AFL great Dean Laidley was a tormented soul who never fully recovered from the death of a footy fan he clashed with in 2006.

AFL great Dean Laidley was a tormented soul who never fully recovered from the death of a footy fan he clashed with in 2006. 
The North Melbourne premiership player was arrested in St Kilda on Saturday night amid allegations of stalking and breaching a family violence order. 
He was allegedly on bail when the offences were committed.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal Laidley faces seven charges all up, including one each of stalking, committing an indictable offence while on bail and persistent breach of a family violence order and four other intervention order breaches. 
Daily Mail Australia has been told Laidley had appeared to be a ‘broken man’ in the months before his dramatic arrest while dressed as a woman. 
Police are investigating after photos of AFL great Dean Laidley in police custody (one pictured) were leaked online as he was charged with stalking and breaches of a family violence order
One photo which appeared to show his mugshot taken from a police file was also leaked
Police on Monday launched an investigation into the leaked photos of Laidley being questioned inside of a Melbourne watch house.
In a statement officers condemned the breach in Laidley’s privacy. 
A spokeswoman said: ‘The community can be assured that we share these concerns and are taking the matter extremely seriously.’ 
A senior Constable has been suspended on pay and is potentially facing time behind bars over the unauthorised disclosure. 
Laidley appeared before Deputy Magistrate Jelena Popovic on Sunday night.
There Ms Popovic heard he was at risk in jail because it was his first time inside.
His lawyer asked that he be assessed by a mental health nurse and be provided an antidepressant.
‘This is one of the most significant breaches of a persons privacy and Victoria Police will not tolerate this sort of behaviour. 
 A source told Daily Mail Australia Laidley’s collapse into despair had been on public display about the Moonee Ponds area in recent months before the COVID-19 lockdown. 
A disheveled Laidley – or ‘Tunnel’ as he is well known – had been seen getting about town barefooted and disheveled. 
Laidley and his estranged wife Joanne had been popular members of the East Keilor Football Club, where their son played for years as  junior. 
Sources claim Laidley’s lifestyle choices were well known among his mates and accepted. 
But while Laidley was known for his colourful personality off-field, he was also clinging to deep seeded torment dating back to his coaching days. 
In 2006, Laidley had sought counselling after being ‘haunted’ by the image of a fan he clashed with during a game, who later committed suicide. 
The man, a Kangaroos member in his late 30s, was hit by a train at Seaford on the Frankston line almost 14 years ago to the month. 
Laidley had twice had words with the Kangaroos fan as he walked through the crowd to address his players during a clash with St Kilda. 
The ugly clash was captured on TV and the AFL was forced to investigate. 
‘I am distraught and feel for the family,’ Laidley said, fighting back tears at the time.
‘I just can’t believe someone’s passed away. I am still coming to terms with that. I offer them my full support.’
Laidley reiterated that he had merely invited the man down to the rooms after the second clash to see how much the players were hurting.
‘I am haunted by his image,’ Laidley said. ‘I can’t get the face out of my head.’ 
Laidley has never been far away from controversy and hit the headlines again in 2011 while on a family trip to Bali. 
Laidley claimed he was hit over the head with a bottle awhile his son copped a broken jaw, and several relatives, including women, suffered severe facial injuries following an incident at Bounty Discotheque. 
Up to 10 people set upon up to 12 of Laidley’s family, he said at the time.
‘We were all on the dance floor. All of a sudden, the three boys were pulled down and attacked. It was completely unprovoked. When you see family members lying on the ground, face down, it is pretty horrifying,’ he said. 
The bar owner later called out Laidley’s version of events, telling the Herald Sun at the time it was the Laidley’s who were fighting among themselves.  
Laidley pictured as assistant coach of the Carlton Blues during a NAB Challenge AFL match in March 2015. The premiership player allegedly asked to be called ‘Daniella’ during his police interview 
His lawyer Dee Giannopoulos appeared to confirm the photo was of her client on Sunday evening
Laidley remained behind bars on Monday as Melbourne’s footy world exploded over the revelations of his arrest. 
One photo of the former champ, apparently taken from inside a police interview room, showed Laidley wearing a blonde wig, makeup and a dress as he was questioned by officers.
Another photo showed his mugshot as part of a Victoria Police file on a computer.
