Farmer pictured in 1933
|Full name||Kenneth William George Farmer|
|Date of birth||25 July 1910|
|Place of birth||Adelaide, South Australia|
|Date of death||5 March 1982(aged 71)|
|Place of death||Adelaide, South Australia|
|1929–1941||North Adelaide (SANFL)||224 (1,417)|
|Representative team honours|
|1930–1941||South Australia||17 (81)|
|1949–1952||North Adelaide (SANFL)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1941.
Kenneth William George Farmer (born 25 July 1910 in Adelaide, South Australia – died 5 March 1982 in Adelaide) was an Australian rules football player in the South Australian National Football League during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. He was a prolific goalscoring full forward and successful premiership winning coach for North Adelaide.
Farmer grew up in the North Adelaide area and attended North Adelaide school, where he played Australian rules football on Fridays, and soccer on Saturdays. His early prowess in the round ball code resulted in being selected in the State Schoolboys soccer team.
Farmer left school at 14 and did not play football again until 1927, when he played with North Adelaide Ramblers Seconds and the Marryatville amateur team. In 1928 he was invited to play with the North Adelaide juniors, where he demonstrated some talent at marking and goalkicking, winning the best and fairest award.
In 1929, the 18-year-old Farmer debuted in the North Adelaide League side. Playing at full-forward in his first season, he kicked an impressive 62 goals in only 14 games. In 1930 he became the first SANFL player to kick over 100 goals in a season, and repeated this feat for the next ten seasons.
He played in the winning 1930 Grand Final side despite the great personal distress of his brother Elliot's death weeks earlier from a motorcycle crash that also involved Ken. In 1931 he kicked his 125th goal to break Gordon Coventry's VFL and elite football record of 124 in the Grand Final, which North Adelaide won.
Farmer captained North for five seasons (1934–1935, 1937–1938, 1941) and was club best and fairest in 1936.
Farmer's great goal scoring came from many attributes. His goals came readily, from superb concentration and the ability to read the play and be in position. Not only was he a brilliant fast lead, but Farmer was described as having a very powerful grip and hence a strong mark. He was unnervingly accurate shooting for goals with the screw and flat punts (drop punts not being part of the game at that time).
Farmer's goalscoring prowess was also evident when representing South Australia in interstate matches, where he averaged five goals per game.
Farmer's playing career ended when he went into the wartime RAAF. He took over the reins of coach for North Adelaide for four seasons from 1949, winning the premiership in 1949 and 1952.
Farmer's SANFL goal kicking record:
- 1929 - 62
- 1930 - 105
- 1931 - 126
- 1932 - 102
- 1933 - 112
- 1934 - 106
- 1935 - 128
- 1936 - 134
- 1937 - 108
- 1938 - 112
- 1939 - 113
- 1940 - 123
- 1941 - 86
In 13 seasons and 224 games for North Adelaide, Farmer kicked 1417 goals, making him the highest goal scorer in the history of the SANFL and elite Australian rules football, records that stand to this day. His average of 6.33 goals per game exceeds that of even VFL legends such as Peter McKenna, Gordon Coventry and Tony Lockett (VFL/AFL record 1360 goals), and WAFL legend Bernie Naylor.
On 35 occasions he kicked 10 goals or more, and he was held goalless only once, when he was carried off injured after 10 minutes of play. His highest in a year was 134, but rather than kicking more in a season, he kicked 100 goals 11 times: his 1936 tally was a record until 1969, when it was broken by Fred Phillis of Glenelg.
Ken Farmer also played 17 representative games for South Australia and kicked 81 goals; if these matches and the Tasmanian competitions are considered, this total of 1498 goals would place him second behind Peter Hudson as the highest goal-scorer in elite Australian rules football history (Hudson's career total was 1721 in premiership matches and 2191 overall).
He holds the equal record for most goals kicked in a SANFL or elite match with 23.6 against West Torrens, out of his side's score of 26.11.
Highest tally against other SANFL Clubs:
Farmer was made a Life Member of the North Adelaide Football Club in 1937. In 1980 the "Ken Farmer Gates" were dedicated on the eastern side of North Adelaide's home ground, Prospect Oval. Since 1981 the leading goalkicker in the SANFL each season has been awarded the "Ken Farmer Medal".
Farmer and triple Magarey Medallist Barrie Robran have been named as Icons of the North Adelaide Football Club. In 2012, the club also named the northern end of the Prospect Oval the "Ken Farmer End", while naming the southern end the "Barrie Robran End".
Surprisingly left out of the initial inductees to the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996, he was inducted in 1998.
In 2000 Farmer was the inevitable selection as full forward in North Adelaide's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.
Farmer was an inaugural inductee to the SANFL Hall of Fame in 2002.
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