Former Don Wallis recovering after heart attack

Essendon premiership player Dean Wallis is recovering in hospital after suffering a major heart attack.

Wallis, who played in the Bombers’ 1993 and 2000 premierships, was rushed to hospital in Echuca, in Victoria’s north, for lifesaving surgery. He had been in the area for work. Sources close to Wallis, 52, said he was recovering well.

Dean Wallis during his playing days for Essendon.Credit:Vince Caligiuri

A favourite of former coach Kevin Sheedy, Wallis was known more as an on-field enforcer than for his skill, but he played an important role in the September furnace. He managed 127 senior games before moving into coaching, and was an assistant at St Kilda, Essendon and Fremantle.

It was while he was working at Windy Hill in 2011 that he was suspended for 14 matches and fined $7500, having laid three bets on AFL games, including one involving the Bombers.

He was sacked by the club in 2013 when it began a restructure of the football department in the wake of the club’s supplements scandal and James Hird’s suspension.

Wallis’ brush with death came just days after cricketing legend Shane Warne died from a suspected heart attack at the same age.

Wallis fell out with the club in 2020 when he attacked the Bombers for their poor culture, declaring the club had been overtaken by “imposters” while calling for a wide-ranging review.

However, the two parties are back on friendly terms, with Wallis attending the Bombers’ Hall of Fame function last month.

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