Eagles and Saints fans will have fond memories of the man they called the G-Train. Gehrig was an extremely talented goalkicker and huge threat up forward. The 260-game, 549-goal veteran showed plenty of brute force and plenty of skill over his tenure as one of the league’s leading men.
Gehrig is well renowned as one of the competitions strongest ever players. He set the bench-press records at both St Kilda and West Coast, and is still at the top today. He began his career as a versatile wingman at West Coast, before transitioning into a more prominent goal kicking role at St Kilda, which he became most known for.
West Coast Career
Gehrig began his AFL career in 1995 with West Coast after being brought up in Victoria. Gehrig would play there until 2000 when he was traded to the Saints. In his time at West Coast, Gehrig was the club’s leading goalkicker in 1998 and included in the All-Australian team in 1997. He was also nominated for the Rising Star award at the beginning of his career in 1995.
St Kilda and becoming an Icon
In his first few years at St Kilda, Gehrig demonstrated his versatility, playing at full-back for most of his first two seasons, before switching to a more classic full-forward role. During this time he would win back to back Coleman Medals, as the AFL’s leading goalkicker in 2004 and 2005, and also be selected in the All-Australian team for a second time in 2004. Gehrig became the G-Train at the Saints, his unstoppable leads and incredibly quick runs made him a real force of the competition. He kicked two ten goal bags over his career, and made fans wherever he went.
After the 2007 season Gehrig elected to retire. He had played 255 games and kicked 540 goals. However, a few months later Gehrig had changed his mind, and so had to be re-drafted due to already being wiped from the Saints list. Although Gehrig’s comeback was memorable, it was not successful, he played just five matches and kicked nine goals before being struck down with severe arthritis. He would then be placed on the long term injury list and would not play another match.
Gehrig was involved in a number of off field controversies, which only increased his level of fame. Gehrig had been involved in numerous off field fights, including one with former Brisbane captain, Michael Voss. Gehrig was also controversial on the field, racking up numerous striking charges. His most famous incident however, was during the 2006 ‘Sirengate’ match, when Gehrig gave away numerous 50 metre penalties, which saw Michael Johnson walk the length of the field to kick a crucial goal. St Kilda would go on to lose by one point.
Gehrig was a great achiever in football, along with all his aforementioned awards he was also a best and fairest runner up at the Saints, and their leading goalkicker five years running from 2003 to 2007. In all but two seasons, he averaged over a goal a match, those two years being 1996 and 2001 when he played on the wing and at full back respectively. His remarkable straight-line speed and unstoppable leads will mean he always remains a much-loved icon. His style of play is well looked up to and a perfect model for a classic full-forward. A versatile and deadly weapon, Gehrig will always be known as one of the great players, and characters.
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