Billy Brownless

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Billy Brownless
Personal information
Full name Anthony William Brownless
Nickname(s) Bill, Fat, Cocko, King of Geelong, Bins
Date of birth (1967-01-28) 28 January 1967 (age 54)
Place of birth Jerilderie, New South Wales
Original team(s) Jerilderie (Murray Football League)
Height 192 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 102 kg (225 lb)
Playing career1
YearsClubGames (Goals)
1986–1997 Geelong 198 (441)
Representative team honours
YearsTeamGames (Goals)
1988–1992 New South Wales 3 (3)
1993 NSW/ACT 1
1995 Allies 1 (5)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1997.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Anthony William Brownless (born 28 January 1967) is a former Australian rules footballer and radio and television media personality who represented Geelong in the Australian Football League (AFL) during the 1980s and 1990s.


Life and career

Brownless was born and raised in Jerilderie, a rural town in New South Wales. He first played football for his local team, the Jerilderie Football Club, when it was part of the Murray Football League. He boarded for three years in Kilmore, Victoria, at Assumption College, one of Australia's most renowned "football nurseries", a school which has a strong tradition of producing footballers who have gone on to play in the AFL. In 1984, his final year at the school, Brownless kicked 155 goals for the school team.


Geelong asked Brownless to come and train, but instead he chose to return home to Jerilderie to be with family and friends and play a season of senior football before going to Geelong. [1] During the 1985 season, he kicked 148 goals for the Jerilderie senior team while working as a farmhand. [2] Jerilderie made it to the grand final but lost. Brownless kicked six of the team's nine goals despite having injured an ankle in the semi-final. [1]

Brownless moved to Geelong in time for the 1986 VFL season and began working as a groundsman at Kardinia Park. He said that playing for Geelong was a natural progression for him because of the town's rural atmosphere:

It's really like a big country town and the club's a lot like a country club. You're all behind one another and you're all pretty close. It's a good feeling. [1]

Brownless made his senior VFL debut in Round 1, 1986 and quickly made a name for himself as a strong full-forward, winning the Cats' best first year player award that year. He went on to play 198 games and kick 441 goals, putting him fifth in Geelong's all-time goalkicking list, behind Gary Ablett (1021), Doug Wade (834) Tom Hawkins (545) and Steve Johnson (452).

One of Brownless' fondest memories was kicking a goal after the siren against Footscray in their 1994 qualifying final. With Geelong trailing by one point, he marked the ball within scoring range with just seconds left and kicked a goal to send Geelong through to the next stage of the finals. While the Cats eventually made it to the grand final, they lost that match. Brownless played in four losing grand final teams with Geelong.

Brownless “retired“ in 1997 at 30 years of age, although the reason for the retirement was because he wasn’t required at the club for the 1998 AFL Season.

Brownless has the record for most goals in a game at the Gabba, with 11.

State of Origin

Brownless first played State of Origin in 1988 for New South Wales. Playing in the State of Origin Carnival that year, he kicked three goals in the tournament, two in the first against South Australia and one in the second against Western Australia. [3] In 1993 he again played in the State of Origin Carnival, being selected for NSW/ACT against Victoria. With Wayne Carey and John Longmire in the side, Brownless played at centre half back. In 1995 he kicked five goals and was named in the best players for Allies in a win over Western Australia. [4]


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
SeasonTeamNo.GamesTotalsAverages (per game)
1986 Geelong 16143216112501628002.
1987 Geelong 161430221124816075202.
1988 Geelong 1671474421652862.
1989 Geelong 16264634228120348143191.
1990 Geelong 16223522241143384122211.
1991 Geelong 1620815422372295142134.12.711.23.614.87.10.7
1992 Geelong 16247946213100313141163.
1993 Geelong 16112014100431435171.
1994 Geelong 161734211534519884112.
1995 Geelong 16244536208114322126321.
1996 Geelong 16112011881354751141.
1997 Geelong 168583519541520.

