Carlton premiership hero and football statistician Ted Hopkins has died aged 74.
The Victorian played only 29 games for the Blues, having retired from league football when he was just 21, but will forever remain a major figure in the history of the VFL/AFL.
Hopkins came off the bench to kick four goals in Carlton’s monumental come-from-behind win over Collingwood in the famous 1970 grand final.
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Watching on from the sidelines as the Magpies kicked out to a 44-point half-time lead, the youngster was called upon by legendary coach Ron Barassi in the hopes of helping turn the match.
“That was amazing how Carlton would be able to get back against Collingwood,” Hopkins told SEN in 2020.
“I helped Carlton enormously because I had the speed, and we were able to get the handballs and the long kicking. There were great players.”
Carlton premiership hero Ted Hopkins. Credit: Tony De Bolfo
Tributes flowed on Tuesday for a man who left football after his crowning moment, and became much more than a premiership player.
Most notably Hopkins founded Champion Data, the stats company that remains at the centre of the AFL today.
“Vale Ted Hopkins – waterskier, author, poet, publisher, broadcaster, data analyst,” Carlton historian Tony De Bolfo said.
“And as a Carlton premiership player of 1970 football’s most famous benchwarmer.”
Former AFL reporter Mark Stevens wrote: “Really sad news. Loved my time talking stats with the quirky Ted in Champion Data’s early days. Created so much of today’s footy language.”
Football publisher Geoff Slattery said: “I loved Ted. Anything but a four-goal GF hero. His AFL Record columns were so insightful. His vision to create Champion Data was remarkable and has never been replicated. His memoir The Stats Revolution is a superb life story. Vale.”
Hopkins’ death comes two months after his premiership coach Barassi died aged 87.
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