black forever running in the champion's blood.

Wanganeen's mighty career and elevation to Essendon Hall of Fame Legend will be celebrated at the club's 2022 Hall of Fame event on Thursday, February 24, with Neale Daniher, Dustin Fletcher and the late Dr Bruce Reid also being elevated to Legend status.

Want to be there for one of the Bombers' most special nights?

Click here for full details and to purchase your ticket for the prestigious Essendon Hall of Fame event, which will be proudly presented by Liberty Free-Thinking Loans.