DOB: 30 September 1979
From: MHSOB/Melbourne Reserves, Selection 64 1999 National Draft
Number: 32 2000-2010
Games: 224 (234 total)
Goals: 210 (211 total)
As an eleven-year-old Bruce had played in a national schoolboys championship side for Victoria alongside Lance Whitnall, Nick Stevens and Trent Croad. He ended up at Melbourne High on a scholarship, and bypassed the traditional Under 18's route to the AFL. He had been a member of the Prahan Under 15 squad but did not go on to play for them in the Under 18 competition.
He returned to Melbourne High School and also played for their old boys side in the amateurs, after which the Demons drafted him as a 'mature' selection at 20 years old after Danny Corcoran spotted Bruce and Brent Grgic in an amateurs curtain-raiser match and invited the two to train at the club.
Bruce had to spend two years on the supplementary list, including 41 games in the reserves, before finally getting his chance. In 1998 he had finished in the top ten of the reserves best and fairest and played every game but still couldn't earn a spot on the senior list for 1999.
Finally chosen to join the senior list in 2000 Bruce was given his chance to debut in the first game of the year after an impressive Ansett Cup campaign. He goalled with his first kick in AFL football and was part of an exciting young lineup in 2000 which went all the way to the 2000 Grand Final but after being an ever present throughout the year he missed the Grand Final after failing to recover from a torn quad suffered in the 2000 Preliminary Final and was replaced by Ben Beams.
Used almost exclusively as a forward in his early days, Bruce was given an expanded role in the midfield during 2002 and finished runner-up to David Neitz in the Best and Fairest as well as being selected to play International Rules for Australia. He would also represent the side in 2004 after withdrawing from the team in 2003 due to post-season nose surgery.
Despite higher priced offers from several other clubs, Bruce signed a three year contract with the Demons at the end of 2004.
Bruce started 2005 in red-hot fashion and was an early Brownlow Medal favourite before suffering a serious shoulder injury in Round 4 after being driven into the turf by Brent Guerrea, which caused him to missed four matches in the first half of the season. He then missed the last month of the Home and Away season with injury before returning for the losing 2005 Elimination Final. He received eight votes in the first three rounds of that year's Brownlow and none thereafter.
2006 was another fruitful season, with Bruce kicking the winning goal in the Round 4 win against Sydney which kick-started a faltering season. He was one of only two players in the league, along with Chris Judd, to average more than 22 disposals and kick more than 20 goals for the season..
Achieved a career possession high in Round 9, 2007 against the Kangaroos but only managed nine goals for the season, well down on previous years.
Bruce played 14 games in 2008, chiefly in defence in the early part of the season. Following the retirement of David Neitz early in the season he was named co-captain alongside James McDonald for the remainder of the year. He was named vice-captain in 2009.
In an injury interrupted first season he played just nine games for the Hawks and did not feature in their finals campaign. After playing just one match in the first four months of the 2012 season he retired due to a back injury. In 2013 he took up a role as development coach at the Hawks.
"Demon schooling produces a class act" - The Age 08/03/2000
"Melbourne guernseys with a blue collar" - The Age 06/05/2000
"Finishing 14th our spur: Bruce" - afl.com.au 05/11/2003
"Demons re-sign Bruce for three years" - The Age 01/10/2004
"AFL to tackle hidden joint toll" - The Age 19/04/05