Sydney Coventry Snr
13 June 1899
10 November 1976 (aged 77)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 327d
Last game: 35y 101d
Height and weight
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Collingwood: 6, 7, 9, 8, 4
Diamond Creek (1922)
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Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
Originally from Diamond Creek, Syd Coventry journeyed across the Bass Strait after the First World War to work in the mines at Queenstown, taking with him a reputation as a fine footballer. While still in Queenstown he was approached by St Kilda who wanted him to play for them in 1921. Syd duly agreed, but when he returned to Melbourne he was persuaded by his younger brother Gordon, who had just finished his first season with Collingwood, to reconsider. Apart from the issue of family loyalty, there was the small matter of the excessive distance between Diamond Creek and St Kilda to think of.
The upshot of it all was that Syd Coventry elected to throw in his lot with Collingwood, whereupon St Kilda, not surprisingly, screamed "foul!" The VFL Permits Committee was called in to adjudicate, and Coventry was faced with the choice of playing with St Kilda, or sitting out of football for twelve months so that he could join the Woods. He opted for the latter course of action, and in 1922 he started out on an illustrious thirteen season, 227 game league career with Collingwood.
Despite standing only 182cm in height, Syd Coventry played mainly as a ruckman, where his aggression, vigour and dynamism more than compensated for any deficiency in stature. A born leader, he captained the Magpies from 1927 until he moved to Footscray as coach at the end of the 1934 season. He thus enjoyed the unique privilege of captaining four successive VFL premiership teams (1927-8-9-30)
Often at his best when the going was rough, one of Syd Coventry's finest performances came on a waterlogged MCG in the 1927 Grand Final, when Collingwood and Richmond between them could manage only three goals for the match. The 1927 season also saw him win both the Brownlow Medal and Collingwood's best and fairest award. He repeated the second achievement five years later.
A virtual ever-present in VFL representative teams for most of his career, Coventry made a total of 27 interstate appearances. His eventual departure from Victoria Park to coach Footscray came with the blessing of the Collingwood committee, but only on the proviso that he did not continue as a player.
After two unsuccessful and unhappy years with Footscray, Syd Coventry returned to Collingwood in an administrative capacity. He served as club vice-president from 1939 to 1949, and as president between 1950 and 1962. From 1963 until 1976 he was Collingwood's patron, rounding off more than fifty years of involvement with the club.
Author - John Devaney