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Anthony "Tony" Howard Lockett (born in Ballaratmarker on 9 March 1966) is a former Australian rules football player. 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, and is a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

VFL/AFL career

Lockett was originally recruited from the North Ballarat Football Club. 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.

Nickname

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, 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 Groundmarker 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 an opposition player. [60207] 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 absent from the match due to injury.

St Kilda

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

In 1995, Lockett transferred to the Sydney Swans, where he played for another five 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 Ovalmarker, 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 Groundmarker. 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 initially retired after 1999. However, he was coerced out of retirement in 2002, but played only two games and added only three goals to his record.

Controversy

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

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 Mueller (an exponent of the Israeli self defence system, Krav Maga) pinning Lockett.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).

Lockett is also well known for his main interest outside of football, greyhound racing and is the trainer of famous dog Brett Lee (which is believed to be worth upwards of A$1million) among others.

On 13 May 2006, Lockett gave a rare interview to Triple M's AFL pre-match coverage. In it he revealed that he currently lives near Bowral, New South Walesmarker and has little interest in the AFL. He said he felt ashamed of his playing career, describing himself as a "thug who could play a bit" and cited outside interests as the reason for his non-involvement in the game.

Legacy

Lockett was inducted to both the St Kilda and Sydney Swans respective Teams of the Century in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

On 22 June 2006, Lockett was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

He has had one goal end at Etihad Stadiummarker named after him (the Lockett End of the Ethihad Stadium), 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. Lockett was a product of Ballarat Football League club North Ballarat.

On 19 July 2009, he was inducted into the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame, despite having played the majority of his career at St. Kilda.

See also



Notes

  1. Tribute to Tony Lockett
  2. Inside-Rugby magazine February 1999
  3. http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=1-6145-0-0-0&sID=112149&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=8021017&sectionID=112149


Further Reading



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