Indigenous team of the century member and Sydney Swans all-time great Adam Goodes

To celebrate the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round in 2016 – Round 10 from Friday May 27 to Sunday May 29 ‘Milestones and misses’ is taking a look back at the exhilarating career of one of the 2015 retiree’s, Adam Goodes who in an incredible 17 season AFL career played 372 AFL games for the Sydney Swans and is widely regarded to be one of the South Melbourne/Sydney Swans two greatest players of all-time along with nine-time best and fairest winner Bob Skilton. Goodes is one of eight Swans to win three or more best and fairests for the club and amazingly each of Goodes’ three b & f’s was won playing in a very different position of ruck in 2003, wing in 2006 and key forward in 2011 – highlighting his versatility and wide ranging skill-set which made him one of the most difficult players to match up on the in the AFL.

The Sydney Swans selected a 17 year-old Goodes with a third round pick at the 1997 National Draft, after not playing a game in his first season on Sydney’s list Goodes excelled in his second season to play 20 games and win the AFL’s 1999 Rising Star award. By the time he turned 26 in January 2006 Adam had won the highest individual honour in the game, the Brownlow Medal in 2003, tasted the ultimate team success, playing in Sydney’s 2005 premiership, the club’s first premiership in 72 years, and had also been named in the Indigenous Team of the Century alongside such players as Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer, Barry Cable, Maurice Rioli, Michael Long, Nicky Winmar, and close friend and Sydney team-mate Michael O’Loughlin.

After turning 26 Goodes played another 10 AFL seasons, won a second Brownlow Medal in 2006, played in a second premiership for Sydney in 2012 and developed his leadership skills to become a Sydney Swans co-captain in 2009 and held this role for four seasons.

Adam_Goodes 2006 WIKI

When asked by Mike Sheehan “Is there anyone where you say I am going to have run into X again and he is going to hold, push, knee me, fall onto me, and make life incredibly difficult for me?” Adam responds “No, because I think the exact opposite, I think of how I am going to make it completely impossible for him to man up on me today, and that’s run, use my assets, if he’s going to be shorter than me I am going to push forward and take marks and kick goals, if he is going to be the same height as me I am going to use my pace around the contest, I have to use my skill-set, my attributes, my strengths to nullify the niggle, the holding on, umpires not paying free kicks when you think they are there. You have just got to let those things go and play the best that you can play.”

Tonight the Sydney Swans play North Melbourne at the SCG in the opening game of Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round with the winning club to receive the annual Marn Grook trophy. Sydney will be wearing their Indigenous jumper which has been designed by Adam’s mum, Lisa May Sansbury. The best player afield will receive the Goodes-O’Loughlin medal in honour of Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin, as well as ranking first and second respectively on Sydney’s all-time game list the duo are premiership players for the club, best and fairest winners and also rank in the top four on the club’s all-time goals list with O’Loughlin second and Goodes fourth. Speaking to Swans TV earlier this week about the club paying tribute to himself and O’Loughlin with the medal for best afield Goodes commented “It’s nice to be remembered at this football club. This football club has meant so much to both of us, so to still be affiliated with the Swans … it’s the club who helped us develop into the young men that we are.”1

Adam Goodes was born on 8 January 1980 in Wallaroo, South Australia, a port town 160 kilometres north-west of Adelaide, his parents are Lisa May Sansbury and Graham Goodes and he has two younger brothers, Jake and Brett. Adam’s father Graham is of European descent and his mum Lisa is indigenous. Lisa has no memories of her parents as she is part of the stolen generations, being taken as a young child from her family and raised in a foster home. Adam’s parents separated when he was four years old and he remained living with his mum. As a junior Goodes was a skilful soccer player, representing Victoria, he didn’t play his first game of Australian Rules Football until he was 13 years old and his school Australian Rules team, short of numbers had the school’s entire soccer team fill in so they could field a side. Adam and his family moved a lot when he was growing up, partly due to his mum searching for family, which resulted in him attending five primary schools and two high schools. Just before starting high school Adam and his family moved to the Victorian town of Merbein, located 12 kilometres from Mildura.

On changing from soccer to Australian Rules football after he moved to Merbein Goodes comments “I was a 13 year-old kid, I went down to the soccer pitch and it was only senior football, they didn’t have junior ranks and it was just a very vicious and violent game and my mum was looking at me and going ‘There is no way you are playing this’ and I was like ‘Mum, I want to play soccer.’ It just so happened that on the field right next to us there was a junior game of AFL going on, the Merbein Magpies were playing over there and we went over and I towered above all the kids that looked like my age group and mum said ‘I would much prefer if you play footy’ and a week later she enrolled me to play with the Maggies and that’s where my footy career started.”

Later on Adam and his family moved to Horsham and he continued playing Australian Rules football,  representing Victoria Country in the under 16 and under 18 national championships and playing for the North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup under 18 competition. AFL 98’s profile of Goodes said he “Showed match-winning capacity at under-18 level, being Victoria Country’s best player in the first game of the AFL National Under-18 Championships before breaking a hand.”2 At the 2015 Sydney Swans best and fairest Goodes recalled his final year of junior football in 1997, commenting “It was a pretty tough year for me to be honest, I broke my hand in the Under 18 Nationals, and the Nationals are obviously where a lot of the scouts come and watch, and I broke it in the first quarter during that game so I actually missed 10 games in the middle of the year.”

Adam returned from his hand injury just before the 1997 finals for his TAC Cup side, the North Ballarat Rebels who finished the home and away season in third position and then progressed to the Grand Final against minor premiers, the Dandenong Stingrays. In the 1997 TAC Cup Grand Final Adam Goodes won the medal for best afield, dominating for the North Ballarat in their victory against the Dandenong Stingrays, kicking six goals.

Most of the players selected at the 1997 AFL National Draft were 18 years or over, however each club was able to select one 17 year-old. Goodes was widely expected to be one of the 17 year-olds selected, however due to being a bottom-age player, and having spent an extended period of time on the sidelines he had far less exposed form than most of his peers in the 1997 draft pool. As Goodes had shown on Grand Final day, at his best he was unstoppable, and it very much looked a case of a man playing against boys, however he was inconsistent which made it difficult to predict where he would be selected at the 1997 National Draft. The Sydney Swans choose Goodes as their 17 year-old player with selection 43, he was the fourth player selected from North Ballarat, with three of his team-mates getting selected in the first 14 picks, James Walker (pick 6), Shane O’Bree (pick 10), and Shannon Watt (pick 14). At the time of being drafted by Sydney Goodes was 191 centimetres tall and weighed 85 kilograms.

