Garry Hocking

Last updated

Garry Hocking
Personal information
Full name Garry Andrew Hocking
Nickname(s) Buddha [1]
Date of birth (1968-10-08) 8 October 1968 (age 54)
Place of birth Cobram, Victoria
Original team(s) Cobram (MFL)
Height 182 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 87 kg (192 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder
Playing career1
YearsClubGames (Goals)
1987–2001 Geelong 274 (243)
Representative team honours
YearsTeamGames (Goals)
1992–1999 Victoria 08 (10)
Coaching career3
YearsClubGames (W–L–D)
2005 Peel Thunder 20 (3–17–0)
2012 Port Adelaide 04 (0–3–1)
2014–2015 Port Adelaide (SANFL) 41 (26–15–0)
2017 South Adelaide 18 (8–10–0)
Total83 (37–45–1)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2001.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2017.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Garry Andrew Hocking (born 8 October 1968) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for the Geelong Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).


Tough and skilled in equal measure, Hocking was an integral part of Geelong's midfield who was recognized at both club and League level as one of the finest players of the 1990s, winning club best and fairests, All-Australian honours and finishing top three in the Brownlow Medal vote count on four occasions. Recognizable on the field with his curly brown mullet hairstyle and nicknamed "Buddha", Hocking was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2008, and was also named in Geelong's Team of the Century and Hall of Fame.

Since retiring from playing, Hocking has coached at various clubs. He coached Port Adelaide AFL side in 2012 for four games after Matthew Primus was sacked, the Port Adelaide SANFL side, [2] South Adelaide, and the Collingwood VFL side.

Early years

Hailing from the border town of Cobram in north-eastern Victoria, Hocking was one of three sons born to Les Hocking and his wife Pam. He also has one sister. Les worked as a hairdresser at 'Plugger' Bourke's barber shop, [3] and young Garry served an apprenticeship with him before moving to Geelong. [4]

Playing career

Hocking and elder brother Steve were part of then Geelong coach John Devine's mass recruiting drive which also netted players such as Gavin Exell, Bruce Lindner, Dwayne Russell, Mark Bairstow and Billy Brownless in the mid-1980s.

Hocking made his senior VFL debut in the 1987 Round 3 match against Melbourne at Kardinia Park, wearing the number 51. He became one of a special group of footballers by scoring a goal on debut with his first kick, but otherwise had a quiet match with seven touches.

The following season, Hocking's guernsey number was changed to 32, which he would wear for the remainder of his career, but only played three games in the second half of the season.

It would not be until Malcolm Blight took over as coach in 1989 that Hocking would play regular football and establish his place in the team. That year Geelong became the glamour team of the competition, twice kicking a score of over 200 points and drawing fans to games with their flamboyant, all-out attacking brand of football.

Hocking represented Victoria on numerous occasions in the State of Origin series and played in four losing Grand Final sides (1989, 1992, 1994, 1995).

Hocking was considered unlucky not to win the Brownlow Medal, due to his many close finishes, finishing amongst the top three vote-getters on four occasions, although twice as an ineligible player. Hocking's consistency over a period was recognised by the club in 1995 when after former-captain Bairstow's departure at the end of 1994, Hocking was given the captaincy role for the 1995 season. However early in the season, he stated his intentions to give up the captaincy to concentrate purely on playing. The role would be shared between three players; Ken Hinkley, Barry Stoneham and Gary Ablett.

Hocking's tenacity, hardness, consistency and quality was rewarded in 2001 when he was named ruck-rover in Geelong's Team of the Century; a great honour given the fact there have been other quality ruck-rovers in Geelong's history.

The Cats made it to the finals in 1997 but again were bundled out in straight sets.

By the middle of the 1999 AFL season, Geelong was in crisis on and off the field. After winning the first five games, the Cats would then lose the next nine in a row to effectively end any chance of making the finals. The club was also in deep financial trouble, owing a debt of around $7.5 million with a forecast operating loss of $750,000 for the season. [5] At the start of the year the Cats had made some organizational changes, with prominent local businessman and club vice-president Frank Costa appointed club president after predecessor Ron Hovey stepped down at the end of 1998, Brian Cook was recruited from West Coast as chief executive officer, and Hocking was named stand-in captain after newly appointed captain Leigh Colbert injured his knee in a pre-season match against Brisbane Lions. [6]
Midway through the nine-game losing streak, Cook approached Hocking with an unusual proposal. Uncle Ben's, the parent company of cat food label Whiskas at the time, would provide a financial incentive for the club if a Cats player was willing to change his name to "Whiskas" for one game. Hocking agreed to the offer and changed his name by deed-poll to "Whiskas" for one week. He announced this on The Footy Show .[ citation needed ] The incident was met with mixed reaction in the football world. [5] When asked about his publicity stunt, Hocking commented:

