In 2013, the AFL Commission endorsed a recommendation from the Hall of Fame selectors that a 'Pioneers' category should recognise those who had pivotal roles in the establishment of the game in its earliest days. Four pioneers were inducted in 2014 and a further three in 2017.
|2017||John Acraman||Regarded as the 'father of South Australian football', Acraman moved to Adelaide from England in 1847. He imported five (round) footballs to Adelaide, which were the first to be used in SA, arranged for the first goalposts to be erected and at the Globe Inn on April 28, 1860, began the process for the formation of what was then known as the Adelaide Football Club.||1829|
|2014||Jerry Bryant||Was an instrumental figure at the outset of Australian Football, providing footballs, equipment and amenities for many of the earliest recorded matches in the parklands of Melbourne. His hotel, the Parade Hotel near the Melbourne Cricket Ground, is where the first laws of the game were written by William Hammersley, Thomas Smith, James Thompson and Tom Wills on May 17, 1859.||1826|
|2014||William Hammersley||Credited as one of the four people who set down the original rules on May 17, 1859. Worked as a sports journalist in Melbourne, was a founding member of the Melbourne Football Club and was involved in popularising the club's football code.||25/09/1826|
|2017||Charles Kingston||One of the founders of the code in South Australia and president of the South Adelaide Football Club for 28 years from its earliest days.||22/10/1850|
|2014||Thomas Smith||A founding member and signatory to the foundation document of the Melbourne Football Club. Was present on May 17, 1859, as one of the four men at the meeting in which the original rules were set down. Was also a distinguished player for the club.||1/07/1830|
|2014||James Thompson||Credited as one of the four people who set down the original rules on May 17, 1859, and the inaugural secretary of the Melbourne Football Club at its formation.||1829|
|2017||Richard Twopeny||Key figure in organising the formation of the South Australian Football Association in 1877.||01/08/1857|