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
St. Kilda: 24, 1
State of origin
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|Cooee||NWFU||1962-1966, 1970, 1978||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|St. Kilda||V/AFL||1967-1969, 1971, 1973, 1976||87||79||0.91||61%||14.69||3.71||2.57||18|
|NWFU||1962-1966, 1970, 1974-1975, 1978||42||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|V/AFL||1967-1969, 1971, 1973, 1976||87||79||0.91||61%||14.69||3.71||2.57||18|
|Total||1962-1971, 1973-1976, 1978||129||79||0.61||—||—||—||—||—|
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.