Famous Nicknames

List of most famous AFL player nicknames both past and present

Tony Lockett – Plugger

Tony Lockett’s nickname was actually his fathers nickname which was given to him from his father (Tony’s grandfather) who described his father to have had a green thumb who often used to plug around the garden. Tony then inherited this nickname from his father.

Wayne Carey – Duck

Carey had a swagger and confidence about him and the way way he walked earned him the nickname ‘Duck’ from early in his career. This is one of the most famous nicknames in footy but for most football fans the origin is usually unknown.

Kevin Murray – Bulldog

Kevin Murray received his nickname Bulldog simply by the way he went about playing the game and his ferociousness at the football. There were many tough footballers in the same era but not many that would throw themselves at the football the way Murray did.

Norm Smith – Red Fox

Norm Smith was known as a slave driver and a stickler for discipline and was often referred to as   the ‘Demon Dictator’ and the ‘Martinet of Melbourne’. His canniness and ‘stiff auburn hair’ earned him a further nickname, the ‘Red Fox’.

Bruce Doull – The flying Doormat

Over the course of Bruce’s career he earned himself the nickname ‘Flying Doormat’, due to his extreme comb-over hairstyle with long portions that remained constantly disarranged. 

Stephen Silvagni – SOS

Whilst he went on to be the AFL fullback of the century, Silvagni was originally ‘just’ the son of former Carlton great, Serge Silvagni. Hence SOS, short for ‘Son of Serge’.

Mark Thompson – Bomber

Mark Bomber Thompson, was pegged with the knickname when he was a kid. It’s unclear exactly why he earned it, but it referenced a series of adventure books called “Bomba the Jungle the Boy”.

Peter Jones – Percy

Large, hairy, and obviously thought of as a bit of dick (in the friendliest sense of the word), Jones was named after the enormous penis that was transplanted onto the injured man in the 1971 film Percy.

Garry Hocking – Buddha

While it’s a common misconception that Hocking’s nickname stems from his 500 million mostly Asian followers, it actually came from his dad, who believed junior Hocking looked a lot like Buddha when he sat cross-legged in front of the TV watching the footy on the weekend.



On the Jackie Gleeson show, Jackie would begin famously by saying to Sam to start the show “and away we go” When John Newman led the team out of the race he would say to his team mates “and away we go” so he got the nickname “Sam”

Brent “Boomer” Harvey

Brent Harvey

Brent Harvey got the NICKNAME ‘BOOMER’ when he was playing junior footbal for the Preston RSL Juniors. “The coach’s wife was handing out the most courageous award and made up the name ‘Little Boomer’ on the spot. No one knew who she was talking about until she said: ‘C’mon Boomer … Brent Harvey, come and get your award’.”

Greg “Diesel” Williams

Williams’ reliable, plodding-like pace inspired Geelong captain Mick Turner to nickname him “Diesel” after the engine, and a legend was slowly born.

Graham “Poly” Farmer

According to Farmer, he was nicknamed “Polly the Parrot” as a six-year-old because people thought he chattered away like a parrot.

James “Jock” McHale

Jock Mchale

McHale’s nickname “Jock” originated from a caricature of him in a kilt by the Herald cartoonist Wells during the 1920s.

Edward ‘Carji’ Greeves

Edward Greeves

Edward “Carji” Greeves was nicknamed ‘Carji’, as it was said that there was a resemblance between himself and a famous local entertainer who went by the name of ‘Carjilo, the Rajah of Bong’.