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, that commenced in 1983 with the St Kilda Football Club, and finished in 2002 with the Sydney Swans. Lockett is the only full-forward ever to win the coveted Brownlow Medal, in 1987, a season in which he was decorated with several honours. 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.

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

Early life[edit]

Tony Lockett was born in Ballarat, Victoria on 9 March 1966 to his father Howard (a country footballer of over 500 games and 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]

Lockett's 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 the Qualifying Final against Geelong he kicked nine goals and five behinds, although the Saints were beaten by seven points. Lockett was described by dual Brownlow medallist Robert Harvey as the best player he had ever seen and that his move from St Kilda was a great loss to the club.

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 finals, and drawing huge crowds.

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. At the height of his popularity the song "There's only one Tony Lockett" was released (sung to the tune of "Guantanamera"). A groin injury threatened his appearance in the 1996 AFL Grand Final in which his team lost to the North Melbourne Football Club.

In 1996, Lockett was the subject of much hype in the clash between Geelong and Sydney in which Gary Ablett 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 sparking one of the biggest pitch invasions seen in Aussie Rules.

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

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).[4] 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,[5] 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, 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.[6] 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 respective Teams 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 Etihad Stadium was named after him (the Lockett End), with the other end being named after the man whose record he broke, Gordon Coventry.

The Ballarat Football League award for the leading goalscorer for the home and away season is named after Lockett,[7] as Lockett 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 of the St Kilda Football Club Hall of Fame.

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.

See also[edit]

Notes[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