Craig Bradley

Craig Edwin Bradley (born 23 October 1963) is a former professional Australian rules footballer and first-class cricketer. He is the games record holder at Carlton in the AFL/VFL, and in elite Australian rules football (the AFL/VFL, SANFL and WAFL).

Craig Bradley
Personal information
Full name Craig Edwin Bradley
Date of birth (1963-10-23) 23 October 1963
Place of birth Ashford, South Australia
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 81 kg (179 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1981–1985 Port Adelaide (SANFL) 98 (105) [1]
1986–2002 Carlton (VFL/AFL) 375 (247)
Total 473 (352)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1983–1999 South Australia 19 (?)
International team honours
1984–2002 Australia 9 (?)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2002.
Career highlights





Sources: AFL Tables,

Early life

Bradley was born in Ashford in suburban Adelaide.


Port Adelaide (1981–1985)

Bradley made his senior football debut in 1981 as a seventeen-year-old for Port Adelaide in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), Port's third premiership in a row. At the end of 1981 Victorian Football League club Essendon approached Bradley to join them but he turned down the offer, wishing to remain in South Australia with Port Adelaide and to build on his promising cricket career.

In 1982, his second season, Bradley won Port Adelaide's Best and Fairest.

In 1984 Bradley would be selected in the Australian team to take on Ireland in the revival of the International Rules series.

In 1985 Bradley had won his third consecutive Port Adelaide best and fairest and was runner-up for the Magarey Medal.[3]

Carlton (1986–2002)

After 89 games with Port Adelaide, Bradley was recruited by VFL club Carlton in 1986 as part of a recruiting drive that also netted future captain Stephen Kernahan and Peter Motley.

Bradley won three Robert Reynolds Trophies as Carlton's Best & Fairest, in 1986, 1988 and 1993, as well as being a member of the 1987 and 1995 premiership sides. Bradley played with Carlton for seventeen seasons, acting as Kernahan's vice captain from 1990 until 1997, then captaining Carlton from 1998 to 2001.

In this time, Bradley also represented Australia three times in the International Rules series, including as vice-captain in 2000 and captain in 2001. He broke Bruce Doull's Carlton games record in Round 1, 2002.

In a senior career spanning 22 seasons, Bradley was renowned as one of the games tireless champions, and in particular his amazing fitness that meant he could play the physically demanding game of Australian rules football until the age of 38. For much of his career, Bradley played as an outside midfielder, rotating into the forward line during games, where his nous allowed him both to score and assist many goals through his career. In his final few seasons, Bradley spent more time acting as a loose, sweeping half-back flanker, and much of Carlton's drive forward came from his play through the wings.

Bradley's final AFL game, against Port Adelaide, was in Round 19, 2002, polling 3 Brownlow Votes at the age of 38 years and 289 days, making him the sixth-oldest player in the history of the league. His final appearance overall was in the 2002 International Rules series.

In November 2002, following Carlton's salary cap breach which lost the club valuable draft picks, Bradley had contemplated reversing his decision to retire[4] and attempt to rebuild a club in crisis, but he eventually stood by his initial decision to retire from the game, which was made three weeks before the salary cap drama occurred.


Bradley played first-class cricket for South Australia and various Australian junior sides. After moving to Victoria to play for Carlton, he initially continued to play cricket for Victoria, although the increasing demands of football led him to retire from cricket after four first-class games.

He played grade cricket for Port Adelaide until 1987/88 (originally returning to South Australia each summer after the football season to do so), and from 1988/89 until his retirement from cricket after the 1991/92 season, he played district cricket in Victoria for the Melbourne Cricket Club.[5] Bradley holds the distinction as the last active VFL/AFL player to win a Victorian district cricket premiership, achieving the feat in 1988/89,[6] and had an agreement with the Carlton Football Club that district cricket finals took precedence over early season home-and-away football games if there was a clash.[7]

Post football

In 2007, Bradley returned to Carlton as a part-time assistant coach.


Bradley's services to the game have been officially recognised several times at the highest levels. He was immediately inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2006, after the minimum three years of retirement. At Carlton, Bradley is an Official Legend of the club's Hall of Fame, and was selected on the wing in the club's Team of the Century. He was also selected on the wing in Port Adelaide's Team of the Century.

Games records

Craig Bradley is the all-time games record holder in elite Australian rules football. In total, he played 473 VFL/AFL games: 98 for Port Adelaide in the SANFL from 1981–1985 (despite missing the last eight matches of the 1983 season touring England with the Young Australia cricket team),[8] and 375 at Carlton from 1986–2002, including 31 finals (7 for Port Adelaide and 24 for Carlton).

He holds the Carlton club games record, which was also, at the time of his retirement, the fourth-highest number of games played in the VFL/AFL behind Simon Madden (378), Kevin Bartlett (403) and Michael Tuck (426). As of 2017, he is now seventh.[9]

He also represented South Australia nineteen times from 1983 up until 1999, the final season of State of Origin football, and played in nine international rules games for Australia, which are also considered to be senior games by the AFL.

He played nine Night Series matches for Port Adelaide, which are considered senior games by the SANFL. As such, he played 501 senior Australian football games, which is an all-time record.

Bradley also played 27 matches in Night Series competition with Carlton, but these are not counted as senior games by the AFL, as opposed to in the WAFL and SANFL.

Taking the AFL's view, Bradley's 500th game was the first International Rules test against Ireland at Croke Park in 2002. If the Carlton night matches are considered, then Bradley played 528 overall games in his career, with his 500th game being against St Kilda in Round 20, 2001, at the Docklands Stadium.


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T Votes
Totals Averages (per game)
1986 Carlton 21253012386215601145N/A1.20.515.48.624.05.8N/A9
1987 Carlton 2122171637812450292290.80.717.25.622.84.21.314
1988 Carlton 2125141547512760291300.60.619.
1989 Carlton 2121161232012844868320.80.615.
1990 Carlton 2122101237318455758440.50.517.08.425.32.62.06
1991 Carlton 21219735916252152410.40.317.17.724.82.51.66
1992 Carlton 2122171528719848564350.80.713.
1993 Carlton 2122262033222856085451.20.915.110.425.53.92.06
1994 Carlton 2121151328518847359350.70.613.
1995 Carlton 21251212373211584100300.50.514.98.423.44.01.210
1996 Carlton 2119171031413745166360.90.516.
1997 Carlton 2122121143615158776320.50.519.86.926.73.51.515
1998 Carlton 21197926716042762280.40.514.18.422.53.31.510
1999 Carlton 212691143019662696350.30.416.57.524.13.71.318
2000 Carlton 212115228116844951340.
2001 Carlton 212314734417752194240.60.315.07.722.64.11.010
2002 Carlton 21197823614638258360.40.412.47.720.13.11.94
Career 375 247 192 5876 2900 8776 1317 546 0.7 0.5 15.7 7.7 23.4 3.5 1.6 144

See also


  2. These totals refer to premiership matches (home-and-away and finals matches) only.
  3. Rohan Connolly (4 July 1993). "Craig Bradley: shaking the tag". The Sunday Age (Sport Liftout). Melbourne. pp. 12–13.
  4. "Silvagni decides not to play -".
  5. "VCA 1st XI Career records 1889-90 to 2014-15, A-C" (PDF). Cricket Victoria. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  6. Ben Huf. "Home Ground". Victorian Premier Cricket. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  7. Damian Barrett (1 April 1991). "Braddles' day of pain and joy". Herald-Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 77.
  9. "Most career games". AFL Tables. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  10. Craig Bradley's player profile at AFL Tables
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