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McGrath controls emotions

Ash McGrath admits he struggled to contain his emotions in his final game

1:21pm  Aug 25, 2014

Time was right: McGrath

Ash McGrath said retiring from football was an 'easy decision' in the end

1:31pm  Aug 21, 2014

Many McGrath moments

Ash McGrath has produced plenty of memorable moments for Lions fans

11:11am  Aug 21, 2014

Latest Player Video

Ash McGrath Final Match Feature

2:11pm  Aug 29, 2014

McGrath's last hurrah

4:25pm  Aug 25, 2014

Ash McGrath Post Match Interview

4:55pm  Aug 24, 2014

Past Players List



182 cm
92 kg

Player Bio

At a Glance

Junior Clubs: Armadale
Clubs: Brisbane Lions
Debut: Rd 20 2001
Recruited from: South Fremantle (WA)
Brownlow Votes: 10


2003 premiership player Ash McGrath made a name for himself with the Lions as a creative small forward before adding extra strings to his bow in recent seasons. He has added great drive to the Lions backline when moved into defence and has also proven adept at playing on the wing.


• The South Fremantle product was originally expected to be a top-five pick in 2000, but a badly broken arm prevented him playing at the U18 National Championships.

• McGrath remained clearly on the Lions’ radar and was drafted with the Club’s first selection (Pick No.13 overall) in the 2000 National Draft.

• Ashley McGrath followed the footsteps of older brothers Toby and Corey into the AFL.

Season by Season

Season by Season

• McGrath had a good preparation ahead of his 14th AFL season, that was until he suffered a calf injury on the eve of the Lions' pre-season campaign. 

• The injury proved more troublesome than first expected, and ended up keeping McGrath sidelined for the better part of four months.  

• He returned via the NEAFL after the team's mid-season by, and was eventually recalled to the senior side in Round 15 to take on North Melbourne. He went on to play the next five games - three of which he started as the substitute - and struggled to have a major impact, before being sent back to the Reserves.  

• On 21 August 2014, McGrath announced his retirement from AFL football. It was the end of an era, as he was the last remaining member of the Lions' historic premiership sides of the early 2000s. 

• After announcing his retirement, McGrath was afforded one final farewell match in Round 22 against Fremantle in front of his home Gabba crowd. Unlike his memorable 200th milestone match, there was no fairytale this time around, with the Dockers running out comfortable winners. McGrath did, however, bring the crowd to it's feet by booting a goal in the final term.  

• His wonderful 14-year AFL career had finally come to an end after 214 senior games and 170 goals.

• McGrath spent much of his time during the pre-season being groomed for a defensive role, but.ultimately ended up spending most of his 2013 season up forward. 

• He was part of the Lions' NAB Cup premiership-winning side, and even booted a goal in the team's pre-season Grand Final win over Carlton.

• He went on to play a total of 20 senior matches - missing two matches (in Round 19 and Round 20) after being omitted from the side following some quiet games.

• McGrath finished the season with 19 goals - the fifth most at the Club - but they came from just seven matches.

• He celebrated his 200th game in style against Geelong in Round 13 at the Gabba, when the Lions came back from 52 points behind late in the third term, to defeat the Cats with the final kick of the game. It was the greatest comeback in Club history. Better yet, it was McGrath himself who completed a fairytale finish by calmly slotting a set shot from outside 50m to win the game after the siren. It was his third goal for the game. It will forever remain one of the most memorable moments witnessed at the Gabba.  

• He also booted an equal career-high six goals against Geelong in their return meeting in Round 23 at Simonds Stadium and almost helped lead the Lions to another huge upset. In another heart-stopper, the Lions fell short by the lowest possible margin - one point. 

• During the off-season, McGrath was honoured with selection in the Indigenous Australian side which travelled overseas to face Ireland in the International Rules Series. McGrath assumed the role of goal-keeper, and was regularly in the action, as Ireland claimed the series comfortably.

• McGrath was again among the key contributors for the Lions in the first half of 2012, providing great dash from defence.

• He collected a season-high 28 disposals and nine marks in another sensational display against Gold Coast in QClash3.

• He averaged more than 17 disposals per game across the first nine rounds, before a minor knee injury suffered in Round 10 against the West Coast Eagles kept him sidelined for the following week. 

• He returned, with his knee heavily strapped, in Round 13 as a small marking forward, and had an immediate impact after booting five goals against the Bulldogs. He backed that up with three goals against Melbourne the following week, before a serious hamstring tear ended his season prematurely.

• Only days after hurting his hamstring, McGrath and his partner welcomed their second child – a son named Chase! 

• McGrath also re-signed with the Club for an additional two years – effectively making him a Lion for life. 

• Even though he only played 11 senior games in 2012, McGrath’s first half of the season was enough to secure an =15th placing in the Club Champion award. 

