Tributes continue to pour in for AFL legend Tom Hafey, who passed away on Monday after a short battle with cancer.
Hafey was a Richmond Immortal – one of only five at the club, along with Jack Dyer, Kevin Bartlett, Francis Bourke and Royce Hart – and a four-time premiership coach with the Tigers.
He also coached Collingwood, Geelong and Sydney.
Richmond CEO Brendon Gale said that in Hafey, who led the club to the 1967, ’69,’73, and ’74 premierships, the Tigers had lost a “giant”.
“His coaching achievements at Tigerland are legendary and he was a constant source of inspiration to the yellow and black,” Gale said.
“His mantra of hard work, discipline, dedication, persistence, honesty, loyalty, integrity, good health and vitality, was not only the recipe for success on the football field, but success in his wonderful life.”
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse, who played briefly under Hafey at Richmond, described him as an “amazing man”.
“Tommy coached me for half a season, but that half a season established a bond that was alive and well up until this afternoon,” Malthouse said after the Blues’ win over St Kilda on Monday night.
“You get blessed when your first two coaches are the late Allan Jeans and now the late Tommy Hafey.
“They teach you so much about life and so much about football and I think the secret is the fact that both men were not just football coaches.
“(He was) not only a great coach, but a great teacher of men and boys.”
Outgoing AFL chief Andrew Demetriou described Hafey’s passion for physical fitness, which made him a pioneering coach.
“Through each of his stints at four clubs, Tom championed fitness, teamwork, morale and dedication, and lived those ideals to the fullest with his personal creed of five Ds that ‘desire plus dedication plus discipline plus determination equals your destination’,” he said.
“A man who brought sustained success to Richmond in the 1960s and 1970s after two decades in wilderness, Tom built a feared side that claimed four flags from five Grand Finals.”
Former Tigers’ star Matthew Richardson said Hafey was an inspirational figure.
“It’s just unbelievable that he’s gone, because he’s just an icon of Richmond and a terrific inspiration to so many people,” he said.
AFL Coaches Association CEO Danny Frawley hailed Hafey’s influence on the game.
“In 2011 Tom was inducted as a ‘Coaching Legend’ of the AFLCA joining John Kennedy Snr. and Ron Barassi,” he said.
“This honour was due recognition of this individual’s massive influence on the game of Australian Rules.”
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said Hafey always left clubs in better shape than which he found them.
“It wasn’t simply the incredible success he enjoyed as a coach that stood him apart from so many. It was what he stood for,” McGuire said on Collingwood’s website.
“He lived the life he wanted his players to live. If he could do it, they could do it. He was often referred to as a player’s man, which is true, but I think he was also a club man in the sense that he built not only great teams but great clubs.
“He invariably left behind a stronger football club, a club that knew a lot more about what it took to succeed.”