Tony Liberatore

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Tony Liberatore
Personal information
Date of birth (1966-02-11) 11 February 1966 (age 50)
Original team(s) Brunswick City / North Melbourne
Height / weight 163 cm / 78 kg
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1986–2002 Western Bulldogs 283 (95)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
Victoria ? (?)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2002.
Career highlights

Anthony "Tony" Liberatore (born 11 February 1966) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for Footscray Football Club (renamed the Western Bulldogs during his playing career) in the Australian Football League (AFL).

Liberatore is the only player to have won league best-and-fairest medals in all three grades of VFL/AFL football (under 19s, reserves and seniors). Liberatore is one of the shortest players to have played in the VFL/AFL competition and the shortest player to have won a Brownlow Medal.

Playing as a rover, Liberatore was a long-time holder of the VFL/AFL record for most career tackles.[1]

Liberatore was born in Australia to Italian parents.[2]

AFL career[edit]

Liberatore played junior football for Brunswick City. He was recruited by North Melbourne Football Club, where he played both under-19s and reserve grade football. He transferred to Footscray in 1986 and, although he made his senior level debut in 1986, he mainly played in the reserves that season, winning the VFL reserves' Gardiner Medal in both 1986 and 1988.[3]

Standing at 163 cm, Liberatore played only 18 senior games until the 1990 season, when he played 19 games and won the Brownlow Medal for the best and fairest senior AFL player.[citation needed]

Liberatore played a total of 283 senior games for Footscray/Western Bulldogs in a career that included 13 finals, life membership of the club, and selection on the interchange bench in the club's Team of the Century.[citation needed]

Liberatore was noted for his prolific tackling. Throughout his senior career, he made 1,225 tackles in his careerNote; an average of 4.39 per game. In 1992 he became the first VFL/AFL player to exceed 100 tackles in a season,[citation needed] and then exceeded 100 tackles each season until 1996.[4][5][6][7] His season tally of 142 tackles in 1994 stood as the VFL/AFL record until 2006, when James McDonald bettered it by one.[8]

Playing statistics[edit]

[9]
Legend
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team # Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1986 Footscray 60 4 1 1 19 22 41 5 N/A 0.3 0.3 4.8 5.5 10.3 1.3 N/A
1987 Footscray 39 12 7 11 102 70 172 10 23 0.6 0.9 8.5 5.8 14.3 0.8 1.9
1988 Footscray 39 1 0 0 4 6 10 1 1 0.0 0.0 4.0 6.0 10.0 1.0 1.0
1989 Footscray 39 1 0 0 12 2 14 1 3 0.0 0.0 12.0 2.0 14.0 1.0 3.0
1990 Footscray 39 19 13 8 249 245 494 33 82 0.7 0.4 13.1 12.9 26.0 1.7 4.3
1991 Footscray 39 22 13 9 301 296 597 29 62 0.6 0.4 13.7 13.5 27.1 1.3 2.8
1992 Footscray 39 25 14 4 326 286 612 47 136 0.6 0.2 13.0 11.4 24.5 1.9 5.4
1993 Footscray 39 20 12 8 250 238 488 27 115 0.6 0.4 12.5 11.9 24.4 1.4 5.8
1994 Footscray 39 24 6 9 280 211 491 26 142 0.3 0.4 11.7 8.8 20.5 1.1 5.9
1995 Footscray 39 23 9 6 304 234 538 36 116 0.4 0.3 13.2 10.2 23.4 1.6 5.0
1996 Footscray 39 22 6 6 250 232 482 24 111 0.3 0.3 11.4 10.5 21.9 1.1 5.0
1997 Western Bulldogs 39 24 8 4 237 196 433 40 95 0.3 0.2 9.9 8.2 18.0 1.7 4.0
1998 Western Bulldogs 39 9 0 3 49 51 100 16 25 0.0 0.3 5.4 5.7 11.1 1.8 2.8
1999 Western Bulldogs 39 21 2 3 197 154 351 28 69 0.1 0.1 9.4 7.3 16.7 1.3 3.3
2000 Western Bulldogs 39 23 3 6 204 230 434 56 99 0.1 0.3 8.9 10.0 18.9 2.4 4.3
2001 Western Bulldogs 39 17 1 3 120 150 270 26 90 0.1 0.2 7.1 8.8 15.9 1.5 5.3
2002 Western Bulldogs 39 16 0 2 60 90 150 22 56 0.0 0.1 3.8 5.6 9.4 1.4 3.5
Career 283 95 83 2964 2713 5677 427 1225 0.3 0.3 10.5 9.6 20.1 1.5 4.4

Honours and achievements[edit]

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
1986
1987 4
1988
1989
1990 18
1991 2
1992 12
1993 4
1994 16
1995 14
1996 7
1997 10
1998
1999 8
2000 14
2001 3
2002
Total 112
Key:
Green / Bold = Won

Individual

Coaching career[edit]

Liberatore coached the Box Hill Hawks in the Victorian Football League in 2003, taking them to the Grand Final. Between 2003 and 2007, he held an assistant coaching position at the Carlton Football Club and in 2008, he was the senior coach of the Sunbury Lions Football Club in the Ballarat Football League. In 2009, he became the senior coach of the West Footscray Roosters, a team playing in the Melbourne suburban Western Region Football League.[10]

Family[edit]

Liberatore's son, Tom Liberatore, represented Victoria at under 16 level in 2008[11] and was selected as a father-son selection at the 2010 AFL Draft.[citation needed] Tom is now one of the Bulldogs' most prominent players, earning 13 Brownlow Medal votes in 2013.

Footnotes[edit]

1.^ The true number of tackles is likely slightly higher than 1225, as tackle statistics were not recorded during 1986, in which Liberatore played the first four of his 283 games.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Player Totals". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  2. ^ pg 375. Australia's Blackest Sporting Moments: The Top 100. By Stephen Hagan. Published by Ngalga Warralu Publishing Pty Ltd, 2006. ISBN 1-921212-00-4, 978-1-921212-00-0
  3. ^ Holmesby, Russell; Main, Jim (2002). The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers: every AFL/VFL player since 1897 (4th ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Crown Content. p. 378–379. ISBN 1-74095-001-1.
  4. ^ "1993 Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "1994 Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "1995 Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "1996 Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Season and Game Records". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Tony Liberatore's player profile at AFL Tables
  10. ^ Mallinder, Terry (4 Nov 2008)Liberatore a West Footscray Rooster
  11. ^ Tony Liberatore's son contest national championships

External links[edit]