When asked what were his thoughts when he was drafted by Sydney Goodes said “I had just finished year 12, I knew I had to move away from Horsham and my family, and whether it was Sydney or West Coast or somewhere in Melbourne it was still going to be a long way from home, and I was just really excited that I was going to a place I had never been to before and to get a phone call from Mick O’Loughlin the next day to say we are really excited to have you up here, by the way we are cousins, ‘and I’m like alright, that is awesome, I have got family up there waiting for me up there, so how bad can it be.” O’Loughlin is three years older than Goodes, made his AFL debut in 1995 and had played 59 games and kicked 59 goals for Sydney when Goodes was drafted and had already made an All-Australian team, being named at half-forward in 1997.

Goodes played for Sydney’s Reserves side during 1998 and didn’t make an AFL appearance, only being named an emergency for Sydney’s AFL team once, in Round 15. Whilst Goodes didn’t make an AFL appearance during 1998 his year on Sydney’s list and training with an AFL club still had him much better placed for the 1999 season than if Goodes had spent 1998 playing in the TAC Cup and Sydney or another AFL club had of drafted him as an 18 year-old at the 1998 National Draft. Whilst Goodes was expected to challenge for a regular spot in Sydney’s 1999 team no-one anticipated how significant an impression he would make at AFL level in 1999.

Goodes made his AFL debut at 19 years of age in Round 1 1999 against Port Adelaide at the SCG and had 11 kicks, no handballs, four marks and kicked one goal. He retained his position in Sydney’s Round 2 side against Richmond and received a Rising Star nomination for a performance in which he had eight kicks, one handball, four marks, three inside 50s and kicked two goals.

Goodes started the 1999 season predominantly playing as a key forward however a knee injury resulted in Sydney’s number 1 ruckman Greg Stafford missing 12 games from Round 5 to Round 16. During Stafford’s time on the sidelines Goodes was mainly utilised as a ruckman. At 191 centimetres tall Goodes was much shorter than most of the ruckman he was opposed to, however he was able to counteract this with a great spring and magnificent athleticism, allowing him to have more impact around the ground than the majority of his opponents. After Stafford returned to Sydney’s line-up Goodes rotated between playing as a key forward and a ruck.

Goodes convincingly won the 1999 Norwich Union Rising Star award with 33 of a possible 35 votes, ahead of Brett Burton (24 votes), Simon Black (22) and Dean Rioli (16).  During 1999 Goodes played 20 games for Sydney and kicked 19 goals ranked equal fourth at the club, he also ranked fourth at Sydney for contested marks, equal fourth for hard-ball gets and fifth for clearances.

During 2000 and 2001 Goodes played predominantly as a key forward but he also had some stints in the ruck. The profile for Goodes in AFL 2001 said “There is no doubt he is a match-winner. Can explode and kick multiple goals in a quarter or can frustrate by going missing. Still capable of plenty of improvement and will be looking to build some consistency into his game.”3 During 2000 and 2001 playing predominantly as a forward Goodes kicked a total of 74 goals, and in both season was ranked second for goals at Sydney behind O’Loughlin.

In 2002 Goodes was a more consistent player and although he continued to rotate between the forward line and the ruck he was given increased time in the ruck late in the season, he had at least eight hit-outs seven times in 2002 – the last seven games of the season. Goodes skill-set led to him being an extremely difficult match-up as he was very effective in the air, as well as at ground level, and his endurance together with his reading of the play enabled him to cover vast territory and provide drive for the Swans all over the ground, being ranked amongst the top handful of players at the club for kicks (3rd), inside 50s (2nd) and rebound 50s (4th). Goodes’ increased consistency was rewarded with his first top 10 finish in a Sydney best and fairest, polling 330 votes to finish third in the 2002 best and fairest behind midfielders Paul Williams and Daryn Cresswell.

The profile for Goodes in AFL 2003 started with “His maturity and development reached another level in 2002 with a campaign in which his leadership shone through as much as his dazzling skills” and the final line of his profile proved to be very prophetic, saying “Poised to realise his full potential.”4 To the end of 2002 Goodes had proved to be very durable, playing a total of 87 games in four seasons since making his debut in the opening round of the 1999 season, he had polled a total of just seven Brownlow Medal votes in his career, comprised of five votes in 2001 and two votes in 2002.

In the opening round of the 2003 season Goodes set a new personal best with 28 disposals, comprised of a game-high 23 kicks, and five handballs in the 74 point victory against Carlton at Stadium Australia, he also had nine marks, 18 hit-outs, four rebound 50s, seven inside 50s, five clearances, 12 contested possessions, an equal team-high three contested marks and received two Brownlow Medal votes for his brilliant performance.

Goodes didn’t poll a Brownlow Medal vote in Round 2 but in the best form of his career to that stage he polled a total of nine votes in five games from Round 3 to Round 7, he was in the votes in every game. Goodes’ blistering start to the 2003 season resulted in him easily polling more votes in the first seven Rounds of the season with 11 than the total votes he had polled in his career in his first four seasons playing in the AFL.

In Round 13, 2003 at 23 years of age Goodes played his 100th game against Port Adelaide at Football Park. Adam was best afield against the West Coast Eagles the following week, having 16 kicks and nine marks to set game-highs in both categories, five marks, 10 hit-outs, an equal game-high six inside 50s and laid four tackles. In each of his next three games against St Kilda in Round 15, Carlton in Round 16 and Fremantle in Round 17 Goodes polled two votes to move to the outright lead on 20 votes.

After not polling any votes between Round 18 and Round 21 Goodes relinquished the lead and entering the final round he trailed Mark Ricciuto, Nathan Buckley and Ben Cousins who were all on 21 votes, and was just ahead of Gavin Wanganeen, Michael Voss, Peter Bell and Shane Crawford who were all on 19 votes. Buckley and Ricciuto each polled a vote in Round 22 to increase their tally to 22 votes, the last votes read at the count were for Sydney vs Melbourne. Goodes hoped that he polled two votes enabling him to jointly win the Brownlow Medal and this is exactly what transpired with team-mates Nic Fosdike and O’Loughlin receiving three votes and one vote respectively.

Adam was accompanied to the Brownlow by his Mum, Lisa May. During his acceptance speech Adam said “I came in really relaxed. I just felt comfortable. I just really wanted to enjoy with my mates … Have some quality time with Mum. It probably wasn’t a good thing to have Mum there, watching her nerves… But it was a sensational thing to share with Mum. It’s great. We’re not full of stars at the Swans and to get so many votes in a team where we just try as hard as each other is an honour. I can’t believe it. It’s a dream, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m standing up here with Nathan Buckley and Mark Ricciuto.”

Goodes was the first South Melbourne/Sydney Swans player to win the Brownlow Medal since his former team-mate and captain, Paul Kelly won in 1995, it was the 13th time that a Swans player had won the Brownlow Medal with the club’s only multiple winner being Bob Skilton who won the medal three times- in 1959, 1963 and 1968 to be one of only four players in the history of the VFL/AFL to have won three Brownlow Medals.

