DOB: 2 December 1958
Debut: Round 20, 1977 against St. Kilda at MCG,
Last MFC Game: Round 1, 1982 against Sydney at SCG
From: North Shore (NSW)
Number: 14 (1977-1982)
Games: 56 (167 total)
Goals: 41 (150 total)
Signed as a 16-year-old during 1976, Byrne was lightly used during his six years with the Demons. He was cleared by North Shore in early 1977 or the cost of jumpers and footballers for Sydney juniors, and debuted late in that year. His only full season was in 1980 when he kicked 21 goals and played for a Victorian side in an exhibition match against the Rest of Australia. He appeared in 10 games the next year but fell out of favour early in 1982.
He began to clash with Ron Barassi in April that year, with Byrne saying he felt he was "not wanted around the club". Despite being employed as a promotions officer with the club he had stormed out after being dropped for the round 2 match against St. Kilda. The next Monday he met with Barassi for two hours to try and thrash out his issues. On the Tuesday night he arrived at training expecting further talks with the coach but was called upstairs by Richard Seddon who introduced him to Hawthorn president Ron Cook and sealed a deal. By the end of the evening he was a Hawthorn player for just $100. He had originally been pursued by the Hawks before joining Melbourne, and they had another go at him in early 1981 and were preparing to offer a substantial deal.
Byrne made his debut against Fitzroy that Saturday and booted eight goals. On the same day at Kardinia Park, the Melbourne side he had left behind managed just five between them.
The 200cm goalkicking ruckman won a premiership and finished 5th in the Brownlow Medal in 1983 but found opportunities limited later in his career with the Hawks and transferred to Sydney for three seasons from 1987 to 1989. His time at Hawthorn ended badly, with the club axing him after getting into salary cap trouble and Byrne suing them in the Supreme Court with a claim that he was contracted until 1989.
He became Swans reserves and assistant coach under Gary Buckenara in 1992 and in 2002 acted as kicking coach for the Scottish Rugby Union team. He has also worked with England, Scotland and New Zealand and is now an assistant coach with the SuperRugby Blues and a skills coach for the All Blacks. Also coached North Shore in the Sydney league in 1994.
|Pre-Season 1980||Striking||1 match|
Premiership players at other clubs
Two clubs in the same season
Inside Football - 24/06/1976
Inside Football - 26/05/1977
Inside Football - 16/06/1977
Age - 13/09/1980
Inside Football - 09/04/1981
Age - 08/04/1982
Age - 05/05/1987
Inside Football - 11/03/1982
Inside Football - 02/05/1985
Age - 05/12/1991
Football Australia - May/June 1994
Herald Sun - 11/09/2002