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The tag that Brad Hardie hates

Brownlow medalist turned AFL commentator Brad Hardie made his senior debut in the WAFL at the age of 16. So he’s no stranger to a tough world where even tougher things are said.

As you can imagine not a lot gets under his skin. However there’s one epithet that he absolutely hates.

It stems from when he was one of the inaugural players for new VFL side the Brisbane Bears in 1987.

The club initially struggled both on and off the park.

Hardie told David Morrow and Mat Thompson in their feature segment Heroes: Legends of Australian Sport the story of the team’s unfortunate nickname.

“I get really narky because people used to call us the Bad News Bears,” Hardie said.

“We weren’t that bad.

“We won 6 games in the first year, 7 in the second and 8 in the third.

“There are teams in this competition today that aren’t doing that with all of their concessions and more.

“It’s a very very unwarranted tag and I hate it. It was unfair.”

He went on to describe the lack of resources the newly founded team had in a city that wasn’t accustomed to Aussie Rules football.

“We were changing in portables (buildings), our weight room was in portables,” Hardie recounted.

“Sometimes we were training in Brisbane and playing at Carrara (on the Gold Coast). Towards the end of my stay there we were training at Carrara and playing at the ‘Gabba.

“We were all over the shop.”

However he’s still proud of the foundation they laid for the future successes of the Brisbane Lions that came after them.

“You have to start somewhere. Somebody has to put it together from the beginning and I’m very proud of all the blokes that were involved,” Hardie said.

Click PLAY below to listen to the full interview including the story behind having 45 per cent of his body burned in a childhood accident and being told he’d never be able to play sport, to his time with Footscray and Mick Malthouse as well as a fantastic Warwick Capper tale.


Morrow & Thompson