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ROUND 13, 2009 JUNE 26-28 $4 (INC. GST)

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ROUND 13, JUNE 26-28, 2009 F E AT U R E S


Shane Tuck

Playing consistently through a tough period.


Brent Stanton

What makes the Essendon running machine tick.


Barry Hall

A Sydney star’s journey to 250 games. REGULARS



Have your say about the football world.


The Bounce

Views, news, first person, facts, data, culture.



Stats, history and line-ups.


Dream Team

Advice from Mr Fantasy, our Dream Team expert.

76 80 LONG HAUL: It’s taken

two clubs and 14 seasons but Barry Ball has finally made it to 250 games.


84 86

Answer Man Testing your knowledge NAB AFL Rising Star Talking Point

The excitement of youth brings joy to all fans. THIS WEEK’S COVER Richmond’s Shane Tuck is an emerging force in the Tigers’ midfield. Go to to order prints of this image.

KICK A GOAL WITH YOUR AWAY GAME FLIGHTS! Check out the fixture in the match day section to see when your team is playing their next interstate game! To follow your team around the country visit now.

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Sadly missed Here’s hoping Tadhg Kennelly can make a return to the Sydney Swans. It’s great he’s back home in Ireland with family and playing his native game, but we really could do with his run and skill. TREVOR, MOSMAN, NSW, VIA EMAIL.

A forward move

WE MISS YOU : Tadhg Kennelly is

having a great time back in Ireland but one reader would like him back in the Swans’ colours.


Can the AFL rulemakers please do something about the number of times defenders kick the ball around to one another inside their defensive end during matches? I know they do it to allow their forwards time to get into position but it is so boring to watch. My suggestion is that any kick from downfield back


into the team’s defensive 50-metre zone should be called play-on, not a mark. Umpires and players would have no problem interpreting the rule and hopefully teams would kick more goals, which is what the paying spectator comes to watch.

Voss the boss


Many in the industry scoffed when Michael Voss suggested he could take a senior coaching job without the traditional stint as an assistant. The way he has led the Brisbane Lions so far proves he might have been right.

Send us your feedback on n the Record and matters relating to the game, the clubs and the players. The best letter each round will receive a copyy of the AFL Record Season n Guide 2009. Email aflrecordeditor@ or write to AFL Record, Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, VIC, 3008.


PRODUCTION EDITOR Michael Lovett WRITERS Nick Bowen, Ben Collins, Jim Main, Peter Ryan, Callum Twomey, Andrew Wallace SUB-EDITORS Gary Hancock, Howard Kotton STATISTICIAN Cameron Sinclair CREATIVE DIRECTOR Andrew Hutchison DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Sam Russell

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NATIONAL SALES MANAGER Nathan Hill AFL CLUB ACCOUNT MANAGER Anthony Palmer ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Deanne Horkings Advertising (03) 9627 2600 PHOTOGRAPHY Sean Garnsworthy, Michael Willson, Lachlan Cunningham AFL Photos (03) 9627 2600


Still plenty to offer  Dean Laidley’s stated desire to stay involved in the game after his resignation as North Melbourne coach should be welcomed. In the past, too many coaches – as well as players and administrators – have left the industry, never to return, their knowledge, savvy and experience lost. Laidley (pictured) has more than 300 games’ experience as a League player and senior coach and is regarded as an astute football technician. With growing emphasis on development at all levels of the game and especially at the elite junior level, Laidley and others, including ex-Richmond coach Terry Wallace, have plenty to offer. Today, several former League coaches are playing key roles at club management level and across the industry (see Nick Bowen’s story on page 19). Ex-players are also giving back to the game, via their involvement in talent and leadership development programs. They’re also involved with many unpublicised or low-key initiatives aimed at helping current and future players prepare for life after the game, or as key drivers of community projects supporting disadvantaged people in the community. With the code expanding, the retention of experienced people has never been more important. PETER DI SISTO

PRINTED BY PMP Print ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO The Editor, AFL Record, Ground Floor, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Victoria, 3008. P: (03) 9627 2600 F: (03) 9627 2650 E: AFL RECORD, VOL. 98, ROUND 13, 2009 Copyright. ACN No. 004 155 211. ISSN 1444-2973, Print Post approved PP320258/00109

