DOB: 30 September 1979
Debut: Round 1, 2000 against Richmond at MCG
Last MFC Game: Round 22, 2010 against North Melbourne at MCG
From: Melbourne High School/MHSOB/Melbourne Reserves, Selection #64 1999 National Draft
Number: 32 (2000-2010)
Best and Fairest - 2008
Rising Star nomination Round 8, 2000 vs Port Adelaide.
150 Heroes selection
Australian International Rules player - 2002, 2004
Life Member - 2009
Games: 224 (234 total)
Goals: 210 (211 total)
Statistical categories led:
Most games and most goals in jumper 32
A former Under-12 schoolboy player for Victoria, Bruce was part of the Prahran Under 15 squad but didn't play with them in the Under 18 competition. Instead, he went to Melbourne High on a scholarship and bypassed the traditional route to the AFL. Instead, he played for their amateur side, where he was spotted by Danny Corcoran and invited to train.
Bruce played 41 Reserves games for Melbourne over two years, including a top 10 finish in the second grade Best and Fairest in 1998, before being drafted with a late selection in 1999. He impressed in the pre-season and debuted in the first game of 2000. He goalled with his first kick, and was ever-present throughout the year, until missing the Grand Final when he couldn't recover from a torn quad suffered in the 2000 Preliminary Final. His spot went to Ben Beams and he never played in another Grand Final.
Used almost exclusively as a forward early in his career, Bruce was given a midfield role in 2002, finished runner-up to David Neitz in the Best and Fairest, and was selected to play International Rules for Australia. He also represented Australia in 2004 after withdrawing from the team in 2003 due to post-season nose surgery.
Despite lucrative offers from several other clubs, Bruce signed a new three year contract with the Demons at the end of 2004. He started 2005 in red-hot form, and was an early Brownlow Medal favourite before suffering a serious shoulder injury after being driven into the turf in Round 4. He missed four matches, then the last month of the home and away season with another 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 Melbourne's faltering season. He was one of only two players in the league to average more than 22 disposals and kick more than 20 goals for the season. 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 vice-captain in 2009.
Bruce and the club were unable to agree terms at the end of the season, and he was selected by Hawthorn in the 2010 Pre-Season Draft. In an injury-interrupted first season with the Hawks, he played just nine games and missed their finals campaign. After just one match in the first four months of 2012, Bruce retired due to a back injury. In 2013 he took up a role as development coach at the Hawks, and was promoted to a senior assistant coach later that year. He remained with the Hawks until the end of 2017, when he became an assistant at Carlton. He served as a forward coach for the Blues. Assistant at Brisbane since 2021.
Originally listed as Number 51 in 2000 team sheets before switching to 32.
9 Point Goals
Goal with their first kick
Age - 06/03/2000
Age - 08/03/2000
Age - 06/05/2000
afl.com.au - 05/11/2003
Age - 01/10/2004
Age - 19/04/05
Australian Rules Football Wiki profile
melbfc.com.au interview - 11/04/2001
Player profile 2001
Player profile 2003