Matthew James Lloyd (born 16 April 1978) is an Australian rules footballer who plays for and is captain of the Essendon Football Club in the Australian Football League. He is the leading goal scorer of all time for Essendon and the eighth highest in the league's history.
After being picked up in the 1995 Pre-season draft as a "compensatory selection" that was traded away by Fremantle, the Bombers picked up what would be one of their all-time greats for a relative pittance in the draft. Lloyd was heralded as a future football star after his AFL debut in 1995, where he scored a goal with his first kick in league football. Lloyd has since gone on to be selected in the All Australian Team on five occasions (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003), has won the Coleman Medal for kicking the most goals in the regular season three times, (2000, 2001 and 2003), and has twice kicked more than 100 goals in a season (109 in 2000 and 105 in 2001).
Lloyd was a member of Essendon's 2000 premiership team, and has been vice captain of Essendon since the 2000 season. He was recognised for his achievements at Essendon in 2002 when he was ranked the 22nd greatest player ever to play for the club in the "Champions of Essendon" list. This is despite the fact he was only 24 at the time, and only 7 seasons into his playing career.
Lloyd played his 200th game for Essendon in 2005, which was a 15-point victory over St Kilda in round 13. This was a highlight in what was an average season for Essendon, where they missed the finals for the first time since 1997 by finishing 12th. Lloyd will forever go down as one of the greatest goal kickers of all time and Essendons all time leading goalkicker.
Midway through the third quarter of the Essendon vs. Bulldogs match on 16 April (which happened to be Lloyd's 28th birthday), opponent Brian Harris accidentally fell on Lloyd as he tried to mark the ball. Lloyd walked off the ground with the aid of trainers and did not return for the rest of the match. Following scans, a week later it was revealed that there was a tear in the hamstring tendon which consequently ruled him out for the rest of the season. This prompted Bombers coach Kevin Sheedy to hand back the captaincy to Hird for the next two rounds before appointing David Hille as captain for the remainder of 2006. At this stage the Essendon Football Club didn't know whether he would ever play again but like the true champion he is he persevered and kept on fighting.
Lloyd made a successful comeback under clear blue skies against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in Round One, 2007. He kicked 2 goals while working further up the ground, putting to rest any concerns about his injured hamstring. Essendon never trailed and beat a disappointing Adelaide side by 31 points.
In Round Three, Lloyd continued his impressive return and booted five goals against traditional rivals Carlton at the MCG. Unfortunately Carlton came from 9 goals behind to record one of its greatest wins.
In the traditional ANZAC Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood in Round Five, Lloyd scored three goals while reportedly suffering a corked thigh. Before the match, Lloyd told the Herald Sun that he would be thinking of his great uncle Ernest Dale who served in World War I.
Lloyd was sidelined for the Round Six clash against Hawthorn because of a hamstring injury reportedly related to his corked thigh. He announced in the Herald Sun that he would also miss the Round Seven match against the Kangaroos.
Lloyd kicked another 3 goals against Sydney in Essendon's thrilling one point win at the SCG in Round Ten. He also bagged a hat-trick in the Bombers' second straight amazing one-point win, against reigning premiers West Coast at Telstra Dome in Round Eleven.
Lloyd kicked four goals in the Round Thirteen clash against Melbourne, including his 800th career goal in the first term. However, shortly after the three-quarter-time siren he was reported for allegedly charging opponent Nathan Carroll in retaliation of Carroll knocking Lloyd to the ground following Lloyd missing a goal. Lloyd contested the decision but despite there being numerous other offences similar which were not reported, the one week suspension was not overturned. He missed the Round Fourteen match against Geelong (which also happened to be James Hirds' 250th game), where the Dons suffered their biggest loss for the year after being defeated by 50 points.
In the first half of Essendon's 12 point win against a disappointing Adelaide Lloyd booted five goals, four of which were scored in the first quarter of a close game. Essendon remains undefeated against Adelaide at home.
In Round Nineteen Lloyd hit back at the criticism of the previous week by kicking 5 goals in Essendon's consecutive 63 point loss, this time against Fremantle. Despite the loss, one positive was Lloyd surpassed Bernie Quinlan to become the ninth highest goal scorer in VFL/AFL history.
Lloyd had one of his best games for the season in Round Twenty against Carlton booting six goals. One of them was voted goal of the year at the end of 2007, which was kicked at the end of the third quarter. He kicked with the back of his heel while facing away from the goals directly in front. It was in this match that Lloyd overtook Scott Lucas as the leading Essendon goal scorer for the season.
He had a disappointing match in Round 2, being kept to just three behinds in the match against the reigning Premiers Geelong.
Despite Essendon's 64 point loss to Port Adelaide in Round Seven, Lloyd played one of his best games for the season kicking 5 goals and applying pressure throughout the ground. and in that match at the end of the first quarter he went up to question umpire Martin Ellis but he told him to go away then Lloyd was fined $5000.
In Round 8 against Sydney at the SCG, Lloyd had one of his worst games for many years, kicking only 1 goal and having only 6 possessions in Essendon's 91-point loss to the Swans.
In Round 9 in the 'Dream Time at the 'G' match against Richmond at the MCG, Lloyd enjoyed a return to form, kicking 4 goals as the Bombers went down to the Tigers by 38 points.