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Jade Rawlings has kept his ambitions closer to his chest, but it’s a reasonable assumption he, too, covets his club’s top job


Interim coaches in the box seat History shows caretakers are in a strong position to secure a full-time role. NICK BOW EN


aretaker coach Darren Crocker will lead North Melbourne for the first time this week, but has already boldly declared he wants to be the club’s senior coach from 2010. Jade Rawlings, appointed Richmond caretaker coach after round 11, has kept his ambitions closer to his chest, but it’s a reasonable assumption he, too, covets his club’s top job. Given the availability of outstanding senior coaching prospects such as Nathan Buckley, Damien Hardwick and John Longmire, it won’t be easy for Crocker and Rawlings

to convince their respective clubs’ boards they should be the long-term replacements for Dean Laidley and Terry Wallace. Still, history tells us eight of the 13 caretaker coaches since 1996 used their limited time at the helm to audition successfully for their clubs’ senior roles. So what do Crocker and Rawlings have to do to emulate them? According to the records of the caretakers since 1996, the one sure-fire way is to compile a winning rate of better than 50 per cent. Four of those coaches did – Peter Rohde (100 per cent, but he was a caretaker in just

one game), Jeff Gieschen (80 per cent), Paul Roos (60 per cent) and Mark Harvey (57 per cent) – and all were subsequently appointed full-time. Gieschen and Roos were, at stages, considered outsiders in the race for their teams’ senior roles, but both built such momentum and supporter backing in their caretaking stints they forced their clubs’ hands. At the other end of the spectrum, Brett Ratten was confirmed as Blues coach at the end of 2007 despite losing all six games after taking over from Denis Pagan in round 17. At St Kilda, Grant Thomas was

officially anointed as Malcolm Blight’s successor after leading the Saints to just one win from their final seven games in 2001, while Terry Wallace’s 30 per cent winning record at the Bulldogs in 1996 and Neil Craig’s 44 per cent record at Adelaide in 2004 were also enough for both to secure the top job. The best winning rate of a caretaker not subsequently appointed senior coach was Donald McDonald’s 40 per cent at Hawthorn in 2004, while, in 2007, Mark Riley was overlooked for the Demons’ top job after compiling a 33 per cent winning record. The other caretakers overlooked were Melbourne’s Greg Hutchison in 1997 (23 per cent winning record), the Brisbane Lions’ Roger Merrett CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

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in 1998 (27 per cent) and Fremantle’s Ben Allan in 2001 (15 per cent). Rawlings, who led the Tigers to a 15-point win against West Coast in his first game in charge, might be buoyed by the fact that of the seven caretakers who led their team to a win in their first game, five – Craig, Gieschen, Harvey, Rohde and Roos – were appointed senior coach. Only Melbourne’s Hutchison and Riley won their first game and were not subsequently appointed. Obviously, the clubs looking for a new coach in 2010 – Richmond and North Melbourne, with Port Adelaide and Collingwood also yet to reappoint Mark Williams and Mick Malthouse respectively – will also be mindful of the subsequent records of the eight caretakers who made the transition. At least half have been successful – Roos is a premiership coach and Craig continues to be an outstanding leader of the Crows, while Wallace and Thomas took the Bulldogs and Saints respectively to consecutive preliminary finals. It’s too early to make a


Cats set road mark MICH A EL LOV ET T


eelong has claimed another record in the amazing winning streak that has produced 54 victories from its past 57 games. Last week’s 19-point win over Fremantle at Subiaco was the Cats’ 12th successive victory outside Victoria – a record for wins outside a home state. Geelong’s success on the road started in round nine, 2007, when it defeated Port Adelaide by 56 points at AAMI Stadium. The Cats’ streak includes five wins each at AAMI Stadium and Subiaco and one each at


call on Ratten and Harvey midway through their second seasons as senior coaches, but the caretakers with the best winning records – Rohde and Gieschen – were replaced after just two seasons. What does this all mean for Crocker and Rawlings? Perhaps only that the more wins they can rack up in the remainder of this season, the harder they make it for their clubs to ignore their claims. The chance to leapfrog higher-profile candidates in the process will no doubt appeal to the competitive instincts of both men.

