Bonnett & Cook ends at North Port Oval

This Saturday Port Melbourne will honour goal kicking legends Bob Bonnett and Fred Cook with the naming of the goal ends after the respective champions. 

While eight individual Port Melbourne players have won the competition’s goal kicking there are two players, Bob Bonnett and Fred Cook, who stand out above the pack. 

This weekend Port Melbourne Football Club will recognise both men’s gigantic stature within the club and competition. 

Port Melbourne General Manager Barry Kidd said the two champions deserved to be immortalised in the same way that the AFL immortalised their goal kicking champions, Tony Lockett and Gordon Coventry, who had the Etihad stadium goals named after them.  

Kidd said the Bonnett goals would be at the Williamstown Road end while Cook’s goals the Lorrimer Street end. 

He noted the idea came from the Port Melbourne past players association and the Board was only too willing to act on an initiative that will add to the folklore of these two great men.  

“They are two of the greatest goal kickers in the history of the game,” Kidd said. 

“People know all about ‘Cooky’, but what most people don’t know is that when Bob Bonnet stopped playing in the seniors he went on to kick more than 400 as captain-coach of the seconds. 

“It’s unbelievable really. Bobby was a marvel.” 

Both Bonnett and Cook will be back at the ground that provided so many wonderful memories to mark the naming of the goal ends this weekend. 

Bonnett and Cook were goal kicking goliaths, spearheads who each topped the competition goal kicking five times. Only Jim ‘Frosty’ Miller, whose name carried the goal kicking medallion, and Nick Sautner won the title more often. 

But, neither Miller (883 goals) or Sautner (873) kicked as many goals as Bonnett and Cook. 

In fact, no one in the competition’s history kicked more goals than ‘Fabulous’ Freddy Cook whose 1336 goals is 266 more than his nearest rival Rino Pretto.

Cook, a Liston Trophy winner at Yarraville before he joined Port Melbourne finished his career at Moorabbin, but it was with the Borough where he kicked the bulk of his 1228 goals.  

Quite a feat for a player who crossed to the club as what was then described as a “follower”, but ostensibly as a defender! 

Bonnett sits third on the all-time VFA/VFL competition goal kicking with 933, but he has one up on Cook, he won more club goal kicking titles - 12 to 11. 

Cook, also the club game record holder (253 - Bonnett is second with 229), kicked 100 goals in a season six times - 1976-77-78-80-81-82. 

Bonnett’s sole century of goals in a season (111) came in 1961, the year he won the club best and fairest. Cook also won a best and fairest in 1976 when he kicked 124 goals for the season.

Cook captained the club in its premiership season of 1977 as well as 1978 while Bonnett also captained the club in three seasons, but also went on to coach the club for three seasons. 

Bonnett, who kicked a century of goals to win the VFA seconds goal kicking in 1952, was a member of Port Melbourne’s 1953 premiership. 

He played in four losing Grand Finals when Williamstown, Oakleigh and Moorabbin had the Borough’s number. 

Cook was synonymous with premierships at Port Melbourne. Not only did he play in six flags with the Borough, but he excelled under the pressure cooker situation. 

Cook averaged nearly seven goals in a Grand Final, but he set a post World War 2 record with 10 goals in the ’74 premiership, which equaled the mark of Paddy Gardiner who kicked 10 in Coburg’s 1927 premiership. 

He also kicked nine goals when Port Melbourne thumped Sandringham by 100-points in its centenary season. 

Even when he was felled behind play in the sensational 1976 Grand Final witnessed by 32,317 at the Junction Oval, Cook returned to field and ended up with five goals as Port Melbourne defeated Dandenong in one of the most spiteful games in memory. 

There’s no doubt that Cook was pivotal to Port Melbourne enjoying such a fabulous period in what is regarded as a halcyon era of the Borough. 

Bonnett, now in his early 80s, and Cook, 66, were naturally named in Port Melbourne’s Team of the Century.

Over its illustrious journey Port Melbourne has been blessed with outstanding full forwards. 

The numbers don’t lie, on 21 occasions a Port Melbourne player has won the VFA/VFL goal kicking title. 

Such a rich history dates back to 1902 when Jack Hutchinson became the first Borough player to top the goal kicking.

But Bonnett and Cook definately stand out from the pack. 

Now that they have goal ends at the ground they helped make so famous bearing their moniker, the legend of Bob Bonnett and Fred Cook will live at Port Melbourne forever in more ways than one.

 




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