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Farewell Twinkle Toes

Heath O'Loughlin  October 18, 2016 9:42 AM

The North Melbourne Football Club is mourning one of its greats, with news Team of the Century member, Laurie Dwyer passed away on Monday morning.

Dwyer played 201 games in the royal blue and white stripes between 1956 and 1970 and was a much loved member of the club.

North CEO Carl Dilena said Dwyer will be fondly remembered.

“Laurie was small in stature but had such a big presence,” Dilena said.

“His love for the club was enormous and his personality was infectious. He will be missed immensely by his North Melbourne family.

“Laurie poured his heart and soul into football and particularly North Melbourne. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Dwyer grew up in North Melbourne and followed his father Leo’s footsteps by playing his first game for the club at 17. He was captain of the Under 19s and then played seniors in Round 7, 1956. He played 12 games that season and featured in an exhibition match for the Olympic Games.

Remarkably, he finished runner up in the Syd Barker medal, such was his skill and talent. A year later, he went on to win his first club best and fairest award.

Although Laurie’s 13 seasons of football were marred by frustration and disappointment, he also showed a tremendous amount of character, determination and will to win. He missed the 1959 season through illness, but came back to run third in the 1960 Brownlow medal count and finished second in 1961.

He once again showed great courage in jumper No.27 when in 1965 he missed the first North premiership in the night series due to injury. He returned to play in the 1966 night premiership side and in 1967, he won his second Syd Barker medal and came runner up in the Brownlow.

Affectionately known as ‘Twinkle Toes’, due to his skills as a ballroom dancer, Dwyer toured with the first Harry Beitzel team to play gaelic football, and was also courted by the St George NRL side.

In 1970 he was struck down with glandular fever and did not play until round 15. He played the next six games and managed to surpass the 200-game milestone.

Laurie’s contribution to North continued over the next thirty years as a runner, administrator and recruiting manager.
The Dwyer name continued with his two sons Anthony and David also playing for North.

After spending time helping to establish the Swans in Sydney in the mid 1990s, Dwyer was eventually enticed back to Arden Street by Ron Joseph to help mentor North's young recruiting team.

Selfless and humble, Dwyer acted as a vital support in this area from 2007 to 2012 as the club worked to rebuild its list and charge back up the ladder.

The 77-year-old was inducted into the North Melbourne Hall of Fame in 2009 and elevated to Legend in 2012. He was an AFL life member.