Graham Francis Arthur
9 June 1936
10 January 2021 (aged 84)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 311d
Last game: 32y 83d
Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Hawthorn: 2, 28
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Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
Arthur is something special. He came straight from Sandhurst, a country team, into league football and began to star immediately ..... A fine mark and kick, his handball is amazingly clever, and he has given Hawthorn some badly needed skill in attack.¹
Recruited from Bendigo Football League side Sandhurst, Graham Arthur made his Hawthorn debut in 1955, a couple of months before his nineteenth birthday. He quickly impressed as a half forward, where he was described as "unspectacular, but magnificently efficient in all the skills"².
After making his VFL representative debut in 1957, Arthur was an almost permanent feature in state teams for the next eight years. He became skipper of the Hawks in 1960 after John Kennedy, who had been appointed to the coaching role that season, recognised how well respected and inspirational he was. In 1961, Graham Arthur went down in history as the first man ever to lead Hawthorn to a senior premiership as the Hawks comfortably beat Footscray in the grand final by 43 points. When John Kennedy departed after Hawthorn had lost the 1963 grand final to Geelong, Arthur took over the coaching reins for a couple of seasons, but was unable to re-ignite the premiership flame. He even retired briefly as a player in 1965 in the hope that he could bolster the club's fortunes by concentrating solely on coaching, but when this failed he returned to the team, and went on to play for the better part of another three seasons.
After 237 VFL games, Graham Arthur left the big time for good in 1968. The following year saw him coaching Echuca in the Bendigo Football League whilst working as a sports shop proprietor in the town. In 1970, Arthur led his charges to a flag. He later returned to Hawthorn as an administrator, and in 2003 he was selected as captain of the club's official 'Team of the Century'.
Author - John Devaney
1. Jack Dyer, “Sporting Life”, July 1955, page 27.
2. Football's 50 Greatest by Greg Hobbs and Scot Palmer, page 88.