A champion player with a heart the size of a Sherrin, Graham Arthur's impact at the Hawthorn Football Club goes well beyond what he did on the field.
Tributes flowed for Arthur on Monday after he passed away on Sunday. He was 84.
Recruited to the Hawks from Bendigo football League power Sandhurst as a talented teenager, from 1955-1968 Arthur carved out a remarkable playing career - 232 games, 201 goals, Hawthorn's first premiership captain in 1961, three club best and fairest awards, 12 games for Victoria, AFL Hall of Fame member, captain of the Hawthorn Team of the Century and Hawthorn legend.
Arthur was also an inaugural Bendigo Football League Hall of Fame inductee in 1986, while in 1970 after his VFL career had ended he coached Echuca to the BFL premiership against his original club, Sandhurst.
Fellow Bendigo football product Des Dickson played alongside Arthur at the Hawks.
Dickson said Arthur was the ultimate team man.
"Graham was a staunch Hawthorn man. He was John Kennedy's protege,'' Dickson said from his Bendigo home.
"Graham never took a backward step and would do anything for the team.
"He never drove you to do anything that he couldn't do himself. He was tough, but not dirty.
"You could say he was probably a touch slow (in terms of leg speed), but he had that knack of just getting the ball.
"He was a great kick, he could deliver the ball anywhere and he was a great kick for goal.
"Graham could play anywhere and he was a great leader. He was always there for me in my time at the club.
"He loved his football, he was football mad, but overall he was an absolute gentleman."
Read more: Arthur's bond with John Kennedy Snr
Arthur, who coached the Hawks for two seasons in 1964 and 1965, had just a big impact on the club post-career.
Affectionately known as "Mort", Arthur worked in the club's marketing department and social club.
Hawthorn 2008 premiership player Rick Ladson said Arthur was one of the first people to welcome into the club when he was drafted from the Bendigo Pioneers in 2001.
"I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Mort, pretty much from the first day I walked in the door of the club,'' Ladson said.
"He was invested with anyone that walked in the doors, but because I was from Bendigo we had a special bond.
"In his role with the marketing department and social club he used to run a weekly dinner called 'Talk Sport With Mort'.
"Players were rostered on throughout the year to go along and Mort would interview you and you'd have a good laugh.
"If any of the players pulled out he'd go to the Bendigo boy to fill in, which was nice.
"Even when I left the club I always looked forward to catching up with him. He loved having a chat and telling a few yarns.
"He was always invested in what you were up to. He was a wonderful person."
Ladson said the players clung to every word of Arthur's stories and advice.
"I loved listening to his stories about what the players in his era went through and how they built their success,'' Ladson said.
"I always looked forward to spending time with him because you knew that he cared. He always made you feel like he was family to him.
"Hawthorn is known as the family club and the 'Always Hawthorn' mantra - that's Mort. He epitomised that.
"His footy career speaks for itself, it's what he did beyond that in helping so many people that was so special.
"No-one had a bad word to say about Mort. I likened him to a cuddly Grandpa... he always had open arms for you."
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett paid tribute to Arthur in a statement on the club's website.
"We are deeply saddened to have lost a man of such immense character as Graham," Kennett said.
"Graham was John Kennedy Snr's lead commando and the type of clubman who would inspire his team-mates through example and trust.
"All those who have been lucky enough to don the brown and gold in more recent years have benefitted from the culture of success that Graham helped sew into Hawthorn's fabric.
"Graham was a Hawthorn person through and through and he will always live on within our club.
"I extend the club's and my condolences to Graham's family at this difficult time."
Arthur is survived by his wife Mary, daughters Camille, Marise, Suzanne, Elizabeth, Jenny and Carolyn.
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