• McGrath - who turned 28 midway through the 2011 season - continued to prove a reliable swingman for the Lions.

• He began the season in his semi-regular role down back before being shifted up forward at half-time of the Lions' Round 7 match against the Gold Coast SUNS. McGrath made an immediate impact with six second-half goals - equalling his personal best feat from back in 2003. Unfortunately it didn't prove enough for the Lions to avoid defeat against their cross-town rivals in QClash 1

• He kicked two early goals against Essendon the following week before a strined hamstring saw him severely hampered for the remainder of the game. The injury also forced him out of the following week's win against North Melbourne. 

• He returned in Round 10 and kicked four goals against Adelaide and went on to become a dangerous weapon up forward for the remainder of the season.

• He kicked bags of multiple goals in five further matches to finish the season with a total of 26 goals - one short of the Club's 2011 leading goal-kicker Mitch Clark.

• He averaged 13.3 disposals across his 21 senior matches and finished 7th in the Merrett-Murray Medal - his third consecutive top seven finish.

• McGrath further established himself as a key defender for the Lions with a solid performance in 2010.

• Among his best performances in 2010 were against Fremantle in round 7 and against Adelaide in round 9, where he kicked two goals.

• He received a scare in round 8 against Geelong, where he hyperextended his elbow during the third quarter and didn’t return to the field, but scans revealed that there was no fracture.

• McGrath suffered from a hamstring injury in the round 11 clash against North Melbourne, and was sidelined for two games after initial fears that he would be out for 4-6 weeks.

• He put on a stellar performance in round 19, shutting down Eagles star Mark LeCras and restricting him to just two goals. His good form continued throughout the remainder of the season, being amongst the Lions big contributors against Adelaide, Essendon and Sydney in rounds 20, 21 and 22 respectively.

• He finished the season with an average of 16 disposals per game, and a total of 52 tackles.

• McGrath led the Lions for rebound 50s in 2010 and finished sixth in the Club’s Best and Fairest awards.


• McGrath was honoured during the pre-season with selection in the Indigenous All-Stars team which defeated the Adelaide Crows by 54 points at TIO Stadium in Darwin. It was his first time representing the All-Stars. 

• His ninth season at the Lions was undoubtedly the finest of his AFL career to date. He played in all 24 matches - including two Finals - and averaged a career-best 16.8 disposals playing predominantly as a running defender.  

• He was a consistent contributor throughout the entire season, although his performances went up another notch in the second half of the year.

• After Vice-Captain Jed Adcock suffered a knee injury early in the Lions' Round 15 match against Geelong, McGrath was called upon to fill his important role across half-back. McGrath relished the responsibility and collected a career-high 30 touches against the eventual premiers in what ended up being one of the Club's best wins in recent history.  

• He provided the team with great drive from defence and became a regular ball-winner, collecting 20 or more possessions in seven of the Lions' final 10 matches of teh home-and-away season.

• The West Australian was also one of the Club's best contributors in their two Finals matches and was only just edged out by Luke Power for the Lions' Best Finals Player award.

• McGrath finished strongly in the Club Champion Award at season's end to finish a career-best 7th - the first top ten placing of his career.


• Unfortunately McGrath’s recent injury interruptions continued when he underwent minor knee surgery on the eve of the 2008 NAB Cup competition which kept him out of action for the better part of two months.

• He made his return through the Lions Reserves and immediately began knocking on the door of senior selection.

• His opportunity arose the following week when he was recalled against Hawthorn in Round 5 at the Gabba. Although McGrath kicked two goals in the loss to the Hawks, he was omitted from the side one week later to regain some fitness and conditioning.

• He worked hard on the track and was promptly added to the senior team for the trip to Geelong in Round 7 – his 100th match.

• The South Fremantle recruit spent the bulk of his season playing in defence and occasionally in the middle which proved a masterstroke from the Lions coaching panel.

• McGrath’s pace, carry and creativity proved an asset at the other end of the ground and while he only kicked three goals, his impact was noticeable.


• McGrath began the season in great form, with 20 goals from the first nine games including a match-winning bag of five majors against Fremantle at the Gabba in Round 6.

• He missed Rounds 10 and 11 with a knee injury suffered against Collingwood in Round 9 and found it difficult to regain his early season rhythm upon returning.

• He played a further six matches but managed just one goal before breaking his wrist in a collision with team-mate Rhan Hooper during the team’s Round 18 win over North Melbourne at the Gabba. The injury prematurely ended his season and left him stranded on 98 AFL matches.

• McGrath finished the season with 22 goals which placed him third on the Club’s goal-kicking list for the year.


• After a slow start to the year, McGrath was sent back to the Lions Reserves after featuring in the first three senior matches.

• He returned one week later and resume his role as a crumbing forward. He kicked 10 goals in four matches between Rounds 7-10, proving the perfect foil for key targets Jonathan Brown and Daniel Bradshaw.