The 2003 Brownlow Medal was only the second time that there had been a three-way tie with the previous one being in 1930, when a countback system resulted in only one player being declared the winner. Two of the joint winners in 2003 had fewer best afield performances for a winner than normal, with Goodes and Buckley only receiving the three votes twice each, whilst Ricciuto was best afield four times.

Goodes shared the ruck duties with Jason Ball until Ball injured his shoulder early in Round 17 against Fremantle at the SCG, after this point Goodes contested significantly more hit-outs. Goodes had 17 or more hit-outs eight times in 2003 including six times in his last eight games.  Predominantly playing in the ruck, consistency proved to be one of Goodes’ greatest strengths in 2003 polling votes in 11 games – exactly half, also receiving seven 2’s and two 1’s. During 2003 Goodes played 24 games including two finals, averaging 114 minutes per game, 12.7 kicks, 5.3 handballs, 5.9 marks and a career-best 12.5 hit-outs per game with a disposal efficiency of 83.8%. Goodes was selected in the All-Australian team for the first time – being named in the ruck, and won Sydney’s best and fairest, polling 416 votes to finish ahead of Brett Kirk (387 votes) and Jude Bolton (331 votes). Goodes led Sydney for kicks and contested marks, ranked second for disposals, marks, clearances and hard-ball gets, third for inside 50s, fifth for rebound 50s and equal sixth for goals.

Throughout the opening third of the 2004 season Goodes continued to play in the ruck, however at the opening bounce of the Round 8 game against West Coast ruckman Dean Cox at Subiaco Oval he injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee which severely hampered his lateral movement. After the injury Sydney head-coach Paul Roos decided the risk of injury to Goodes in contesting centre bounces was too great which resulted in Goodes being moved from the ruck. It is common for players to miss several weeks with a posterior cruciate ligament, however showing tremendous courage Goodes didn’t miss a single game. With his mobility effected Adam wasn’t able to be as damaging in the midfield which led to head coach Paul Roos considering other positions to play him in. Commenting on the knee injury Goodes said “I didn’t want to miss games, I still wanted to play my role for the team, whatever it was and Roosy asked me ‘Where do you want to play, do you want to play forward or back?’ and I said ‘I want to play back, I want to not have to worry about kicking goals, turning blokes around, give me a bloke to play on and I’ll just beat em’, and that’s what I was able to do for the remaining part of the year. I spent a lot of time in the Doctor’s room getting lots of fluid drained out of my knee and what not week in and week out, and I was still able to play a role for the team and I think for me that was a real positive thing. I could still play my role even though I wasn’t being in the best on the weekend, and that was a really good thing that I could do for the team.”

During 2005 Goodes played in a variety of positions including the wing, able to make use of his endurance and athleticism having recovered from the knee injuries that restricted him in 2004. His profile in AFL Prospectus 2006 said “Goodes played a career-best game in Round 18, 2005, when he finished with 33 disposals (32 effective), 16 contested possessions, 15 long kicks, 11 clearances and 10 inside 50. Statistically, it was the best game by an individual in 2005. A player with great durability, Goodes hasn’t missed a game since the end of 1999.”5

In Goodes’ first four seasons from 1999 to 2002 Sydney had been a middle of the road team finishing in order, eighth, 10th, seventh and 11th. Sydney improved in the following two seasons to finish fourth in 2003 before losing a preliminary final to Brisbane at the Gabba and sixth in 2004, being defeated by St Kilda in a semi final at the MCG.

Sydney started 2005 slowly to have two wins and four losses after Round 6 and be in 12th position on the ladder out of 16 teams. Sydney were one of the form teams for the rest of the AFL season, winning 13 of their remaining 16 games to finish in third position with 15 wins, two games behind the minor premiers Adelaide and the second placed West Coast Eagles, and one game ahead of St Kilda in fourth place. After losing the qualifying to West Coast at Subiaco Oval by four points Sydney looked like being eliminated in straight sets when they trailed Geelong by 17 points at three-quarter time in wet conditions at the SCG in their semi final, however inspired by a blistering final quarter from small forward Nick Davis Sydney fought back to have a thrilling three point victory. In a Friday night preliminary final at the MCG Sydney trailed St Kilda by 13 points late in the third quarter before kicking the last eight goals of the game to win by 31 points and progress to Sydney’s first Grand Final in 19 years.

During 2005 Sydney had a low disposal, contested brand of football which resulted in them ranking 14th in a 16 team AFL for points scored, and were very sound defensively, conceding the second least points for the home and away season. Goodes ranked third at Sydney for disposals with 449, behind a couple of hard nuts in Brett Kirk (570) and Jude Bolton (452). West Coast on the other hand played a more attacking brand of football and despite playing one less game than Sydney during 2005 seven Eagles had more than 400 disposals for the season including Ben Cousins (612), Chris Judd (536), Daniel Kerr (460) and Dean Cox (406). The 2005 Grand Final was played in Sydney’s preferred game-style, a low-scoring gruelling contest and leading by 20 points at half-time Sydney held on to win by four points, 58 points to 54 with Sydney defender Leo Barry taking one of the most infamous marks of all-time in the final seconds, taking a pack-mark deep in West Coast’s forward line. In the Grand Final victory Goodes had 12 kicks, eight handballs, seven marks, nine contested possessions, kicked a goal and had a team–high eight one percenters.

The Premiership was the fourth in Sydney’s history, having endured a drought of 72 years since their previous premiership in 1933 when the club was called South Melbourne. South Melbourne relocated to Sydney in 1982 and battled through some lean times from 1990 to 1994, finishing in the bottom four in all five seasons during this period, including winning three consecutive wooden spoons from 1992 to 1994. Sydney have turned things around significantly to rarely miss the AFL finals in the past 20 years from 1996 to 2015.

When appearing on Open Mike in June 2012 and asked about the Bloods culture Goodes said “The one game that really stood out for us as a group was the Geelong game (semi final) in 2005 where Nick Davis kicked four (goals) in that last quarter. We were down and out but we just stuck to our structures, we stuck to the way that we wanted to play our type of football because we knew it could win those tight games, it was a real learning curve to me that every player just needed to play there role and we’ll win, and ever since that day we still have that motto at our footy club that if you play your role you are going to give us every opportunity to win this game of footy no matter what opposition we play against, and we really believe in that.”

