Tony Gordon (rugby)

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Tony Gordon
Personal information
Full nameAnthony Ralph Gordon
Died25 March 2012 (aged 63)
Playing information
Rugby union
PositionFullback, Wing
Years Team Pld T G FG P
King Country
Rugby league
PositionFullback, Wing
Years Team Pld T G FG P
Years Team Pld T G FG P
Bay of Plenty
1975 New Zealand 3 0 0 0 0
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
Central (BOPRL)
1993–94 London Crusaders
1994–95 Hull F.C.
Total 0 0 0 0
Years Team Gms W D L W%
19??–86 Bay of Plenty
Northern Districts
1987–89 New Zealand 13 7 0 6 54
1991–92 Bay of Plenty
Source: [1][2]

Anthony Ralph "Tank" Gordon[3] (c. 1948/49 – 25 March 2012) was a New Zealand rugby league and rugby union footballer and coach who represented the New Zealand Kiwis in the 1975 World Cup and coached them to the 1988 World Cup Final.[1][2] He was known for his strong kick[4]

Early years[edit]

Anthony was born in Rotorua.[4] Later he would become a New Zealand Army PT Instructor.[4] While in the army Gordon was the player-coach of the Wairau army and played rugby union for King Country.[5][4]

Playing career[edit]

Gordon then switched to rugby league in 1975 and joined the Maritime club in the Auckland Rugby League.[6] He made the New Zealand national rugby league team after only 14 rugby league matches.[5] He played in thirteen test matches for the Kiwis, including at the 1975 World Cup.

Coaching career[edit]

After retirement Gordon turned his attention to coaching. He had a brief spell with Mangere East before he was convinced to become Central's head coach in the Bay of Plenty Rugby League competition.[6] He met with immediate success, taking control of the Bay of Plenty and Northern Districts sides. In 1987 he became coach of the New Zealand national rugby league team. The Kiwis toured Australia and Papua New Guinea in 1987 and Gordon was involved in an upset win of Australia.[7] The team couldn't repeat the feat in 1988 as they lost the final of the World Cup in front of 47,000 fans at Eden Park.[8] The Kiwis toured Britain and France in 1989 before Gordon was replaced as Kiwis coach.

Gordon became coach of the London Crusaders in 1993 before joining Hull F.C. for the 1994–1995 season.[9][10][11]

Halfway through the 1995 Lion Red Cup Neil Joyce resigned as the coach of the Bay of Plenty Stags. Gordon became a co-coach alongside Lawrence Brydon for the remainder of the season. In 1996 he remained with the Stags as the business Manager while Brydon became the head coach. During the season he was suspended and investigated by the New Zealand Rugby League over accusations of fraud.[12] He was later cleared of all charges.[13]

Between 1996 and 2001 he coached the Coastline Mariners.[14]

Later years[edit]

In 2006 Gordon was the coach of Kahukura in the Baywide rugby union competition.[5] He died on 25 March 2012 after a long illness.[15][16][17][4]


  1. ^ a b "Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Coach Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. ^ GORDON, Anthony Ralph 1975 – Kiwi #526 Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c d e CircleSoft. "Tony Tank Gordon: The life of a sporting legend". McLeods Booksellers. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b c 'Tank' happy to coach Rotorua club side The Daily Post, 31 March 2006
  6. ^ a b 1986 Lion Red Rugby League Annual, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1986. p. 66
  7. ^ "Kiwis' bash-attack a thing of the past". Television New Zealand. NZPA. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  8. ^ Rattue, Chris (5 November 2010). "The day league missed its original Eden Park chance". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  9. ^ Freeman pays a high price The Independent, 5 August 1993
  10. ^ Club History Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Harlequins RLFC
  11. ^ Club-by-club guide to the new season The Independent, 19 August 1994
  12. ^ Gordon confident inquiry into Stags' finances will clear him [dead link] Sunday Star-Times, 8 September 1996
  13. ^ Gordon cleared after fraud investigation [dead link] Sunday Star-Times, 1 December 1996
  14. ^ "Rugby League: Orcas give Mariners incentive for Challenge Cup". The New Zealand Herald. The Daily Post. 22 August 2001. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  15. ^ Former Kiwis' coach 'Tank' Gordon dies The Press, 25 March 2012
  16. ^ Rotorua's Tank Gordon dies The Daily Post, 25 March 2012
  17. ^ ‘Tank’ Anthony Ralph Gordon dies 3 News, 25 March 2012
Preceded by
Graham Lowe
New Zealand national rugby league team

Succeeded by
Bob Bailey