Caretakers since 1996 1996


 TERRY WALLACE (WB) Replaced Alan Joyce in rd 13 Win-loss record: 3-7. Appointed senior coach.

 PAUL ROOS (Syd) Replaced Rodney Eade in rd 13 Win-loss record: 6-4. Appointed.

1997  GREG HUTCHISON (Melb) Replaced Neil Balme in rd 10 Win-loss record: 3-10. Not appointed.  JEFF GIESCHEN (Rich) Replaced Robert Walls in rd 18 Win-loss record: 4-1. Appointed.

1998  ROGER MERRETT (Bris) Replaced John Northey in rd 12 Win-draw-loss record: 3-1-7. Not appointed.

NEW ROO: Darren Crocker will take

 PETER ROHDE (WB) Replaced Terry Wallace in rd 22 Win-loss record: 1-0. Appointed.

2004  NEIL CRAIG (Adel) Replaced Gary Ayres in rd 14 Win-loss record: 4-5. Appointed.  DONALD McDONALD (Haw) Replaced Peter Schwab in rd 18 Win-loss record: 2-3. Not appointed.



 MARK RILEY (Melb) Replaced Neale Daniher in rd 14 Win-loss record: 3-6. Not appointed.

 BEN ALLAN (Frem) Replaced Damian Drum in rd 10 Win-loss record: 2-11. Not appointed.

 MARK HARVEY (Frem) Replaced Chris Connolly in rd 16 Win-loss record: 4-3. Appointed.

 GRANT THOMAS (St K) Replaced Malcolm Blight in rd 16 Win-loss record: 1-6. Appointed.

 BRETT RATTEN (Carl) Replaced Denis Pagan in rd 17 Win-loss record: 0-6. Appointed.

ourne for the charge of North Melbourne first time this week.

the Gabba and ANZ Stadium. ames of the In the final 10 games 2009 home and away season, Geelong will be back at the 5) and ANZ Gabba (round 15) Stadium (round 20). ecord of The previous record most games won outside a home state was set by e, which North Melbourne, ive won 11 consecutive games between round ound five, 1999, and round 20, 2000. rage The Cats’ average n has winning margin been 42 points and ve eight players have 2 victories featured in all 12 ark – Gary Ablett, Mark right, Blake, Corey Enright, Steve Johnson, James Kelly, Cameron Ling, Andrew Mackie and ey. Cameron Mooney.

Cats on the prowl interstate 2007 Rd



9 11 17 22

Port Adel Adel Frem B. Lions

AAMI AAMI Subiaco Gabba

Margin 56 7 68 42

2008 Rd



1 6 13 14 20

Port Adel Frem WCE Adel Syd

AAMI Subiaco Subiaco AAMI ANZ

Margin 9 1 135 68 39


Corey Enright has played in all 12 wins on the road.




4 11 12

Adel WCE Frem

AAMI Subiaco Subiaco

Margin 48 22 19

Geelong defender Matthew Egan, who has missed almost two seasons, has had surgery to remove screws from his injured foot.

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Youth driving Dogs’ rise C A L LU M T WOMEY


ith six weeks of generally scintillating football, the Western Bulldogs have re-established themselves as genuine premiership contenders. Since its round five loss to St Kilda, Rodney Eade’s team has averaged 125 points for a game and 85 against, its only loss in the six-week stretch coming against Geelong, a two-point defeat in round nine following Brad Johnson’s missed shot at goal after the siren. Forward coach Paul Williams says the Bulldogs’ recent improvement can be attributed to the club’s youth. “It’s probably been the younger guys who have helped us grow a little bit,” he says. “I think any organisation would say that most of your development comes from underneath, and they have pushed up to make the middle-tier guys work even harder to get their spots. “The most pleasing thing in the last few weeks has been the defence, and getting opposition scores down a little bit. “History shows we score well, but the opposition actually scores quite well, too. We’ve definitely been able to improve the defensive side of our game this year.” Across this six-week spell, the Bulldogs have added two goals and eliminated two goals from their average scores for and against in 2008, a net four-goal improvement. “It’s been really good for us getting Shaun Higgins playing a few games after his injury last year, and I think Liam Picken off the rookie list has been very good for us all year,” Williams says. “Callan Ward has improved each week. Last year he was still at school and still working out


what football at this level was all about, and now he’s starting to play some really good footy for us.” Williams, who crossed from Melbourne in the pre-season, praised Jarrod Harbrow’s run and carry from the backline and Josh Hill’s consistency as being key elements of the Dogs’ progression. The Dogs sit third on the ladder, a game clear with a healthy percentage of 123.9. However, Williams realises there’s still improvement needed before the Dogs can challenge the Cats and Saints. “We know that our attacking style is as good as any going around,” he says. “As soon as we get a good grasp and a good control on the defensive side of our game, we’re as good as any team. There’s no doubt about that.”