During the first five Rounds of 2006 Goodes didn’t poll a Brownlow Medal vote, however from Round 6 to Round 10 Goodes was in career-best form and was the most dominant player in the AFL having four best afield performances from five games during this period. To highlight Goodes’ extraordinary performance during this period, in his 165 AFL games before this purple patch Goodes had received the three votes four times in total over seven and a bit seasons. Goodes’ hot streak commenced in Sydney’s 32 point win over Brisbane in Round 6 with a game-high 20 kicks – six more than the second ranked player, an equal team-high eight handballs, eight marks, a game-high seven inside 50s, an equal team-high five clearances, a team-high six clearances, a goal assist and two goals. After not polling a vote in Round 7 Goodes receive the three votes in three successive games from Round 8 to Round 10, averaging 18.3 kicks, 6.7 handballs, 9.0 marks and 6.0 inside 50s per game across this three game sequence which moved him to the top of the Brownlow Medal leaderboard.

Western Bulldogs centreman Scott West polled eight votes between Rounds 11 to Round 13 to increase his tally to 19 votes, seven votes ahead of Goodes. Despite polling eight votes from Round 14 to Round 20 to increase his tally to 20 votes with two rounds remaining Goodes trailed West and Daniel Kerr both on 22 votes and Chris Judd on 21 votes. Adam’s sixth best afield performance of the season in Round 21 took his tally to 23 votes and the outright lead and in Round 22 against Carlton Goodes dominated in another best afield performance to have a team-high 18 kicks, eight handballs, nine marks, five inside 50s, four clearances and kicked a game-high four goals – his most goals in a game for the season and the only time he kicked more than two goals in a game. Goodes polled 26 votes in 2006 including a season-best seven threes to finish three votes ahead of West. Goodes became one of just 12 players to win multiple Brownlow Medals, another two players have joined this illustrious club since 2006 – Chris Judd and Garry Ablett junior.

Sydney had 14 wins and eight losses during the 2006 home and away season to finish fourth. Sydney defeated West Coast by one point in the qualifying final at Subiaco Oval and then won their Preliminary Final against Fremantle by 35 points at Telstra Stadium to progress to their second consecutive Grand Final against West Coast. For the second year in a row Sydney and West Coast played a thrilling Grand Final at the MCG, however the 2006 game was higher scoring and West Coast led by 25 points at half-time. Sydney fought back in the second half with Goodes playing a superb final quarter having nine kicks and kicking a skilful goal on the run however West Coast held on to win a point, 85 points to 84.

The Sydney coaching staff utilised Goodes’ versatility and unique skill-set to full-effect during 2006 playing him in several positions, however the position he spent the most time in was the wing. The profile of Goodes in AFL Prospectus 2007 said “he produced numbers rarely seen by a tall utility player. He averaged a career-high 21 disposals, 13 uncontested possessions, five inside 50s and three tackles per game.” The profile underlined how many facets of the game Goodes ranked amongst the AFL’s elite, saying “He was a danger when pushing forward, with 25 goals and 17 score assists, but was just as good behind the ball where he ranked equal No. 1 in AFL marks from opposition kicks as well as possessions from opposition disposals. In the air he took 29 contested marks, but was also dominant at ground level where his 76 looseball-gets ranked ninth in the AFL.”6

In 2006 Goodes played 25 games, averaging 115 minutes, 15.2 kicks, 5.6 handballs and 6.8 marks per game with a disposal efficiency of 76.2%. Goodes led Sydney for kicks and loose-ball gets, ranked second for contested marks and inside 50s, equal third for rebound 50s, and fourth for marks, tackles and handballs received. Goodes finished a phenomenal 17 votes ahead of Sydney’s second ranked player at the Brownlow Medal, Brett Kirk who polled nine votes. Goodes made his second All-Australian team, being named on the wing, and was joined in the 2006 team by three Swans team-mates, Craig Bolton (half-back), Ryan O’Keefe (half-forward) and Barry Hall (centre-half forward) who was named vice-captain. Goodes comfortably won his second Sydney best and fairest, polling 520 votes, 37 more than Ryan O’Keefe and Brett Kirk who finished in equal second place, with Barry Hall a further two votes back in fourth place.

Goodes started the 2007 season slowly, averaging 14.1 disposals per game from Round 1 to 8 and having less than 20 disposals in all eight games. In the middle third of the season Goodes’ from improved and by the last third of the season he had recaptured his 2006 Brownlow Medal winning form and finished the season in sublime form, being judged by the umpires to be the best or second best player on the ground in six consecutive games from Round 17 to Round 22, polling 16 votes during this time. In his final seven games of the season including the elimination final loss to Collingwood Goodes averaged 26.4 disposals and 9.6 marks per game.

In Round 21 Goodes was clearly the best player on the ground in a 25 point loss to Collingwood setting game-highs for disposals (33), kicks (23), marks (11), tackles (7), inside 50s (7), bounces (7) and contested possessions (16), he also kicked a goal and had an equal game-high two goal assists, six rebound 50s and five clearances. The Sydney player ranked second for disposals for the game – Brett Kirk had 20 disposals, 13 less than Goodes.

Goodes received considerably more attention from the opposition in 2007 which led to him being tagged more frequently, due to this Goodes was provided far less space and latitude which contributed to him adapting his role and winning more possessions in a contest. From Round 1 to Round 8 Goodes won more than eight contested possessions in a game only once, having nine in Round 2. In his last 15 games of the season from Round 9 onwards Goodes won more than eight contested possessions in a game 13 times which equated to 86.7% of his games. Goodes’ disposals per game dropped slightly from 20.8 in 2006 to 20.2 in 2007 however his contested possessions increased from 7.9 to a then career-high 9.3. Due to opposition clubs reducing the amount of space he was given Goodes was forced to handball more, setting a new career-high with 7.2 handballs more game and his kicks per game fell from 15.2 in 2006 to 12.9 in 2007. Goodes kicked only nine goals in 2007, the equal lowest tally of his 17 season career, however he remained adept at setting goals up for his team-mates, having a then career-high 21 goal assists, ranked second at Sydney behind Ryan O’Keefe with 23.

From Round 3 to Round 12 2008 playing predominantly in the midfield Goodes polled Brownlow Medal votes in eight of his 10 games comprised of two sequences of four consecutive games from Round 3 to Round 6 and from Round 9 to Round 12. The most exciting rivalry in football at the time was Sydney versus West Coast and it had another thrilling instalment in Round 11 with Sydney outscoring West Coast six goals to three in the last quarter to overcome a 14 point three quarter time deficit and win by five points. Goodes received the three Brownlow Medal votes for a brilliant game in which he had 11 kicks, 10 handballs, eight marks, four tackles, a team-high two goal assists, a game-high six contested marks – three more than the second ranked player for the game, and won a game-high 15 contested possessions, only two other Swans had more than seven contested possessions.

