Tony Lockett

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Tony Lockett
Personal information
Full name Anthony Howard Lockett
Nickname(s) Plugger
Date of birth (1966-03-09) 9 March 1966 (age 48)
Place of birth Ballarat, Victoria
Original team North Ballarat Roosters
Height/Weight 191cm / 118kg
Position(s) Full-forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1983 – 1994
1995 – 1999; 2002
Total
St Kilda
Sydney
183 0(898)
098 0(462)
281 (1360)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 2002 season.
Career highlights

Anthony Howard "Tony" Lockett (born 9 March 1966) is a former Australian rules football player. Known as 'Plugger', Lockett is the highest goal scorer in the history of the VFL/AFL with 1,360 goals in a career of 281 games, starting in 1983 with the St Kilda Football Club, and ending in 2002 with the Sydney Swans. Lockett won the coveted Brownlow Medal in 1987, becoming the first and only full forward to ever win the award. He is a four-time Coleman Medallist, kicked more than 100 goals in a season on six occasions (an AFL record), and is a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. In 1999, Lockett broke the all-time goals record when he kicked his 1300th goal, surpassing Gordon Coventry's record of 1299. The record had stood for 62 years, and remains unbeaten.

At 191 cm tall and weighing 104 kg, Lockett was a unique footballer. His aggression, strong hands, acceleration, high leap and accurate kicking made him a formidable player.

Early life[edit]

Tony Lockett was born in Ballarat, Victoria, to his father Howard (a country footballer who played over 500 games and a North Ballarat Football Club Hall of Famer[1]) and his mother Liz.[2]

Lockett began playing Australian Rules with the Under 12s team of his father's club, North Ballarat Football Club, in 1974. He played a total of 120 junior games with the club.[3]

He was educated at Ballarat Secondary College and Ballarat Grammar School.

Lockett had played just five senior games as a 16 year old in 1982 with North Ballarat before he was recruited by VFL club St Kilda and moved to Melbourne.

VFL/AFL career[edit]

St Kilda career: 1982–1994[edit]

In Lockett's second year with the club, he kicked seven goals in the opening game against the Essendon Football Club and then went on to kick 70 more goals to win St Kilda's leading goal kicker award. In 1987 he won the Brownlow Medal. His best season at St Kilda was in 1991, when he kicked 127 goals in 17 games, at an average of 7.47 goals per game, the highest average ever achieved in VFL/AFL history. He was also the spearhead for St Kilda's first finals appearance since 1973. In 1992 he kicked the most goals that season with 132 goals. In a qualifying final against Geelong he kicked nine goals and five behinds, although the Saints were beaten by seven points. He was described by dual Brownlow medallist Robert Harvey as the best player he had ever seen.[4]

Sydney Swans career: 1995–2002[edit]

In 1995, Lockett transferred to the Sydney Swans, where he played for another six seasons. Lockett was an instant success with the Swans, helping the team into the 1996 finals series, and subsequently into the 1996 AFL Grand Final. Despite a groin injury, Lockett played in the match which the Swans ultimately lost to North Melbourne. It was the only Grand Final appearance of Lockett's career.

Lockett's career-best goal-scoring performance came in Round 19, 1995, against Fitzroy at the Western Oval, when he scored 16 goals straight.

Lockett became a cult figure in Sydney. He was a massive drawcard for the struggling Sydney Swans, who had previously found it difficult to attract large support in NSW's rugby league heartland. At the height of his popularity the song "There's only one Tony Lockett" was released (sung to the tune of "Guantanamera"), performed by James Freud.

In 1996, Lockett was the subject of much hype in the clash between Geelong and Sydney in which Gary Ablett Sr. was playing at the other end of the ground. The match was billed by the media as Plugger vs God and set a ground record attendance at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He broke the record of 1299 career goals (set by Gordon Coventry) at the SCG in 1999 and sparked one of the biggest pitch invasions seen in Australian rules football.

Lockett retired at the end of 1999 but had a brief comeback in 2002, playing three games and adding three goals to his record.

Statistics[edit]

[5]
Legend
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league for the Season only
Led the league after finals only
Led the league after Season and Finals
Season Team # Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1983 St Kilda 37 12 19 17 76 26 102 44 - 1.6 1.4 6.3 2.2 8.5 3.7 -
1984 St Kilda 14 20 77 44 146 19 165 108 - 3.9 2.2 7.3 1.0 8.3 5.4 -
1985 St Kilda 14 21 79 22 146 32 178 112 - 3.8 1.0 7.0 1.5 8.5 5.3 -
1986 St Kilda 14 18 60 29 119 36 155 85 - 3.3 1.6 6.6 2.0 8.6 4.7 -
1987 St Kilda 14 22 117 52 226 49 275 164 16 5.3 2.4 10.3 2.2 12.5 7.5 0.7
1988 St Kilda 4 8 35 19 65 19 84 44 6 4.4 2.4 8.1 2.4 10.5 5.5 0.8
1989 St Kilda 4 11 78 24 122 18 140 92 5 7.1 2.2 11.1 1.6 12.7 8.4 0.5
1990 St Kilda 4 12 65 34 112 16 128 84 11 5.4 2.8 9.3 1.3 10.7 7.0 0.9
1991 St Kilda 4 17 127 51 190 33 223 140 7 7.5 3.0 11.2 1.9 13.1 8.2 0.4
1992 St Kilda 4 22 132 58 214 30 244 157 12 6.0 2.6 9.7 1.4 11.1 7.1 0.5
1993 St Kilda 4 10 53 12 85 26 111 63 7 5.3 1.2 8.5 2.6 11.1 6.3 0.7
1994 St Kilda 4 10 56 26 100 16 116 76 7 5.6 2.6 10.0 1.6 11.6 7.6 0.7
1995 Sydney 4 19 110 44 176 42 218 139 16 5.8 2.3 9.3 2.2 11.5 7.3 0.8
1996 Sydney 4 22 121 63 212 45 257 168 21 5.5 2.9 9.6 2.0 11.7 7.6 1.0
1997 Sydney 4 12 37 21 65 23 88 50 7 3.1 1.8 5.4 1.9 7.3 4.2 0.6
1998 Sydney 4 23 109 36 167 41 208 121 9 4.7 1.6 7.3 1.8 9.0 5.3 0.4
1999 Sydney 4 19 82 38 141 27 168 112 15 4.3 2.0 7.4 1.4 8.8 5.9 0.8
2002 Sydney 46 3 3 0 5 2 7 1 3 1.0 0.0 1.7 0.7 2.3 0.3 1.0
Career 281 1360 590 2367 500 2867 1760 142 4.8 2.1 8.4 1.8 10.2 6.3 0.7

