Bert Mills

Albert Mills (16 February 1910 – 6 May 1984) was an Australian rules footballer who played for and captained Hawthorn in the Victorian Football League (VFL).

Bert Mills played 196 games between 1930-42 kicking 60 goals. He was captain in 1932, 1934, 1938 and 1940-41. He won the Best and Fairest in 1933, 1935, and 1939 and represented Victoria 11 times and was awarded HFC Life Membership in 1939.

Mills was born in 1910 and at the age of 15 was playing in Bethanga’s senior team. A photo of a Bethanga football team from circa 1925 shows Mills in the back row alongside Glenn’s grandfather. Glenn himself would later pull on the boots for Bethanga in the mid 1990s. Mills family moved to Wangaratta in 1929 and with his brother Arthur joined the Wangaratta Magpies.

He was recruited the following year to Hawthorn in 1930. They were tough years the Mayblooms as they were know then won few games. However Mills was a shining light, he soon established a reputation as one of the leading ruckman in the VFL possessing a natural spring for the tap-out and was an exceptional mark and kick. The team was so short on big men that Mills would assume the role of centre half back when he rested off the ball.

At the age of 22 he was appointed captain winning his first best and fairest award the next year. With his blonde hair, good looks and striking physic and all round football ability Mills won The Argus most popular player voted by VFL supporters in 1936. In 1941 he was appointed playing coach before he retired in 1942. Throughout his career, Mills received numerous offers to transfer to more prominent clubs because of his outstanding leadership and playing ability but he could never be persuaded to leave his beloved Mayblooms.

In 2001 when Hawthorn named its Team of the Century Mills was an automatic selection. He was named in the back pocket and second ruckman to Don Scott. His personal playing record was very impressive and many who saw him play readily recalled his inspirational leadership.

Two years later in 2003, Bert Mills received further recognition when he was inducted into Hawthorn’s inaugural Hall of Fame.

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