Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Ernest Coward

Known as
Ernie Coward

27 January 1916

5 April 1985 (aged 69)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 23y 92d
Last game: 29y 217d

Height and weight
Height: 170 cm
Weight: 67 kg

Senior clubs

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 1

Ernie Coward

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

AFL: 4,689th player to appear, 1,895th most games played, 3,621st most goals kickedEssendon: 535th player to appear, 131st most games played, 309th most goals kicked

After playing just 10 League games for West Perth in 1936 and 1937 Ernie Coward, nicknamed ‘Sonny’, sought a clearance to Essendon. Quite naturally, this was refused, forcing the player to stand out of football for a year before getting his way.

Highly talented, and with pace to burn, Coward played most of his football as a wingman, the position he occupied in the VFL grand finals of 1941-2-3.Only the second of these matches was won, with Coward’s a conspicuous presence as Richmond were overwhelmed by 53 points.

Runner-up in the Dons’ 1944 best and fairest count ‘Sonny’ Coward was chosen to represent Victoria the following year. Between 1939 and 1945 he played 118 VFL games and kicked 20 goals. He spent the period from 1946 to 1948 playing for Maryborough of the Ballarat Football League before captain-coaching NTFA side Scottsdale in 1949.

Author - John Devaney


Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers by Russell Holmesby & Jim Main; Wikipedia article; Those Magnificent Men 1897-1987 by Michael Maplestone


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