Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Adam Roy Goodes

Known as
Adam Goodes

8 January 1980 (age 44)

Place of birth
Wallaroo, SA (5556)

Indigenous Australian

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 79d
Last game: 35y 254d

Height and weight
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 100 kg

Senior clubs
Sydney; Australia; Sydney Reserves

Jumper numbers
Sydney: 37

State of origin

Family links
Brett Goodes (Brother)Michael O'Loughlin (Cousin)Ricky O'Loughlin (Cousin)

Adam Goodes

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
AustraliaIR2001, 2010400.00
Sydney ReservesNEAFL2015242.00

AFL: 10,943rd player to appear, 11th most games played, 74th most goals kickedSydney: 1,290th player to appear, 1st most games played, 5th most goals kicked

Adam Goodes was an outstanding footballer over seventeen seasons with the Sydney Swans. Durable, consistent, and versatile, not to mention supremely talented with the ability to produce the seemingly impossible when most required, Goodes was an ornament to the game, and served (on and off the field) as a role model and inspiration to indigenous Australians throughout the country.

Goodes grew up in Adelaide playing soccer but it was in country Victoria that he began to play, and excel at, the Australian game. He first came to the Swans' notice while playing for North Ballarat in the newly reformulated VFL competition, and was subsequently recruited to the club as a third round selection (pick 43 overall) in the 1997 AFL national draft, a bargain pick if ever there was one. This was confirmed when Goodes won the AFL Norwich Rising Star award after his first full season for the Swans in 1999.

With the greater weight of expectation and opposition scrutiny, Goodes struggled to fulfil his early promise over the next few seasons, and lacked consistency. The appointment of Paul Roos as Swans coach in late 2002 gave the big man a clean slate from which he could prove himself, and so he did. Given a broader license to run, whether from the ruck, from the wing, or from a key forward position, Goodes suddenly found a new lease on football life and with it the confidence derived from backing himself and succeeding.

Belying his height and bulk, Goodes roamed around like ground like a young colt, marking, contesting, bringing teammates into the game, and exerting physical pressure in a more concerted manner than previously. His improved work rate paid dividends, as he became a key figure in the team’s unexpected surge up the ladder in 2003, making it all the way to the preliminary final only to lose to eventual premier Brisbane. At the Brownlow medal count held on the Monday night after that loss, Goodes proved just how much he had improved, tying on 22 votes with two of the contemporary greats of the game, Mark Ricciuto and Nathan Buckley, for the competition’s highest individual honour.

An indifferent season followed, exacerbated by knee problems that saw him removed from the ruck and playing more in key positions, including in the back line. But play on he did, a .testament to his resilience and ability to play through injury. Indeed, one of his most remarkable career achievements was playing 204 consecutive games between 1999 and 2008, the third longest games steak in V/AFL history.

Regaining full fitness and confidence Goodes rebounded in 2005 to be become a key driver in the Swans’ surge to the premiership. After going down to the West Coast Eagles by four points in the Second Qualifying final in Perth, the Swans returned the favour in one of the most exciting Grand finals ever played. The win ended a 72-year premiership drought for the club that was once South Melbourne.

The Eagles turned the tables in 2006, and after losing to the Swans in the First Qualifying final by one point, they again won by the tightest of margins in another thrilling Grand Final. The rivalry between the two teams during this period can be gauged by a remarkable sequence of 4, 4, 2, 1, 1, 1 point margins, respectively. While the Eagles may have felt hard done by at having to settle for one premiership each with the Sydneysiders—given the talent on their list vis-a-vis the more 'workman-like' Swans combination—hindsight has judged it to be a fair split.

The Bloods, as the player’s referred to themselves, did not have the champion players the Eagles could muster (with the exception of Goodes himself) but instead prided themselves on a never-say-die sacrificial commitment to play for each other and win against the odds (the ‘Bloods’ culture). Under Paul Roos a style of defensive, hard tackling, and close checking play was developed that sought to smoother the opposition. It was a style conducive to low scoring ‘slug fests’ and so many games the Swans played through the Roos era turned out to be thus, most notably against the Eagles. Notwithstanding his more flamboyant running game, Goodes bought into the Bloods mentality as much as any member of the team. 

In the context of a team structure that entailed subverting individual brilliance to the team cause, Goodes’ second Brownlow Medal win in 2006 was a remarkable feat. That season he secured 26 votes from the men in white, including seven best on grounds, finishing four votes clear of Scott West, and seventeen clear of his nearest teammate, Brett Kirk. A second All-Australian jumper and a second club best and fairest (both first achieved in 2003) reinforced his reputation as one of the great players in the game.

While 2006 was the pinnacle of Goodes’ career as far as consistent individual brilliance is concerned, he nonetheless remained one of the Swans’, and the AFL’s, outstanding performers over subsequent seasons notwithstanding ongoing injury problems and some form lapses. All-Australian jumpers, in 2009 and 2011, a third Swans best and fairest award in 2011, consistently strong polling in the Brownlow Medal, and four years as Swans’ co-captain, confirmed his standing in the game.

So too did his willingness to embrace his indigenous heritage and serve as an unofficial ambassador for encouraging and recognising indigenous achievement, including to the Australian game itself. This work, coupled with other community involvement, lead in 2014 to Goodes being named ‘Australian of the year’, an unprecedented accolade for a footballer. Given his own achievements, it was all the more unfortunate that a section of the Perth crowd took to booing Goodes during what turned out to be his final season in 2015.

Crowning Goodes’ playing career was his vital contribution to the Swans grand final victory over Hawthorn in 2012. Badly injuring a knee during the second quarter, coach John Longmire left Goodes on the ground despite being severely restricted in his movements. The coach’s faith in the big man was fully justified as he continued to contest and kicked a vital goal late in the final quarter to see the Swans over the line. That was just the type of team-lifting performance that characterised Adam Goodes' career. 

Author - Adam Cardosi


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.