Due to a one game suspension for engaging in rough conduct with Melbourne’s Clint Bartram during the Round 13 game in Canberra Goodes missed Round 14 and his sequence of consecutive games ended on 204, the third longest sequence in VFL/AFL history, behind two Melbourne players, the late Jim Stynes with 244 and Adem Yze (226).  Goodes’ sequence of consecutive games had begun in Round 22, 1999, his debut AFL season in which he won the league’s Rising Star award. It was the third time Goodes had been reported in 2008 having had a striking charge in Round 2 overturned and having accepted a reprimand and 93.75 carry-over points for engaging in rough conduct against West Coast’s Adam Simpson.

During his first 15 games of the 2008 season Goodes had at least 19 disposals 10 times. After going more than eight years without missing an AFL games Goodes missed three games in eight weeks, with a groin injury ruling him out of games in Rounds 18 and 22. The groin injury effected Adam’s endurance and from Round 16 onwards he played almost exclusively as a forward. In his last seven games of the season he had less than 16 disposals in each game.

In Round 19 against Fremantle at the SCG Goodes was instrumental in his club winning by four points, kicking a career-best eight goals, one behind, playing as a key forward. At the 22 minute mark of the last quarter Fremantle led by 14 points, however Sydney controlled the dying stages to kick the final three goals of the game – two of them by Goodes. Goodes finished the game with 11 kicks, an equal game-high nine marks, one handball, a game-high nine marks inside 50 – five more than the second ranked player for the game, teammate Barry Hall, and polled two Brownlow Medal votes with long-time teammate Jude Bolton receiving the three votes for a 30 disposal, two goal game.

An ineligible Goodes polled the fifth most votes at the 2008 Brownlow Medal, 21 votes, three votes behind the winner, Adam Cooney. The Sydney Swans match committee did not rate Goodes’ season anywhere near as highly as the umpires did and despite finishing in the top five at the Brownlow Medal Goodes amazingly finished outside the top 10 at Sydney’s 2008 best and fairest. Goodes led Sydney for goal assists, ranked equal second for contested marks, fourth for goals, equal fourth for hard-ball gets, fifth for contested possessions and sixth for inside 50’s. Goodes was accurate in front of goal, kicking 29 goals, 14 behinds, it was his most goals in a season since kicking 34 goals in 2001 and he also had 21 goal assists to equal his career best set in 2007.

West Coast and Sydney played yet another thrilling game in Round 8, 2009 at Stadium Australia with Goodes being best afield for the second week in a row in Sydney’s five point victory. Goodes had 15 kicks, six marks, 11 handballs, five inside 50s, six clearances, an equal team-high 10 contested possessions and also made a significant impact on the scoreboard, kicking three goals and having two goal assists.

Highlighting his versatility Goodes dominated during Sydney’s 55 point victory against Richmond in Round 19 setting game-highs for kicks (21), marks (12), goals (four), contested possessions (15), marks inside 50 (six) and set equal team-highs for contested marks (three) and goal assists (two), to earn the three Brownlow Medal votes for the third and final time of 2009. Goodes was selected in the 2009 Official AFL rankings team of the year with his profile for this team saying “Playing as a forward, Goodes had the best individual performance of any player in a game last season, winning 223 ranking points against the Tigers in Round 19. He had the highest scoreboard impact of any midfielder during the H & A season, booting 38 goals and recording 32 score assists.”5 During 2009 Goodes set a new career-best averaging 21.32 disposals per game, surpassing his previous best of 20.84 in his Brownlow medal winning season of 2006, he also came close to kicking his most goals in a season, finishing 2009 with 38 goals, ahead of Hall (34) and O’Loughlin (29), to be only two goals short of his then career-best 40 goals in 2000. Late in the season Goodes spent more time playing as a forward and in his last five games he kicked a total of 14 goals including multiple goals in each game and a best of four goals against Richmond in Round 19.

In 2009 Goodes played 22 games, averaging 117 minutes, 13.4 kicks, 8.0 handballs and 6.1 marks per game with a disposal efficiency of 66.3%. Goodes finished equal sixth at the 2009 Brownlow Medal, polling 17 votes. In four consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2009 Goodes polled at least 17 Brownlow Medal votes in each season and had a lowest finish of equal sixth. Goodes led Sydney for goals, contested marks and inside 50’s, ranked second at Sydney for kicks, marks and goal assists, third for loose-ball gets, fourth for hard-ball gets and finished fifth in Sydney’s best and fairest. Goodes made his third All-Australian team, being selected on the interchange, and was joined in the team by one Swans team-mate, Craig Bolton at centre-half back.

Few players can match the impact Goodes can make in the dual roles as a midfielder and a forward, in Round 15 2010 against North Melbourne in a 30 point win at the SCG Goodes achieved the double of at least three goals and 30 disposals in an AFL game for the first time, having 33 disposals comprised of 20 kicks and 13 handballs, and kicked a game-high three goals, he also took 11 marks, laid five tackles, had a team-high eight inside 50s, five clearances, a goal assist and a game-high 18 contested possessions to have one of his three best afield performances of the season.

Goodes kicked a career-best 44 goals in 2010 to lead Sydney in this category and polled 13 votes at the Brownlow Medal to finish equal 16th overall and be ranked first at Sydney. Goodes finished sixth in Sydney’s best and fairest, led his club for goals, marks, inside 50s, contested marks, ranked equal first for goal assists, second for kicks and fourth for contested possessions.

After polling six Brownlow Medal votes in the first 17 Rounds Goodes finished the 2011 season in a rich vein of form, polling a total of 13 Brownlow Medal votes in his last six games of the season, polling votes in five games, comprised of three 3’s and two 2’s. In his last eight games of the season including two finals Goodes averaged 25.5 disposals, 7.4 inside 50s, 13.6 contested possessions and 2.1 goals per game. Against the Western Bulldogs in Round 18, Goodes had 16 kicks, a game-high 10 marks, an equal game-high 18 marks, six tackles, 10 inside 50s, five clearances, an equal game-high three goal assists – two more than the second ranked Swan, took an equal game-high three contested marks and kicked two goals in the 39 point victory at the SCG to receive the three Brownlow Medal votes. Adam’s 34 disposals against the Western Bulldogs in Round 18 set a new personal best, surpassing his previous best of 33 disposals which he had on three separate occasions.

In 2011 Goodes played 24 games, averaging 117 minutes, 13.3 kicks, 8.0 handballs and 6.0 marks per game with a disposal efficiency of 65.2%. Goodes kicked 41 goals, including multiple goals 14 times and had 23 goal assists. Goodes polled 19 votes at the Brownlow Medal to finish equal seventh, and in six seasons from 2006 to 2011 he had amassed a total of 116 votes with his lowest tally in time being 13 votes in 2008. Goodes won his third Bob Skilton medal as Sydney’s best and fairest winner, polling 615 votes to finish 42 votes ahead of Josh Kennedy and Rhyce Shaw in equal second place. Goodes led Sydney for kicks, marks, goals and inside 50s, ranked second for contested marks and loose-ball gets, third for disposals and fifth for handballs. In the semi final loss to Hawthorn Goodes became the second Sydney Swans player to reach 300 games, joining close friend and former team-mate Michael O’Loughlin.

