|Full name||Paul Salmon|
|Date of birth||20 January 1965|
|Original team(s)||North Ringwood|
|Height||206 cm (6 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||112 kg (247 lb)|
|Position(s)||Full Forward, Ruckman|
|Representative team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2002.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Paul Salmon (born 20 January 1965) is a former Australian rules footballer, who played in the Australian Football League, for Essendon and Hawthorn. Recruited from North Ringwood, Salmon had a prolific career, with many accolades such as being inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame, as well as being the 4th highest goal kicker for Essendon, among other things.
At 206 cm (6 ft 9 in), Salmon was at the time, along with Carlton's Justin Madden, the tallest man to play in the AFL. Also known as "Fish", Salmon was a well-known Full Forward and Ruckman in the Australian Football League over a long period of time.
He made his debut in 1983 with Essendon, however it was during the 1984 VFL season in which he established himself as the league's leading full forward kicking 63 goals in 13 games. Essendon's leading ruckman at the time was Simon Madden, which allowed Bombers coach Kevin Sheedy the luxury of playing the accurate kicking "Fish" up forward. His effectiveness in the position was due to his athleticism and ability to win one-on-one marking contests, using his superior height and mobility. At the time, Salmon was the VFL's equal tallest player alongside Carlton's Justin Madden (Simon Madden's younger brother), and one of only a handful of VFL players who stood over 200 cm (6'7") tall.
When leading the goalkicking, halfway through the season, a serious knee injury which required a full reconstruction left him sidelined for over a year, he then recovered to kick 6 goals 4 behinds in the 1985 premiership side. From this point onward he would rotate between full forward and his favoured ruck position with Simon Madden, who was in the twilight of his glittering career. He endured further minor complications with his knee injury and numerous soft tissue injuries over the next few years and was never allowed to settle in a specific role on field, despite this he played a vital role for the team, becoming Vice Captain in 1992, and culminating in leading the Bombers season goal kicking tally on seven occasions, as well as playing in Essendon's 1993 premiership where he kicked 5 goals in helping Essendon to a 20.13 (133) to 13.11 (89) win over Carlton in the Grand Final in front of 96,862 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
After serious injuries to his Achilles tendon and groins in 1993 and 1994, and with the knowledge time was running out, he decided his time as a 'Bomber' was over at 31 years of age so he requested a new home and was subsequently traded to Hawthorn, the club whom he supported as a child. He was selected in Kevin Sheedy's best team of his 27 years as coach and at number 26 in the 'Champions of Essendon' which was a list of the best of the past century who wore the red and black.
Salmon has been quoted saying, that while he has great respect for Kevin Sheedy, he felt at times he didn't get the best out of him, from perhaps lack of communication. But he has also spoken in glowing terms about Kevin Sheedy being good for his career. In such situations such as in late 1985 when Salmon had recently come back from injury, and was out of form and playing in the reserves, Sheedy made a deal with him that if he trained hard, if Essendon made the Grand Final he would play him, regardless of his form.
At the end of 1995, Salmon moved to Hawthorn, where he played from 1996-2000, and revived his career winning the Best and Fairest in 96 and 97 as well as the Most Consistent Award in 98. He became Vice Captain in 98 and also finished in the top ten in every best and fairest in each of his five years at the club. After 5 season's and 100 games with the Hawks he retired at the age of 35, and after his retirement he was named in Hawthorn's 'Team of the Century'.
Salmon retired from playing football at the end of the 2000 season. He made a comeback in 2002, after being drafted by Essendon at 37 years of age. He played 15 games in 2002 before permanently retiring from AFL football.
Salmon had a prolific State of Origin career, kicking 45 goals in 14 games. He first played for Victoria in 1984, against South Australia, kicking 5 goals. Salmon next played at State of Origin level in 1986 against South Australia, kicking 4 goals. In the same year he participated in a game against Western Australia, that has been regarded as "one of the greatest games in the 150 year history of Australian Football", but didn't trouble the scoreboard. In 1987 he performed well, kicking 5 goals and being named in the best players, against Western Australia in Perth. The following year Salmon performed in the State of Origin Carnival, winning the Tassie Medal, kicking 7 goals in the semi final, and 1 goal in the final. In 1990 he was picked against New South Wales, in a wet day at the SCG, scoring 1 goal, in an upset loss against favourites Victoria. In 1992 he kicked 5 goals against South Australia and was named in the best players. In 1993 in the State of Origin Carnival Salmon kicked 6 goals in the semi final against New South Wales-Australian Capital Territory, but didn't perform in the Grand Final, failing to score a goal. Salmon last played for Victoria in 1997, against South Australia. Being named in the Ruck for the first time, Salmon performed well, being named best on ground.
Salmon has also worked in the media co hosting 'Sportsworld' for the Seven Network and 'Time Out for Serious Fun' for the Nine Network, and has released several books. He released an autobiography called The Big Fish : Paul Salmon's Own Story in 2001, and Fish Tales, a book recalling humorous on and off field incidents, in 2002. He followed up in 2003 with another titled called More Fish Tales.
He also worked as a coach of the First XVIII Football team at Carey Baptist Grammar School, he retired from that position in 2008 to spend more time with his family, and concentrate on business interests.