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Local goal-kicking legend Maurice Goolagong inducted into NSW AFL Hall of Fame

Jackson Clark -

Champion local goalkicker Maurice Goolagong is one of 100 inaugural inductees into the New South Wales Australian Football Hall of Fame, which will be officially unveiled at a gala dinner early next month.

Goolagong – who plied his trade across the state's Central Coast region – was a brilliant full-forward who became the first player to kick 1000 goals in the AFL Black Diamond competition, a feat he achieved in 2011.

He told National Indigenous Times that he was shocked to receive this honour.

"I got it in an e-mail, it was sent to me by AFL NSW – they sent it to me two days early and I thought it was a hoax," he said.

"I thought someone's playing a joke on me or something – it's a massive honour, I had goosebumps.

"I just couldn't believe that I received it – I rang Mum and my sisters and let them know (and) everyone that I've told has said 'that's amazing'."

Goolagong was known for his remarkable accuracy in front of goal – a trait that led him to be dubbed the 'park footy Plugger' after the AFL's greatest goalkicker, Tony Lockett.

In one season, the spearhead kicked 112 goals and just 13 behinds, resulting in an exceptional goal-kicking accuracy percentage of just under 90%.

The key forward – who grew up in a small country town of Barellan, 400km east of Sydney – told National Indigenous Times in 2022 that he developed his goal-kicking technique via an unusual training method.

"There wasn't much to do as a kid back in those days and I only lived just around the corner from the footy oval," Goolagong said.

"I'd be there all the time and instead of kicking for goal, I'd practice trying to kick the posts.

Maurice Goolagong will be inducted into the NSW AFL Hall of Fame.

"I'd work my way around the arc until I'd hit all four posts, that's how I got my accuracy."

Goolagong – who is the nephew of tennis legend Evonne Goolagong – wasn't always a full forward, having started his career in defence and winning an U18 league best-and-fairest award while playing at centre half back.

The move to the front end of the ground would prove a masterstroke for his career, eventually becoming the AFL Black Diamond leading goal-kicker on six consecutive occasions in the early 2000s, and again in 2011.

His biggest haul was a whopping 25 goals during a game for Terrigal-Avoca while chasing a league leading goal-kicker award in 2001.

"I was behind the leading goalkicker by 12 goals going into the last round and I ended up winning by six.

"I told the boys to just stay clear of the forward-line and they pretty much fed me all day."

Goolagong is currently working with the Newcastle Knights in a managerial role for the NSW Cup.

He has previously occupied roles as a kicking coach for the Knights' NRLW team and has helped out with an Indigenous program at the Sydney Swans Academy.

The official induction into the NSW Australian Football Hall of Fame, will take place at a gala dinner on May 3 in the Noble Room at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"I'm heading there – I have about 20 family members coming on the night as well – they all wanted to come, which is good," Goolagong said.

"They're looking forward to it and it's going to be a great night."


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