Brad Hardie joins Australian Football Hall of Fame

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 8:34 AM by Chris Pike

ALREADY acknowledged with inductions into the West Australian Football and South Fremantle Football Club Halls of Fame, Bulldogs champion Brad Hardie cemented his legacy forever by entering the Australian Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.

It is the ultimate recognition for one of South Fremantle's favourite sons who burst onto the scene in the Mighty Red V as a teenager and was a premiership player in 1980 as just a 17-year-old where he kicked three goals on the Grand Final win over Swan Districts.

Hardie would go on to win South Fremantle's fairest and best in 1982 and was captain by 1984 while winning the Simpson Medal as WA's best player in the 1984 State of Origin clash with Victoria in 1984.

He would also win the Tassie Medal as the best player of the entire State of Origin series, and he repeated both the Simpson and Tassie Medal wins in 1986.

But by 1985 he had entered the VFL with Footscray and made an immediate impact with a stunning first season as an attacking back pocket. 

That 1985 season was a remarkable one for Hardie where he won the Brownlow Medal and Footscray's best and fairest award.

He had another good season at the Bulldogs in 1986 but a now famous falling out with coach Mick Malthouse led to his departure for the Brisbane Bears for their inaugural season in 1987.

Hardie would be a fine servant for the Bears becoming their first player to reach 100 games and being leading goalkicker in both 1989 and 1990.

But at the end of 1991, things were falling apart off the field with the Bears and as part of cost cutting measures, Hardie was traded to Collingwood where he would play two more matches in 1992 before his AFL career came to an end.

Hardie would return to South Fremantle for one final season in 1993 where he would lead the Bulldogs' goalkicking with 52 goals before retiring only aged 31.

In the end, Hardie played 140 games for 300 goals in his career that started and finished with South Fremantle in the WAFL. He was a fairest and best winner, leading goalkicker and premiership player in his South Fremantle career.

Meanwhile in the VFL/AFL, Hardie also added 47 matches for Footscray, 101 for the Brisbane Bears for 192 goals and then two more with Collingwood on top of his eight appearances representing WA.

Since his playing career, Hardie has built a radio career commentating games largely from Melbourne for 882 6PR along with being a contributor to other programs where his opinions have often divided thoughts but created plenty of discussion.

Hardie's playing career has already been honoured by his induction into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame on top of being an inaugural inductee into the South Fremantle Football Club's Hall of Fame.

Then on Tuesday night in Melbourne, Hardie was part of the class of 2019 to be inducted into Australian Football's Hall of Fame alongside Mick Malthouse, Ron Evans, Ken Hunter, Trevor Barker and Jim Deane.

Upon receiving the honour of being inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame, Hardie admitted to being humbled by the honour.

"It's great to have your career acknowledged by others. You get a bit self-indulgent at times and think that you went alright as a player and that you'd like to be in the Hall of Fame, and then all of a sudden it comes your way," Hardie said.

"It was a great honour and I'm very humbled by it especially when you are in a room with all those luminaries. It's the crowning glory on my career. We all play for premierships and I was lucky enough to do that in my second year as a kid at South Fremantle, and I'm very happy with that.

"Then to pick up those little individual trinkets along the way, it's not too bad. But this is the crowning glory for sure, it's the missing piece."