Night out ends in the death of a 'top bloke'

 Wayne Dover
Wayne Dover

A LEADER of men; a great mentor; a larger-than-life no-nonsense bloke who would do anything for his wife and never turned down the chance for a beer.

That was how Wayne Dover's mates remembered him after the popular Sunshine Coast Aussie rules figure was killed in a tragic incident outside a Maroochydore nightclub early yesterday morning.

Three men in their 20s have been charged with the murder of the 45-year-old Kuluin man outside The Factory, at Sunshine Plaza.

Mr Dover had left the nightclub and was walking along the Riverwalk when he was allegedly set upon after an argument.

Police said he was knocked to the ground, then kicked and punched in an attack that lasted less than 20 seconds and was captured on CCTV cameras.

Reports Mr Dover was waiting in line at a kebab shop were discounted, as the shop was not open at the time.

Mr Dover was the owner of a shade and awnings company, which he ran with his wife, Michelle.

She had been with him earlier in the night, but was not present at the altercation about 3.10am.

The couple did not have any children.

Mr Dover suffered head and facial injuries and was pronounced dead at Nambour General Hospital.

Witnesses said two security guards from the nightclub attempted to resuscitate him before an ambulance arrived.

His passing prompted an outpouring of grief from the Sunshine Coast Aussie rules community, which hailed him as a universally loved "good bloke".

Mr Dover, known as Dozer to his mates, was a 1997 premiership-winning fullback with the Noosa Tigers.

He was the inaugural coach at the Northshore Jets in 2004, coached the Caloundra Panthers senior side, mentored the Noosa under-18s to a state title and was recently a part-time player at the Gympie Cats.

Born in Western Australia, he was a West Coast Eagles fan.

Julian Pitts played alongside Mr Dover at the Noosa club before following him to Northshore.

He remembered his former teammate and coach as "a leader of men and straight-up good bloke".

"He was just a lovable, big-hearted fella," Mr Pitts said.

"He was big hearted, he loved footy, he would do anything for his teammates, his mates and his wife."

One long-time friend and Caloundra clubmate, who asked not to be named, said Mr Dover was the kind of bloke who would give you the shirt off his own back.

"He was a great mate to his mates," he said. "If you ever needed anything, he always put his hands up to give you a hand. He was a sensational fella."

Police appealed for witnesses and hoped to talk to anyone who was in The Factory nightclub on Friday night.

A 25-year-old man and two 27-year-old men, all from the Sunshine Coast, have been charged with murder and will appear in Maroochydore Magistrates Court tomorrow.

A fourth man was interviewed yesterday morning but released without charge.

Topics:  caloundra panthers afl club editors picks murder riverwalk sunshine plaza the factory wayne dover

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