Games Played 311
Career 1992 - 2006
Guernsey Number 34
Date of Birth 09/07/1974
The youngest player in Adelaide’s foundation squad eventually became the Crows’ first 300-gamer and one of the Club’s highest regarded players.
Ben Hart was wearing his Rostrevor College uniform when the 16-year-old Year 12 student was first introduced to the media in 1991. A year later he became the youngest ever Crow on AFL debut (17 years, 256 days). Hart moved quickly from combining SANFL with North Adelaide and his school commitments to starring for Crows in defence, where he won All Australian selection in his first season and was named AFL Rookie of the Year.
He was given some tough roles against much bigger forwards but used his speed and leap to compensate for a lack of height and weight. His second season was just as good but he drifted along for a couple of years before a change in coach in 1997.
In both 1997 and 1998 he was a key contributor to Adelaide’s grand final triumphs. Although the Crows struggled in 1999, Hart’s form was rewarded with a club best and fairest award and selection in a third AFL All Australian team. He won his second club Malcolm Blight Medal in 2002, when he also was chosen for a fourth time as an All Australian. Hart rarely missed a game through injury in his first 12 seasons but hamstring and back problems restricted him to just six games in 2004. Injuries slowed down his progress but in 2006 he became the first Crow to play 300 games, becoming an AFL Life Member as a result.
Hart was delisted by the Crows at the end of that season and then spent a year back in the SANFL with North Adelaide. Then, at the end of 2007, he returned to Adelaide as an assistant coach. He worked as an assistant coach at Collingwood before returning to the Crows.