Champion full-forward Tony Lockett – the greatest goal-kicker of all time – has returned to the Sydney Swans.
Lockett will travel to Sydney from his home town of Bowral once a fortnight to attend training and mentor the likes of Lance Franklin, Sam Reid and Kurt Tippett.
The coup is a massive boost for the Swans’ forward group who will be looking to capitalise on Lockett’s wealth of knowledge, which has remained relatively untapped since his retirement nearly 15 years ago.
“It’s fantastic for our players to have access to Tony during our training sessions,” Longmire said.
“He obviously knows a thing or two about goal-kicking, and to be able to draw upon that experience and knowledge can only be a good thing for our players.
“We’ve been wanting to get Tony back for quite a few years now.
“He seems to be keen to get involved, so it’s really good for our younger players in particular to have access to his knowledge.”
It’s Lockett’s first role with a football club, in any capacity, since his retirement in 2002.
After his final game, in Round 12 of that season at the SCG, the man widely known as “Plugger” has kept quite the low profile.
The 51-year-old surprised everyone by personally presenting Lance Franklin with his Coleman Medal at Sydney’s 2014 Club Champion Dinner.
The Brownlow medallist, four-time Coleman medallist and five-time All-Australian was then, with his family in attendance, inducted as a Legend at the AFL Hall of Fame the following year.
While the towering forward will be largely remembered for his goals, one of his most memorable kicks was actually a behind.
Lockett kicked a point after the siren against Essendon in 1996 to put the Swans into their first Grand Final since moving to Sydney, a moment immortalised by vision of teammates running from everywhere to celebrate with him in the centre of the MCG.
Then came the record-breaking goal, his 1300th, against Collingwood in 1999. The achievement is widely regarded as a feat unlikely to be reached again.
Lockett’s Career Highlights
Clubs: St Kilda, Sydney Swans
Recruited from: North Ballarat
Playing career: 1983-99, 2002
Accolades: Brownlow Medal (1987), AFLPA MVP (1987), Coleman Medal (1987, 1991, 1996, 1998), All-Australian (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1998), St Kilda Best & Fairest (1987, 1991), Bob Skilton Medal (1995), Australian Football Hall of Fame (Legend Status), Sydney Swans Hall of Fame, St Kilda Hall of Fame, Sydney Team of the Century (Full Forward), St Kilda Team of the Century (Full Forward), State of Origin Representative (1985, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1995), E. J. Whitten Medal (1995).