Goodes’ profile in AFL Prospectus 2012 said “Playing the dual roles of midfielder and forward, he ranked 11th in the AFL for scoreboard impact, having a hand in 32% of Sydney’s scores – the fourth highest percentage of any player in the league. He was the leading target inside 50 at the club at the club and the most reliable of the top five targets, with the side retaining possession 50% of the time.”7

Goodes played five of Sydney’s first six games of 2012, missing Round 4 due to a suspension for engaging in rough conduct on Port Adelaide’s Jacob Surjan. In his return to the Sydney side in Round 5 against Hawthorn at York Park in Tasmania Goodes played his 304th AFL game, breaking his close friend Michael O’Loughlin’s Sydney Swans club record of 303 games. After Hawthorn led by 25 points with two minutes left in the first quarter Sydney outscored the Hawks 15 goals to five in the remaining three and a bit quarters to record a comfortable 37 point to celebrate Goodes’ milestone in style. Goodes had 12 kicks, a team-high seven marks, nine handballs, an equal game-high four contested marks, nine contested possessions, one goal assist, kicked an equal game-high three goals and received one Brownlow Medal vote.

During Round 6 against Adelaide at the SCG Goodes kicked a season best five goals, however late in the game he injured his quad and had to be substituted off and handed the red vest. His quad injury forced Goodes to miss six consecutive games from Rounds 7 to 12, the first time he had spent a significant period on the sidelines since making his AFL debut. From his AFL debut in Round 1 1999 up until Round 6 2012 Goodes had displayed remarkable durability to play 304 of a possible 310 AFL games. Appearing on Open Mike after injuring his quad against Adelaide Goodes commented “What I’ve been able to do with my body and my mind and the things that I have put in process in my routine have definitely helped me stay at a really healthy and a fit level, and be able to perform at a level that I am really happy with and still be able to play that role for the coach.”

In his Open Mike appearance Mike Sheehan asked Goodes about being racially vilified at 22 years of age by a high-profile player during the 2002 AFL season. Goodes commented about this incident “Look, it’s something that I have grown up with, it’s happened in junior ranks, and the day that that happened I put a stamp on it straight away after the game, I reported it to the club (Sydney), they notified the football club that we played against and from there he (the opposition player) made the phone call and I spent the next 30 minutes on him talking. I needed to tell him how I was feeling, the sooner the better for me (the phone call was on the Tuesday after the game), because I was bubbling. I had made a footprint on the AFL in my footy career and I thought this is really unacceptable, I don’t want people to get away with this, I want this to be the last thing that anyone says to me. I really wanted to let that player know how he made me feel, I have no doubt that he is very clear on how it makes other people feel by calling them that name. It is an education thing, and that’s the way I see it, he might have grown up and never even met an aboriginal person before, and it has happened. I have got players at my football club, and the first aboriginal hand that they shake is mine when they first come to the footy club. So still we have a lot of ignorance out there, but some players just haven’t been in the community in touch with indigenous people and don’t know how things make us feel.”

Sydney had 16 wins and six losses during 2012 to finish the home and away season in third position on the ladder, one game behind minor premiers Hawthorn and Adelaide, with Collingwood finishing in fourth position with 16 wins but an inferior percentage to the Swans, 116.5 to 140.1. Sydney travelled to Adelaide for a qualifying final against the Crows at Football Park and set-up an upset 29 point victory with a five goals to one second quarter. Goodes kicked a game-high three goals, all in the first-half including Sydney’s first two goals of the game. During the qualifying final Goodes also had 13 kicks, a game-high seven marks, nine handballs, a team-high seven inside 50s and two goal assists. In the 26 point preliminary final win against Collingwood at Stadium Australia Goodes had 21 kicks, four handballs, an equal game-high nine marks, 12 contested possessions, an equal team-high five inside 50s, six clearances, a game-high four contested marks and kicked a goal.

In the 2012 Grand Final against Hawthorn Goodes didn’t win a lot of the ball, having 14 disposals comprised of seven kicks and seven handballs however in the first-half he injured his left knee and if it had of been a home and away game this injury would have almost certainly ended his day. However, with a premiership on the line Goodes battled through the pain remained on the ground and as well as providing a contest against Hawthorn defender Josh Gibson was able to make a significant impact on the game, having a game-high three goal assists and kicking a critical goal at the 22 minute mark of the final quarter to extend Sydney’s lead to seven points. Goodes finished the game with seven kicks, two marks, seven handballs, six tackles and eight contested possessions in Sydney’s 10 point win.

In the official AFL records Goodes was listed in Sydney’s best players in all three finals victories. Goodes was one of four players to play in their second premiership with Sydney, being joined by Jude Bolton, Ryan O’Keefe and Lewis Roberts-Thompson.

Due to his left knee injury Goodes was unable to run for 12 weeks after the Grand Final, however despite this he was still able to perform critical role for the Swans on the biggest stage. At Sydney’s 2015 best and fairest Goodes commented on the 2012 Grand Final “I did my left knee that day, and doing my right knee in 2004 helped me for that occasion, I knew exactly what I could do, and I knew what I couldn’t do, I knew I could run in straight lines, I knew I could put a body on Josh Gibson every time the ball went into our forward line, and if I did that I could play my role. I think on the day when you look back at that victory in 2012 and what the Hawthorn Club have been able to do since that grand final victory (win the next three AFL premierships from 2013 to 2015) holds even more in my heart, a great experience and a great victory because they are a fantastic team and we had to play out of our skins to win that game.” Speaking about his critical final quarter goal with just under seven minutes remaining Goodes said “That’s the one thing I do every training session, practice my snaps on my left and my right foot from the boundary, it was just an instinctive thing, the ball came off the pack, I have been in that situation at training before, when I am at my best I play on instinct, it was a big moment and it went through, I got a lucky bounce that’s for sure.”

Despite missing six of Sydney’s 25 games in 2012 Goodes ranked fifth at Sydney for marks, and second for goals with a very accurate 37 goals, 19 behinds, he also had 18 goal assists, ranked third at the club. The profile for Goodes in AFL Prospectus 2013 said “He spent more time as a forward, winning a career-high 38% of his disposals inside the forward 50and ranking 18th in the competition for scoreboard impact per game. He was involved in 28% of Sydney’s scoring chains in the matches he played – ranked No. 1 at the club – while also ranking third overall for the Swans in scoreboard impact.”8

After having more than 18 disposals once in his first six games of 2013 Goodes wound the clock back to be named in Sydney’s best six players in the Official AFL Records for all four games from Round 7 to Round 10. For the first time since his last three games of 2007 Goodes had more than 25 disposals in three consecutive games from Round 7 to Round 9.

