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Blues mourn loss of Ken Hands

Howard Kotton for AFL.com.au  December 23, 2017 1:02 PM

17. 1947 - Grand Final Carlton Member, Andrew Houston, relives his experience at the 1947 Grand Final

CARLTON is mourning the loss of former premiership player, captain and coach Ken Hands, who passed away on Friday.

The Blues great, who was the last surviving member of their 1945 and 1947 premiership teams, was 91.

Hands was a key player in the 28-point victory over South Melbourne the 1945 premiership decider, which became known infamously as the 'Bloodbath' because of its brutal nature.

In only his 18th senior match after being recruited from North Geelong, Hands lined up at centre half-forward in front of almost 63,000 fans at Princes Park.

The Blues were in front in the second quarter when the game erupted after Hands was knocked out by South defender Jim Cleary. He did not remember anything until late in the game but courageously stayed on to contribute three crucial goals.

Hands was one of nine players reported, charged with jumping into the back of South's Ron Clegg. He was subsequently cleared of the charge.

Hands, nicknamed 'Solvol', was a tough, team-oriented player who became a fine ruckman. He was well balanced, skilful, superb mark for his size and accurate kick, with the ability to execute a long drop kick on the run.

Ken Hands HOF Image
Ken Hands at the Australian Football Hall of Fame event in 2009. (Photo: AFL Photos)

He was an inspirational captain in 99 games and won the Blues' best and fairest award in 1953.

As skipper Hands was influential in convincing the great John Nicholls to join Carlton after he moved to Melbourne from country Victoria.

During his 211 games, in which he booted 188 goals, between 1945-57 he served under just two coaches – Percy Bentley and his good friend Jim Francis. Sadly, Hands' friendship with Francis would be destroyed over both men's ambition to coach the Blues.

After a long and bitter wrangle, Hands took over from Francis as coach in 1959. He coached Carlton in 114 games including the losing 1962 Grand Final against Essendon before being replaced by Ron Barassi at the end of the 1964 season.

Hands Playing Days Image
Ken Hands during his playing days. (Photo: Carlton Media)

But he did not hold any grudges against the Blues and continued to be a staunch supporter of the club.

He also enjoyed a stint as a media commentator after his coaching career.

Hands was admitted to the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Three years earlier he became a Blues Legend and was named in a forward pocket in the club's Team of the Century in 2000.

Hands represented Victoria in 12 games and kicked 11 goals.