Anthony "Bos" Daly was probably the doyen of South Australian goal-kickers before World War I. The brother of Australian Football Hall of Famer John "Bunny" Daly, Anthony made an immediate impact on South Australian Football.
He made his debut in 1893 and the young forward started the season kicking 13 goals in his first two games. In a match against Adelaide on the Kensington Oval he scored an amazing 23 goals from 24 scoring shots , his only minor score resulted from hitting the post. It still stands as a record in South Australian senior football having only ever been equalled once, by Ken Farmer in 1940. In an eventful first year, Daly gained State selection against Victoria, kicked 15 goals in another game against Adelaide, and finished the season with 88 goals for his club, a yearly tally that was not bettered in South Australia for a long time.
He again topped the State goal kicking with 47 goals in 1894, a premiership year for the club, and followed up with 46 goals in 1895.
Daly was a prolific goal scorer in a period when goals were hard to come by. Nicknamed "Bos" (pronounced Boz), he was given the title by his mother because he was "pushy" as a child.
He strongly believed that a good forward needed to be a good kick above all else and while goal kicking came naturally to him, he practiced regularly to improve his accuracy. In an interview after he had retired for 'The Express and Telegraph’ on Thursday 3rd August 1922, he explained that well before playing senior football, he would go to the Kensington Oval and practice his goal kicking. Daly claimed that eventually his accuracy had improved to the stage where he could hit the post in two out of three attempts.
Daly was a wonderful exponent of the place kick and deadly accurate up to 45 metres. His routine after taking a mark or being awarded a free, was to throw his cap on the mark and then place the ball on the cap. "That gave the umpire something to go on and prevented the player standing the mark from cribbing that extra yard or two which may make all the difference between a goal and a result-less kick", he added in the same article. He would follow through with the kick, regardless of the distance involved. Daly also believed a forward should not stray too far from goals and always be within kicking range. He did not believe key forwards received the protection from umpires they deserved and were turning a blind eye to the forwards being constantly interfered with.
Bos Daly's career record shows him credited with 213 games and kicking over 550 goals. After leaving Norwood in 1898 he had short stints at South Adelaide, West Torrens and West Adelaide, before finishing his playing career at North Adelaide in 1912. He was a member of premiership teams at Norwood (1), South Adelaide (1), and North Adelaide (2), as well as being the League's leading goal kicker on seven occasions, and representing the State 10 times.
He was inducted in the South Australian Hall of Fame in 2002.
R Cialini July 2014