Media career and life after football

When Brownless retired from football he moved into the media, appearing regularly on The Footy Show . On The Footy Show he appeared in "The House of Bulger" segment as the family's matriarch Joybell Bulger.

He joined 95.5 K-Rock in Geelong as a sales representative. Soon, on their "Big Mattress" breakfast show, he co-hosted a sport/comedy segment called "On The Bench" with ex-Geelong player Dwayne Russell and the Essendon fanatic "Ferret" (Russell Taylor), twice a week. A long list of Geelong players were included in "On The Bench" as special guests including Barry Stoneham, Tim McGrath and Paul Couch.

In 1992 he became the inaugural winner of the Mirrool Silo Kick in the Riverina, kicking an Aussie Rules football 32 metres plus over the Mirrool Silos. [6]

In August 1999, it was reported that due to Brownless' connections in the local political scene, both the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the ruling Liberal Party of Australia were keen to recruit Brownless into politics, despite his limited experience. Labor leader Steve Bracks, who would go on to win the state election that year, was a Geelong supporter, and Brownless had persuaded the then Premier Jeff Kennett's wife, Felicity, to become Geelong's female number one ticket holder. [7]

By 2005, Brownless had featured on The Sunday Footy Show as well as earning continual appearances on The Footy Show. He also co-hosted Morning Glory , a weekday breakfast show on Melbourne radio station SEN 1116. Brownless finished his 5-day-a-week stint in November 2008. Brownless appeared on Before the Bounce , a weekly football show on Foxtel alongside Jason Dunstall and Danny Frawley until the end of the 2008 AFL season.

In May 2008, Brownless was added as a regular on the Thursday night AFL Footy Show to replace an incapacitated Sam Newman, but he was relegated to guest panelist upon Newman's return. From 2009 until the show’s termination in 2019, Brownless had once again become a regular alongside Shane Crawford to replace Trevor Marmalade, alternating each week with Crawford and, since 2012, Matthew Lloyd.

In March 2010, Brownless joined Triple M Melbourne's new drive show The Rush Hour with James Brayshaw. [8]

Brownless bought the Cumberland Hotel in Castlemaine, Victoria. [9] He also owns the Cremorne Hotel in Newtown, Victoria [10]

In January 2020, Brownless appeared in the sixth season of the Australian version of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! . [11]

Personal life

Brownless was married to Nicky. They have two daughters, Lucy and Ruby, and two sons, Oscar and Max. [9] Brownless and Nicki made headlines in 2016 and beyond after it came to light that they had separated after 18 years of marriage in 2015 and that Nicki had proceeded to have a relationship with one of Brownless’s colleagues, Garry Lyon, which caused a bitter falling-out between Brownless and Lyon, including causing Lyon to leave the show with depression. [12] [13]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Smithers, Patrick (17 April 1986). "Billy grabs his chance". The Age .
  2. "Murray FNL - Goalkicking Award". Murray FNL. Murray FNL.
  3. "1988 Adelaide Bicentenial State of Origin Carnival". 5 January 2009. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  4. "Digitised Resource Viewer". Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  5. Billy Brownless' player profile at AFL Tables
  6. Daffy, Paul (13 October 2002). "Where legends are made". The Age . Retrieved 29 January 2007.
  7. McKay, Sandra (10 August 1999). "The football of politics". The Age .
  8. "Woman to be in Triple M drive seat with James Brayshaw and Billy Brownless" . Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  9. 1 2 Halliday, Claire (31 August 2003). "The Answers – Billy Brownless".
  11. Whitehead, Mat (6 January 2020). "I'm A Celebrity 2020: Billy Brownless And Dale Thomas Head Into The Jungle". 10 Daily . Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  12. "Billy Brownless opens up on breakdown of marriage to wife Nicky and Garry Lyon betrayal". The West Australian. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  13. "Billy Brownless addresses falling out with Garry Lyon after Fox Footy return". Billy Brownless addresses falling out with Garry Lyon after Fox Footy return. Retrieved 7 September 2020.