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AFL legend Kennedy dies



Australian Football Hall of Fame legend John Kennedy senior has died. He was 91.


Kennedy was Hawthorn's first premiership coach, guiding the Hawks to a premiership in 1961 having also played and captained the club in the 1950's.


He went on to coach the team in brown and gold to two more flags in 1971 and 1976, coaching 299 games at Hawthorn. He also spent five seasons as coach of North Melbourne from 1985 to 1989, coaching 411 VFL/AFL games in total.


Kennedy was renowned for his oratory skills as a coach, his half time speech from the 1975 Grand Final between Hawthorn and North Melbourne etched in to footy folklore, for his iconic quote "Don't think, do!"


Earlier this month Kennedy was inducted as the 29th legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame for his services and deeds in the sport.


Tributes have poured in from all points of the football landscape, celebrating Kennedy's life in football.


Hawthorn Football club released a statement in the aftermath of his passing.


'The Board of Directors, Past Players and Officials Association, management, staff and players of Hawthorn Football Club extend their sincerest condolences to John’s children Maureen, John Jnr, Bernard, Patrick, and their extended family and friends at this sad time.' the statement read.


AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan offered his condolences to the Kennedy family.


"He was always fair, but strong and direct in his assessment of people and their qualities and contribution, while remaining modest around his own vast contribution to the game.


"When I visited him at his home earlier this year to talk about Legend status, he listened politely for a few minutes to my attempts to eulogise his career and time in the game, but he couldn't wait to turn the conversation away from himself and to how Hawthorn might go this year, and his thoughts on what 'Clarko' would do next to surprise the competition and lift the Hawks back up the ladder.


"The Kennedy family continues to leave an enormous mark on our game's history and we are thankful we had the privilege of John being involved in our game," he said.


Kennedy's two former clubs Hawthorn and North Melbourne are expected to pay tribute in their match on Sunday, while his grandson Josh will play his 250th game for Sydney tonight against the Western Bulldogs.


IMAGE: The Australian.

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