by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
The AFL held their annual Hall Of Fame ceremony just a few days before Round 10. Inducted were five new members and one current member, Tony Lockett, was elevated to legend status. Lockett was a legend in his own time with his prowess in front of goal, but it was unofficial. Now it is official. Lockett, the greatest goalkicker in league history, is the 26th player to be named a Legend. Inducted to the Hall in 2006, he played 281 games for St Kilda and Sydney and kicked 1,360 goals. His 1,300th goal in 1999 broke the long-standing record of Collingwood's Gordon Coventry. ironically, that goal came in match against Collingwood. He booted over 100 goals, known as a century, in six seasons: 1987, 1991 and 1992 for the Saints and 1995, 1996 and 1998 for the Swans. His biggest tally was in 1992 with 132 goals for the year, including a whopping 15 against Sydney. Also in 1987, he became the first full forward to win the Brownlow Medal. After the announcement, Lockett said he was proud of the record, but being named a legend meant more.
He said one highlight of his career was being in the 1996 Grand Final, even though the Swans lost to the Kangaroos. It was his famous point after the siren, kicked from 55 yards, which gave Sydney the Preliminary Final win against Essendon and their first chance at a Grand Final since 1945. He admitted that his game that night was "pretty ordinary" (he was playing with a groin injury which he carried into the Grand Final). He retired at the end of 1999, but attempted a comeback in 2002. Due to a bad thigh injury, he managed only three games and three goals and retired for good before the season was over.
St Kilda's president at the time of Lockett's presence, the late Travis Payze, once commented that having Lockett and the exciting NIcky Winmar in the team, brought more fans through the gates and helped generate an estimated $60,000 to the financially struggling club at that time. With Lockett dominating at full forward, the Saints made it to the finals in 1991, the first time in 18 years. Despite Lockett's nine goals, the Saints lost by seven points to Geelong and were eliminated in the first week. Lockett also had his run-ins with the Tribunal. He was reported 16 times, found guilty nine times for a total of 23 games suspended which cost him more than a season during his career or his goal total might have been even higher. The heaviest suspension was eight weeks for a clash with Sydney's Peter Caven which left the Swan battered and bloodied with a broken nose.
Lockett had the interest of Richmond and Collingwood, but wanted to get away from the Melbourne media fishbowl. The absence of constant media scrutiny, anonymity on the street, and the chance to play under the legendary Ron Barassi got him to Sydney. His presence in the team pretty much did the same for the struggling Swans as it did for the Saints. It brought fans to the game and helped the Swans be more competitive. Post-career honors continued to come his way. Among them was the naming of end of the ground at Etihad Stadium being dubbed the Lockett End, The other end is named for Coventry. Always somewhat reclusive, Lockett and his family currently live in New South Wales where he trains greyhounds. He consented to a rare interview earlier this year on a Melbourne radio station. During the induction ceremony, he commented on the two events he has attended this year, saying he felt somewhat like a social butterfly.
ST KILDA: 1983-94, 183 games, 898 goals
SYDNEY: 1995-1999, 98 games, 462 goals
HONORS: Brownlow Medal 1987; St Kilda best & fairest 1987, 1991; Sydney best & fairest 1995; St Kilda 3rd best & fairest 1989, 1992; Coleman Medal 1987 (117), 1991 (127), 1996 (121), 1998 (109); AFL all-time career goalkicking record holder (1,360) St Kilda leading goalkicker 1984-87, 1989-94; Sydney leading goalkicker 1995-99; All-Australian 1987, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1998; AFLPA MVP 1987; Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee 2006; St Kilda Hall of Fame inductee 2003, elevated to Legend 2010; St Kilda Team of the Century; Sydney Team of the Century; State representative (5 games, 19 goals); EJ Whitten Medal 1995 (best on ground for Victoria in State of Origin game).
To hear the induction speeches/interviews in full, go to sen.com.au, click on the "Audio" at the top of the page which will bring up the audio menu of programs, scroll down to the Hall of Fame Speeches and click on the one(s) desired. The interviews are excellent with the interviewers mentioning details which lead to some very amusing stories from the inductees.
Source: afl.com.au, sen.com.au, AFL Record Season Guide, author notes
Article last changed on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 7:30 PM EDT