KEVIN BARTLETT was recruited by the Richmond Tigers from the local Try Boys Under 15 Team and played 403 Games , kicking 778 Goals in his memorable Playing Career from 1965 to 1983. His Hall of Fame Card and a number of Scanlens Cards, including those of many of his team-mates are available at qualityafltradingcards.com. Bartlett holds the distinction of being one of only 2 Australian Football Players to have played more than 400 Senior Career Games ( Michael Tuck from Hawthorn holds the record of 426 Games ).
Bartlett was a superlative Goal-Kicking Rover who proved extremely difficult to contain and played key roles in many great Tiger victories throughout his career. He earnt the nickname “Hungry” due to his magnetic attraction to the Goal Posts if he took possession within 50 metres of Goal, and due to his high degree of accuracy, his actions were regularly lauded as the Team’s best option. Bartlett had wonderful evasive skills, was exceptionally quick over the first 10 – 20 Metres , was highly skilled and appeared to have an endless supply of stamina.
Kevin Bartlett left an indelible mark at the highest level of Australian Football, and his career highlights included:- Jack Dyer Medal Winner as Richmond Tigers Best and Fairest Player in 1967, 1968, 1973, 1974, and 1977, Richmond Tigers Leading Goalkicker in 1974, 1975, 1977 and 1983, Victorian Representation on 20 occasions ( including Captain in 1980 ), Premiership player in 1967, 1969, 1973, 1974 and 1980, and Norm Smith Medal Winner in 1980 when he kicked 7 Goals in the Grand Final. Additional Richmond Tigers Club Honours include selection in the Team of the Century, induction into the Hall of Fame in 2002 and conferred as a Richmond “Immortal” in 2004.
Bartlett was an inaugural inductee to the Australian Football League Hall of Fame in 1996, being honoured as one of the Official Legends of the Game, and has been awarded the Queen’s Honour as a Member of the Order of Australia for his life-long contribution to Australian Football. His record is an incredible outcome when we consider that a serious hip problem experienced in a Finals Game for the Richmond Tigers under 19’s Team in 1963 required his hospitalization, and led to rehabilitation throughout the 1964 Season. Kevin Bartlett then made his Senior Debut for Richmond in 1965, playing for 19 Seasons, whilst rarely missing a Game through injury. This fact testifies to the high degree of courage, talent , skill, and thorough pre-game preparation that proved to be the Bartlett Trademark.
Kevin Bartlett was immediately contracted as an Australian Football Media personality on his retirement as a Player, with a loyal following of viewers, listeners and readers of his Television, Radio and Sun News Pictorial presentations. His reports and reviews were on the money and he offered very constuctive critiques as well as pro-active suggestions for improvement, when warranted. His Media interests were put on hold when the Richmond tigers appointed him Senior Coach in 1988. Perceived lack of success resulted in the Tigers Board sacking Bartlett at the end of the 1991 Season in spurious circumstances, so it was written at that time. Whatever the truth, Bartlett was angered enough to enter into a 16 year estrangement from the Richmond Tigers, the Club that had been his complete focus to that time, with the factions not being re-united until 2007.
The Bartlett impact on Australian Football intensified in all forms of media after his demise as the Tigers Coach, and his devotion and tireless work for the Code was amplified with his involvement in the AFL “Laws of the Game ” or Rules Commitee, as a selector of the Annual All Australian Team and as a selector of the AFL Hall of Fame. The Legend Status that envelopes Kevin Bartlett, leads to a new interpretation of his nickname ” Hungry”, which in the Modern Era should relate to the hunger he has demonstated to develop Our Game, and no self-respecting Australian Football Fan would question that Kevin Bartlett be a Main Course on the AFL/VFL Menu.
( Image courtesy of richmondfc.com.au ).