I see it as a great thing for the footy club and Whiskas. It is just a light-hearted thing and from a commercial point of view to help get the club out of strife. [7]

The AFL refused to acknowledge Hocking's name change and continued to use his original name on team lists. The League's reasoning was that the name change, although temporary, threatened to bring the game into disrepute. [7] Geelong ended up losing the upcoming match against Richmond, and Hocking was off the field injured by three-quarter time, [5] but the financial incentive, which has to date not been publicly disclosed, went some way to helping the club's financial situation.

Hocking retired at the end of the 2001 AFL season after playing 274 games, which at the time was the third-highest number of games for Geelong. He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame on 8 March 2008.

Coaching career

Peel Thunder

After his playing career, which ended in 2001, Hocking moved into coaching. In 2005, he coached Peel Thunder Football Club in the WAFL, a team which was struggling and managed to win just 4 games for the year in 2005. In one match, Hocking employed a tactic where every player on the Peel team was stationed in defense for a centre-bounce. Known as a "full-flood", this was viewed as a farcical situation, and one that Hocking wanted to use with his team down by a massive margin. Hocking has promised never to use the tactic again, and has said that in this one instance, it was appropriate for the circumstance. [8] [9]

Geelong Falcons

In 2006, Hocking was the coach for the Geelong Falcons Under 18s side.

Port Adelaide

At the end of the 2009 AFL season, Hocking joined the coaching staff at Port Adelaide as an assistant coach. On 6 August 2012, he was appointed caretaker senior coach for the remainder of the 2012 season when Matthew Primus was sacked following the Round 19 loss to AFL newcomer Greater Western Sydney. At the time of his appointment, Hocking felt unsure whether he wanted to continue as senior coach for the following season, [10] and declared that while he had limited time to work with, he promised to foster an uncompromising attitude in the playing group:

"The expectation's not a win–loss one, it's just about gaining some respect back from our members and our supporters. It'll be a simple plan, you'll just need to play very aggressively and compete when it's your turn. There will be guidelines, benchmarks for those sorts of things that we're looking for in the game and that's all the players over the next four weeks will be judged on." [10]

Hocking then decided against applying for the full-time role as senior coach of Port Adelaide at the end of the 2012 season, on 4 September 2012 and was replaced by Ken Hinkley as Port Adelaide Football Club senior coach. [11] [12]

On 4 October 2013, Hocking was announced as the SANFL senior coach of Port Adelaide, a position he held in 2014 and 2015 before returning to be an assistant coach at Port Adelaide's AFL squad. [13] Hocking left Port Adelaide at the end of the 2016 season.

In 2020, Port veteran and football media personality Kane Cornes recalled Hocking's first address to the players as senior coach on the day of his appointment in 2012 and the brutal training session at Grange Beach early the following morning:

It’s 4am in the morning at Grange Beach and I’ve never seen the ocean put on an uglier display. There was waves crashing over, it was as cold as you can imagine. Buddha said ‘Strip down we’re about to pay the price’, so we all got into our budgie smugglers or board shorts ... usually when coaches have this sort of quick dip you do a few duck dives and get out but this was completely different. We stayed out in that freezing cold water for over an hour at 4am and it is honestly the coldest that I have ever been, to the point where you really question whether you wanted to keep doing this, that’s how depressing it was to turn up to a footy club when you lose. [14]

South Adelaide

In 2017, Hocking was appointed senior coach of the South Adelaide Panthers Football Club in the SANFL for 2 years.


At the end of 2017, Hocking returned to the AFL by accepting a position as assistant coach at Collingwood for the 2018 season. [15] He was appointed senior coach of the club's VFL (reserves) side ahead of the 2020 season. [16]


2022, Started coaching at Leopold Football Club in Geelong.

Personal life

Hocking and his wife Melina have three children - daughters Tayla and Chelsea, and son Lochlan, who joined the Geelong Falcons in 2019.


