9 March 1966
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 38d
Last game: 36y 98d
Height and weight
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 104 kg
St Kilda (1995)
AFL: 9,416th player to appear, 94th most games played, 1st most goals kickedSt Kilda: 1,278th player to appear, 33rd most games played, 1st most goals kickedSydney: 1,258th player to appear, 128th most games played, 4th most goals kicked
Massively built at 191cm and 112kg, full forward Tony Lockett was both an awesome on-field presence and one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Using a combination of explosive pace over the first few metres and tremendous physical strength he manoeuvered himself into front position to take mark after mark and ultimately amass more V/AFL goals than anyone else. Lockett, who hailed from Ballarat, made his league debut with St Kilda in 1983, and by his second season, when he booted 77 goals, it was obvious that the Saints had a special talent on their hands. Tallies of 79 and 60 goals followed before Lockett 'topped the ton' (and the league list) for the first time in 1987 with 117 goals. Emphasising the fact that he was much more than just the bloke who kicked the goals, Lockett surprised many pundits in 1987 by tying for the Brownlow Medal with Hawthorn's John Platten; he was the first full forward ever to win the award, and he doubled up by winning the Saints' club champion trophy as well.
Between 1983 and 1994 Lockett played 183 games and kicked 898 goals for St Kilda, topping the league list for the second time in 1991 (with 127 goals), and the Saints' list every season bar one. He also won a second club best and fairest award in 1991. His record would have been even better had he not suffered from persistent niggling injuries, particularly to his back.
Never happy with being under constant media scrutiny in Melbourne, in 1995 Lockett sought, and was granted, a move to Sydney, where Australian footballers enjoy comparative anonymity. Over the next five seasons he not only gave the Swans great service, he also helped raise the profile of Australia's native game in the country's largest city. Arguably his most memorable moment came in the 1996 preliminary final against Essendon at the SCG when, with a behind kicked after the final siren, he secured his team's passage to a grand final showdown with North Melbourne. Sadly for Lockett, however, the only grand final appearance of his senior career ended in failure, as North won easily by 43 points after the match had been finely poised at half time. Another great moment, also at the SCG, came in 1999 when - ironically against Collingwood - he surpassed former Magpie great Gordon Coventry's long-standing V/AFL goal kicking record with the 1,300th goal of his career.
Tony Lockett retired in 1999 after 95 games and 459 goals for the Swans, but three years later he made a much heralded comeback. Despite making strenuous efforts to get as fit as possible, however, he managed just three AFL games (for three goals) plus a handful for the Swans' VFL feeder club, Port Melbourne, before admitting that he was no longer up to the demands of the game at the highest level. During his career he had won the Coleman Medal a record four times, and achieved AFL All Australian selection on five occasions. Unusually for a full forward, he also won three club best and fairest awards, affording persuasive evidence, if such were needed, that there was much more to his game than just the kicking of goals.
Not surprisingly, Tony Lockett was selected at full forward in both the St Kilda and Sydney 'Teams of the Century'.
Author - John Devaney