Tony Lockett

Anthony Howard "Tony" Lockett (born 9 March 1966) is a former Australian rules football player. Nicknamed "Plugger", Lockett is the highest goalscorer in the history of the VFL/AFL with 1,360 goals in a career of 281 games, starting in 1983 with the St Kilda Football Club and ending in 2002 with the Sydney Swans. Lockett won the Brownlow Medal in 1987, becoming the first and only full forward to ever win the award. He is a four-time Coleman Medallist, kicked more than 100 goals in a season on six occasions (an AFL record he shares with Jason Dunstall of Hawthorn) and is a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. In 1999, Lockett broke the all-time goals record when he kicked his 1300th goal, surpassing Gordon Coventry's record of 1299 which had stood for 62 years. Lockett's new record remains unbeaten.

Tony Lockett
Personal information
Full name Anthony Howard Lockett
Nickname(s) "Plugger"
Date of birth (1966-03-09) 9 March 1966
Place of birth Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Original team(s) North Ballarat Roosters
Height 191 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 123 kg (271 lb)
Position(s) Full-forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1983–1994, St Kilda 183 0(898)
1995–1999, 2002 Sydney 098 0(462)
Total 281 (1360)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
Victoria 5 (19)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2002.
Career highlights



Sources: AFL Tables,

At 191 cm tall and weighing 118 kg, Lockett was a unique footballer. His aggression, strong hands, acceleration, high leap and accurate kicking made him a formidable player.

Early life

Tony Lockett was born in Ballarat, Victoria, to his father Howard (a country footballer who played over 500 games and a North Ballarat Football Club Hall of Famer[1] and his mother Liz.[2] He was educated at Ballarat Secondary College and Ballarat Grammar School.

Lockett began playing Australian Rules with the Under 12s team of his father's club, North Ballarat Football Club, in 1974. He played a total of 120 junior games with the club.[3] He had played just five senior games as a 16-year-old in 1982 with North Ballarat before he was recruited by VFL club St Kilda and moved to Melbourne.



St Kilda career: 1983–1994

In Lockett's second year with the club, he kicked seven goals in the opening game against the Essendon Football Club and then went on to kick 70 more goals to win St Kilda's leading goal kicker award. In 1987 he won the Brownlow Medal. His best season at St Kilda was in 1991, when he kicked 127 goals in 17 games, at an average of 7.47 goals per game, the second highest average ever achieved in VFL/AFL history (after Peter Hudson's 1972 and 1973 averages of eight after playing only one game each year). He was also the spearhead for St Kilda's first finals appearance since 1973. In 1992 he kicked the most goals that season with 132 goals. In a qualifying final against Geelong he kicked nine goals and five behinds, although the Saints were beaten by seven points. He was described by dual Brownlow medallist Robert Harvey as the best player he had ever seen.[4]

Sydney Swans career: 1995–1999 2002

In 1995, Lockett transferred to the Sydney Swans, where he played for another six seasons. He was an instant success with the Swans, helping the team into the 1996 finals series and subsequently into the 1996 AFL Grand Final. With scores tied in the preliminary final game, Lockett kicked a point after the siren to give Sydney a one-point victory.[5] Despite a groin injury he played in the grand final, which the Swans lost to North Melbourne. It was the only grand final appearance of Lockett's career.

Lockett's career-best goal-scoring performance came in Round 19, 1995, against Fitzroy at the Western Oval, when he scored 16 goals straight.

Lockett became a cult figure in Sydney. He was a massive drawcard for the struggling Sydney Swans, who had previously found it difficult to attract large support in New South Wales's rugby league heartland. At the height of his popularity the song "There's only one Tony Lockett" was released (sung to the tune of "Guantanamera"), performed by James Freud.

In 1996, Lockett was the subject of much hype in the clash between Geelong and Sydney in which Gary Ablett Sr. was playing at the other end of the ground. The match was billed by the media as Plugger vs God and set a ground record attendance at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He broke the record of 1299 career goals (set by Gordon Coventry) at the SCG in 1999 and sparked one of the biggest pitch invasions seen in Australian rules football.

Lockett retired at the end of 1999 but had a brief comeback in 2002, playing three games and adding three goals to his record.

State of Origin

Lockett played five State of Origin games for Victoria, kicking 19 goals in those games. In his State of Origin debut in 1985 against Western Australia, kicked one goal. He was selected in 1987 against South Australia, and again kicked one goal. In 1989, he kicked five goals in a notable game against South Australia at the MCG.[6] He again kicked five goals against Western Australia in 1992. His final interstate match came in 1995 against South Australia, kicking seven goals and winning the E. J. Whitten Medal.[7] Lockett is known as a big supporter of State of Origin[6] and said after he won the E. J. Whitten Medal that "to win this medal will probably go down as one of the happiest days of my life, and I'll treasure it forever".[7]


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league for the season only
Led the league after finals only
Led the league after season and finals
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1983 St Kilda 37121917762610244N/A1.
1984 St Kilda 1420774414619165108N/A3.
1985 St Kilda 1421792214632178112N/A3.
1986 St Kilda 141860291193615585N/A3.
1987 St Kilda 14221175222649275164165.32.410.
1988 St Kilda 4835196519844464.
1989 St Kilda 4117824122181409257.
1990 St Kilda 41265341121612884115.
1991 St Kilda 417127511903322314077.
1992 St Kilda 4221325821430244157126.
1993 St Kilda 410531285261116375.
1994 St Kilda 4105626100161167675.62.610.01.611.67.60.7
1995 Sydney 4191104417642218139165.
1996 Sydney 4221216321245257168215.
1997 Sydney 41237216523885073.
1998 Sydney 423109361674120812194.
1999 Sydney 419823814127168112154.
2002 Sydney 46330527131.
Career 281 1360 590 2367 500 2867 1760 142 4.8 2.1 8.4 1.8 10.2 6.3 0.7


Lockett's career was marred by several high-profile tribunal appearances. The most famous was in an 11-goal match for St Kilda, against his future club, Sydney, in 1994 when he broke Peter Caven's cheek-bone as he led out from full-forward and the unaware Caven was back-tracking for the ball. The incident resulted in an eight-week suspension for charging.


