DOB: 19 January 1966
From: St. Bernards
Games: 84 (89 total)
Originally born in New South Wales, O'Dwyer only took up Australian Rules at 15-years-old. He had just returned from five years in America due to his father's employment, where he played American Football in school. Despite this background, as well as experience playing rugby in NSW, the lanky redhead quickly took to Aussie Rules.
Initially zoned to Footscray, the rights to O'Dwyer were swapped to Melbourne in exchange for Les Bamblett. He spent two years in Melbourne's Under 19s, winning the Best and Fairest in 1985, and the Reserves, before being promoted to the senior side in early 1987. O'Dwyer made an immediate impact, thrashing St Kilda's veteran ruckman Allan Sidebottom but also being suspended two matches for striking. The suspension cost him the chance to play in that year's Night Grand Final. It was the first of three suspensions in his rookie season.
The first-year ruckman was one of the driving forces behind Melbourne's shock run to the Preliminary Final. The mid-season retirement of Peter Moore left him in an inexperienced ruck combination with Jim Stynes, but the young pair thrived. The next year they were even better, one of the best duos in the league. O'Dwyer lifted that year's Best and Fairest, but befitting his status as one of the most reported players in Melbourne history, he missed the Grand Final after striking Carlton's Steven Da Rui in the Preliminary Final.
O'Dwyer had a rocky start to 1989. A damaged optic nerve injury in Round 3 cost him two games, while a marking incident with Doug Barwick in Round 6 saw him miss another four weeks with a punctured lung. Once he returned to the side, O'Dwyer missed just one more game. His 1990 was equally disappointing, while he played 15 games the rise of Stynes meant he was not the essential player of two seasons earlier. That year he was called up to the New South Wales state side on account of having been born in Lithgow but was forced to withdraw from the side with injury.
He battled knee problems during the year, and again in 1991, restricting him to 26 games over the two seasons. Suspended for striking in the last home and away game of 1991 he missed Melbourne's Elimination Final, and was not recalled for the club's second final. At the end of that year O'Dwyer was traded to Richmond along with pick #49 for pick 3 in that year's draft and Michael Pickering. The trade was the first to be investigated by a new league salary cap investigation officer but was approved.
O'Dwyer's time at Punt Road was shortlived, after just five games he was forced into retirement in early 1993, due to his degenerating knee condition. 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|