David Wirrpanda
Photo: aflphotos.com.au
DOB
3/8/1979
Height
173cm
Weight
83 kg
Junior club
Eastern Ranges/Healesville JFC
Arrived
Compensation pick in the 1995 national draft
Number
Debut
Round 5 1996 vs Carlton
(102nd Eagles player)
Games
227
Goals
131
Honours
Premiership medal (2006)
All-Australian (2005)
Team 20 (2006)
B&F Top 10
8 (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009)
Best Finish
5th (1999)
Last app.
Round 21 2009 vs Adelaide
Departed
Retired at the end of the 2009 season
Other clubs
Eastern Ranges (TAC Cup) 1995
East Perth (WAFL) 1996-1998,
2000-2001, 2010
Claremont (WAFL) 1999
West Perth (WAFL) 2002-2009

The silky-skilled Wirrpanda played primarily as a sweeper across the backline during his 14-year Eagles career, but was also useful as a dangerous small forward.

West Coast career[edit | edit source]

Wirrpanda (whose name was incorrectly spelt “Wirrpunda” until 2005) was taken by West Coast as a compensation selection in 1995, after Fremantle had signed the uncontracted Tony Godden. He made his debut early in 1996, the only 16 year old to have appeared at senior level for the club. Due to injury Wirrpanda managed just 12 games in his first three seasons, and only a handful more for East Perth.

Wirra had something of a breakout season in 1999, cementing himself in the backline and playing every game. He finished fifth in the Club Champion award that year, just two votes behind winner Guy McKenna. After playing just eight games in 2000 due to injury, he bounced back in 2001 to play 21 games.

In 2002, Wirrpanda began to be swung into the forward line to great effect, kicking a bag of 5 against Hawthorn and finishing with 26 goals for the year, behind only Phil Matera and Troy Wilson.

After an indifferent 2004, during which he struggled for form and was even dropped to the WAFL on one occasion, Wirrpanda had a career-best season in 2005. Playing the role of backline sweeper with aplomb, Wirra was named in the backline in the All-Australian team. He played 20 games for the year, including the losing grand final.

Wirra was again a fixture in the backline in 2006, save for the preliminary final which he missed due to a hammy injury. He was passed fit to retake his place for the grand final, meaning someone had to receive bad news and in this case it was young defender Jaymie Graham, who had played 24 out of 25 games to that point. Wirrpanda wrote Graham’s #22 on his hand so that the unlucky player could still be on the field in some form.

In 2007 Wirrpanda, who had begun to slow a little, again spent plenty of time in the forward line where his class and goal sense proved more than handy as he kicked 25 goals for the year. Wirra played his 200th game during 2008, with the struggling Eagles turning in a winning performance against the Crows to honour the popular veteran.

The ageing Wirrpanda was clearly slowing in 2009, but was still a valuable presence in the backline. He played 18 games for the year, missing the final round due to the birth of his son, but nevertheless finished in the top 10 in the Club Champion award for the eighth time in his career.

Post-AFL career[edit | edit source]

After retiring from AFL footy Wirrpanda signed with East Perth, but managed only two WAFL games in 2010.

Away from the field, Wirrpanda has established the David Wirrpanda Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of indigenous youths. He has also entered politics, unsuccessfully contesting the 2013 Federal election as a National Party candidate.

Stats[edit | edit source]

AFL Gm G B K M H D T Cl WAFL Gm G B K M H D
1996 5 4 5 23 8 18 41 9 EP 10 11
1997 6 2 2 30 11 21 51 8 6 7
1998 1 1 0 4 0 1 5 0 0 9 5
1999 24 4 4 278 91 126 404 27 25 Clar 0
2000 8 6 5 129 33 28 157 8 9 EP 0
2001 21 5 7 245 66 57 302 30 24 0
2002 21 26 22 254 70 72 326 49 35 WP 0
2003 19 10 10 251 62 57 308 26 14 0
2004 22 2 3 259 56 104 363 59 22 1 2
2005 20 2 2 297 93 111 408 34 13 0
2006 24 8 7 297 90 115 412 48 10 0
2007 21 25 12 268 109 94 362 43 10 0
2008 17 25 16 212 88 63 275 30 17 0
2009 18 11 3 257 85 94 351 37 8 0
Tot 227 131 98 2804 862 961 3765 408 187
Avg 0.6 12.4 3.8 4.2 16.6 1.8 0.9

References[edit | edit source]

http://afltables.com/afl/stats/players/D/David_Wirrpanda.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Wirrpanda

http://www.wafl.com.au/players/view/319

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.