DOB: 24 July 1979
First signed to the club as a 15-year-old as part of the Junior Development Squad late in 1987, Schwarz graduated through the Under 19's and reserves to debut in 1991 when he played six games. Despite walking out on football at the end of that year, and with the first signs of a gambling problem starting to affect him, Schwarz returned the next year and showed star potential early in his career with 3rd place finishes in the Best and Fairest counts of 1992 and 1994.
Schwarz's first troubles with injury came in 1993 when he played only nine games after suffering groin troubles then a hernia in the middle of the year, but he bounced back in 1994 to kick 60 goals, including a career best nine in the last home and away game of the season against Sydney, and took more marks than Wayne Carey in a season where he stamped himself as a future star of the competition. The AFL Media Guide for 1995 described him as "a genuine AFL star centre half-forward. High-leaping, aggressive and mobile", but a serious knee injury during 1995 pre-season intra-club game wrecked his career.
Schwarz made his first return just 16 weeks after surgery, in Round 9, 1995 but the knee collapsed under him in the very next game. Returning in the 1996 pre-season he broke down again in a reserves practice match before the main game against Collingwood at Lavington and missed the entire 1996 season.
Crediting his mother as the inspiration for not giving the game away after his third reconstruction, Schwarz returned again in Round 11, 1997 and had two kicks for two goals. Returning at a playing weight of 113kg he would gradually reinvent himself again as a bullocking key forward. His knee would hold up for the next five seasons, and by 1999 he had won the Best and Fairest.
In 1998 he had been mentioned as a potential swap for Richmond's Wayne Campbell, but the deal never went through. Not only did he stay with the Demons and win a best and fairest, but he achieved a 100 games milestone that seemed unthinkable a few years before.
Early in the 2000 season it was reported that Schwarz risked permanent damage to his left ring finger by delaying an operation to avoid missing eight weeks of football. For somebody who had missed so many games over the years it was understandable that he didn't see a two month break on the sidelines as an attractive option. That season he was inconsistent early in the year, often going missing in games or kicking inaccurately for goal.
In Round 19, 2000 Schwarz made an allegation that former teammate, and now Saint, Sean Charles had called him a racist. Charles apologised for the allegation after reconciliation talks. The next year Schwarz was forced to apologise to Geelong's Justin Murphy for calling him a 'coconut' during the Round 3 match. His year had already started badly, dumped as vice-captain due to poor form during the pre-season.
It would turn out to be a tumultuous season for "the Ox". In June stunt on the Footy Show which involved Sam Newman pushing a pie into Schwarz's face, ended with the Ox pushing him to the ground. Amidst claims that the incident had been set-up, the two made peace but the club put a media ban on Schwarz for the rest of the year after he criticised teammates in a radio interview.
In the first three games of the year he got just 39 touches for one goal and spent more time on the bench than he had been accustomed to. He also managed to get fined $5000 for getting into a fight outside a South Melbourne nightclub. The situation was so dire that his former captain Garry Lyon was forced to write an open letter to Schwarz through the Herald-Sun.
Schwarz retired after Round 13, a week where he had been suspended for a week for striking Bomber Andrew Welsh after his frustration had boiled over. He had played 84 of the previous 85 games for the club but was finding it increasingly hard to make an impact on games.
Schwarz served as a form analyst for Channel Seven's horse racing coverage, but unbeknownst to most he was also fighting his own gambling addiction at the same time. In 2005 he revealed that gambling had left him almost broke once his career ended. He admitted to being addicted to horse racing, casino and pokies - losing up $20,000 in one day at the racetrack. At one point Schwarz bought a $300,000 house with three weeks worth of winnings but then had to sell it when he couldn't cover the repayments.
It was also revealed that as an eight-year-old child Schwarz witnessed his father, and another woman, murdered in front of him. The gunman then committed suicide - it was later revealed that the killer was the woman's ex-husband.
In 2009 he admitted that he'd lost $4 million on the punt, an autobiography released the next year detailed his battle with gambling addiction. Continued to work as a caller and host at SEN.
|1998 Ansett Cup QF||Striking||1 match|
|Round 21, 1999||Melee||$2000 fine|
|Ansett Cup Semi Final 2000||Kicking||Withdrawn|
|2000 Grand Final||Melee||$3500 fine|
|Round 7, 2001||Striking||Withdrawn|
|Round 13, 2002||Striking||1 match|
"Demons' new hurdle" - Herald Sun 27/11/1999
"Demons prepare Schwarz showdown" Sportal 28/11/01
"Dee Fault - Herald Sun 17/04/2002
"Proud Schwarz ready to fire up" - AFL Record 18/04/2002
"Writing's on the wall, Ox. Read it" - Herald Sun 18/04/2002
"No surprise at Schwarz's timing" - demons.com.au 04/07/2002
AFANA News 2001
"Schwarz comes clean about punting past" - The Age 17/07/2005
"David Schwarz's biggest battle" - The Age 25/05/2007