Born in Traralgon in eastern Victoria, he spent his early childhood in nearby Orbost but was a Queenslander from age 10, learning his football at Morningside. He won the Division 2 B&F Medal and All-Australian selection at the 1992 Teal Cup carnival after kicking 14 goals in one game – still a carnival record.
He graduated to senior ranks aged 17 years 11 days in 1992 to begin an extraordinary AFL career that spanned 289 games with the Brisbane Bears/Lions until 2006. He became the first Queenslander to win the Brownlow Medal in 1996 and had six top 10 finishes in the medal in 1995-96-2000-01-02-03.
Was an inspirational captain of the Lions’ 2001-02-03 premiership sides, plus the losing 2004 grand final side. Among other highlights were five Bears/Lions B&F awards in 1995-96- 2000-01-03, five All-Australian selections in 1996-99-2001-02-03 (vice-captain 2000, captain 2002-03) and 10 years as club captain from 1997-2006. He won the 2002-03 AFLPA ‘Most Valuable Player Award after being runner-up in 2001, and was voted AFLPA ‘Best Captain’ in 2001-02-03-04 and ‘Most Courageous Player’ in 2001.
He retired at the end of 2006 after representing Australia in the International Rules series in Ireland and served two years as a part-time coach of the AIS/AFL Academy while working in the media. A 1996-2001-02-03 finalist in the Queensland Sports Star of the Year award and AFL Personality of the Year 2006, he was appointed Lions senior for 2009.