Playing statistics

SeasonTeamNo.GamesTotalsAverages (per game) Votes
1987 Geelong 516214126671070.
1988 Geelong 32300261743740.
1989 Geelong 3226241228521750281560.90.511.08.319.33.12.212
1990 Geelong 3221141227820448260400.70.613.29.723.02.91.90
1991 Geelong 3225412836226562770471.61.114.510.625.12.81.919
1992 Geelong 3220191823523046577431.00.911.811.523.33.92.20
1993 Geelong 3218181728418647074311.00.915.810.326.14.11.717
1994 Geelong 3224162033827361185480.70.814.111.425.53.52.020
1995 Geelong 322115827021648677490.70.412.910.323.13.72.317
1996 Geelong 3223211531327058385660.90.713.611.725.33.72.919
1997 Geelong 322027925519244780491.40.512.89.622.44.02.52
1998 Geelong 321712423417040461400.70.213.810.
1999 Geelong 32127415810526348180.60.313.28.821.94.01.55
2000 Geelong 322117325521747270590.
2001 Geelong 321710912212825045530.

Coaching statistics

 W Wins L Losses D Draws W% Winning percentage LP Ladder position LT League teams
SeasonTeamGamesWLDW %LPLT
2012 Port Adelaide 403112.5%
Career totals403112.5%


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Port Adelaide Football Club</span> Australian rules football club

Port Adelaide Football Club is a professional Australian rules football club based in Alberton, South Australia. The club's senior men's team plays in the Australian Football League (AFL), where they are nicknamed the Power, whilst its reserves men's team competes in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), where they are nicknamed the Magpies. Since its founding, the club has won an unequalled 36 SANFL premierships and 4 Championship of Australia titles, in addition to an AFL Premiership in 2004. It has also fielded a women's team in the AFL Women's (AFLW) league since 2022.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malcolm Blight</span> Australian rules footballer, born 1950

Malcolm Jack Blight AM is a former Australian rules footballer who played for and coached the North Melbourne Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and Woodville Football Club in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL). He also coached the Geelong Football Club, Adelaide Football Club and St Kilda Football Club.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nathan Buckley</span> Australian rules footballer (born 1972)

Nathan Charles Buckley is a former professional Australian rules football coach, player and commentator.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gary Ablett Jr.</span> Australian rules footballer

Gary Ablett Jr. is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Geelong Football Club and Gold Coast Suns in the Australian Football League (AFL). The eldest son of Australian Football Hall of Fame member and former Hawthorn and Geelong player Gary Ablett Sr., Ablett was drafted to Geelong under the father–son rule in the 2001 national draft and has since become recognised as one of the all-time great midfielders. Ablett is a dual premiership player, dual Brownlow Medallist, five-time Leigh Matthews Trophy winner, three-time AFLCA champion player of the year award winner and eight-time All-Australian.

Mark Melville Williams is a former Australian rules football player and coach. As a player, Williams represented Port Adelaide in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) as well as Collingwood and Brisbane Bears in the Australian Football League (AFL) from the 1980s to the 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Warren Tredrea</span> Australian rules footballer, born 1978

Warren Gary Tredrea is a former Australian Rules Footballer with the Port Adelaide Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL) and former Weekday Sports Presenter on Nine News Adelaide. Since his retirement from football, he has become a sports media personality featuring on Nine News Adelaide, 3AW, FiveAA and in The Advertiser newspaper.

John Cahill is a former Australian rules football player and coach. During his illustrious career he played football for Port Adelaide, and coached Port Adelaide, West Adelaide, South Adelaide in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) and Collingwood in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and Port Adelaide in the Australian Football League (AFL).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chad Cornes</span> Australian rules footballer, born 1979

Chad Studley Cornes is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Port Adelaide Football Club and Greater Western Sydney Giants in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was a member of the Port Adelaide side which won the premiership in 2004. On 3 July 2013, he retired from AFL football due to a troublesome knee. Cornes is currently serving as a forward development coach for the Port Adelaide Football Club.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tom Harley</span> Australian rules footballer, born 1978

Thomas Harley is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Port Adelaide Football Club and the Geelong Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). A defender at 1.93 metres and 95 kilograms (209 lb), Harley was a two-time premiership-winning captain at the club.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reg Hickey</span> Australian rules footballer (1906–1973)