In Round 9 against Collingwood during Indigenous Round Goodes received the three Brownlow Medal votes for a phenomenal performance in which he had 30 disposals and kicked an equal game-high three goals in Sydney’s 47 point win in a Friday night game at the MCG on 24 May 2013 in front of 65,306 people. To highlight just how dominant Goodes was in this game it was the second time in his illustrious career that he achieved the double of at least 30 disposals and three goals in a game, having previously achieved this feat in Round 15 2010 against North Melbourne with disposals and three goals. In his sublime game against Collingwood Goodes had 19 kicks, 11 marks – setting the game-high in both categories, 11 handballs, 12 contested possessions and two goal assists to go with his three goals. Goodes’ exhilarating game against Collingwood was the last time that he received the three Brownlow Medal votes from the umpires, however this game is remembered more for a stance that Goodes took rather than his incredible game. Immediately after being racially vilified by a Collingwood supporter Goodes reported the incident to security staff, the spectator was a 13 year-old girl.

During a press conference the day after the Round 9 game Goodes said “To come to the boundary line and hear a 13 year-old girl call me an ape, and it’s not the first time on a footy field I have been referred to as a monkey or an ape, it was shattering. When I turned around and saw it was a young girl, and I thought she was 14, that was my initial thought, I was just like really, how could that happen, and all this week is a celebration of our people, our culture, and I had the absolute privilege of meeting the great man Nicky Winmar two days ago now, and what he was able to do for us 20 years ago and to be able to make a stand myself racism has a face last night, it was a 13 year-old girl. It’s not her fault, she’s 13, she’s still so innocent, I don’t put any blame on her, Unfortunately it is what she hears, the environment that she’s grown up in that has made her think that it is OK to call people names, I can guarantee you right now she would have no idea how it makes anyone feel by calling them an ape, it cut me deep and effected me so much that I couldn’t even be on the ground last night to celebrate the victory, to celebrate Indigenous round, and I’m still shattered, personally, yeah it’s tough. Loving the support of my friends and family, and people in social media, it’s fantastic but I think the person that needs the most support right now is the little girl.” Adam went on to say “It felt like I was back in high school again, being bullied, being called all these names because of my appearance, and I didn’t stand up for myself in high school, I am a lot more confident, I am a lot more proud about who I am, and my culture, and I decided to stand up last night, and I’ll continue to stand up because racism has no place in our industry, has no place in society, and hopefully any person out there that has been name called or verbally abused can stand up for themselves after seeing what happened last night.”

Although there was talk that Goodes might not take his place in the Sydney side for their Round 10 game against Essendon, he played, and after a quiet start continued on with his impressive form to have 11 kicks, four handballs, four marks, and kicked a game-high four goals, two more than the second ranked player. Goodes’ influence on Sydney’s 44 point was rewarded with a Brownlow Medal vote.

In Round 13 against Port Adelaide Goodes had to be subbed off after injuring his knee, due to the knee injury Goodes missed the remainder of the season. Goodes’ 12 games in 2013 was the least games he had played in a season after he made his AFL debut in 1999, amazingly in 16 of his 17 AFL seasons he played at least 19 games, with 2013 being the only exception.

On 25 January 2014 Adam Goodes was announced as the Australian of the Year. He was the first sportsman to win the award since Cricketer and Australian test Captain Steve Waugh in 2004. Factors that contributed to Goodes receiving the award included his phenomenal AFL career for Sydney, taking a stand against racism and the work he had done with Michael O’Loughlin from 2009 onwards with the Goodes-O’Loughlin Foundation – providing scholarships for Indigenous children to allow them to have access to quality schooling.

Goodes missed the first five rounds of the 2014 AFL season with his knee injury and made his return for Sydney in Round 6 as the starting substitute, in another two of his first four games back Goodes was handed the red vest and finished the game as Sydney’s substitute, Rounds 8 and 9. After regaining his match conditioning Goodes wasn’t handed either of Sydney’s substitute vests in the last 16 games of the season, playing at least 79% game-time during this time.

During 2014Goodes played in the fourth Grand Final of his career with Sydney playing Hawthorn for the second time in three years. Sydney finished the home and away season as minor premiers with 17 wins and five losses, percentage ahead of Hawthorn and Geelong. The biggest change since 2012 was that indigenous key forward Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin had changed teams, leaving Hawthorn to join Sydney. In arguably their worst game for the season Sydney were comprehensively outplayed by Hawthorn, being defeated by 63 points.

The profile of Goodes in AFL Prospectus 2015 said “Goodes played predominantly as a forward for the entire season, winning 36% of his disposals inside 50, the highest percentage of his 16-year career. As a result of spending so much time forward, he ranked second at the club for total scoreboard impact, with 48% of the chains he was involved in resulting in a score – ranked third behind Franklin and Tippett. Goodes performed well when isolated in a one-on-one contest, winning 34% – ranked 13th of the top 55 players to be involved in a contest.”9

Early in the 2015 home and away season many people were questioning if 35 year-old Goodes had played one season too long when he was not named in Sydney’s Round 3 team and was demoted to the Swans NEAFL (North Eastern Australian Football League) team. Goodes started the 2015 season slowly, being subbed off in Round 1 after having nine disposals in 56% game-time and was the starting sub in Round 2, but made an impact win he came onto the ground, amassing six disposals in just 14% game-time. Sydney head coach John Longmire told Adam that they were thinking about starting Adam as the sub again in Round 3, however Adam responded matter of factly that he would rather play a full game in the NEAFL to regain match conditioning than be the sub in the AFL for the second week in a row. Whilst it was not a conventional response from Adam it was definitely in his and the Swans best interest for him to play in the NEAFL, rather than have his match conditioning erode further by playing as the sub in the AFL for the second consecutive week. Goodes spent two weeks playing in the NEAFL, was recalled to Sydney’s AFL team for Round 5 and played 21 of Sydney’s last 22 games of the season, only missing Round 18 against Adelaide at the SCG on personal leave due to the negative impact the widespread booing by opposition fans was having on him.

In Round 9 Goodes received the final Brownlow Medal vote of his career, polling the single vote in the 60 point win against Carlton for a performance in which he had 14 kicks, seven handballs, an equal game-high nine marks, eight contested possession, five inside 50s and kicked two goals.

Goodes had 18 or more disposals six times with a season best of 26 disposals comprised of 11 kicks and 15 handballs in the 89 point win against GWS in Round 21, he also had five marks, 16 contested possessions, nine clearances, a goal assist and kicked a goal.

