Full Name: TONY FREE
Date of Birth: 27/06/1969
Height: 178 cm ( 5-10 )
Weight: 79 kg ( 12-6 )
Debut: 15/08/1987, Round 20, St kilda
Last Game: 27/04/1996, Round 5, Geelong
Total Games: 133
Total Goals: 46
Honours: Captain 1994-96, Best & Fairest 1989, 1993, Victorian Representative Team 1991.
Seasons: 1987-88, 1991, 1996
Total Games: 17
Total Goals: 16
Tony is a tough , courageous utility player , who runs straight at the ball and can always be relied on for his total commitment. Originally from Lalbert , he joined the Richmond Thirds in 1987and worked his way through to the seniors in the same year. While playing with the Under 19 side, he kicked a club record for the Thirds , of 14 goals in a game against St Kilda in 1987. He uses the ball well and has the ability to completely shut opponents out of the game by playing close. During recent seasons he has been given numerous tagging roles , because of his mobility and desire . He is a very consistent possession winner who has polled very well in the Club Best & Fairest , winning the award in 1989 and 1993 and running second in 1992. He also played two games for Victoria in 1991.
His outstanding leadership qualities were recognized when he was elected captain in 1994 and has remained in that position since. Tony had an outstanding 1994 seson and looked likely to lead the Tigers into the Finalsuntil he was collected by Swans Dermot Brereton . As a result Tony suffered a broken jaw while Brereton was suspended for seven games . Despite sustaining the injury in the second quarter , Tony still played out the game and was one of the Tigers best players such is his commitment . At the time of his injury he was the leading possession winner in the AFL. Bad luck followed him into 1995 when he broke his jaw again during pre-season training and then required a knee reconstruction after injuring himself in Round 5 against Brisbane . Away from football , he completed a degree Physical Education and during his enforced football layoff he worked in the media with 3AW and on Channel 7’s 4 Quarters Program, as well as acting in the TV series Blue Heelers . At one stage he was a member of Channel 9’s highly successful Footy Show.
Lalbert U/13, U/15, U/17( Honours - Best & Fairest U/13 Twice, U/15 Twice, U/17 Once ) ; Lalbert Seniors 1986, Games 14.