|Date of birth||11 February 1966|
|Original team(s)||Brunswick City / North Melbourne|
|Height||163 cm (5 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||78 kg (172 lb)|
|1986–2002||Footscray/Western Bulldogs||283 (95)|
|Representative team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2002.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
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.
Liberatore played junior football for Brunswick City. He was recruited by North Melbourne, where he played both under-19s and reserve grade football. After winning the Morrish Medal in 1984, he called Hawthorn, St Kilda and Footscray in the hope of playing senior football. Mick Malthouse, who was Footscray coach at the time, invited Liberatore to train but made no guarantees that he would get a game. At his first training session with the club, Liberatore was teased by full-forward Simon Beasley, who said that due to his lack of height he would have been better off training to be a jockey at the nearby Flemington Racecourse. Although Liberatore 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. He was a member of the team that won the 1988 VFL reserves premiership.
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.
Liberatore was noted for his ability to read the play and 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, and then exceeded 100 tackles each season until 1996. His season tally of 142 tackles in 1994 stood as the VFL/AFL record until 2006, when James McDonald bettered it by one.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
Honours and achievementsEdit
|Brownlow Medal votes|
|Green / Bold = Won|
Post-football and coaching careerEdit
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 Carlton 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. In a radio interview in the 2008 pre-season, Liberatore accused then Bulldogs CEO Campbell Rose of causing dissension at the club and being more concerned with making money than winning football matches. His comments saw him briefly banished from the club until he came to apologize to the president David Smorgon later in the year.
Liberatore married his wife Jane, a schoolteacher, in 1991 and had two sons - Tom and Oliver - and one daughter - Meg. News of an acrimonious split became public in April 2008 when Jane demanded the sale of Liberatore's medals with the proceeds to be kept in a trust fund for their children's education. Liberatore was present at the 2016 AFL Grand Final with his daughter and mother to witness the Bulldogs' unlikely triumph, celebrating with Tom in the rooms after the game.
- 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.
- "Player Totals". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- 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
- "The legend of Tony Liberatore". westernbulldogs.com.au. 14 June 2016.
- 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.
- "1993 Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "1994 Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "1995 Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "1996 Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "Season and Game Records". AFL Tables. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- Tony Liberatore's player profile at AFL Tables
- Mallinder, Terry (4 Nov 2008)Liberatore a West Footscray Rooster Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Wilson, Caroline (28 April 2009). "Son of a gun may help heal Libba's rift with Dogs". The Age.
- Warner, Michael; Collier, Karen (24 April 2008). "Tony Liberatore's Brownlow caught in marriage split". Herald Sun.
- Warner, Michael (24 April 2008). "Tony Liberatore may have to sell medals". Daily Telegraph.