Inside Story on how Plugger got to the Swans

   Plugger reported for striking Peter Caven at the SCG 1994

Former Swans star defender and media man Neil Cordy believes that the recruitment of Tony Lockett was transformational for the Swans in the Sydney market. Tony Lockett’s 1995 arrival in Sydney from St Kilda was a game changer for both parties”, Cordy wrote in a piece on “The Big 3 at the SCG” earlier this year on the Society’s website

“Lockett’s physique, nickname and robust playing style appealed to Sydneysiders, particularly during rugby league’s ‘Super Wars’. The conversion even included the crusty old newspaper seller down at Wynyard station who dumped his Souths’ beanie for a Swans one in the lead-up to the 96 AFL grand final”, Cords told me in a recent telephone conversation.

So just how did the Swans snare Plugger when AFL heavyweights, Collingwood and Richmond had him squarely in their sights?

Footy, races, the William Farrer Hotel – a trinity of factors that came together post-season in Wagga in 1994 when then-Swans match committee chairman Greg Harris was in town on a local recruiting mission that would instead land the greatest goal-kicker in the history of VFL/AFL football.

Harris, known universally as “Huey”, in his role with the Swans as Ron Barassi’s right-hand man had witnessed first-hand Lockett single-handedly complete one of the greatest comebacks in footy history when he led St Kilda from 41 points down with nine minutes to go against the Swans on 8 May 1994 with “Plugger” sealing the 1-point victory with 3 goals in the final three minutes to bring his total for the match to eleven.                                                                                

    Ron Barassi with Greg Harris
                 in the background

At the post-season review when asked who the club should recruit, “Huey” was unequivocal in his response, “Tony Lockett!”.

Just how that happened will be teased out by seasoned Sydney football observer Simon Kelly when he interviews Greg Harris, along with fellow Easts’ legend Ray Millington at the History Society’s annual lunch and publication awards function at the Magpies Sports Club (Hampden St Croydon Park) on Tuesday 14 December from 12 noon.

The luncheon will be held upstairs in the function room overlooking Picken Oval.

There is no charge and no booking required. Non-members are welcome to attend.

Traditional club fare and beverages are available at the Club.

Please feel free to share news of this event with former team-mates and supporters. 

(Drop us a line at: admin@nswfootballhistory.com.au if you and/or friends are coming so we can inform the club’s bistro with regards numbers for the day)

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