One of the greatest goalkickers in League football, Coventry held the record of most career goals – an incredible 1,299 – for six decades until surpassed by Tony Lockett.
Coventry, nicknamed “Nuts”, was a champion centre half-forward with Diamond Creek and was invited to play with the senior Collingwood side on his performances in the Heidelberg League.
Coventry went on to rewrite the record books. He was the first man to kick 100 goals in a season (124 goals in 1929), was the first VFL player to notch 300 senior games and kicked a record 50 goals or more in 13 successive seasons.
Strong and a superb mark, Coventry was the perfect full-forward for great Collingwood teams and used strength rather than speed to win the ball. He once kicked 17 goals in a match (against Fitzroy in 1930). This was a League record until broken by Melbourne’s Fred Fanning against St Kilda in 1947.
Idolised by Magpie fans, Coventry topped the club’s goalkicking every year from 1922-37 and was leading League goalkicker every season from 1926-30 and in 1937 (level with J. Metherell). He represented Victoria 25 times (for 100 goals) and played in five Collingwood premiership sides – 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930 amd 1935. Coventry missed the 1936 grand final triumph because of an eight-match suspension after being found guilty of striking Richmond’s Joe Murdoch.
He played in that match against Richmond with a crop of boils on his neck and retaliated when Murdoch struck him on the neck.
He won Collingwood’s best and fairest in 1933 and then retired at the end of the 1937 season and coached in the amateurs.
Coventry was not particularly fast and was not showy, yet kept kicking goals. Once he secured front position, he virtually was guaranteed possession of the ball.
He played in a favorite pair of old boots for many years and this brought jeers from rival fans, but Magpie fans adored him.