VALE PAUL COUCH
GEELONG champion Paul Couch has passed away aged just 51 after suffering an apparent heart attack whilst riding a bike in Marengo near Apollo Bay earlier today. Couch will always be remembered for his trademark cheeky grin and raking left foot, with which he booted over 200 goals in 259 AFL/VFL games before retiring in 1997. Our sympathies go to Paul's family including wife Geraldine and children Jessie, Tom, Joe and Molly.
Couch put Boggy Creek on the map, and after being passed up by Fitzroy was taken on by the Cats, debuting in 1985 under coach Tom Hafey. He won the first of three club best and fairest the next season, and again in 1989 when he also memorably won the Brownlow Medal and the club made the grand final, losing to Hawthorn by just six points. He won his third Carji Greeves medal in 1995, the club again playing in that year's grand final.
As a kid he was fantastic to watch, the Brownlow win in 1989 really got us believing that the Cats could do something special, until that point in my life they'd been easybeats. We got so near yet so far over the following years but it was exciting footy to watch. The number 7 with the raking left foot teamed with Mark Bairstow, Garry Hocking gunned it in the middle, Couch being a genuine centreman, a position we don't really see any more at AFL and probably not at any level of Aussie rules football. Back to the Brownlow, he was the first Geelong player to win it in years and certainly in my lifetime, that night he and Buddha were both in the contest with Buddha memorably at home watching on TV. As a Brownlow medallist he'd be invited to every count since and we used to see him on TV arriving, often with his wife or a daughter.
His son Tom (pictured) played three games for Melbourne in 2012. Nephew Matt Maguire was also from the Colac region and played with St Kilda and Brisbane. After retiring Couch had a number of vocations, at one stage selling cars and having a crack at the State seat of Polwarth in the 1999 election for the National party. Couch polled as respectable 17% of first preference votes but with Liberal candidate Terry Mulder also standing was never a realistic chance to win. More recently he was in the mobility aids business.
Geelong CEO Brian Cook: "Paul Couch was an icon of the Geelong Football Club and a friend to all who knew him. With a Brownlow Medal, three best and fairests and selection in the club's team of the century, Paul's record speaks for itself.
"Paul was a critical player in returning the club to being a regular finals team and was a great big game performer. However it was as a fun loving person, husband and father that Paul excelled.
"We pass on our deepest condolences to Paul's family and friends at this very sad time. Paul remained close to many at the club and to his teammates from the 1980s and 1990s. He will be deeply missed by all that knew him."
GEELONG FOOTBALL CLUB MEDIA RELEASE