Reginald Joseph Hickey was an Australian rules footballer who was a player, the captain, the captain-coach, and the non-playing coach for the Geelong Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL) between 1928 and 1940 (player), and between 1949 and 1959 (non-player).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ken Hinkley</span> AFL coach for Port Adelaide

Ken Hinkley is the senior coach of the Port Adelaide Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL) and a former player with the Geelong Football Club and Fitzroy Football Club.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ryan Gamble</span> Australian rules footballer

Ryan Gamble is a former professional Australian rules football player in the Australian Football League (AFL). Gamble played for the Geelong Football Club and the St Kilda Football Club.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Justin Westhoff</span> Australian rules footballer

Justin Westhoff is a former Australian rules footballer who played for the Port Adelaide Football Club in the AFL. He also played for the Central District Football Club in the SANFL. He is the older brother of Matthew Westhoff and younger brother of Leigh Westhoff. Westhoff was selected by Port Adelaide in the 2006 draft using their fifth-round pick, being the 71st pick overall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joel Selwood</span> Australian rules footballer

Joel Anthony Selwood is a former Australian rules footballer who played for the Geelong Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was a quadruple premiership player, a six-time All-Australian, and a three-time captain of the All-Australian team. Selwood captained Geelong between 2012 and 2022, is the club's games record holder, and has won the Carji Greeves Medal three times as their best and fairest player.

Robert Pyman is a former Australian rules footballer who played for North Melbourne, Collingwood and Melbourne in the Australian Football League (AFL) during the 1990s.

The King's Birthday match is an annual Australian rules football match between the Melbourne Football Club and Collingwood Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL), held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on the King's Birthday public holiday in Victoria.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Seedsman</span> Australian rules footballer

Paul Seedsman is a professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Adelaide Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was recruited by Collingwood in the 2010 national draft, with pick 76, and traded to Adelaide at the end of the 2015 season. Seedsman grew up supporting Collingwood; his great-grandfather, Jim Sharp, played for Fitzroy and Collingwood, and was president of Collingwood for 12 years.

The 2014 Port Adelaide Football Club season marked the club's 18th season in the Australian Football League (AFL) and 132nd season in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).

The history of Port Adelaide Football Club dates back to its founding on 12 May 1870. Since the club's first game on 24 May 1870, it has won 36 SANFL premierships, including six in a row. The club also won the Champions of Australia competition on a record four occasions.

The history of the Geelong Football Club, began in 1859 in the city of Geelong, Australia, is significant as the club is the second oldest AFL club, is believed to be the fourth oldest football club in Australia and one of the oldest in the world and one of the most successful. Initially playing under its own rules, some of which, notably, were permanently introduced into Australian Football. It adopted the Laws of Australian Football in the early 1860s after a series of compromises with the Melbourne Football Club.


  1. "Garry Hocking book extract". 15 July 2009. Archived from the original on 18 July 2009.
  2. "Garry Hocking, SANFL Coach". Port Adelaide Football Club. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  3. "Ode to 'Plugger' Bourke's". The Cobram Courier . 28 March 2018. p. 9.
  4. Kotton (2009), p. 219
  5. 1 2 3 Peeters, Tom (17 June 2021). "The Day Hocking Changed His Name To Whiskas". Geelong Cats.
  6. Hobbs, Greg (9–11 April 1999). "Inside Story : Cats are on a cup hunt". AFL Record . AFL Media. pp. 14–17.
  7. 1 2 "The Cat who got the cream". BBC News . 5 August 1999.
  8. Flood reaches shocking level
  9. "Flood Tactics a Blight on the Game". Archived from the original on 30 September 2005.
  10. 1 2 Thring, Harry (7 August 2012). "Hocking set for testing month". Port Adelaide Football Club.
  11. "Port's tough sell of new coach Ken Hinkley". 7 October 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  12. "Ratten says no to Port". 20 September 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  13. "Garry Hocking vacates Magpies coaching seat to return to Port's AFL panel".
  14. "Kane Cornes reveals Garry Hocking's brutal 4am training session as new coach at Port Adelaide". Fox Sports . 24 April 2020.
  15. "Hocking added to coaching panel".
  16. "Collingwood confirms coaching panel". Collingwood FC. 8 October 2019.
  17. Garry Hocking's player profile at AFL Tables
  18. "AFL Tables - Garry Hocking - Coaching Record".