The Boy from Balga, aka the Junkyard Dog, was a scrawny halfback who played 52 games in six seasons without ever really cementing a regular spot in the side. Not the biggest or most skilful player, Laidley played with an intensity that was almost unrivalled.
West Coast careerEdit
After playing for West Perth, Laidley made the inaugural West Coast squad and played in the first-ever game just days after celebrating his 20th birthday. He played 10 games in the 1987 season, 11 the following season, including the elimination final against Melbourne, and another 10 in 1989.
1990 started promisingly for the Junkyard Dog, playing in the first seven matches and picking up Brownlow votes in a couple of them. Unfortunately in round 7 against Melbourne he blew out his knee, resulting in him missing more than a year of footy. In fact he didn’t play AFL again until early 1992, almost two years later.
Laidley played 14 games in 1992 but lost his spot before the finals and couldn’t force his way back in. At the end of the season, a frustrated Laidley sought a trade to North Melbourne. The Roos gave up a top 10 pick in return, which was used on 99-game player Paul Symmons.
North Melbourne careerEdit
Coincidentally, Laidley played 99 games for North, winning a well-deserved flag in 1996 before retiring after the 1997 season.
He then moved into coaching, linking up with his former coach Mick Malthouse at Collingwood before moving back to North Melbourne to take the senior job in 2003. He coached the Kangas for six and a half seasons before stepping down midway through 2009.
Since giving up the top job at Arden Street he has taken on assistant roles at Port Adelaide (commuting from Victoria) and at St Kilda under former teammate Scott Watters. In 2014 he reunited with Malthouse at Carlton.
| Inaugural West Coast Eagles Team|
Round 1 1987 - West Coast 20.13.133 def Richmond 16.23.119
B: Dwayne Lamb, Michael Brennan, Paul Peos