• He suffered a serious hamstring injury against the Western Bulldogs in Round 12 at the Gabba which kept him sidelined for the remainder of the season.

• He finished the season with 14 goals from 11 matches.


• After kicking only three goals in the first five rounds of the season, McGrath well and truly repaid the faith shown in his finishing instincts by the Lions coaching staff.

• He inherited the defensive goal sneak role formerly occupied by Craig McRae and finished the season with more goals than any other player in the competition from general play. His hard chasing, tough tackling and clever crumbing saw him become a real attacking threat.

• He twice kicked five goals in a game - against Richmond in Round 9 and Hawthorn in Round 19. On another eight occasions he kicked two or more goals.

• He finished with a career-high 35 goals from 21 games and placed equal 11th (with Simon Black) in the Club Champion award – another career-best.

• McGrath finished only seven goals behind Daniel Bradshaw in the race to become the Club’s leading goal-kicker for the season.


• McGrath played in 18 of the first 20 matches of the season – missing his only two games with a thumb injury – before spending four or his next five outings as an emergency.

• He finished with 19 games and 13 goals for the season, but missed out on selection in the 2004 Grand Final – which the Club ultimately lost to Port Adelaide.


• After two full seasons, McGrath grew to become a more permanent fixture in the senior side with 22 matches.

• While he had long shown immense promise as a crumbing forward, it wasn’t until he booted a career-high six goals against the Western Bulldogs at Docklands in Round 22 that the rest of the football community took notice.

• His performance against the Bulldogs also earned him an AFL Rising Star nomination.

• But by the time September had rolled around, the cub had become a fully-fledged Lion and McGrath lined up at half-forward in the Lions side that beat Collingwood by 50 points to claim a third straight flag.

• He was rewarded at the end of the season by being named the Club’s Rookie of the Year.


• McGrath played a further nine senior matches but continued playing a majority of the season with the Lions Reserves side.

• He was once again forced to watch from the sidelines as the Lions won back-to-back AFL titles with a thrilling nine-point win over Collingwood.


• As the youngest player on the Lions’ list – he didn’t turn 18 until midway through the season – McGrath, not surprisingly, spent the majority of his first season playing with the Lions Reserves side in the AFLQ competition.

• He made one senior appearance in his debut season – in Round 20 against Fremantle in front of his family at Western Australia’s Subiaco Oval.

• He could hardly have found a better time to join the Lions as they proceeded to win the 2001 AFL premiership.

• While McGrath did not feature in the historic premiership win over Essendon, he did play in the Lions Reserves’ breakthrough premiership win over local club Southport.



By the numbers

  • 2019 Season Average
    Games Played
    • Kicks
    • Handballs
    • Disposals
    • Marks
    • Hit-Outs
    • Tackles
    • Goals
    • AFL Fantasy

2019 Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 0 - -
Handballs 0 - -
Disposals 0 - -
Marks 0 - -
Hit-outs 0 - -
Tackles 0 - -
Goals 0 - -
AFL Fantasy 0 - -

2019 Season Breakdown

Rd Opponent Result K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
TOTAL W: 0 - L: 0

By the numbers

  • Career Average
    Games Played 214
    • Kicks 7.5
    • Handballs 3.8
    • Disposals 11.3
    • Marks 3.2
    • Hit-Outs 0.0
    • Tackles 2.3
    • Goals 0.8
    • AFL Fantasy 52.2

Career Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 21 Adelaide Crows Rd 9, 2010
Handballs 12 GWS Giants Rd 8, 2012
Disposals 31 Adelaide Crows Rd 9, 2010
Marks 14 Geelong Cats Rd 15, 2009
Hit-outs 0 - -
Tackles 7 Adelaide Crows Rd 20, 2011
Goals 6 Geelong Cats Rd 23, 2013
AFL Fantasy 140 Adelaide Crows Rd 9, 2010

Career Breakdown

Season Club K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF


Frees For
Frees Against
AFL Fantasy points


Milestone Matches

Brisbane Lions v Hawthorn 
Round 20, 2004 @ The MCG

Brisbane Lions v Geelong 
Round 7, 2008 @ Kardinia Park

Brisbane Lions v Hawthorn 
Round 16, 2010 @ Aurora Stadium (TAS)

Brisbane Lions v Geelong 
Round 13, 2013 @ The Gabba


AFL Awards

AFL Rising Star Nomination

Club Awards

Lions Reserves Premiership Player

Lions Premiership Player

Lions Best Rookie

2nd Lions Leading Goal-Kicker
2005, 2011

3rd Lions Leading Goal-Kicker

Lions Pre-Season Premiership Player

Other Awards

Indigenous All-Stars Representative

International Rules Series

Jim Stynes Medalist