Cupido’s 1200-goal milestone

Reason to celebrate: Damien Cupido celebrates a goal while playing with Essendon in the AFL. It did not count in his 1200-goal post AFL career total, which he brought up with Girgarre a fortnight ago.

Damien Cupido would never be so bold to compare his football career with the likes of goalkicking royalty Tony Lockett, Gordon Coventry and Jason Dunstall, but when his time is done the statistics — albeit on a vastly different stage — will be comparable.

The 40-year-old left footed full forward kicked his 1200th career goal — outside of AFL ranks — in the round nine Kyabram District League match to continue a much travelled and celebrated 17 years since leaving AFL ranks.

Lockett kicked 360 goals from 281 matches at an average of 4.84, Coventry kicked 1299 from 306 matches (4.25 average) and Dunstall kicked 1254 goals from 269 games (4.66 average).

Cupido’s career statistics are 1200 goals from 330 games (3.63 average).

Reasons behind unusually elongated celebrations for Cupido’s seventh goal for Girgarre in its thrilling one point win against Nagambie a fortnight ago are now more clear to confused onlookers.

Cupido arrived as coach of Girgarre this season and in eight games has kicked 49 goals.

He sits second on the goalkicking table, behind Violet Town goalkicking sensation Josh Mellington.

Mellington, 11 years Cupido’s junior, is on a similar trajectory to the former Brisbane and Essendon star. He has kicked 925 from 231 (a tick better than goals a game) games outside of AFL ranks.

Cupido said he was aware he needed seven goals to reach the milestone, but was more motivated by getting the important win for his team to put them within touch of the KDL’s top eight.

His career since being delisted from Essendon in 2005 started with four seasons in South Australia before winding its way through the Northern Territory, Ovens and Murray, Mallee, Hume, Ballarat, Gippsland, Ovens and King, Eastern, Outer East, Essendon district, Murray and eventually the Kyabram District League.

Cupido kicked 66 goals in 53 AFL senior appearances with the Lions and Bombers, along with 27 goals from 17 VFL matches.

His time in Darwin, particularly the 2013-14 seasons, produced extraordinary results. In those two seasons he kicked 382 goals in just 64 games (an average of 5.96).

He played with Southern Districts for two seasons, where he kicked 140 goals in 2013 (the same year he broke the record for the fastest 100 goals on record — in just 13 games), and had one match with Nightcliff.

That same year he kicked 103 goals for Ouyen in the Mallee league, despite the team missing the finals.

Cupido’s former Brisbane Lions teammate, Shannon Rusca, coached Southern Districts during Cupido’s 31-game, 185-goal career.

Cupido’s biggest bag of goals is 17, which he came within one of repeating this season at Girgarre when he slotted 16 in the third round of the season.

He told the Free Press that he felt as though he had “enough tricks’’ left to continue playing for the time being.

“I’ve got enough to keep me going at the moment. I still have my long range boot, some speed off the mark and my strength,” Cupido said.

“But I know it won’t last forever. I used to have a lot more attributes.”

Cupido said the standard of the KDL had surprised him and there were a couple of full backs who had kept him to one or two goals.

"It has surprised me, it has been quite competitive and a good standard.

“There has been an influx of players in the league, which helps,” he said.

Cupido said, despite his long list of clubs, he hadn’t played in a country league with so many teams (14).

“I am not sure whether it is sustainable, long term, but it has been enjoyable coming up against different teams.

“I think we will see less and less clubs in the next 10 years.

“I just hope numbers at reserve and under age levels can be maintained to keep clubs going,” he said.

Cupido, who commutes from Shepparton to Melbourne for work, is also developing his own business in partnership with Telstra’s NBN system network.

His 1200-goal milestone was recognised post game by Girgarre club president Matt Graetz and he shared his memories of the 1000-goal milestone.

“I hit the 1000 goals when I was playing an interleague match for the Hume league. That was in 2018 against the Ovens and King league.

“That was really memorable. I kicked eight and the boys came from everywhere,” he said.

Of the 2022 season he said his team “was not too far off the mark”, but would not be using the final days before clearances closed to recruit.

“We are pretty tight with our points system, so we will go into the last part of the season with our current list,” he said.


2004-05: Bendigo Bombers (17 games, 27 goals)

2006: South Adelaide (21 games, 55 goals)

2007-09: West Adelaide (51 games, 62 goals)

2010: North Albury (18 games, 28 goals) and Ovens and Murray league representative (1-2)

2011: Croydon (15 games, 54 goals)

2012: Mt Evelyn (11 games, 55 goals) and Croydon (6-22)

2013: Ouyen (15 games, 103 goals), Mallee league (1-8) and Southern Districts (20-140)

2014: Rumbalara (18 games, 86 goals) and Southern Districts (10-45)

2015: Rumbalara (19 games, 78 goals), Nightcliff (1-1) and Murray league (1-2)

2016: Bacchus Marsh (16 games, 51 goals), Howlong (1-7), Airport West (4-3) and Ballarat league (1-1)

2017: East Burwood (9 games, 20 goals), North Wangaratta (2-8), Bairnsdale (9-35), Southern Districts (1-0) and Gippsland league (goalless)

2018: Henty (20 games, 114 goals), Undera (1-3) and Moyhu (1-4)

2019: Henty (18 games, 81 goals), Moyhu (2-13)

2020: COVID-19 shutdown, no football

2021: Brock Burrum Saints (8 games, 34 goals)

2022: Girgarre (9 games, 51 goals)