Australian Rules: Lockett hangs up his boots

TONY LOCKETT, the greatest goalkicker in the game's history, had hoped to delay his departure a little longer - but yesterday the Sydney Swan made his final appearance.

Lockett said last month he would retire at the end of the season and Sydney's defeat by Essendon on the opening weekend of the Australian Football League finals series ended their campaign this year.

Lockett kicked five of Sydney's seven goals but it was not enough as the favourites Essendon won 18.15 (123) to 7.12 (54) in Melbourne. Afterwards the 33-year-old Lockett, known as "Plugger", was carried off by his team- mates as the 57,000-strong crowd gave him a standing ovation.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed it," Lockett said of his 17-year career, in which he kicked a record 1,357 goals in 278 senior games for an average of 4.88 per game. The only thing missing from his list of achievements was to play in a winning grand final side.

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