Melbourne Cricket Ground - John Coleman statue unveiled at MCG
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John Coleman statue unveiled at MCG

Sep 18, 2013

John Coleman statue in Australia Post Avenue of LegendsChampion Essendon full-forward John Coleman joined an eminent group of sporting legends today with a statue unveiled in his honour outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) as part of the Australia Post Avenue of Legends series.

John’s daughter, Jenny, and former Essendon premiership players Tim Watson and Greg Brown were watched on by Coleman’s family, friends and football identities as they revealed the one-and-a-half life size bronzed sculpture of Coleman leaping with legs bent, arms outstretched for the ball.

The statue, by sculptor Lis Johnson, is the third commissioned by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and sponsored by Australia Post as part of the Australia Post Avenue of Legends series, after cricketer Shane Warne and six-time Melbourne Football Club premiership coach Norm Smith.

Last December, the MCC also announced that Australian cricket great Neil Harvey will join the trio. His statue will be unveiled early next year.

“It’s fitting that as we enter the most exciting part of the AFL season, we place John Coleman among the sporting legends who have a permanent home at the MCG,” said MCC president Paul Sheahan.   

“Coleman’s impact on the game in a relatively short playing career is remarkable, while his contribution as a coach cannot be overlooked.

“We thank Australia Post for their continued support in maintaining the sporting and cultural heritage of the MCG and surrounding precinct,” said Mr Sheahan.

Australia Post Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour said they were proud to add John Coleman’s statue to the already impressive lineup of sporting legends outside the MCG.

“It’s fantastic that families on their way to a sporting event at the iconic MCG can stop and see statues of their sporting heroes from Shane Warne to Norm Smith and now John Coleman,” said Mr Fahour.

“Australia Post is honoured to recognise these sporting legends who have all played on the hallowed MCG turf and are renowned for their sportsmanship.”

About Australia Post Avenue of Legends

The Australia Post Avenue of Legends will see a minimum of five statues placed in Yarra Park, extending from the MCC members entrance up an avenue towards Wellington Parade.

Selection criteria for the Australia Post Avenue of Legends dictates candidates must be Australian, renowned for their sportsmanship and that they or their sport played is connected with the MCG.

About John Coleman

During an amazing career, Coleman kicked 537 goals (including 12 on debut), was his club’s leading goalkicker each of the six years he played and led the VFL goals tally on four occasions.

Before his career was cut short by a knee injury, the high-flying Coleman had played in two VFL premierships (1949 and 1950) and his achievements subsequently earned him selection in the AFL Team of the Century and induction into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Modern day fans would be surprised that the champion full-forward (188cm) weighed only 80kg, his mighty spring coming from his powerful inner leg muscles.

He later coached Essendon for seven seasons, including premierships in 1962 and 1965, before passing away aged 44 in 1973. 

Since 1955, the year after Coleman retired, the John Coleman Medal has been presented to the VFL/AFL’s leading goalkicker.

Statues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

Australia Post Avenue of Legends (2011-2014)
• Shane Warne    (Cricket)
• Norm Smith     (Australian Football)
• John Coleman    (Australian Football)
• Neil Harvey     (Cricket)*

 *To be unveiled in 2014 on a date to be fixed.

Tattersall’s Parade of Champions (2003-2006)

Cricket
• Sir Donald Bradman, Keith Miller, Bill Ponsford, Dennis Lillee

Australian Football
• Ron Barassi, Leigh Matthews, Dick Reynolds, Haydn Bunton

Athletics
• Shirley Strickland, Betty Cuthbert

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