Controversy[edit]

Lockett's spectacular career was marred by several high profile tribunal appearances. The most famous was in an 11-goal match for St Kilda against his future club Sydney in 1994, when he broke Peter Caven's cheek-bone as he led out from full-forward and the unaware Caven was back-tracking for the ball. The incident resulted in an eight-week suspension for charging.

Post-football[edit]

Lockett's aversion of the media has been well documented. Since his retirement he has been elusive and has had little involvement in the game.

He has appeared in various television commercials, including Advanced Hair and Lowes Menswear (in Sydney). While at a taping session for a Lowes commercial, Lockett engaged in a friendly wrestling match with former amateur rugby player Ace (Adrian) Mueller, who was at the time working for Lowes corporate division. According to some reports, the friendly wrestle developed into something quite competitive, with Lockett pinning Mueller (an exponent of the Israeli self-defence system, Krav Maga).[6] More recently Tony starred along with Stephen Curry and Dave Lawson in a Toyota Memorable Moments advertisement which takes a lighthearted look at many moments in his career including: the piglet 'Pluga', 'One Tony Lockett', 'That Point' and his 1,300th goal (including the pitch invasion).

The Lockett End at Etihad Stadium

Lockett is also well known for his main interest outside of football, greyhound racing and was alleged to be part owner of famous dog Brett Lee (which was worth well over A$1million) among others.

Nickname[edit]

Tony's father Howard inherited the nickname "Plugger" from his own father who used to "plug around" in the garden. Tony's father, who himself played 500 games of country football,[7] then saw it fit to pass down the nickname once more to Tony. The name became synonymous with the man's large size.

In Round 18, 1993, in a match at the Sydney Cricket Ground between St Kilda (then Lockett's club) and Sydney (his future club) a piglet (being a reference to Tony's size) was released by a member of the Sydney crowd onto the ground (with the wrongly spelled word "Pluga" and Lockett's playing number "#4" spray painted onto it) before being tackled to the ground and removed by Sydney Swans player Darren Holmes.[8] The famous Channel Seven commentary of the incident had the exclamation of "There's a pig at full-forward!" from commentator Sandy Roberts. Lockett was actually absent from the match, due to injury.

Legacy[edit]

Lockett was inducted to both the St Kilda and Sydney Swans' Team of the Century, in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

In 2004 he was inducted into the North Ballarat Football Club hall of fame.

On 22 June 2006 Lockett was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

One goal end at Docklands Stadium was named after him as the "Lockett End", with the other end being named after the footballer whose goal record he broke, Gordon Coventry.

The Ballarat Football League award for the leading goalscorer for the home and away season is named after Lockett[9] as he played his junior football with Ballarat Football League club North Ballarat.

On 19 July 2009 he was inducted into the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame.

In 2003 he was inducted into the St Kilda Football Club Hall of Fame and on 24 July 2010 he was elevated to "Legend" status.

Lockett kicked over one hundred goals in a season on six occasions - at St Kilda in years 1987 (117); 1991 (127); 1992 (132) and at Sydney in years 1995 (110); 1996 (121) and 1998 (109). This is a league record for the number of times a player has kicked over 100 goals in a separate season, which he shares with Jason Dunstall.

The New South Wales Primary Schools Sports Association Australian Football competition is named the Tony Lockett Shield.

Notable game[edit]

One of the most memorable games of Lockett's career was in Round 19, 1995, when he kicked 16 consecutive goals against Fitzroy at Western Oval.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Holt, Stephanie; Hutchinson, Garrie (2003). Footy's Greatest Players. Coulomb Communication. ISBN 0-9580737-3-2. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Greg Williams and
Robert DiPierdomenico
Brownlow Medal
1987
Succeeded by
Gerard Healy
Preceded by
Brian Taylor
John Longmire
Gary Ablett
Tony Modra
Coleman Medal
1987
1991
1996
1998
Succeeded by
Jason Dunstall
Jason Dunstall
Tony Modra
Scott Cummings
Preceded by
Paul Roos
Leigh Matthews Trophy
1987
Succeeded by
Gerard Healy
Preceded by
Greg Burns
Stewart Loewe
Trevor Barker Award
1987
1991
Succeeded by
Danny Frawley
Robert Harvey
Preceded by
Daryn Cresswell
Bob Skilton Medal
1995
Succeeded by
Paul Kelly