Mathew Stokes

Mathew Stokes (born 22 November 1984) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played with the Geelong Football Club and the Essendon Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).

Mathew Stokes
Stokes with Geelong in July 2011
Personal information
Full name Mathew Stokes
Nickname(s) Stokesy[1]
Date of birth (1984-11-22) 22 November 1984
Place of birth Northern Territory, Australia
Original team(s) Palmerston Magpies (NTFL)
Woodville-West Torrens (SANFL)
Draft No. 61, 2005 National Draft
Height 176 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 75 kg (165 lb)
Position(s) Forward / Midfielder
Club information
Current club Essendon
Number 48
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
20062015 Geelong 189 (203)
2016 Essendon 011 0(6)
Total 200 (209)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2007–2009 Indigenous All-Stars 2 (0)
2008 Dream Team 1 (1)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2016.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2008.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Early life

Mathew Stokes grew up in Darwin, Australia, with his parents John and Jennifer, and three sisters Jaylene, Anne-Maree and Amy.[2] Stokes' ancestors were Indigenous Australian (Larrakia), Filipino and Spanish.[3][4] His father is a life member of the Palmerston Magpies, having played 148 games for them in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL).[2] Growing up, Stokes played basketball, cricket and rugby league,[2] but age restrictions limited his involvement in Australian rules football until he was 11 years old.[2] Stokes' main sporting passion was for basketball, where he played at every junior level growing up and won an under-14s best and fairest award whilst still only seven years of age.[2][5] When he was finally eligible to play football as an under-14, Stokes forced his way into the Palmerston Magpies senior team[2] at only 14 years of age.[6] In 2002, he was a member of Palmerston's premiership-winning side,[2] and it was then that he began to switch his focus from basketball to football.[2] Stokes' achievements in the local junior leagues saw him selected to represent Australia in the under-17's national team,[6] alongside future AFL players Luke Hodge, Luke Ball and Nick Dal Santo.

Stokes was overlooked in the 2002 AFL Draft though, and moved to Adelaide to begin playing in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) for Woodville-West Torrens.[6] Taking up a part-time job as a zookeeper off the field,[6] Stokes continued to establish himself in the SANFL over the next three years. His persistence paid off when he was selected with the 61st pick in the 2005 AFL Draft by the Geelong Football Club.[6]

AFL career

It was not until his seventh game, making his mark against Port Adelaide in Round 15, 2006, that he kicked two final-term goals to lift Geelong's finals chances, one of which he marked and kicked from 40m out under pressure. For the rest of the year Stokes was inconsistent and as a result was in and out of the team.

In 2006, Stokes played in Geelong's VFL grand final side, losing to the Sandringham Zebras.

Stokes cemented his spot in Geelong's best 22 players. His best game in the 2007 home-and-away season was against Fremantle, in round 17, when he kicked a career best 5 goals. He was a member of Geelong's 2007 AFL Premiership side, overcoming a dislocated kneecap in the first quarter to make a solid contribution to the team's record 119 point win over Port Adelaide.

Stokes escaped severe head injuries in a 2008 pre-season practice match against the Brisbane Lions,[7] when in the last quarter he suffered a blow to the head after being tackled by Brisbane midfielder Albert Proud.[7] He was declared OK after being stretchered from the ground, and despite having a sore head, didn't need to be taken to hospital.[7]

Stokes was reported in Geelong's Round 7 clash against the Brisbane Lions, after striking Brisbane's Michael Rischitelli in the match's first quarter.[8] Stokes went on to garner two goals and 12 disposals for the game.[9] At the AFL Tribunal, he accepted a one match suspension for the incident,[8] but due to his poor tribunal record, which includes a four match suspension for an incident in the 2007 pre-season, his ban could not be reduced with an early plea.[8] Stokes went on to play 22 games for 2008 including the loss in the 2008 AFL Grand Final against Hawthorn. He had a career high 31 disposals (22 kicks, 9 handballs, 13 marks and 2 goals) in the round 2, 99 point win against Essendon.

Stokes played 19 games in total for 2009, including the second qualifying final against the Western Bulldogs. He withdrew from the preliminary final against Collingwood due to groin soreness, and as a result of Geelong winning the preliminary final by a large margin and all players performing well, he could not force his selection back into the team for the grand final against St Kilda.

Stokes later revealed that the decision to withdraw from the preliminary final was driven by "letting down his teammates" in the 2008 Grand Final loss by playing unfit,[10] and stated that:

"Someone had to miss out and the boys played well last week, so I didn't really expect to come back in. I've moved on from the fact I'm not playing and I've dealt with it and I'm quite happy with the decision because I knew the consequences of me not playing in the prelim(inary) final."[10]

His best games of 2009 came against Brisbane in round 5 (13 kicks, 11 handballs, 4 marks and 3 goals); Sydney in round 7 (13 kicks, 8 handballs, 6 marks, 6 tackles and 3 goals) and against Adelaide in round 4 (12 kicks, 11 handballs, 6 marks, 4 tackles and 2 goals). He kicked a season high 4 goals against the Western Bulldogs in round 9. Stokes was ranked 18th in the AFL for goal assists per game in 2009.