Goodes finished his final AFL season strongly to have more than 24 disposals in two of his last six games and was one of the Swans best players in his final game, having 15 kicks, three handballs, 10 marks, including three contested, five inside 50s, and kicked two goals, the first and last goals of the semi final loss to North Melbourne at the Stadium Australia. After playing 372 AFL games for the Sydney Swans from 1999 to 2015 Adam Goodes announced his retirement to his team-mates in the rooms following the 26 point loss.

At the post-match press conference Sydney Swans head coach John Longmire commented on Goodes “He’s been absolutely superb in the face of some really tough times, and the way he’s been able to handle himself and go about his business, yet still say the things that he feels and get that balance as good as what he’s got has been a real credit to him. It’s been tough but he’s managed to come through it really well and by no means has his career been defined on what’s happened at different times this season. His career has been defined by the type of player he’s been for a long time. He’s been an absolute icon of this footy club, and a superstar of the game.”

When Adam missed the Round 18 game against Adelaide at the SCG, supporters showed their support for him by standing during the seventh minute of the third quarter and giving Adam a rousing round of applause. In that week and the week that followed the football community showed their support for Adam. At Sydney’s 2015 best and fairest Goodes said that the support he had received from the football community had a profound impact on him, commenting “I didn’t want to come back and play footy, it was a tough situation. I was eight hours out of Adelaide, we were lucky to get the game on TV, but to see our supporters who have stuck by me for the longest part of my journey and have always been there to support me, and this football club, that was the reason I wanted to come back. I knew I’d be protected and supported by the people in this room and it was a very special moment for me. There was no way I thought I’d come back from that but I’m glad I did because this football club means a lot to me and it’s given me a lot of strength and a lot of good memories, memories I’ll have with me forever. To see the supporters and the love and the way the boys played that day really showed me how much I meant to them which was really beautiful.”

Goodes kicked 464 goals during his AFL career to rank fourth on Sydney’s all-time goal kicking list behind Bob Pratt (681), Michael O’Loughlin (521), Barry Hall (467) and just ahead of Tony Lockett (462). Goodes holds the record for most finals played for South Melbourne/Sydney with 28 and ranks fourth for most goals kicked in finals with 33, six behind club record holder Barry Hall.

When asked by Mike Sheehan on ‘Open Mike’ in June 2012 “Has racism been almost eradicated from the field?” Goodes responded “Almost isn’t good enough. It definitely hasn’t, it is something we continuously talk about at our indigenous camps that we have every second year, we talk about incidences and what can players do better themselves to stomp it out, not letting it go on. A lot of players don’t report it (racism).”

When Adam Goodes joined Sydney in November 1997 he knew very little about his indigenous heritage, however during his career in the AFL he learnt a great deal about indigenous culture and his family’s history, which led to his pride in his indigenous heritage increasing which in turn led to a willingness to take a stance against indigenous people being racially vilified, the establishment of the Adam Goodes Academy for junior indigenous Sydney-based footballers, and Goodes and O’Loughlin co-chairing the GO Foundation. Goodes’ willingness to stand up for what he believes in and be vocal on indigenous matters has polarised the Australian Public, leading to Goodes experiencing higher highs and lower lows than most of us could comprehend. On one hand Goodes has received wide-spread adulation and became the first AFL football player to be named Australian of the Year, however on the other hand Goodes has also received wide-spread condemnation for his words and actions, particularly regarding indigenous matters, and has been booed. Just has Goodes has learnt more about his Indigenous heritage due to playing in the AFL, many AFL supporters also have a greater awareness of Indigenous matters and the impact being racially vilified can have on a person due to the words and actions of Adam Goodes.

Goodes concludes his career in eighth place on the VFL/AFL all-times games list and is also in rarefied air in terms of his versatility and the quality of his games played, having been named an All-Australian in three distinct positions, ruck, wingman and forward, and is one of only 14 players to have won multiple Brownlow Medals.

On playing against fellow two-time Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd Goodes said “It was just a fantastic challenge, and one challenge that enjoyed, playing against one of the best players in the competition and obviously he was about four years my younger but I really admired the way that he played and I still do and those challenges were just epic, no-one hanging on and who ever would win it would be part of the chain, just two ball winners going head to head.”

Goodes speaking about Goodes-O’Loughlin (GO) Foundation on Swans TV earlier this week said “We’ve always wanted to give back to the community here in Sydney and the best way to do that was through our foundation and having the opportunity to create a better pathway for our indigenous boys and girls, and the way we’ve been able to do that is through scholarships and we’ve got 17 fully paid scholarships this year. We have been out and seen them this year and seen the schools that they go to and they are very impressive.”

Over his 372 game VFL/AFL career Goodes averaged 11.7 kicks, 5.5 handballs, 5.5 marks, 1.25 goals and 0.47 Brownlow votes per game. In 2014 Goodes broke the record for most AFL games played by an Indigenous player, passing Adelaide Crows defender Andrew McLeod’s tally of 340 games.

Sydney Swans head coach John Longmire was glowing in as praise of Goodes, saying “At his best Adam Goodes was quite simply unstoppable. His combination of talent, athleticism, speed and size meant that not one player in the competition could match up on him.” One of Adam’s strengths was his durability and capacity to still perform a valuable role for his team even when he was injured and below his best. Speaking about Sydney’s 2012 Grand Final victory against Hawthorn Longmire said “Our doctor had told me it was a major injury (but) after the third time of me asking him how his knee was at the half-time break, he looked me dead in the eye and said ‘look, I’m alright,'” “Not only did he keep playing, but who could forget his goal that put us seven points up in a tense last quarter. The injury was so serious he didn’t run again for the next 12 weeks.”

During his phenomenal 17 season career with the Sydney Swans Adam Goodes displayed a level of durability and versatility rarely seen and was able to have a significant impact whether playing in the midfield, ruck or forward line due to his mix of size, athleticism, strength, courage and mental toughness. Without question Goodes is one of the greatest Indigenous players of all-time, however just as significantly he has also made a positive contribution to society with the Goodes-O’Loughlin Foundation and his willingness to make a stand against racism.

By Dean Andrews

Twitter – @DeanAndrews7777


2 AFL, AFL ’98 The Official Statistical history of the AFL, page 153

3 AFL, AFL 2001 The Official Statistical history of the AFL, page 229

4 AFL, AFL 2003 The Official Statistical history of the AFL, page 273

5 Champion Data, AFL Prospectus – The essential number cruncher for season 2006, 1st edition, page 249

6 Champion Data, AFL Prospectus – The essential number cruncher for season 2007, 2nd edition, page 272

7 Champion Data, AFL Prospectus – The essential number cruncher for season 2012, 7th edition, page 295

8 Champion Data, AFL Prospectus – The essential number cruncher for season 2013, 8th edition, page 306

9 Champion Data, AFL Prospectus – The essential number cruncher for season 2015, 10th edition, page 334

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