Essendon travelled to Adelaide to face the Crows in Round 10. Lloyd only kicked 1 goal from limited opportunities and the Bombers went down by 5 points.
Against Hawthorn at Telstra Dome in Round 11, Lloyd kicked 2 goals in the 1st quarter, one of which from a great pack mark in the forward pocket as the Hawks beat the Dons by 51 points. Lloyd copped considerable criticism from the media post match, many saying that he was a has-been.
In response to these attacks on his captain, Essendon coach Matthew Knights decided to play Lloyd in a slightly different role in the Round 12 clash against West Coast at Telstra Dome, starting him at Centre Half-Forward and playing him further up the ground. It worked magnificently, as Lloyd played one of his best games for many years, collecting 21 disposals, 2 goals and taking a hanger late in the game to lead the Bombers to a 22-point win and snap an 8-game losing streak.
Lloyd continued his new-found good form in the Round 13 blockbuster against a resurgent Carlton at the MCG. He kicked 2 goals in the first quarter and collided heavily with Blues captain Chris Judd to set up a 39-point Quarter Time lead. This lead was slowly wittled away by the Blues until they hit the front mid-way through the final term, at which point Lloyd would kick his 4th and final goal for the game as the Bombers roared away late to win by 35 points.
In the Round 14 Split Round, Essendon headed west to take on Fremantle at Subiaco in former Bomber Mark Johnson's 200th game. Lloyd managed 1 goal and 16 possessions as the Bombers held off a determined Docker fightback in the final quarter to win a tight encounter by 4 points.
In Round 15 against Brisbane at Telstra Dome, Lloyd continued his recent good form, kicking 4 goals and collecting 17 disposals in Essendon's 37-point win over the Lions.
In Round 16 against Richmond at the MCG, Lloyd kicked 2.2 but could not stop the Bombers sliding their first defeat in a month, a four-point loss to the Tigers.
Essendon continued its late-season revival in Round 17 with a 48-point win over Collingwood at the MCG. Lloyd kicked another 4 goals to take his tally to 43 for the season.
Round 18 was undoubtedly Lloyd's best game for the season, and it would be unfortunate Melbourne who would bare the brunt of Lloyd's 8 goal onslaught. His 6th goal came about after a contender for Mark of the Year after flying high over a pack in the goalsquare. Essendon won the match by 16 points.
Round 19 sadly ended Essendon's finals hopes after a 10-point loss to West Coast at Subiaco Oval. This was through no fault of Lloyd's, who kicked 3 goals and moved to 54.15 for the season.
In Round 20 Lloyd played his 250th game for Essendon against Adelaide at Telstra Dome. Despite him kicking 3 goals, the Crows defeated the Bombers in Melbourne for the first time in their history by 50 points, shattering hopes of a fairytale game for the Essendon skipper.
Round 21, A brave Bombers lineup faced the Top 4 Western Bulldogs at the Telstra Dome. After leading at quarter time, the Bombers were outplayed by the Bulldogs and lost by 46 points. Lloyd was one of the stand out players with 4 goals and 18 disposals.
For the 11th time Lloyd was Essendon's top yearly goal kicker, booting 62 goals for the season. Lloyd also took out second place in the Crichton Medal, awarded to Essendon's best and fairest player.
In 2005, Lloyd and his wife Lisa were contestants on AFL Lovematch - a gameshow that was on Fox Footy Channel where AFL couples are tested on how well they know each other. They won, defeating Luke Livingston and his partner.
In 2006 Lloyd had a weekly spot as a panelist on Fox Footy's "White Line Fever" and after being forced to spend an extended time off the field because of injury, has become recognised for his informative views on all things football - his roles included being a special comments commentator on Triple M's football coverage as well as more regular appearances on The AFL Footy Show as a panelist.
Lloyd has 2 older brothers, Simon, who is the High Performance Manager at the Collingwood Football Club, and Brad, who is the former captain of the Williamstown Football Club (and former Hawthorn player) and now national recruiting manager for the Fremantle Football Club , as well as one older sister, Kylie, who is the Unit Manager at The Footy Show.
On 9 November 2002 Lloyd married his childhood sweetheart Lisa-Marie Caparello, known as Lisa, at Xavier College Chapel. They were first introduced by a mutual friend at a party when they were in Year 12 and have been together ever since. Their lavish wedding was covered by New Idea magazine and a documentary of the day titled One Day In November was also aired on Fox Footy Channel. Lloyd wore a suit by Pino Ciano while Lisa wore a gown by Armadale designer Jane Hill.
Lisa has appeared on The Footy Show's singing competition, Screamers and was also a regular presenter on Fox Footy's Living With Footballers before the show was cancelled at the end of 2004. She has studied singing, taught herself piano, worked for Ricky Nixon's sports management company "Flying Start" and now works as a Hyperbaric Technician. Lisa was also listed in Scot Palmers "Most Powerful Women In Football".
On 20 June 2006 it was announced that they were expecting their first child in December. At 7:20pm on 15 December 2006 Lisa gave birth to a baby girl, Jaeda Ruby, who weighed in at 9 pounds, 4 ounces. In his 2007 Player Profile, Lloyd listed Jaeda as being both the best gift he's ever received and one of the highlights of his life. Also, in an interview with Alpha Magazine in May 2007, Lloyd declared that Jaeda was his "pride and joy".