Rhan Hooper

Rhan Hooper (born 9 January 1988) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who has played for the Brisbane Lions and the Hawthorn Hawks of the Australian Football League (AFL). An indigenous Australian with origins are from the Murri people his fast running and hard tackling were notable in the AFL.

Rhan Hooper
Hooper at a training session in 2008
Personal information
Full name Rhan Hooper
Date of birth (1988-01-09) 9 January 1988
Place of birth Charleville, Queensland
Original team(s) Ipswich Eagles
Draft 41st overall, 2005 AFL Draft
58th overall, 2009 AFL Draft
Height 177 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 78 kg (172 lb)
Position(s) Utility
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2006–2009 Brisbane Lions 48 (49)
2010 Hawthorn 06 0(7)
Total 54 (56)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2010.
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Picked at number 41 in the 2005 National Draft by Brisbane, Hooper was recruited from Ipswich in Queensland and wore the number 33 Guernsey formerly worn by his idol, indigenous player Darryl White. Classified as a utility player, he had the ability to play many positions around the ground. Averaging over a goal a game he was most notable in the role of defensive forward and "goal sneak", sometimes also playing in the forward pocket or half forward. His pace, defensive and ballwinning abilities also saw him sometimes used on the ball or as a rebound defender.

Early life

Hooper was born in Charleville to indigenous Australian (Murri) parents whose ancestry is from the Kooma tribe,[1] before later moving to Cunnamulla.[2]

Hooper lived in Ipswich as a teenager and attended the Bundamba State Secondary College.

He spent some time in Melbourne in his late teens where he was first exposed to Aussie Rules by one of his sports coaches. He proved a talent and played some matches with the Dandenong Stingrays.[3] Upon returning to Queensland he with the Ipswich Eagles where he first caught the eye of Brisbane Lions talent scouts. His dashes of blistering pace and ability to pick the ball up at full speed drew comparisons to the similar size and style of play of Melbourne Demons forward Aaron Davey, who had surprised the league a year earlier with the trailblazing defensive forward style.

AFL career

Picked at number 41 in the 2005 National Draft, Hooper took very little time to break into senior AFL level, with an exciting performance in the 2006 NAB Cup.

He debuted in the Premiership season against Essendon showing plenty of pace, kicking a goal in his first game and racking up an impressive 7 tackles. His following performances were solid enough to guarantee his selection for several matches.

In late January 2007, it was revealed by the Lions that Hooper had lost his enthusiasm for the work involved in being a professional football player. His former Coach Leigh Matthews stated that the club had been working with Hooper to resolve any issues but had stopped paying him wages in the interim.[4] Hooper returned to the senior side with a renewed commitment in June 2007, returning in round 10.[5]

Among his highlights, season 2007 brought a 2007 AFL Army Award nomination in Round 10 for a match saving chase-down and tackle on Richmond's Matthew White,[6] five crucial tackles against Melbourne in Round 15 and four goals against the Carlton Blues in Round 16.[7]

However a lowlight was Hooper's suspension by the league for striking Hawthorn player Rick Ladson in Round 19 which was increased to three matches after Hooper contested a two match ban.[8]

In December 2008, Hooper was suspended by the Lions for 58 days for several breaches to his playing contract including continually failing to attend pre-season training sessions.[9]

In early 2009, he was fined $40,000 for multiple breaches of his playing contract including a second failure to attend training following his first suspension.[10] The AFL Players Association backed the club's penalty. His last Brisbane Coach, Michael Voss delisted him at the end of the season despite being under contract.

In the 2009 National Draft, Hawthorn used pick 58 to snare Hooper. He would play six games for the Hawks and kick seven goals, showing sheer signs of brilliance, in particular in Round 22 against the Collingwood Magpies where he single-handedly kept Magpies game-breaker Dale Thomas to five disposals for the game. Hooper also kicked a very valuable goal in the final quarter as the Hawks won the game by three points.

Despite the resurgence of his career, on 6 October 2010, Hawthorn announced Hooper had quit the club and returned home to Queensland to start a family. Hooper is now a senior player at the Springwood Pumas A.F.C south of Brisbane. [11]


  1. "Traditional tribal/language group of this year's AFL Indigenous players". AFL Record. Slattery Publishing (Round 9): 75. 2009.
  2. New Lion has a big jumper to fill Archived 28 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Holmesby, Luke (27 November 2009). "Hawk Hooper looks for fresh start".
  4. Hooper leaves Lions' den from news.com.au
  5. Lion wants back from couriermail.com.au
  6. "Hird's desperation rewarded". 5 June 2007. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012.
  7. "Brown's 10 goals crush Carlton". 22 July 2007.
  8. Rhan Hooper faces suspension from the Australian
  9. "Brisbane forward Rhan Hooper suspended for missing training". Herald Sun. 6 December 2008.
  10. Davis, Greg (4 October 2009). "Trade winds blow for troubled Lions forward Rhan Hooper". The Sunday Mail (Qld).
  11. "Rhan Hooper quits Hawks". Herald Sun. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
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