Harold Peter Mann
Harold 'Hassa' Mann
10 October 1940 (age 82)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 190d
Last game: 27y 326d
Height and weight
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 76 kg
Hall of fame
Australian Football Hall of Fame (2013)
Len Mann (Cousin)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
While still a toddler, Harold Mann was dubbed 'Hassa' by his cousin, Len, and the name stuck. In later years, both boys played league football for Melbourne, Len as a hard working and resourceful ruckman, and 'Hassa' as one of the classiest centremen of his era.
After coming to Melbourne from Rutherglen in 1959, 'Hassa' Mann broke into the all powerful Demons line-up after just a handful of reserves matches, and never looked back. He was a member of premiership teams in his first two league seasons, and again in 1964 when he was among the best players afield as Melbourne overcame Collingwood by four points in a photo finish. He won the Demons best and fairest award in 1962-63 and 1967, and was club captain between 1965 and 1968, his last four VFL seasons. A regular member of Big V representative sides, a series of dazzling performances at the 1966 Hobart carnival earned him an All Australian blazer.
In 1969, after a brief clearance wrangle, he joined South Fremantle as captain-coach. Still very much at his peak as a player, he not only won the southerners' fairest and best award in his debut season, he topped their goal kicking list as well, but from a team perspective the meagre return of five wins from 21 matches and a wooden spoon was tantamount to a disaster.
With his job hanging by a thread, Mann masterminded an astonishing turnaround the following year as South stormed up the ladder to claim second spot going into the finals. Two wins over Perth then clinched the premiership.
The team's success was short-lived, however, and when it could only manage sixth place in 1971, 'Hassa' Mann and South Fremantle parted company. He returned to coaching briefly in 1981 when he assumed control at VFA club Caulfield, but the Bears had a poor year, winning just five of their 18 matches to finish just one place off the bottom in first division.
Mann's success in steering South Fremantle from bottom to top in a year was undoubtedly both memorable and highly praiseworthy; however, it is for his exploits and prowess as a player that he is best remembered today. When Melbourne announced its official 'Team of the Century' in the year 2000, 'Hassa' Mann's enduring legacy was rubber-stamped with his inclusion in the team on a half forward flank.
Author - John Devaney