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Paul Couch dies: 1989 Brownlow Medal winner had a heart attack

5 March 2016 2:22 AM
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Former Geelong champion Paul Couch, the 1989 Brownlow Medallist, has died from a heart attack.

Couch was riding his bike with friends along the Great Ocean Rd, near Apollo Bay, when he fell from his bike. It's understood he went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived.

Couch, 51, played 259 matches and booted 203 goals for the Cats from 1985 to 1997, claiming the sport's highest individual honour in a year his team played in an epic losing grand final against Hawthorn.

He formed part of one of the game's best midfields at the time, joining good friend Mark Bairstow, Garry Hocking and Neville Bruns in a free wheeling team under coach Malcolm Blight.

Recruited from Warrnambool, Couch was twice an All Australian - in 1991 and 1995 - and won three club best-and-fairest awards, in 1986, 1989 and 1995.

He was also named on the bench in the Cats' Team of the Century and represented Victoria five times.

While he never boasted great speed, Couch had a deadly left foot and would regularly find superstar forward Gary Ablett on the lead.

Loved for his boyish smile, Couch had to battle knee problems through a distinguished career and played in four losing grand finals, including against the West Coast Eagles in 1992 and 1994 and against Carlton in 1995.

The AFL Players Association too to Twitter to say: "Very sad to hear about the passing of @GeelongCats Paul Couch. Thoughts with his family & friends from all @AFLPlayers".

Former Hawthorn great Robert DiPierdomenico added: "Can't believe what I have just heard fellow Brownlow Medalist Paul@Couch has passed away at 51 RIP".

Couch's son Tom played three senior matches for Melbourne but was delisted in 2013.


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