Footy star who became the hero of one of the AFL’s greatest grand final dies after helping revolutionise the game in retirement
by: Hani Kamal El-Din
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 starred with four second-half goals as they overcame a 44-point halftime deficit to beat Collingwood in the famous 1970 grand final, had died on Monday night.
He is survived by his daughter Erica.
Hopkins was also the founder of Champion Data, playing a significant role in how the game was perceived through the use of advanced statistics and analysis.
Hopkins wrote himself into footy folklore when he produced a match-winning effort in Carlton’s famous 1970 grand final victory (pictured)
After his grand final heroics, Hopkins quit the Blues with just 29 games to his name and went on to become a park ranger and poet
He was chaired off after Carlton charged to a 10-point win in the 1970 VFL decider but was one of his side’s lowest profile players leading into the game and only entered the contest for the third quarter after starting on the bench.
Introduced into the game by his coach, the late Ron Barassi, Hopkins booted four goals to lead his team for scoring as they piled on 13 goals to four in the second half.
He only played one more game, his 29th, for Carlton after the premiership win before retiring from the VFL to pursue other interests.
After footy the junior waterskiing champion worked as a park ranger at Falls Creek National Park in the Victorian Alps, as well as writing poetry and fiction.
The Blues great (pictured with his 1970 teammate Syd Jackson) then became a footy statistician as he helped found Champion Data, which changed the way the game is dissected and talked about by fans
He helped found Champion Data in 1995, with the company going on to become the AFL’s official data partner four years later.
Terms that are thought of as everyday in the modern game – such as hard ball gets and inside 50s – were pioneered by the statistics provider.
After his death was made public, Carlton club historian Toby De Bolfo tweeted: ‘Vale Tend Hopkins – waterskier, author, poet, publisher, broadcaster, data analyst… and as a Carlton Premiership player of 1970 football’s most famous benchwarmer.’