One of Collingwood’s best full-backs since World War II. Tough and ruthless, he missed the 1953 flag after breaking the scaphoid bone four weeks before the finals.
Recruited via the Ivanhoe Amateurs, Hamilton was a fitness fanatic and was one of the few men of his era who lifted weights to improve his strength. Had a rough start to his career when Fitzroy’s Leo Monaghan dislocated his shoulder.
A scowling, tough player with a mean streak, he could see the humorous side to most things, even the reaction of perky Geelong full-forward George Goninon who said after kicking 11 goals on him in a final: “You were a bit lucky today, Jack, that I had to play in a pair of borrowed boots!” He commiserated with St Kilda’s Milne McCooke after the Saint full-forward kicked only two goals. “I thought I went well”, said McCooke. “But you only kicked two goals,” replied Hamilton. “Against the good full-backs I don’t get any.”
He played a magnificent lone hand in defence in the 1955 Grand Final loss, but the following year was on the bench in another runner-up team.
He worked for the the VFL as a junior clerk at first and rose to be appointed the game’s Chief Commissioner.
He was at the helm during a stormy period which included South Melbourne’s move to Sydney, clubs under financial threat, and clearance wrangles being dragged through courts, but through it all maintained a dry sense of humour.
All the football world mourned when he died tragically in a car accident in May 1990.
His son, John, presented the 1990 premiership cup to Tony Shaw and Leigh Matthews after Collingwood’s 48-point win over Essendon.