Lockett's aversion of the media has been well documented. Since his retirement he has been elusive and has had little involvement in the game.

He has appeared in various television commercials, including Advanced Hair and Lowes Menswear (in Sydney). While at a taping session for a Lowes commercial, Lockett engaged in a friendly wrestling match with former amateur rugby player Adrian "Ace" Mueller, who was at the time working for Lowes corporate division. According to some reports, the friendly wrestle developed into something quite competitive, with Lockett pinning Mueller (an exponent of the Israeli self-defence system, Krav Maga).[9] Lockett appeared with Stephen Curry and Dave Lawson in a Toyota Memorable Moments advertisement which takes a lighthearted look at some moments in his career such as the piglet "Pluga", "One Tony Lockett", "That Point" and his 1,300th goal (including the pitch invasion).

Lockett is also well known for his interest in greyhound racing.[10]

Lockett has competed in the gruelling Finke Desert Race in the motorcycle class for over 45s on 7 different occasions between 2008[11] and 2017[12] and is entered again for 2018 riding his KTM500EXC.

In 2017, Lockett made a surprise decision to return to the Sydney Swans as a part-time goal-kicking and forwards coach.[13][14]


Lockett's father, Howard, inherited the nickname "Plugger" from his own father who used to "plug around" in the garden. Howard Lockett, who himself played 500 games of country football,[15] then saw it fit to pass down the nickname once more to his son and it became synonymous with his large size.

In Round 18, 1993, in a match at the Sydney Cricket Ground between St Kilda (then Lockett's club) and Sydney (his future club) a piglet (being a reference to Lockett's build) was released by a member of the Sydney crowd onto the ground (with the wrongly spelled word "Pluga" and Lockett's playing number of "4" spray painted onto it) before being tackled to the ground and removed by Sydney Swans player Darren Holmes.[16] The Channel Seven commentary of the incident had the exclamation of "There's a pig at full-forward!" from commentator Sandy Roberts. Lockett was actually absent from the match due to injury.


Lockett was inducted to both the St Kilda and Sydney Swans' Team of the Century, in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

In 2004 he was inducted into the North Ballarat Football Club hall of fame.

On 22 June 2006 Lockett was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. In 2015, he was elevated to "Legend" status.

The southern goal end at Docklands Stadium was named after him as the "Lockett End", with the other end being named after the footballer whose goal record he broke, Gordon Coventry.

The Ballarat Football League award for the leading goalscorer for the home and away season is named after Lockett[17] as he played his junior football with Ballarat Football League club North Ballarat.

On 19 July 2009 he was inducted into the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame.

In 2003 he was inducted into the St Kilda Football Club Hall of Fame and on 24 July 2010 he was elevated to "Legend" status.

Lockett kicked over one hundred goals in a season on six occasions - at St Kilda in years 1987 (117); 1991 (127); 1992 (132) and at Sydney in years 1995 (110); 1996 (121) and 1998 (109). This is a league record for the number of times a player has kicked over 100 goals in a separate season, which he shares with Jason Dunstall.

The New South Wales Primary Schools Sports Association Australian Football competition is named the Tony Lockett Shield.

In 2017, Lockett was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.[18]

See also


  1. "2006 – Howard Lockett". Archived from the original on 21 July 2008.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  2. Davis, Peter (4 June 1999). "The Saint who became ... Sydney's Saviour". Illawarra Mercury. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Hawthorne, Mark (30 September 2010). "Off to greener pastures (sometimes)". Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  5. AFLGreatestSport (3 September 2011). "AFL- Tony Lockett kicks a behind after siren to win". Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2016 via YouTube.
  6. SAfootballarchive (6 March 2012), 1989 State of Origin Victoria 22.17.149 d South Australia 9.9.63, retrieved 28 February 2016
  7. SAfootballarchive (6 March 2012), 1995 State of Origin Victoria 18.12.120 d South Australia 8.9.57 (Ted Whitten Farewell game), retrieved 28 February 2016
  8. "AFL Tables - Tony Lockett - Stats - Statistics". Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  9. Inside-Rugby magazine February 1999
  10. Cockington, James (20 June 2012). "This is no slumdog". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  11. "Tony Lockett comes to Finke". 7 June 2008. Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  12. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. "Plugger's back: Tony Lockett to help Swans forwards -". Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  14. Buckley, James (14 March 2017). "Goal-kicking legend Tony Lockett joins Swans coaching staff". The Age. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  15. "Tribute to Tony Lockett". Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. "Ballarat Football League - SportsTG". SportsTG. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  18. "Tony Lockett snags Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction". Sport Australia Hall of Fame website. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2017.

Further reading

  • Holt, Stephanie; Hutchinson, Garrie (2003). Footy's Greatest Players. Coulomb Communication. ISBN 0-9580737-3-2.
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