This moment is the eighth of a virtual series presenting the Bombers' best 30 moments over 150 years, which fans can vote on for their chance to win prizes. Click here to view and vote, and see the schedule and prizes below.
No debut match in VFL/AFL history has equalled John Coleman's 12 goals against Hawthorn in round one, 1949, the first of many records 'Coley' would set over the next six seasons.
When the 20-year-old kicked five goals in the first quarter against the Hawks, in front of a stunned 13,500 supporters at Windy Hill, Coleman had played the first of many fine hands in what soon became the most sensational career in VFL history.
By day’s end, Coleman—who earned the nickname, ‘Deadshot’, for his accuracy—scored a League-record 12.2 from 15 shots in a total of 18.12 (120) to Hawthorn’s 9.3 (57). From that moment on, everybody wanted a piece of John Coleman.
The timing of Coleman’s emergence was pivotal for Essendon. Having won premierships in 1942 and 1946, they fell five points short in the 1943 decider, lost by one point in 1947, and drew the 1948 Grand Final before losing the replay. They had dominated the past three seasons, in particular, but inaccuracy had cost them two premierships. In ’47, the Bombers kicked 11.19 (85) to Carlton’s 13.8 (86), then, in the drawn Grand Final against Melbourne they fared even worse: 7.27 (69) to 10.9 (69). Coleman immediately solved that goalkicking puzzle.
In a remarkable debut year, Coleman became the first Essendon player to kick 100 goals in a season, bringing up three figures in the final quarter of the 73-point Grand Final victory over Carlton: 18.17 (125) to 6.16 (52). To top it all off, he was awarded Essendon's best and fairest trophy at season's end.
After that record-breaking debut, Essendon captain-coach Dick Reynolds wrote in The Argus: “In my 17 years of football I have never seen a full-forward settle down as quickly and as confidently as Coleman. I am sure he has the makings of one of the best full-forwards of all time.” How right he was.
SCHEDULE OF MOMENTS
Round 1 (launching May 6) - 1872-1939
Round 2 (launching May 10) - 1940-1959
Round 3 (launching May 15) - 1960-1979
Round 4 (launching May 20) - 1980-1989
Round 5 (launching May 25) - 1990-1999
Round 6 (launching May 30) - 2000-2021
Round 7 (launching June 4) - Finals round
Round 1 – One 2022 merchandise pack, including an Essendon New Era Black on Black 9FORTY Snapback cap ($40) and an Essendon Heritage Bar Scarf ($30)
Round 2 – One Essendon Fibre of Football Scarf ($80)
Round 3 - One Essendon Football Club 150-year anniversary commemorative mosaic ($295)
Round 4 – One Essendon Football Club 150-year anniversary commemorative mosaic ($295)
Round 5 – One 2022 team-signed guernsey ($500)
Round 6 – One copy of the Red & Black Collection special 150th anniversary book ($329)
Round 7 – One copy of the Red & Black Collection special 150th anniversary book ($329) and one 2022 team-signed guernsey ($500)