Craig Kelly (footballer)

Craig Kelly (born 16 June 1966) is a former Australian rules football player with Collingwood Football Club and served as a successful player manager. He is the grandson of famous free marketeer and former Government Minister, C.R. "Bert" Kelly.

Craig Kelly
Personal information
Date of birth (1966-06-16) 16 June 1966
Original team(s) Norwood (SANFL)
Draft No. 34, 1986 national draft
Height 190 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 140 kg (309 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1989–1996 Collingwood 122 (43)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1996.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,


Kelly began playing top level football with the Norwood Football Club in the SANFL. He was drafted to Collingwood in the 1986 National draft, as pick no. 34


Kelly made his debut in 1989 and became a tough defender. He played a crucial role in the low scoring 1990 Grand Final, which Collingwood went on to win.

The barrel chested Kelly was known for being a tough and hot headed footballer. He had many appearances to the tribunal for rough play. One incident occurred in 1992 when playing against Sydney, Kelly charged at Sydney's Ben Doolan, causing many of Doolan's teeth to fall out.

Craig Kelly is also famous for pinching opposition players to niggle them such as Richmond's Stephen Jurica, Hawthorn's Jason Dunstall and Geelong duo David Mensch and Gary Ablett, which Ablett stated in his new biography (2007).

Kelly retired after Collingwood's final match of the 1996 season, a round 22 win against the Brisbane Bears, along with Alan Richardson.


After his retirement, Craig founded Elite Sports Properties with Rob Woodhouse - now TLA Worldwide. The company deals mainly with sports management and marketing. Kelly is a player manager to many top current AFL stars.


Craig Kelly was the Coach of the Mansfield Eagles in the Goulburn Valley Football League and coached them to the GV premiership in 2009. He has also played some games for the club.

He also unsuccessfully attempted to introduce the ‘Bandit Method’ into Australian golf. A theory that requires its students to exclusively chip one handed from inside 20 metres of the green. Craig named his school after the method ‘One Armed Bandits’ however it recently closed due to a lack of students.


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