- Star wrote himself into footy folklore during the 1970 grand final
- Produced a match-winning try as Blues defeated Collingwood
- Then I discovered one of the most important features of today’s game
Carlton premiership hero and the man who turned Champion Data into an AFL juggernaut, Ted Hopkins, has died aged 74.
The Blues confirmed on Tuesday that Hopkins, who scored 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 evening.
Hopkins was also the founder of Champion Data and was instrumental in the way the game was perceived through the use of advanced statistics and analytics.
Hopkins wrote himself into footy folklore when he delivered a match-winning performance in Carlton’s famous 1970 grand final win (pictured)
After his grand final heroics, Hopkins left the Blues with just 29 games to his name and became a park ranger and poet.
He was removed from the chairmanship after Carlton recorded a 10-point win in the 1970 VFL decider, but he was one of his side’s lowest profile players leading the match and did not join until the third quarter entered the match after starting on the bench.
Introduced to the game by his coach, the late Ron Barassi, Hopkins scored four goals to lead his team in scoring as they piled thirteen goals to four in the second half.
He played just one more game, his 29th, for Carlton after the premiership win before retiring from the VFL to pursue other interests.
After footy, the junior waterski champion worked as a park ranger at Falls Creek National Park in the Victorian Alps, and also wrote poetry and fiction.
The Blues great (pictured with his 1970 teammate Syd Jackson) then became a footy statistician when he helped found Champion Data, which changed the way the game is parsed and talked about by fans
He helped found Champion Data in 1995, and four years later the company became the official data partner of the AFL.
Terms considered commonplace in the modern game – such as hard balls and inside 50s – have been 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 Carlton Premiership player of 1970 football’s most famous benchwarmer .’