The AFL Players’ Association is deeply saddened by the passing of former player and coaching legend Tommy Hafey, who died yesterday after losing his battle with cancer aged 82.
Acting Chief Executive Officer Ian Prendergast said the response from players, past and present, via social media showed the legacy Hafey leaves on all generations of footballers.
“Whether they knew him directly or only met him once, every player seems to have their own unique story of how Tommy Hafey influenced their lives,” said Prendergast.
“We have players who are not even 20 who are devastated by the loss, because Tommy stood for more than just how to approach football, he represented strong values and discipline and for many was an aspirational figure about how to approach life.
“Our thoughts are with Tommy’s wife Maureen, their children Rhonda, Karen and Jo, and the extended family.”
Alumni Manager Brad Fisher said the response from the past players’ had been just as passionate with many having been coached or played alongside Hafey.
“He was a legend amongst our past player group and many have shared their memories of him today in what is a fitting tribute to a man who stood for everything we try to instil in not just our current players but our society,” said Fisher.
“For many of our past players he represented more than just a teammate or a coach, he was a brother, a father and a mentor and someone they aspired to be like – he will be sadly missed.”
Past Player Director Murray Browne also paid his respects having played under Hafey during his time at Collingwood.
“He was a great person who positively influenced the lives of so many,” said Browne.
“He gave up his time so freely to help others and in return only wanted one thing – for people to do their very best.
“I, like many others, was privileged to play under him and may he rest in peace.”