- Star etched himself into football folklore during the 1970 grand final
- Scored a game-winning try as the Blues beat Collingwood
- Then I found one of the main features of today’s game
Carlton premiership hero and the man who transformed champion Data into an AFL juggernaut, Ted Hopkins, has died aged 74.
The Blues confirmed on Tuesday that Hopkins, who starred with four second-half goals as they overcame a 44-point half-time deficit to beat Collingwood in the famous 1970 grand final, had died on Monday night.
He leaves behind his daughter Erica.
Hopkins was also the founder of Champion Data and played an important role in shaping the game’s perception through the use of advanced statistics and analytics.
Hopkins etched himself into football folklore when he scored a crucial goal in Carlton’s famous 1970 grand final victory (pictured).
After his great heroics in the final, Hopkins left the Blues after just 29 games and became a park ranger and poet
He was sent off after Carlton secured a 10-point victory in the 1970 VFL decider, but was one of his team’s weakest players at the start of the game and only entered the contest in the third quarter after being on the bench had begun.
Introduced to the game by his coach, the late Ron Barassi, Hopkins scored four goals to lead his team in scoring while scoring 13 goals to four in the second half.
After the Premier League win, he played just one more game, his 29th, for Carlton before retiring from the VFL to pursue other interests.
After footy, the junior waterski champion worked as a park ranger in Falls Creek National Park in the Victorian Alps and wrote poetry and fiction.
The Blues star (pictured with his 1970 teammate Syd Jackson) then became a football statistician when he helped found Champion Data, which changed the way the game is analyzed and talked about by fans
He helped found Champion Data in 1995, and the company became the AFL’s official data partner four years later.
Terms that are commonplace in the modern game – such as “Hard Ball Gets” and “Inside 50s” – were developed by the statistics provider.
After his death was made public, Carlton club historian Toby De Bolfo tweeted: “Vale Tend Hopkins – water skier, author, poet, publisher, broadcaster, data analyst… and as a Carlton Premiership player, football’s most famous bench player in 1970.”