Despite interest from the West Coast Eagles to secure Stokes,[11] Geelong re-signed Stokes to a two-year contract extension at the conclusion of the 2009 season.[12]

The Geelong Football Club imposed sanctions against Stokes for his 2010 drug arrest including being banned from playing for Geelong's AFL team until round eight. Stokes was an automatic inclusion to the team in round eight and played a total of 18 games for the season. His best games came in the round 11 win against West Coast at Subiaco (24 disposals, 16 kicks 8 handballs, 5 marks and a goal); the round 14 win over North Melbourne at Skilled Stadium (28 disposals, 10 kicks 18 handballs and 9 marks); the round 15 win against Hawthorn at the MCG (22 disposals, 12 kicks, 10 handballs, 3 marks and 4 goals) and in the Semi Final victory over Fremantle at the MCG, (22 disposals, 10 kicks, 12 handballs, 6 marks and 3 goals). Stokes was ranked 12th in the AFL for goal assists per game. [13][14]

On 1 September 2015, Stokes announced the final round clash against Adelaide would be his last for Geelong and he was subsequently delisted,[15] he announced his official retirement from the AFL on 6 November.[16]

In January 2016, he came out of retirement to sign with the Essendon Football Club as a top-up player due to the club's supplements controversy.[17] He announced in August he would retire after his 200th game in round 22 against Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.[18]

Personal life

Stokes interests outside of football include feral pig shooting, and fishing.[19] Stokes grew up supporting the Collingwood Football Club.[19] His football hero was Nathan Buckley of Collingwood.[19] His overall sporting hero is American basketball player, Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA,[19]

Growing up, Stokes was close friends with other future AFL players, including Trent Hentschel, Aaron Davey and Alwyn Davey.[6]

Whilst playing in the SANFL, Stokes worked part-time as a zookeeper, and hopes to return to the profession after his football career.[2] As a result, he studies zoology via correspondence.[5]

On 3 February 2010, Stokes was arrested on charges of possession and trafficking of cocaine.[20] On 27 April 2010, Stokes pleaded guilty to the possession charge in the Geelong Magistrates' Court after a deal between prosecutors and Stokes' lawyers to drop the trafficking charge. Stokes was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $3000 to the court fund. A conviction was not recorded by the magistrate.[21]

After retiring as a player, Stokes was employed by the AFL as its Indigenous engagement and programs manager.[22] He remained in this role until December 2018, when he returned to the Geelong Football Club as its people and engagement manager.[22]


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2006 Geelong 27995724511751231.
2007 Geelong 27213215195159354111581.
2008 Geelong 27223817235162397122541.70.710.77.418.05.52.5
2009 Geelong 2719291915714330075551.
2010 Geelong 2718281216617934576321.
2011 Geelong 2722291620823344195701.30.79.510.620.04.33.2
2012 Geelong 272015614916131070630.
2013 Geelong 2724126285348633123650.50.311.914.526.45.12.7
2014 Geelong 27207427023950980550.40.213.512.
2015 Geelong 27144213513226758330.
2016 Essendon 48116510710321058300.
Career 200 209 107 1979 1904 3883 919 538 1.0 0.5 9.9 9.5 19.4 4.6 2.7

Honours and achievements

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
2006 2
2010 3
2011 2
2012 -
2013 7
2014 6
2015 -
Total 20


  1. "Stokes proud of major milestone". Geelong Advertiser. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  2. Begg, Peter (18 April 2008). "Home truths set Stokes on right path". Herald Sun. Australia. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  3. Cat's father caught up in Power play, The Australian, 29 Sep 2007
  4. AFL Record. Round 9,2009. Slattery Publishing. pg 74.
  5. Reed, David (1 June 2010). "Late starter". Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  6. Gullan, Scott Gullan (6 June 2008). "I said I'd never make it: Mathew Stokes". Herald Sun. Australia. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  7. Green, Bradley (1 March 2008). "Stokes escapes serious injury as Cats win on the Gold Coast". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  8. "Cat Matthew Stokes to miss a match, Bombers in strife at tribunal". Geelong Advertiser. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  9. "Geelong vs Brisbane Lions". Herald Sun. Australia. 3 May 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  10. Walsh, Courtney (4 February 2010). "Popular Geelong Cat Mathew Stokes driven by loyalty to family". The Australian. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  11. Denham, Greg (1 October 2009). "Eagles eyeing unlucky Stokes". The Australian. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  12. Gullan, Scott (9 February 2010). "Get a life, Mathew Stokes". Herald Sun. Australia. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  15. Ryan, Peter (1 September 2015). "Two-time premiership player Stokes calls time at Geelong". Bigpond. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  16. Murnane, Matt (6 November 2015). "Geelong premiership hero Mathew Stokes officially calls an end to career". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  17. Guthrie, Ben (29 January 2016). "James Polkinghorne and Mathew Stokes the latest to top up at Essendon". Bigpond. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  18. Navaratnam, Dinny (18 August 2016). "Bomber out for 200: Mathew Stokes to retire after Dogs clash". Bigpond. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  19. AFL Record – Round 9 2008, Collingwood V Geelong 23 May 2008
  20. Buttler, Mark (3 February 2010). "Geelong premiership player Mathew Stokes questioned in drug investigation". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  21. Bice, Katie (27 April 2010). "Cats star Mathew Stokes gets 12-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine after trafficking charge dropped". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  22. McWilliams, Phoebe (6 December 2018). "Premiership Cat returns home". Telstra Media. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  23. Mathew Stokes' player profile at AFL Tables
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