Wayne Schwass

Former Australian Rules football player, Mental Health Advocate

Since capturing Australia’s attention as one of the most successful football players in AFL history, Wayne Schwass has gone on to make a name for himself in more ways than one.

Born in New Zealand and raised in Warrnambool, Western Victoria, Wayne Schwass began playing Aussie Rules football at the age of ten. But with is his undeniable talent and passion, it was not long before he was recruited to join the AFL— so in 1986, Wayne began playing for the North Melbourne Football Club.

From here, Wayne went from strength to strength, quickly becoming one of the most highly-rated players in AFL history. Over 14 years Wayne played 282 games at the elite level, both with the North Melbourne Football Club (1988-1997) and the Sydney Swans (1998-2002). During his outstanding career Wayne won 3 Best and Fairest’s at the NMFC, he was a premiership player with NMFC in 1996, All-Australian in 1999 and part of the NMFC Team of the Century and inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Since retiring in 2002, Wayne has established himself as a highly respected AFL broadcaster on TV, radio, print and online. However, in addition to his work within the sporting world, Wayne has also become a passionate and leading advocate for mental health awareness.

In 2017 Wayne founded PukaUp a social enterprise focusing on mental health, emotional wellbeing and, importantly, suicide prevention. According to Wayne, the PukaUp vision is to ‘create the environments for every person to have authentic and genuine conversations about mental health and emotional wellbeing’.

As well as running PukaUp, Wayne also delivers powerful and honest keynote speeches at countless mental health seminars and workshops, where his message never fails to resonate with audiences.

In 2019 saw Wayne finish up as part of the Triple M AFL commentary Team and as host of ‘Off the Bench TV”. Wayne is focusing up on eliminating the stigma of Men’s Mental Health and focusing on his organization PukaUp.


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