Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Craig Edwin Bradley

Known as
Craig Bradley

23 October 1963 (age 60)

Place of birth
Ashford, SA (5035)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 159d
Last game: 38y 291d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 81 kg

Senior clubs
Port Adelaide; Carlton; Australia

Jumper numbers
Carlton: 21

Recruited from
Port Adelaide (1986)

State of origin

Hall of fame
Australian Football Hall of Fame (2006); South Australian Football Hall Of Fame (2006)

Craig Bradley

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
Port AdelaideSANFL1981-1985981051.07
AustraliaIR1984, 2000-2002900.00

AFL: 9,670th player to appear, 10th most games played, 279th most goals kickedCarlton: 931st player to appear, 1st most games played, 20th most goals kicked

Bradley, bought during the summer for a reported $100,000, dominated the centre of the ground and was the instigator of many Carlton forward moves. He picked up 18 kicks, 12 marks and 17 handballs as his side went on to a mammoth 81 point win.¹

Almost universally acclaimed as one of the bona fide greats of the modern game, Craig Bradley might well have been lost to football had he enjoyed greater success at his first sporting love, cricket. Indeed, Bradley will probably be looked back on as one of the last Australian sportsmen to enjoy simultaneous preeminence, or near preeminence, in the country's favoured summer and winter pastimes.

Once it was clear that he would not quite achieve his ambition of playing cricket internationally, Bradley chose to devote more and more of his time, commitment and energy to football. In 98 SANFL games for Port Adelaide he proved that he was a player of the top echelon, but it was in his seventeen seasons at Carlton, where he accumulated a club record 375 games, that Bradley really stamped himself as one of the all time greats. Quick, both in mind and body, sublimely skilled, and always impeccably fair, there have been few better role models for youngsters aspiring to succeed in sport than Craig Bradley.

A star in Port Adelaide's grand final defeat of Glenelg in his debut season of 1981, Bradley would go on to play in another six premiership deciders, one with Port, and five with the Blues. When Carlton went top in 1987 and 1995, Bradley's contribution was considerable. Equally significantly, when the Blues underwent a re-building exercise early in the twenty-first century, Bradley, as club skipper, played a crucial role in helping maintain equilibrium, as well as providing a constantly reassuring sight to supporters of longer standing.

Six times a club best and fairest award recipient, Bradley's failure to land a competition best and fairest remains more than a trifle surprising. However, he emphasised his brilliance in numerous other ways, most notably with his habit of producing his very best football when it mattered most (he won no fewer than four Fos Williams Medals, for example).

Bradley's aggregate of 501 senior games at the top level is likely to remain unchallenged for some time, while it is hard to imagine the powers-that-be allowing his record of 15 South Australian state of origin appearances (held jointly with John Platten) ever to be overhauled. (Bradley also played four interstate matches for South Australia which were not classified as state of origin affairs.)

Craig Bradley was included in both Carlton's official 'Team of the 20th Century', and Port Adelaide's official 'Greatest Team 1870 to 2000'.

Author - John Devaney


1. “The Canberra Times”, 20/4/86, page 27. Fitzroy was the team put to the sword by the Blues with scores of 22.24 to 10.15.


Full Points Footy's SA Football Companion, Crème de la Crème


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.