Today we look back on the wonderful career of Peter Dean. Dean played 248 games and kicked 41 highly celebrated goals in a career that spanned 15 seasons. He was the ultimate team man which made him one of the most respected players ever to pull on the Navy Blue jumper.
In his debut season he managed 13 games and capped off a solid debut season with a 3 goal effort in the beaten First Semi Final v Collingwood.
Surprisingly he began 1985 in the reserves and had to wait till Round 5 for a recall. He would play the rest of the season and finish a repectable 8th in the B&F with his ability to spoil as well as a willingness to springboard out of defence a feature at a time the backline was going through a transitional stage given the retirement of Southby the season before and the ageing veterans Austin and Doull only playing minimal matches in 1985.
In 1986, Dean earned Victorian selection as he continued to forge a reputation in defence. A member of the beaten Grand Final side, Dean would once again finish 8th in the B&F.
In 1987, he found himself dropped late in the season but was recalled for the finals where he was given the task of playing on the Preliminary Final hero Gary Buckenara in the Grand Final. Dean would keep the Hawk star goalless which went a long way in ensuring victory for the Blues. At the medal presentation Dean grabbed the microphone and paid tribute to “Mots, Dessie and bloody Bernie” which summed up the spirit at Carlton at the time.
1988 however proved a frustrating one. Dean would sustain a serious hip injury in Round 3 and miss the remainder of the season which was a big blow to the clubs Premiership hopes. Such was the injury, he wouldn’t return to senior action until Rd 9 in 1989 in a season that was already on the rails with the soon to be departed Robert Walls replaced by Alex Jesaulenko. Dean managed 11 games in 1989.
Fortunately in 1990, he managed some continuity and played 17 games, finishing 5th in the B&F. Reunited with his first coach David Parkin in 1991, Dean really stood up in a difficult season, playing all 22 games and recording a 4th place in the B&F.
In 1992 he continued to be a pillar down back but injuries would once again deprive him of September action in 1993 when he sustained a foot injury two weeks out of the finals, thus ruling him out of the finals series. Given what took place on Grand Final day, his presence was sorely missed. It seemed to drive him to a new level in 1994 as he really was now the General of the backline with his frenetic desperation and willingness to sacrifice his own game for the betterment of the team. Dean would record his only top three finish in the B&F and win Best Clubman.
1995 allowed Dean the opportunity to taste his 2nd Premiership and he was a major factor. Despite suffering a bruising bump the week before in the Preliminary Final, courtesy of Wayne Schwass, Dean was superb in the Grand Final and considered one of the best three afield in the comprehensive win.
In 1996, a broken arm saw him restricted to 8 games including his final two finals appearances.
In 1997 at age 32 he managed 20 games and continued to thrill the Carlton faithful with 1 percenters and odd visit up forward. Playing on again in 1998, his battle weary body saw his impact diminished. He would often start games on the bench and see little game time. He even spent periods in the Reserves. Dean would play 13 games and was fittingly chaired off in his final appearance for the Blues v Port Adelaide in Round 22 to fall just two games shy of 250.
Such is the esteem Dean is held at Carlton, the club have named their father/son academy after him. He will forever remember for those inspirational smothers, the willingness to stand in the hole in front of oncoming forwards and his love for the jumper.