Australian Football

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Key Facts

Full name
Ronald Todd

Known as
Ron Todd

Born
23 October 1916

Died
8 February 1991 (aged 74)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 298d
Last game: 22y 342d

Height and weight
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 82 kg

Senior clubs
Collingwood; Williamstown

Jumper numbers
Collingwood: 35, 20, 27, 21

Recruited from
Collingwood (1940)

Ron Todd

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
CollingwoodV/AFL1935-1939763274.3072%16.758.2913
WilliamstownVFA1940-19491416744.78
Total1935-194921710014.61

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 4,321st player to appear, 3,107th most games played, 157th most goals kickedCollingwood: 388th player to appear, 247th most games played, 12th most goals kicked

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After commencing his league career at centre half forward, Ron Todd had the unenviable task of succeeding the legendary Gordon Coventry at the Collingwood goalfront when Coventry retired. In terms of style, the two players could hardly have been more different: whereas the stolidly built Coventry used a combination of strength and guile to obtain possession, Todd was one of the most acrobatic aerialists the game has seen; moreover, whereas Coventry was slow to the point of appearing plodding, Todd possessed blistering pace, and away from football enjoyed success as a professional sprinter.

Both Todd and Coventry shared one important thing, however - they could kick goals. In Ron Todd's case, this meant 327 goals in just 76 VFL games at the phenomenal average of 4.3 per game. At the close of the 1930s, Ron Todd was indisputably one of football's most compelling attractions.

Then, at the end of a 1939 season that had seen him top the VFL goal-kicking list for the second successive time, he committed what, from a Collingwood perspective, was the unforgivable sin, and accepted the equivalent of $1,000 from bookmaker Bill Dooley to sign for VFA side Williamstown. The ANFC, of which the VFL was a member, was embroiled in a clearance dispute with the VFA at the time which meant that Todd was able to transfer to the Seagulls without a clearance, an action to which the VFL retaliated by handing him a five-year ban, effectively ruining his chances of ever playing for Collingwood again.

The Magpies' loss, however, proved to be a massive gain both for Williamstown, which saw its average home attendances more than double. In tandem with former Carlton star Harry 'Soapy' Vallence Todd was irrepressible, and between 1940 and 1949 he booted 674 goals in 141 games for an overall career total of 1,001 goals. A member of premiership teams in 1945 and 1949 - the latter season as captain - he allegedly made a couple of attempts to return to Collingwood, only to come up against a committee which was unable to make up its mind. In the end, he was happy to stay at Williamstown, where some of his goal kicking achievements - notably 188 goals in the 1945 season, and 20 in a match against Oakleigh that same year - helped rewrite the Association record books.

Many considered Ron Todd to be a glaringly appalling omission from the Australian Football Hall of Fame after it was instituted in 1996. That oversight was finally rectified in 2017, when Todd was at last inducted. 

Author - John Devaney, with updates by Andrew Gigacz

Sources

Full Points Footy Publications

Footnotes

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