DOB: 19 January 1966
From: St. Bernards
Games: 84 (89 total)
Originally born in New South Wales, O'Dwyer only took up Australian Rules as a 15 year old, having spent five years living in America as a consequence of his father's employment. Despite having a background in rugby and American Football he quickly took to the game.
Initially zoned to Footscray, the rights to the lanky redhead were swapped to Melbourne in exchange for Les Bamblett. O'Dwyer then spent two years in the Under 19s, where he was best and fairest in 1985, and the Reserves before finally getting his chance in the senior side in 1987. He made an immediate impact, thrashing St Kilda's veteran ruckman Allan Sidebottom and being suspended two matches for striking - causing him to miss the Night Grand Final.
Outed three times for a total of six matches during his rookie season he remained one of the driving forces behind Melbourne's shock run to the finals. When Peter Moore retired midway through the season, O'Dwyer and fellow rookie Jim Stynes were thrown together as the ruck duo and thrived.
In 1988 O'Dwyer and Stynes became one of the most dominant ruck combinations in the competition, but befitting his role as one of the most reported players in Melbourne history, O'Dwyer played his best season for the Demons - winning the best-and-fairest award - but missed the Grand Final after striking Carlton's Steven Da Rui in the Preliminary Final.
His 1989 season started rockily and suffered from opposition sides' determination to match his perceived rough play. An damaged optic nerve injury in the round 3 match against Richmond cost him two games, while a marking incident with Doug Barwick in the round 6 loss to Collingwood saw him miss another four weeks with a punctured lung. He returned to the side and missed just one more game that year, even managing to avoid any striking charges.
During 1990 O'Dwyer was called up to the New South Wales state side on account of having been born in Lithgow but was forced to pull out of the side with an injury.
Knee problems restricted "Strawbs" to 26 games over the next two years. After being suspended for the start of the 1991 finals campaign he was traded to Richmond at the end of the year for the draft pick which ultimately landed Darren Kowal at Melbourne. His trade was the first to be investigated by a league special investigation officer, but was approved. O'Dwyer's time at Punt Road was shortlived, as he was forced into retirement after just five games due to his degenerating knee condition early in the 1993 season.
Following an accusation of medical malpractice, he later sued the Tigers for $30,000, but the case was settled out of court in October 1996.
|Round 4, 1987||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 8, 1987||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 21, 1987||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 22, 1988||Charging||Not Guilty|
|1988 Preliminary Final||Striking||3 matches|
|Round 15, 1989||Abusive Language||Not Guilty|
|Round 2, 1991||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 23, 1991||Charging||1 match|