Kevin Bartlett, Famous Australian Rules Footballer
Kevin Bartlett was a five time best and fairest player for Richmond, Bartlett won five premierships playing with the club.
Kevin Charles Bartlett, popularly known as Kevin Bartlett was a renowned Australian Rules footballer during the period 1965-1983.
He played in Victorian Football League for Richmond Football Club and holds the record of playing 403 games in history of VFL/AFL, which is the second highest number of games played by any player. Five times best and fairest player for Richmond, Bartlett won five premierships playing with the club.
Kevin Bartlett was born on March 6, 1947 and retired from Australian Rules in 1983. After his retirement, he became popular radio and television broadcaster and sports commentator.
For many years, Bartlett worked as rules committee member for AFL but was finally replaced on March 4, 2014. He also worked as a selection panel member for AFL Rising Star and All-Australia Team awards. Richmond appointed Kevin as a coach in 1988 but was later sacked by Richmond after four consecutive unsuccessful seasons.
As a result of this, Bartlett did not return to Richmond for next 16 years.
Kevin Bartlett’s Career
Bartlett, during the peak of his career, was known for stamina and evasiveness. He had the ability to win a game off his own boot. He also earned the title ‘Hungry’ because of his unwillingness to handball. In 1980, he kicked seven goals during the Grand Final, which won him the Norm Smith Medal.
On the ground, Kevin had a very high level of concentration and his impeccable set of skill played a crucial role in many of the wins bagged by Richmond.
A person finishing 5th in Best and Fairest count of Richmond each year is awarded with Kevin Bartlett Medal. Kevin used to barrack for Footscray Football Club. As a teenager, Kevin went to Richmond located at Punt Road Oval by walking all the way from Lennox St. where his home was located.
When he reached Richmond, the then coach of Richmond, Bill Boromeo greeted Kevin. This opened the doors of Richmond for Kevin and he joined the under 17 side and went on to win the Best and Fairest and goal kicking awards in 1962. One year later, Kevin again won the Best and Fairest for under 19 team and the team made it way to the finals series.
Within seconds while playing the first final with Geelong, Kevin Bartlett experienced an injury and it was later revealed that he had a cyst embedded in his hip. He was treated at Prince Henry Hospital, but in 1964, he had to go for rehab program because he still experience pain around his hip.
As a Coach
Kevin Bartlett coached Richmond’s Tigers from 1988 to 1991. In 1991, there was a controversy, which led Richmond to sack Kevin. For next 16 years, Kevin broke up all ties with the club but returned only in 2007 to attend an official function.
After his retirement, Kevin joined Melbourne based Channel 7 and hosted Junior Supporters Club and regularly appeared on World of Sport.
He was crowned as the King of Moomba in 1984 and he went on to write the tabloid newspaper known as the Sun News Pictorial. His media appearances stopped when he coached the Tigers during the period 1988-1991. Kevin was very interested in all types of sports and in one of the very few ex-players of Australian Football who worked as a commentator for all types of sports.
As of date, he hosts a radio show known as Hungry for Sport and uses his nickname Hungry that he earned during his playing career with Richmond. He hosts the show on SEN, which is a dedicated sports radio station located in Melbourne.
In 2008, September 13 Kevin Bartlett made an appearance in an advertisement known as Toyota Memorable Moments where he recreated his 7 goals he kicked in the VFL Grand Final of 1980. He also recreated his comb-over hairstyle during the advertisement.
Rebuilding Ties with Richmond
After Richmond sacked Kevin as a coach, Kevin decided not to return to Richmond. He actually declined to attend all official club functions and arrangements during the period 1991-2007. However, in 2007 he eventually attended the Tommy Hafey Club Function for supporting Tomy Hafey.
Hafey was Kevin’s lifelong friend. Same year on 22nd November he walked into Richmond’s Home Ground for the first time after 1991 to launch “Richmond F.C.: A Centenary of League Football”, which was a centenary publication of the club.
Kevin Bartlett received several recognitions that include:
• Inducted into Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
• Inducted into Richmond Hall of Fame in 2002.
• Achieved ‘Legend’ status in Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
• Achieved ‘Immortal’ status in Richmond Hall of Fame in 2004.
• Inducted into Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 1981, Bartlett became the Member of the Order of Australia. He was also named as a team member for the ‘Team of the Century’ of Richmond Football Club.