A player who chose to travel and try his luck in Australia when opportunities did not arrive quickly in his home territory. Ackerley migrated to Victoria in the early 1960s and easily found a position in defence with Melbourne Slavia. His ability soon won him a place in the Victorian State team as a left-side defender and caught the eye of other clubs with Sydney's APIA Leichhardt signing him in 1964. Ackerley was a tough, hard tackler with a quick recovery if beaten. He boosted the confidence of his team mates and built a reputation of never admitting his side was beaten. In general play, he was positionally correct and his strategy often turned defence into attack. He won his first Australian cap in the 1965 World Cup qualifier against North Korea and was chosen for the 1967 Asian tour and the 1969 World Cup qualifiers. He played in 30 matches for Australia.