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Tiger legend “KB” to join MCG sporting greats

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Richmond Football Club champion, Kevin Bartlett, will be immortalised with a bronze statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) as the latest addition to the Australia Post Avenue of Legends.

The statue of the five-time premiership player will be created by sculptor Lis Johnson, following her outstanding previous work on the Norm Smith, John Coleman, Neil Harvey and Jim Stynes statues in the Avenue of Legends. It is expected that the Kevin Bartlett statue will be completed and unveiled prior to the start of the 2017 AFL season.

During a 403-game career with Richmond between 1965 and 1983, including 27 finals, Bartlett was a highly skilful rover and goalkicker with evasiveness and stamina.  He was a key figure in the glory era that saw the Tigers win four premierships in eight years from 1967-74.

The man known as "KB" was the first player to reach the rare 400-game milestone, with only Hawthorn's Michael Tuck, Essendon's Dustin Fletcher and North Melbourne's Brent Harvey having since achieved the feat.

He won five club best and fairest awards, three of them in premiership years, as well as the Norm Smith Medal for the best afield in the 1980 VFL Grand Final. He also coached the Tigers for four seasons (1988-91).

Bartlett's 778 career goals tally is still the 12th highest in VFL/AFL history.   He kicked 379 of them at the MCG, a then record at the venue that has since only been surpassed by Matthew Richardson (464), Matthew Lloyd (461), David Neitz (386) and Wayne Carey (380). 

He also played more VFL/AFL games at the MCG (200) than any other player.

He has been granted Legend status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame, is an Immortal in the Richmond Football Club Hall of Fame and was selected in Richmond's Team of the Century. He has also been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Bartlett's passion for the game has not waned since he hung up the playing boots. In addition to being a popular football media personality, he has served as an Australian Football Hall of Fame selector, an All Australian team selector and member of the AFL Laws of the Game committee.

"There are few individuals who had as much impact or achieved as many remarkable feats at the MCG as Kevin did during his extraordinary playing career," said MCC president Steven Smith.  "Renowned for his dedication, passion and sportsmanship, it is only fitting that "KB" should be forever honoured outside the ground where so many of his on-field feats took place.

“We acknowledge and thank Australia Post for their continued support for the Avenue of Legends, and more widely the sporting and cultural heritage of the MCG and surrounding precinct.”

Australia Post Managing Director and CEO, Ahmed Fahour said: “We’re delighted that Kevin Bartlett has been inducted into the Australia Post Avenue of Legends.

“He is a legend of Australian football and thoroughly deserves this recognition of an outstanding career with Richmond Football Club.”

Bartlett will be the 16th sportsperson to be honoured with a statue outside the MCG, and the sixth to feature in the Australia Post Avenue of Legends.

Statues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

Sir Donald Bradman
Keith Miller
Bill Ponsford
Dennis Lillee
Shane Warne
Neil Harvey
Australian football
Ron Barassi
Leigh Matthews
Dick Reynolds
Haydn Bunton
John Coleman
Norm Smith
Jim Stynes
Kevin Bartlett (in 2017)
Shirley Strickland
Betty Cuthbert

About Australia Post Avenue of Legends

The Australia Post Avenue of Legends is a series of statues placed in Yarra Park, extending from the MCC members entrance of the MCG (Gate 2) up an avenue towards Wellington Parade.

Selection criteria for the Australia Post Avenue of Legends dictates candidates must be Australian, renowned for their sportsmanship and that they or their sport played has a strong connection with the MCG. 

The selection committee comprises MCC vice-president David Crow (chairman), MCC committee member Charles Sitch, MCC club manager Mark Anderson and journalists Greg Baum and Mike Sheahan.