Kenneth Raymond Bennett (14 February 1940 – 1 September 2023) was not just a name in the annals of Australian rules football; he was a beacon of talent and perseverance that illuminated the fields of the VFL, especially when he donned the jersey for Collingwood.
Born in Dandenong, Bennett’s football journey was nothing short of remarkable. At the tender age of 17, he made his debut for Collingwood in the VFL midway through the 1957 season. For those who watched him play, it was clear he was not limited by a singular position on the field. While he primarily shone as a wingman, Bennett’s versatility was evident as he also played up forward.
One of his most memorable contributions was during the 1958 VFL Grand Final. Not only was he a proud member of the Collingwood’s 1958 VFL Grand Final premiership team, but Bennett also made a significant impact by scoring two goals. His performance was such that he was highlighted as one of their best players in that triumphant match.
The year 1963 saw Bennett achieving another accolade. Representing Albury in the Ovens & Murray Football League, he clinched the prestigious Morris Medal for the best and fairest player with a notable 17 votes. This win was just a notch above John Perry from Wodonga and Graeme Leydin from Wangaratta Rovers, both of whom secured 16 votes. Notably, 1963 wasn’t just about individual glory for Bennett; he also led the team as the captain-coach of Albury. His leadership role was later succeeded by Murray Weideman.
Tragically, the world lost this football luminary on 1 September 2023. Ken Bennett passed away at the age of 83, leaving behind a legacy that will forever resonate with fans of Australian rules football.