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Anthony Howard "Tony" Lockett (born 9 March 1966) is a former Australian rules football player. Nicknamed "Plugger", Lockett is the highest goalscorer in the history of the VFL/AFL with 1,360 goals in a career of 281 games, starting in 1983 with the St Kilda Football Club and ending in 2002 with the Sydney Swans. Lockett won the Brownlow Medal in 1987, becoming the first and only full forward to ever win the award. He is a four-time Coleman Medallist, kicked more than 100 goals in a season on six occasions (an AFL record) and is a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. In 1999, Lockett broke the all-time goals record when he kicked his 1300th goal, surpassing Gordon Coventry's record of 1299 which had stood for 62 years. Lockett's new record remains unbeaten.
|Full name||Anthony Howard Lockett|
|Date of birth||9 March 1966|
|Place of birth||Ballarat, Victoria, Australia|
|Original team(s)||North Ballarat Roosters|
|Height||191 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||118 kg (260 lb)|
|1995–1999, 2002||Sydney||98 (462)|
|Representative team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2002.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
At 191 cm tall and weighing 118 kg, Lockett was a unique footballer. His aggression, strong hands, acceleration, high leap and accurate kicking made him a formidable player.
Tony Lockett was born in Ballarat, Victoria, to his father Howard (a country footballer who played over 500 games and a North Ballarat Football Club Hall of Famer and his mother Liz. He was educated at Ballarat Secondary College and Ballarat Grammar School.
Lockett began playing Australian Rules with the Under 12s team of his father's club, North Ballarat Football Club, in 1974. He played a total of 120 junior games with the club. He had played just five senior games as a 16-year-old in 1982 with North Ballarat before he was recruited by VFL club St Kilda and moved to Melbourne.
St Kilda career: 1983–1994Edit
In Lockett's second year with the club, he kicked seven goals in the opening game against the Essendon Football Club and then went on to kick 70 more goals to win St Kilda's leading goal kicker award. In 1987 he won the Brownlow Medal. His 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 second highest average ever achieved in VFL/AFL history (after Peter Hudson's 1972 and 1973 averages of eight after playing only one game each year). He was also the spearhead for St Kilda's first finals appearance since 1973. In 1992 he kicked the most goals that season with 132 goals. In a qualifying final against Geelong he kicked nine goals and five behinds, although the Saints were beaten by seven points. He was described by dual Brownlow medallist Robert Harvey as the best player he had ever seen.
Sydney Swans career: 1995–2002Edit
In 1995, Lockett transferred to the Sydney Swans, where he played for another six seasons. He was an instant success with the Swans, helping the team into the 1996 finals series and subsequently into the 1996 AFL Grand Final. With scores tied in the preliminary final game, Lockett kicked a point after the siren to give Sydney a one-point victory. Despite a groin injury he played in the grand final, which the Swans lost to North Melbourne. It was the only grand final appearance of Lockett's career.
Lockett became a cult figure in Sydney. He was a massive drawcard for the struggling Sydney Swans, who had previously found it difficult to attract large support in New South Wales's rugby league heartland. At the height of his popularity the song "There's only one Tony Lockett" was released (sung to the tune of "Guantanamera"), performed by James Freud.
In 1996, Lockett was the subject of much hype in the clash between Geelong and Sydney in which Gary Ablett Sr. 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 Ground. He broke the record of 1299 career goals (set by Gordon Coventry) at the SCG in 1999 and sparked one of the biggest pitch invasions seen in Australian rules football.
Lockett retired at the end of 1999 but had a brief comeback in 2002, playing three games and adding three goals to his record.
State of OriginEdit
Lockett played five State of Origin games for Victoria, kicking 19 goals in those games. In his State of Origin debut in 1985 against Western Australia, kicked one goal. He was selected in 1987 against South Australia, and again kicked one goal. In 1989, he kicked five goals in a notable game against South Australia at the MCG. He again kicked five goals against Western Australia in 1992. His final interstate match came in 1995 against South Australia, kicking seven goals and winning the E. J. Whitten Medal. Lockett is known as a big supporter of State of Origin and said after he won the E. J. Whitten Medal that "to win this medal will probably go down as one of the happiest days of my life, and I'll treasure it forever".
|Led the league for the season only|
|Led the league after finals only|
|Led the league after season and finals|
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
Lockett's 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.
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 Adrian "Ace" Mueller, who was at the time working for Lowes corporate division. According to some reports, the friendly wrestle developed into something quite competitive, with Lockett pinning Mueller (an exponent of the Israeli self-defence system, Krav Maga). Lockett appeared with Stephen Curry and Dave Lawson in a Toyota Memorable Moments advertisement which takes a lighthearted look at some moments in his career such as the piglet "Pluga", "One Tony Lockett", "That Point" and his 1,300th goal (including the pitch invasion).
Lockett's father, Howard, inherited the nickname "Plugger" from his own father who used to "plug around" in the garden. Howard Lockett, who himself played 500 games of country football, then saw it fit to pass down the nickname once more to his son and it became synonymous with his large size.
In Round 18, 1993, in a match at the Sydney Cricket Ground between St Kilda (then Lockett's club) and Sydney (his future club) a piglet (being a reference to Lockett's build) was released by a member of the Sydney crowd onto the ground (with the wrongly spelled word "Pluga" and Lockett's playing number of "4" spray painted onto it) before being tackled to the ground and removed by Sydney Swans player Darren Holmes. The Channel Seven commentary of the incident had the exclamation of "There's a pig at full-forward!" from commentator Sandy Roberts. Lockett was actually absent from the match due to injury.
Lockett was inducted to both the St Kilda and Sydney Swans' Team of the Century, in 2001 and 2003 respectively.
In 2004 he was inducted into the North Ballarat Football Club hall of fame.
On 22 June 2006 Lockett was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. In 2015, he was elevated to "Legend" status.
The Ballarat Football League award for the leading goalscorer for the home and away season is named after Lockett as he played his junior football with Ballarat Football League club North Ballarat.
On 19 July 2009 he was inducted into the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame.
In 2003 he was inducted into the St Kilda Football Club Hall of Fame and on 24 July 2010 he was elevated to "Legend" status.
Lockett kicked over one hundred goals in a season on six occasions - at St Kilda in years 1987 (117); 1991 (127); 1992 (132) and at Sydney in years 1995 (110); 1996 (121) and 1998 (109). This is a league record for the number of times a player has kicked over 100 goals in a separate season, which he shares with Jason Dunstall.
The New South Wales Primary Schools Sports Association Australian Football competition is named the Tony Lockett Shield.
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