MICHAEL O’LOUGHLIN Club record 293 games from 1995 505 goals (second only at the club to Bob Pratt – 681 goals from 1930-39 and 1946 Best and fairest 1998 Runner-up best and fairest 2000 All-Australian 1997, 2000 Fos Williams Medal 1998 Leading goalkicker 2000-01 2005 premiership side Indigenous Team of the Century, 2005


The magic fades J IM M A IN


here will be regret for every Sydney Swans fan when Michael O’Loughlin plays his final AFL game later this season as it will be the end of one of the most glittering careers in club history. The indigenous champion, known as ‘Magic’ for his ability to conjure goals, is as much a part of the club fabric as the red and white guernsey itself. Yet O’Loughlin joined the Swans at the end of 1994 without the usual dreams of fame and fortune. Rather, he wanted to carve a name for himself in football “to help my family live a better life”. O’Loughlin, now 32, played his junior football with the Salisbury club and then Central District in Adelaide before Sydney swooped with selection No. 40 at the 1994 National Draft. And therein lie a couple of tales. First, although O’Loughlin might have had


Michael O’Loughlin has announced he will retire this season.

obvious skills, some clubs believed he was lazy. Second, Carlton was ready to swoop with the very next nomination and O’Loughlin already had convinced himself he would be joining the Blues. Interestingly, O’Loughlin first stamped himself as a future champion in a match against Carlton, at the SCG in round eight, 1995. He kicked four goals and won an AFL Rising Star nomination. Swans fans that night were given their first glimpse of his enormous range of tricks – his prodigious leap, his dancing feet and his bloodhound scent for a goal. O’Loughlin developed his skills to perfection and he became one of the most dangerous forwards in the AFL. He was the perfect foil for Tony Lockett and then Barry Hall.

He played in the Swans’ losing 1996 Grand Final side and, being young and naïve, believed there would be other chances. It took until 2005 for O’Loughlin to win a premiership medallion, in the club’s first Grand Final triumph for 72 years. Then against Fremantle at the SCG in 2007, he broke John Rantall’s long-standing club games record of 260, set from 1963-72 and 1976-79. O’Loughlin, one of the most decorated players in the Swans’ 135-year history, is so popular with teammates they are dedicating the rest of the season to him. To this weekend, he had played 293 AFL games and, barring injuries, should become the first Swan to reach 300 games. Everyone will be praying he gets there. He deserves it.

Carlton star Brendan Fevola has co-authored two new children’s books – The Best Game Ever and My Footy Book. AFL RECORD visit 9

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Paul Duffield is one of a number of young Fremantle players showing significant improvement.

Fremantle blueprint clear for all to see C A L LU M T WOMEY

Crows appear better set up front NICK BOW EN


remantle sits second last on the ladder with only three wins for the season. But following the Dockers’ close-fought loss to Geelong last week at Subiaco, it’s clear they’re working to a plan. The emergence and development of several young players has the club and supporters excited about the future under Mark Harvey. “I think having the younger guys play well gives everyone associated with the club some optimism and hope,” says player development coach Steve Malaxos. “You can be 3-9 and be down and out but, in our case, I think there’s a degree of optimism at the club and that’s partly come from the younger players coming in.” Fremantle challenged the unbeaten Cats, with scores tied at three-quarter time, but Geelong pulled away in the dying minutes for a 19-point win. The Dockers’ crop of young and inexperienced players, however, shone against the premiership favourite. Malaxos said Greg Broughton, playing only his fifth senior



game, did a commendable job in not only keeping forward Steve Johnson relatively quiet, but collecting 29 possessions himself. “He’s come from a different background from a lot of the other guys,” Malaxos says. “He’s been a pretty efficient WAFL player, and he played in three premierships for Subiaco, so he’s definitely more seasoned than some of the other younger guys. He performed pretty well.” Malaxos manages the club’s program for developing players (first- to third-year players) through on-ground coaching, football understanding and skill development, as well as overseeing their off-field responsibilities and living arrangements. Already the Dockers have blooded seven debutants in 2009.

