Craig Stewart, one of the key members of the Hafey’s Heroes teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s, has passed away, aged 66.

Stewart joined the club in 1978, having won Preston’s best-and-fairest in the VFA the previous year. He made a huge impact in his first season, winning our Best First Year Player award and a separate award for Best Local Recruit.

He arrived as a key forward and played some outstanding games in that role, but also spent time in defence to great effect and in the ruck. He was often thrown around to fill holes wherever we needed him, sometimes to the detriment of his game.

He was a big bloke, standing around 193cm and weighing just under 100kg, but he was agile for his size. His key attributes, however, were his marking and kicking.

He was a lovely mark of the football, with sure hands and good judgement, and his kicking was superb. He was capable on both sides of his body but especially good from a standing start, where he could roost the ball a mile – especially when he got onto one of his ‘torps’ (he was one of the best exponents of the torpedo in the game).

Craig twice kicked six goals in a game, against St Kilda in 1979 and Footscray in 1980, but he remained an underrated feature of Tommy Hafey’s legendary teams. He finished third in the best-and-fairest in both 1980 and 1982, and was part of the losing Grand Final teams in 1980 and 1981. He also played for a Victorian B team in 1980.

In all he played 115 games in the black-and-white, kicking 122 goals (one was only recently added to his revised career total), before getting caught up in the trade wars with Richmond and heading to Punt Road in 1984. He would play a further 35 games in three seasons at the Tigers, giving him a career total of 150.

His son, James, was drafted by the Giants in 2012 and has gone on to enjoy a fine career, playing 78 games with GWS and Essendon.

Known to teammates as ‘Snaggles’, Craig passed away this week.

The Board, management, staff, coaches and players of the Collingwood Football Club wish to place on record our appreciation for Craig’s wonderful contribution to our footy club. Our thoughts are with his family, and all his friends from Collingwood, Richmond, Preston and beyond.

Side by Side.

To read Craig’s full story and the stats from his career, check his bio on Forever: