Dean Pay joined Canterbury in 1988 as a second row forward.
Dean was a regular member of the Under 21 team and in 1989 progressed to reserve grade as a prop before receiving the opportunity to play first grade against Easts (Roosters) as a replacement.
In 1990, Dean started the season in first grade and became a regular member of the team.
In 1991, Dean played in the play-offs but in 1992, his season was ruined by a knee injury.
In 1993, Dean returned to be a regular second row in first grade. In 1994, Dean captained the first grade team for the first time. He captained Canterbury on 13 occasions from 1994 to 1995.
Dean played for both NSW and Australia. He played 12 games for NSW from 1994 to 1997 and played for Australia in 10 Tests between 1994 and 1997. Dean was a member of the 1994 Kangaroo tour and played in the 1995 World Cup.
He played in the 1994 Grand Final against Canberra.
In 1995, Dean returned to the front row and was a member of the Premiership winning team against Manly.
Pay, has a strong connection with the Bulldogs, having played 108 games for the club between 1989-1995, including being part of the 1995 Premiership winning side.
In 2004, Dean was nominated for the Berries to Bulldogs 70 Year Team of Champions.