“It is exciting, but there’s a long way to go with it. We know that this is only the start of a long process,” he says. With Stephen Hill continuing his strong form (collecting 23 possessions against Geelong) and fellow high draft pick Nick Suban contributing a spectacular snap goal late in the crucial third quarter, Malaxos says it was important for the younger players to continue to play on their instincts. He also praised the form of elevated rookie Matthew de Boer, who restricted star Cats midfielder Joel Selwood to only 19 touches, and the improvement of 24-yearold Paul Duffield, who has averaged 24 disposals a game this season. It is clear Fremantle has its plan in place.

key forward has long loomed as the one missing ingredient in an otherwise strong Adelaide team. Since Tony Modra departed for Fremantle at the end of 1998, the Crows have tried a number of talls on their forward line, but never found a long-term target. North Melbourne premiership skipper Wayne Carey was tried in 2003-04 but was past his best, Trent Hentschel looked – and still looks – promising but was derailed by a serious knee injury in 2006, while others such as Ken McGregor, Ian Perrie and Scott Welsh enjoyed success in patches, but never reached the consistency the club was hoping for. However, this season, it seems the Crows’ long wait may finally be over. And their patience looks like being richly rewarded because it seems they have unearthed not one but two key forwards – Kurt Tippett and Taylor Walker – capable of capitalising on the excellent work of the Crows midfield. Both Tippett (201cm) and Walker (192cm) have played all 12 games this season, kicking 20 and 23 goals respectively. CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

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We’ve kicked a few goals over the years JELD-WEN is the name behind the St Kilda Football Club. And we’re also the name behind iconic brands like Stegbar and Corinthian – leaders in door, window and showerscreen manufacture, supply and installation. Great club, great brands.





Queensland-born Tippett is in his third season at the club and has played 31 games, while Walker, recruited under the NSW/ACT scholarship program, is in his second season but did not debut until round one this year. Adelaide forward-line coach David Noble says the development of the pair this year has been exciting, especially as they complement each other with their different skill sets. “Kurt is a super competitor, strong and can take a really good mark, while Taylor brings with him some real forward knowledge, knowing how to lead and when to lead – it’s a good mix,” Noble says. Noble also says Tippett and Walker have been well led by senior forwards Jason Porplyzia and Scott Stevens, while Patrick Dangerfield and Chris Knights have helped kick more goals in general play, when previously FLYING CROW: Kurt Tippett has

been one of the stars in attack for Adelaide.

Kurt is a super competitor, strong and can take a really good mark, while Taylor brings with him some real forward knowledge DAVID NOBLE, ADELAIDE FORWARD-LINE COACH.

the Crows tended to rely on converting set shots. Noble says the likely return of Brett Burton in the coming weeks after a knee reconstruction will also prove invaluable to Tippett and Walker’s development. “Burton’s leadership and his ability to be able to take in information on game-day is something the other two guys are still working through,” Noble says. “Just being around Brett and seeing the way he goes about things will be an invaluable learning experience for them.”

By the numbers A snapshot of key categories to mid-season.

3,202,000 Total attendance at AFL games. These crowd numbers are in line with the average attendance to round 11 from 2005-09, but down on 2008’s record figure of 3,391,000.


The percentage increase in Hawthorn’s average crowd this season compared to 2008, the biggest increase in the League. Next best were Richmond (up 23 per cent) and the Brisbane Lions (up nine per cent).


The number of club memberships taken out as of May, up 5634 on the record membership numbers at the same time last year.

11,901,812 The aggregate number of unique visits to the AFL Telstra network, up 1,963,630, or 20 per cent, on 2008



The average number of contested marks a game, up from 20.2 in 2008, 20.1 in 2007 and 19.2 in 2006.


