The Australian Rules football community is mourning the death of Bob Hammond, who achieved virtually every honour as a player, coach and administrator.
- Bob Hammond was one of the top SANFL players and coaches in the 1970s
- He went on to become a successful administrator with the Adelaide Crows and the AFL
- He has died aged 78
He died aged 78 in Adelaide yesterday surrounded by family after a recent battle with Parkinson’s disease, the AFL said.
In 2015, Hammond was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame, during which he acknowledged he had no formal education — leaving school after three years of secondary education — and that football had been his greatest tutor.
As a player, Hammond was full-back in two of South Australia’s greatest sides — the 1963 state team that beat Victoria on the MCG and the 1972 North Adelaide SANFL premiership side he captained to the title of Champions of Australia.
“Any team that boasts the likes of Barrie Robran, Bohdan Jaworskyj, the Sachse brothers and Terry Von Bertouch is going to be pretty hard to stop,” he said.
Top performance in SANFL grand final
Arguably, his greatest performance as a player was his last match for the Roosters, where he marshalled the backline in an epic 1973 SANFL grand final against Glenelg.
Fellow defender Neil Sachse described it as one of the greatest games he has ever seen anyone play.
“He was incredible. I just wish I could have played a game once like Bob did that day,” Mr Sachse said.
Hammond said part of the reason was that he knew it would be his finale having accepted a job which would make playing football impossible in 1974.
However, his plans changed dramatically when Norwood offered him a role as captain-coach.
He led the Redlegs to two premierships and later took the helm of the South Australian state team and briefly the Sydney Swans.
Administrator for Crows and AFL
His third incarnation was as an administrator — where his steady hand as chairman guided the Adelaide Crows through their fledgling years.
He spent a decade on the AFL Commission, where he believed he brought a sense of the game at club level.
Among the honours bestowed on him is the Bob Hammond Race at the Adelaide Oval, which the Crows players used to enter the arena.
“I think players have the most enjoyment, they have the most camaraderie,” Mr Hammond reflected late in his life.
“Coaching is next, administration next, but they are clearly one, two, three.”
AFL chairman Richard Goyder said Hammond was one of only 16 administrators to be honoured as a member of the Hall of Fame.
“Bob served Australian football as an esteemed coach and club administrator, before taking on the task of building the overall strength of our sport as a commissioner, working for a decade to build our game in every part of our cities, communities and country regions,” Mr Goyder said.
“He had the ability to look at what was good for the whole of the game, and to drive towards those outcomes, coming from a background of success at every club he had been a part of through his lifetime.”