Odd Friday Lunch (Feb 1): Denis Pagan




North Fitzroy Arms Hotel

Friday 1st February

296 Rae St, Fitzroy North
$40  – drinks at pub prices

Please email [email protected] with attendee names
Or phone the pub 94864501



Entree – Char Grilled South Australian Octopus Salad, potatoes, peppers, sweet onion, basil, radish and pear
tomatoes, with chipotle dressing and saffron aioli.

Mains – Herb and Lemon Crumbed Veal Cottoletta with kumatoes, basil buffalo ricotta and roasted sweet yellow
peppers, balsamic and lemon olive oil OR
Crispy Skinned Duck Breast with potato and fennel puree waldorf.

Dessert – Cheese Platter.

Denis Pagan (24 Sep 1947) is a former VFL/AFL player and legendary coach
with a phenomenal coaching record. He played 120 games for North Melbourne as
a hardnosed defender and then played 23 games for South Melb., ending in 1976.
Denis started coaching North’s under 19’s and coached them to 9 consecutive GFs
and 5 premierships between ‘83 & ‘91. He then moved to coach Essendon reserves
to a premiership in 1992. Denis returned to Norths in ‘93 as senior coach and
coached for 10 years – missing the finals only once and winning premierships in 96
& 99. He was named AFL Coach of the Year in his first year, and was named
North’s Coach of the Century ahead of Ron Barassi.
He left Norths on a high, to become Carlton’s senior coach for 5 years. He joined
Carlton just after their salary cap breaches, and along with fractures and disunity in
the Board and Administration, it was difficult for the team to perform.
He presented the Jock McHale Medal for premiership coach to Adam Simpson last
year, an emotional presentation as Denis was Adam’s long term coach at North M.
Denis now runs a successful real estate business with his son – Pagan Real Estate
in Essendon / Moonee Ponds.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. Pagan is undervalued as a coach of coaches. Sheedy and Clarkson get the limelight. Would love to hear his fews on “team bonding” and the social camaraderie between players as a source of strength and resilience. Too many teams/players are guns for hire these days – and it shows as soon as they hit a speed bump.
    I keep coming back to Adam Simpson’s persistence with Lewis Jetta – who won the Best Team Man at WCE in a premiership year. I get his run and rebound and “adventurous” kicking off half back. But his lack of tackling and physical pressure drove me crazy all year.
    Simpson saw something that I didn’t and persisted through all the form fluctuations. Leadership (just with the younger indigenous players or more broadly)? Premiership experience? Laid back attitude?
    What are the intangibles that a coach sees (and us outsiders don’t) that provide the glue to make good players into a champion team?

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