One of Queensland football’s favourite adopted sons, having captained the Brisbane Bears and coached the Brisbane Lions after twice tasting AFL premiership success at Essendon. A fearless and inspirational key forward and leader, he played a total of 313 AFL games and kicked 433 goals with Essendon (1978-87) and the Bears (1988-1996). Arguably the greatest recruit in the Bears’ 10-year history, he was recognised as the club’s first Life Member after his retirement in ’96, when he was the AFL’s oldest player at 36.
Recruited by Essendon from Kaniva in western Victoria, he was a late football developer, winning the 1982 AFL Gardiner (Reserves) Medal and two Essendon Reserves B&Fs before securing a regular senior spot. But by ‘87 he was regarded as one of the game’s best, having played in the 1983-84-85 grand finals and shared premiership success in 1984-85. He represented Victoria four times from 1984-86, captaining the “Big V” in ’86, and won All-Australian selection in 1984-85.
He moved to Queensland in 1988 and set about writing a similarly impressive CV with the Bears. He played most games (164) and kicked most goals (285), finished B&F top 10 six times, led the goal-kicking three times, was captain for a record seven years, and took the side to the finals in 1995-96. He also was captain of the 1991 Queensland team that scored an historic win over Victoria at the Gabba, played a total of 16 finals, and was 10
He was appointed Bears assistant-coach while still playing under Robert Walls in mid-1995, and carried that role through the final season of his illustrious playing career under John Northey in 1996. In 1997 he became a non-playing assistant-coach of the Brisbane Lions following the Brisbane/Fitzroy merger, and prior to the start of the 1998 season he was appointed coach of the Lion Cubs, the new development side in the then QSFL competition. In Round 12, 1998, after Northey’s dismissal as senior coach,
Merrett served as Lions caretaker coach for the remaining 11 games of the 1998 season before making way for Leigh Matthews in ’99. He was further honoured along with Fitzroy games-record-holder Kevin Murray post-merger when the symbol of the Brisbane Lions club championship was named the Merrett/Murray Medal. In ‘retirement’ he has been a popular AFL columnist with the Gold Coast Bulletin and a commentator on ABC radio while lending his expertise to Southport as an assistant-coach.
th in the Brownlow Medal in 1984 and eighth in 1989. Was rewarded for his massive contribution to the game in Queensland when the Bears declared 1994 his Testimonial Year.