The 1996 premiership player reportedly demanded to be called ‘Daniella’ during his police interview, according to The West Australian.  
A high-profile Melbourne lawyer, who said she was representing Laidley, confirmed one of the photos showed her client.
The lawyer, Dee Giannopoulos, hit out at those who had leaked the photo in an angry Twitter post. 
‘Outraged that pictures of my client, taken by some police officer, on the sly, when in custody in interview have hit the media. Typical,’ she wrote.  
It is believed the photo of Laidley being questioned was not a part of Victoria Police’s formal questioning process and was taken from outside the interview room.
Ms Giannopolous works for the law firm Doogue and George, and Bill Doogue added: ‘Disgraceful. Taking photos unlawfully and sharing them. And these were sneaky photos while in Police interview in Police Station by a Police Officer.’
‘Police should investigate and those involved pulled down immediately.’
A leading civil liberty body in Victoria also hit out at the leaking of the photos.
 Nixon said he was ‘the least surprised person in Australia on Dean Laidley’ and claimed he had managed the former player, who confided in him regularly, for 15 years
‘The images circulating of a high-profile arrest today are [a] deplorable breach of privacy,’ Liberty Victoria tweeted.  
‘The transphobic overtones only serve to make the breach even more egregious. Not good enough @VictoriaPolice: we are watching.
‘Please deal with this unacceptable incident swiftly & properly. ‘  
Ricky Nixon, a former high-profile player manager who had Laidley among his clients, said he was ‘the least surprised person in Australia’ after news of the arrest became public on Sunday evening.  
Nixon said Laidley confided in him regularly for 15 years.
Laidley will remain behind bars until he appears in court on May 11.   
Laidley grew up in Balga in Perth’s north and played senior football for the West Perth Football Club.
He made his debut for the West Coast Eagles in 1987, where he played 52 games before being traded to the North Melbourne ahead of the 1993 season.  
He won a premiership with the Kangaroos in 1996 and was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2019. 
His willingness to commit to contested balls earned him the nickname of ‘The Junkyard Dog’. 
Laidley pictured when he signed as the coach of the North Melbourne Kangaroos in 2002 – signing a three-year deal with his former club
His coaching career includes seven seasons with the Kangaroos between 2003 and 2009.
Laidley also spent time with Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton.  
He and his family were attacked by bouncers at the Bounty night club in Bali after his daughter’s wedding in 2011.
His son received a broken jaw while Laidley required stitches after being hit in the head with a bottle. 
He is currently a coach of Maribyrnong Park in the Essendon Districts Football League, having started there in 2019. 
Further details surrounding Laidley’s arrest will be revealed at his court appearance.
After being dismissed as North Melbourne coach in 2009, Laidley served as an assistant coach at Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton before leaving the AFL system in 2015.
He returned to football last year as coach of Essendon District Football League club Maribyrnong Park and last week spoke on a podcast about his life leading the semi-professional outfit.
‘Out of my 32 years of senior professional football, last year was probably in the top five or six years that I’ve had it’s a great group,’ he said.
‘We want to be successful, yes, but we want parents to say ‘we want our kids to play for that football club because look at what they do and look at the people they develop’ and that is really important.
‘When I finished in the AFL, I really cut myself off, and I did that on purpose.’ 
Laidley (pictured left with Carlton coach Mick Malthouse in 2015) was charged with stalking and other matters and will appear in court on May 11
Laidley also spoke about the team spirit within the club he coaches – which he said was a world apart from his AFL career.
‘Have I mellowed? Lots. It’s just not having the pressure of being an AFL coach,’ he said.
‘Our coaching group is very, very good, we are very close. On occasion, we just have nights when we close the door ourselves and sit there and get on the drink it’s good for the soul.’ 
Laidley played 151 games for North Melbourne and West Coast before he retired in 1997 (pictured after retirement in 1998 at his former club)
Laidley played 151 games for North Melbourne and West Coast before he retired in 1997.
He won a premiership with the Kangaroos in 1996 and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2019. 
His coaching career includes seven seasons with the Kangaroos.  
Laidley during a Carlton training session in April 2015. His coaching career includes seven seasons with the Kangaroos as well as time with Port Adelaide, Carlton and St Kilda