Ted Hopkins (centre) and Syd Jackson at the reunion of the 1970 premiership team in 2021 and (inset) after Carlton's famous win over Collingwood. Picture: AFL Photos

TED HOPKINS, who spearheaded Carlton's famous 1970 VFL Grand Final comeback win over Collingwood, has died at the age of 74.

Hopkins only played 29 VFL games before retiring from top-flight football at the age of 21, but his heroics in the 1970 decider ensured his name will be forever part of Carlton folklore.

The Blues were trailing Collingwood by 44 points at half-time when coach Ron Barassi, acting on a gut feel, decided to throw Hopkins into the game at the expense of Bert Thornley.

Hopkins, a little-known rover, had spent the entire first half on the bench.

But he made his presence immediately felt in the third by kicking two goals in the space of a minute and three in total for the term.

He also kicked a goal in the last quarter to make it four for the match as Carlton won by 10 points in a clash that is still regarded as one of the greatest Grand Finals ever.

In 1995 Hopkins, a Bachelor of Science graduate, founded Champion Data - one of the first companies to tabulate AFL match statistics.

It has since revolutionised the way the game is viewed and analysed.

Hopkins' health problems surfaced seven years ago when he experienced what was later diagnosed as mitochondrial disease, an inherited chronic illness that has no cure.

He passed away on Monday night.

Hopkins is the fourth member of Carlton’s 1970 Grand Final team to have died, following the deaths of Vin Waite in 2003, Sergio Silvagni (2021) and Neil Chandler last year.

Legendary coach Barassi passed away in September. 

The 1970 Grand Final proved to be Hopkins' second-last VFL game.

He played one more match - round one of 1971 when he tallied just two disposals after again coming off the bench in a 26-point loss to North Melbourne - before retiring from VFL ranks.

He became the National Park ranger at Falls Creek before linking up with Albury in the Ovens and Murray League.

After two years there, Hopkins returned to the Latrobe Valley to round out his playing career with Yallourn.