AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
25 September 1901
7 November 1968 (aged 67)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 324d
Last game: 36y 0d
Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Collingwood: 29, 5, 6, 10, 7, 8, 3, 9
Diamond Creek (1920)
Syd Coventry Snr (Brother)Hugh Coventry (Nephew)Syd Coventry Jnr (Nephew)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
AFL: 2,566th player to appear, 72nd most games played, 2nd most goals kickedCollingwood: 246th player to appear, 3rd most games played, 1st most goals kicked
Besides being a one man record-making machine, Gordon Coventry affords a classic example of a footballer making the very most of his strengths in order to succeed. Neither fleet of foot nor elegant, Coventry was once described as "more of the plodding war horse...... than the dashing cavalier",¹ and used strength of body and adroitness of mind instead of the traditional full forward's attributes of speed off the mark and aerodynamic prowess to obtain possession of the football. Once Coventry had gained such possession within goal kicking range, the result was virtually inevitable, and on no fewer than 1,299 occasions over the course of eighteen league seasons the goal umpires were forced to undergo their familiar, ritualised race from goal post to goal post, followed by the time-honoured signal of success. Until the arrival of an ostensibly similar physical specimen in the shape of Tony Lockett, Coventry's career tally of 1,299 majors remained as a VFL record.
Other records procured by Coventry - known, almost universally, as 'Nuts' - will stand for all time. In 1929 he became the first VFL player to kick 100 goals in a season (he finished with 124), while shortly before his retirement in 1937 he became the first VFL player to participate in more than 300 games (he ended up playing 306). His record of booting 50 or more goals in thirteen consecutive seasons will also take some beating, as will his achievement in topping Collingwood's goal kicking list on sixteen straight occasions. His 100 goals for the VFL in 25 interstate matches is also a record.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of Coventry's career came when he was suspended for eight matches in 1936 after striking Richmond's Joe Murdoch. Coventry had played against Richmond despite having a crop of boils on his neck, and the striking incident occurred when he retaliated after Murdoch had, if the expression can be pardoned, hit him where it hurts. Despite Coventry's impeccable disciplinary record the Tribunal showed him no mercy, and he ended up missing the Magpies' Grand Final win over South Melbourne. Coventry's place at the goal front went to a young Ron Todd, a very different but no less effective player, who would eventually, at least for a time, step into his legendary predecessor's shoes on a more permanent basis.
After topping the VFL's list of goal kickers one last time in 1937, Gordon Coventry opted to retire, whereupon a special celebratory gathering was arranged at Melbourne's ANZAC House, at which he was presented with the princely sum of £128. During the get-together Collingwood's president Harry Curtis summed up Coventry's career in the following, carefully chosen words: "When the big gossoon came down from Diamond Creek he was slow and awkward. However, Jock McHale turned him out a champion".²
Author - John Devaney