Dean “Big Bird” Irving was a giant ruckman from Kalgoorlie who came to West Coast via South Fremantle.
West Coast careerEdit
Something of a mature-age recruit at the age of 23, Irving made his debut for the Eagles in the opening round of the 1990 season, along with Dean Kemp, Peter Matera and Brad Gwilliam. In all Irving played 16 games in his debut year, including the drawn qualifying final against Collingwood and the replay the following week.
After competing with Phil Scott and the oft-injured Laurie Keene in his rookie season, in 1991 Irving was the side’s number 1 ruck. He played all but one game, kicked 3 goals in a semi-final against the Demons and picked up 10 Brownlow Medal votes.
In 1992, however, Paul Harding arrived home from St Kilda and Irving was confined to the WAFL for the majority of the year, playing just 1 senior game. That was repeated in 1993 and at the end of the season, with the AFL cutting list sizes from 52 to 40 and Irving having played just 2 games in 2 years, he was delisted.
Irving was picked up by Melbourne in the pre-season draft and spent four seasons at the Dees, but was in the reserves more often than not. He played just 23 games in four years before retiring at the end of the 1997 season.
Returning to WA, Irving spent two seasons at Subiaco. After his playing days finished, he had a stint as West Coast’s ruck coach.