2007 - 2008
Playing Career : Collingwood 1987-2000 (246 games, 64 goals)
Height : 188 cm ( 6 ft. 2 in.)
Weight : 88 kg (13 stone, 12 lbs.)
DOB : September 15, 1968
Former Collingwood Premiership player Gavin Crosisca was an assistant coach at Carlton under Denis Pagan and Brett Ratten throughout seasons 2007-08. Born in Queensland, he had started his senior football career for Brisbane club Western Districts as a 16 year-old, and had played interstate football before he was recruited by the Magpies.
A free-running and creative defender, Crosisca made his AFL debut in 1987. He was a star for Collingwood in their 1990 Grand Final victory over Essendon, and when he retired in 2000, he was one of only three Queenslanders to have played more than 200 VFL/AFL games. On the way, he had finished among the top three in Collingwood’s Best and Fairest award on three occasions.
In 2001, Crosisca took the next step in his career when he was appointed as an assistant to senior coach Denis Pagan at North Melbourne. Two years later he crossed to Hawthorn in a similar role, and in 2003 took over as head coach of the North Ballarat Roosters in the VFL. While there, he was impressed by a promising youngster in Michael Jamison, and as a result “Jamo” was later rookie-drafted by the Blues.
Meanwhile, Denis Pagan had crossed from North Melbourne to Carlton, and in 2007 the pair were reunited when Crosisca returned to the AFL as Pagan’s assistant. Sadly for both men, their reunion was to be brief – because after five fruitless years, Pagan was sacked late in the season, and replaced by his deputy Brett Ratten. Crosisca stayed on to complete his contract the following year, as the Blues improved from last to eleventh in Ratten’s first full season.
In 2010, Crosisca accepted the position of senior coach of the Heidelberg Tigers in the Northern Football League, but stunned the club when he abruptly resigned in May, 2011. He later revealed – during an emotional and compelling television interview – that he had battled an addiction to alcohol, cannabis and amphetamines throughout his playing and coaching career. As a consequence, his business ventures had been wrecked and his marriage almost ended.
After an intensive period of recovery and rehabilitation, Crosisca emerged to announce that he was devoting his future working life to helping others with similar problems. In 2012 he began studying the physiology of drugs and alcohol, and became heavily involved in the self-help programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.