The AFL had a whale of a time making a huge media promotion from the idea that a (then) current player – Tony Lockett – was going to become the highest scoring goal-kicker ever, overtaking Coventry…only trouble is, as the AFL well knows, Coventry was not the highest. Ken Farmer was the highest by a large margin. Nobody will ever overtake his figures, even his total, let along his average.
It is typical of the AFL to have no respect for its history and to manipulate it as it pleases. The reason the AFL thinks it doesn’t have to acknowledge Ken Farmer is that he is South Australian, while Coventry is Victorian. But the AFL can’t have it both ways. Either the AFL is something which started in the 1980s and has no history prior to the establishment of the national body, or it is the history of all State Football Leagues prior to that time. The one thing it can’t be – well, except to the rabidly Victorian amongst us – is Australian from the 1980s and Victorian prior to that.
Ken Farmer was a contemporary of Gordon Coventry’s. When Ken Farmer overtook Coventry’s record everybody in Australia – Victorians included – now considered Farmer to be the highest scoring goal-kicker in Australia. You have only to read the newspapers of the day to know that is true.
The AFL has to decide: is it actually a national body representing a national sport, or is it a Victorian body, representing Victorian interest, despite its national pretentions. If it is a national body with a history extending before the 1980s, it has to behave appropriately and reinstate Farmer as AFL’s highest-scoring goal-kicker. Anything less is plain dishonest.