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Gordon 'Nuts' Coventry (25 September 1901 - 7 November 1968) was an Australian rules footballer who played for Collingwood Football Club in the Victorian Football League. With 1,299 goals over 18 seasons no football observer could deny that Coventry remains one of the greatest full forwards the game has ever seen. As well as holding the AFL/VFL all time goalkickng record for over six decades, Coventry became the first player to kick 100 goals in a season in 1929, the first to reach 300 games, the first to kick 1,000 goals and the only player to kick 50 goals or more on 13 successive occasions. He was Collingwood's leading goalkicker every year from 1922 to 1937 and won the league goalkicking 6 times, 1926-30 and 1937. In 2009, The Australian nominated Coventry as one of the 25 greatest footballers never to win a Brownlow medal.

Early years

Born in Diamond Creekmarker, Coventry was the eighth child of Victorian-born parents Henry Coventry and Jane Henrietta. Gordon, or "Nuts" as he was known by his family due to a disproportionately large head as a child, attended Diamond Creekmarker State School, and played his early football for Diamond Creekmarker in the Heidelbergmarker League as well as working for his father's orchard. While playing in the local league he established himself as a champion centre-half-forward before being asked to train at Collingwood by club officials in 1920.

Later that year, Coventry was selected to play his first senior game for Collingwood against St.Kilda. He wouldn't make an immediate impact at first and at times looked clumsy, but did enough to ensure he kept his spot after two valuable seasons. His brother, Syd Coventry would also be welcomed at the club in 1922. Gordon had kicked 32 goals in those first two seasons, but played in his prime position in the losing grand final side of 1920 where he would kick more than half of Collingwood's combined score. In 1922 Coventry started a move closer to goals and as the team continued its dominance, Coventry became a focal point, and in 1923 would win the club's goal kicking with 42 goals. Coventry did not possess the phenomenal skills of his predecessor Dick Lee or the aerial prowess of his successor Ron Todd, but relied on tremendous strength and a vice-like grip when marking the ball, a combination that made him almost unstoppable once he had front position.

Playing career at Collingwood

By 1923 Coventry was one of the most consistent full forwards in the league and would remain the club's leading goal kicker for the next five seasons, as well as playing in three losing grand final sides. In 1926 he would win his first league leading goal kicking title with 83 goals. When his brother became captain of the side in 1927, success came to the club in more ways than ever achieved. Coventry played in the four consecutive premierships between 1927 and 1930, and in the same years would continue his league dominance, being the finest goal kicker in the league. In the 1928 Grand Final he would kick 9 goals, a league record, and in 1929 he became the first player to kick 100 goals in a season, where he kicked 124 goals, a feat he followed up in 1930 with 118 which included a personal best bag of 17 goals against Fitzroy. Coventry would continue being Collingwood's leading goal kicker during the years 1931-34, and would win his first and only, Copeland Trophy in 1933, where he kicked another 108 goals for the season.

In 1935 Coventry played in his fifth premiership, kicking four goals to get his side across the line. He would, however, miss the 1936 VFL Grand Final due to suspension, where he was found guilty of striking Richmond defender Joe Murdoch. Coventry played the match against the Tigers with a crop of painful boils on his neck, and when Murdoch repeatedly struck his neck, Coventry retaliated and was subsequently suspended for 8 matches, It was his first report in 280 appearances for the Magpies. Nevertheless Collingwood went on to win the premiership without their champion full forward. In 1937 Coventry would retire after winning his sixth league leading goal kicker award, and his 16th consecutive club leading goal kicker award. Coventry also represented Victoria on 25 occasions for a total of 100 goals.

Legacy

Coventry left Collingwood and coached in the VAFA for a number of years. Coventry kicked 1299 goals in VFL football, a record that stood for more than six decades. he was also the first player to pass 300 VFL/AFL games.

In 1996 Coventry was inducted into the inaugural Australian rules football hall of fame and two years later elevated to "Legend" status. In 1998 he was named at full forward in Collingwood's team of the century. [The Gordon Coventry Trophy is awarded to [Collingwood Magpies|Collingwood's]] leading goal kicker each year. The southern side of the Docklands stadiummarker is named the "Coventry end".

Coventry died in 1968 of heart disease at his property in Diamond Creekmarker, survived by his wife and four children.

Performances by season

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See also



References

  1. The Australian, September 22, 2009, retrieved 2009-09-22
  2. Coventry, Gordon Richard James (1901 - 1968) Biographical Entry - Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
  3. http://www.aflworld.com.au/home/inside.asp?ID=94&pnav=93
  4. AFL End of season report, 2007


External links




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