321. Max Hardacre

Player Inductee

Chudleigh/East Devonport/Spreyton/Wesley Vale,
Ruck-Rover/Forward, 1938-73

c. 70 games for Chudleigh, 1938-39; 1971-73
203 games for East Devonport, 1943-52; 1956
71 games for Spreyton, 1953-55; 1957
211 games Wesley Vale, 1958-69
East Devonport playing coach, 1951
Spreyton playing coach, 1953-55; 1957
Wesley Vale playing coach, 1958-61
East Devonport NWFU premierships 1946, 1948
Spreyton NWFA premiership, 1954
Wesley Vale NWFA premierships 1959, 1960, 1963
Chudleigh Deloraine FA premiership, 1973
17 representative games for NWFU
14 representative games for NWFA
Inaugural ‘NWFU 200 Club’ Member, 1969
Wesley Vale Team of the Century, 2003 (Captain)

With a senior career spanning 36 years and well over 600 games, arguably no Tasmanian footballer has embodied the word ‘longevity’ quite like Max Hardacre.

Born in 1924, Hardacre’s remarkable career began with his hometown club Chudleigh, debuting in senior football at the age of just 13. He subsequently spent the prime of his career with East Devonport in the NWFU, playing 11 seasons with the club during its most successful era, tasting premiership success in 1946 and 1948. Noted for his ruggedness and excellent high marking ability, Hardacre also represented the NWFU 17 times, most notably in a 1948 post-season match against VFL side Melbourne which resulted in an invitation to train with the club.

The bulk of Hardacre’s later career was spent in the NWFA competition with Spreyton and later Wesley Vale, guiding the latter to back-to-back premierships in 1959-60. Now aged 36, many with Hardacre’s resumé would have hung up the boots well-satisfied. But Max went on, and on, amassing 211 games in 12 seasons with Wesley Vale to become a legend of the club. Finally, after three seasons back where it all began with Chudleigh, Hardacre bowed out of football in 1973 at the grand old age of 48 with a 7th senior premiership.

For many years, Hardacre was believed to have played 725 games of football at all levels, however modern research has placed the figure closer to 650 – still an extraordinary record. There were, and remain, many theories as to the secret of his incredible durability, but Max himself believed that it was an approach to physical fitness which was ahead of his time that probably allowed him to withstand the rigours of football so well, arguably better than men half his age.

He was also a man who gained enjoyment from every aspect of football life, on and off the field. The quintessential clubman, Hardacre’s passion for coaching saw him take a keen interest in what would now be called ‘grassroots’ level, while he also took on administrative roles, serving as head of the East Devonport selection committee for a time post-retirement. Above all, Hardacre found fulfilment in helping others, always ready and able to assist a whole club or a single individual.

Max Hardacre passed away in 1996, aged 71.