Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
John Bonney

Known as
John Bonney

21 May 1946

Place of birth
Burnie, TAS (7320)

20 February 2022 (aged 75)

Place of death
Cobden, VIC (3266)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 329d
Last game: 30y 43d

Height and weight
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 72 kg

Senior clubs
Cooee; St. Kilda

Jumper numbers
St. Kilda: 24, 1

Recruited from
Burnie Dockers (1967); Burnie Dockers (1971); St. Kilda (1973); Burnie Tigers (1976)

State of origin

John Bonney

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
CooeeNWFU1962-1966, 1970, 1978
St. KildaV/AFL1967-1969, 1971, 1973, 197687790.9161%14.693.712.5718
Burnie TigersNWFU1974-197542
NWFU1962-1966, 1970, 1974-1975, 197842
V/AFL1967-1969, 1971, 1973, 197687790.9161%14.693.712.5718
Total1962-1971, 1973-1976, 1978129790.61

AFL: 7,886th player to appear, 2,797th most games played, 1,373rd most goals kickedSt. Kilda: 1,129th player to appear, 166th most games played, 76th most goals kicked

A small, extremely fast winger with a wealth of experience behind him in Tasmanian football ..... Marks well for his size and delivers the ball to team mates with great accuracy.¹

John Bonney enjoyed an illustrious playing career in two states. He performed with equal effectiveness across the centre, on the ball, or on a half forward flank and represented both Tasmania and the VFL in the interstate arena. He commenced with Cooee in 1962 and, over the ensuing five seasons, played 53 games for the club as well as making numerous intrastate appearances for the NWFU and notching up five interstate matches for Tasmania. In 1967 he was recruited by St Kilda, for whom he went on to play a total of 87 senior VFL games in three stints (1967-9, 1971-3 and 1976), kicking 79 goals. For much of his time with the Saints he commuted by air from Cooee to Melbourne each weekend. Highlights of his time in the VFL included an interstate appearance against Western Australia in 1971 and membership the same year of St Kilda's losing Grand Final team against Hawthorn.

In between his first couple of VFL stints he fronted up with Cooee, while in 1974 and 1975 he played 42 games as captain-coach of Burnie, whom he steered to a premiership in the first of those years. After spending the 1977 season out of the game he rounded off his career as playing coach of his original club Cooee during a 1978 season that spawned both the local and state flags. John Bonney thus became the first man to coach two different NWFU teams to premierships.

Bonney's achievements in the game appear all the more impressive when you consider that, after sustaining a ruptured spleen as a youngster, he had been told by doctors that he would never play football again.

Author - John Devaney


1. “Football Record”, 25/9/71, page 6.


Full Points Footy's Tasmanian Football Companion, Crème de la Crème


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