The son of Carlton player John (29 games for the Blues, but not enough to qualify for Father-Son), Matthew Lloyd grew up a Fitzroy fan, idolising the great Bernie ‘Superboot’ Quinlan, who booted 9 goals for the Lions in the first game Lloyd ever attended.
After spending three years living in Scotland due to John’s work, Matthew returned to Melbourne and became a promising young footballer himself and Essendon pounced when Lloyd became available to them as a 16 year-old compensatory selection for losing Todd Ridley to the Fremantle Dockers in the 1995 Pre-Season Debut. The Bombers snared Lloyd and fellow key forward Scott Lucas in arguably the greatest bargain in AFL Draft history.
Lloyd debuted as a 17 year old in the opening round of 1995 and his three goals against the Crows immediately stamped him as a future player to watch.
After two seasons in and out of a strong Essendon team as he honed his craft under the guidance of Kevin Sheedy, Lloyd cemented his place in the senior side in 1997, booting 63 goals to claim the first of his 12 club goalkicking titles.
Matthew continued to become more and more dominant each season. Named All-Australian for the first time in 1998 (70 goals), he would go on to receive that honour on five times in the next six seasons as he established himself as the game’s most prolific goalkicker of the era.
Determined not to squander the scoring opportunities that his team-mates had worked so hard to create, Lloyd became known for his meticulous preparation prior to every set shot, which would involve a grass-throwing routine to check the breeze.
2000 was the near perfect season as the Bombers lost just one game on the way to the premiership, led up forward by a career-best 109 goals from Lloyd, who collected the first of his three Coleman Medals as the competition’s leading goalkicker.
Named Essendon captain in 2006, he led the Bombers for the final four seasons of his career, retiring after 270 games & 926 goals. Ranked as the eighth greatest goalkicker in VFL/AFL history, he was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
One end of the ground at Marvel Stadium, where Lloyd is an ambassador, is named the ‘Lloyd End’ for Essendon home games and he remains one of the most popular Bombers of all-time.
Matthew’s journey into the media actually began while he still at the height of his on-field powers.
Upon retiring, he joined Network Ten’s AFL coverage and radio SEN1116, before aligning with his current partners Nine (where he appears on Footy Classified & the Sunday Footy Show) and 3AW. He has also been a newspaper columnist with the Herald Sun.
Lloyd is known for forthright observations and commentary. Prepared to call it as he sees it, he has earned a reputation for giving credit and blame where due in equal measure, asking the uncomfortable questions when they need to be asked.
Lloyd has also been heavily involved in developing the next generation of stars, working closely with the AFL Academy for several years alongside his role as the Head Coach of Haileybury College’s successful APS football program, which has bred a number of up-and-coming young AFL stars in recent years.