The largest crowd this season came at the round one match between Richmond and Carlton, when Ben Cousins resumed his AFL career against former teammate Chris Judd.

The number of errors under the new deliberately-rushed-behind rule, the only mistake coming in round three when Carlton’s Matthew Kreuzer was not penalised for punching the ball across the goal line in a ruck contest.


Ph: (03) 9662 9199 121 DRUMMOND STREET, CARLTON, VIC 3053

IAN CLAYTON Former AFL Senior Umpire

“When Experience Counts”

SHANE CLAYTON Kangaroos Premiership Player

Experience is something that cannot be bought, learnt or invented, only accumulated

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Flexible Lions cover losses

Ted Hopkins Founder of Champion Data and Carlton premiership player

Don’t count on personal bests  The Godfather was amused when Adam Simpson’s 300th game for North Melbourne was widely heralded with a proclamation that the veteran ball-magnet was enjoying a career-best disposal average. Wow. The Godfather loves ‘Simmo’, who is not a flash kick but compensates with his hunger for the contest and ball, footy smarts and relentless team focus. Like many other champions, he has adapted to the modern caper and found ways to find the ball, bewildering mere mortals. Simpson’s personal best is a shining example of how the use of statistics can be abused. Proclaiming disposal PBs is becoming meaningless as team disposals per game have rocketed upwards over the past few seasons, and particularly in 2009. Last season, the average was 355. This season it is 372. Consequently, all players have the chance of scooping the pool. Of the Roos’ 2009 top 10 ball-winners by average (who have played six or more games), eight are enjoying career PBs in disposal averages. In fact, 44.3 per cent of players are logging career PBs in this category. Because Simpson’s ballwinning capacity over 10 years has been exceptional (he has led the Roos’ average disposals per game five times, was second twice, third once and fourth twice), it is not surprising for him to be having a career PB this year, given the extra disposals the Roos have racked up. Rather than analysing who is recording a PB in average disposals, more interesting for The Godfather is a look at the rare birds not cashing in.


Champion Data’s official AFL rankings are calculated on the basis of volume of possessions and disposals geared to a quality rating. In each game, a maximum of 333 points are available. Hence, 44 players are competing for a quota of capped ranking points, irrespective of the number of disposals. Based on a rankings calculation of Simpson’s past five seasons, his 2007 effort ranks highest and his 2009 numbers rank fourth. Adam Simpson’s average ranking points and disposals per game 2005-09

2007 2006 2005 2009 2008

Ranking Points


102.5* 94.9 92.2 92.0 91.7

24.4 22.9 19.7 25.6* 24.0

* Personal best

THE NEW CAPTAIN KIRK  The value of the old Captain Brett Kirk leading Starship Sydney to a premiership and consistent finals appearances has never been in doubt. But times change. This season, unprecedented disposal frenzies are taking over football. Sydney has latched on to the drift. Hence, the need to reinvent our superhero Captain Kirk. In the last round against Collingwood, he had a careerhigh 41 disposals. His previous best was 33 against Geelong in round 13, 2007. Against the Magpies, he had plenty of the ball but a hand in only five scoring chains, contributing to 24 per cent of Sydney’s total score. Ed Barlow was the surprise contributor with seven score involvements (33 per cent).



he Brisbane Lions are not the only team to have been hit by injuries to key players this season, but no club has covered their missing stars better. Take the Lions’ round 12 match against Hawthorn at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium, for instance. There they faced the daunting challenge of trying to contain the most potent power-forward combination in the League, Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead, without their best efenders, Daniel two tall defenders, nd Joel Patfull (both Merrett and sidelined since round eight). Not for the first time on, the Brisbane this season, coaching team was forced to assign key roles to own players, lesser-known se Jason in this case Roe and Lachie on. Henderson. ho before Roe, who round 12 had st three played just games forr the year and none since a nting disappointing nce performance eelong against Geelong in round five, b got the job lin. on Franklin. He did not let own, his side down, he 2008 holding the Coleman medallist al and to one goal sals five disposals ns’ in the Lions’ 42-point victory. He was well d by supported n, who, in Henderson, cond season just his second and 12th game, kept d to one goal. Roughead It was a commendable d a sign of the effort and

growing depth and flexibility of the Lions’ playing list, considering Henderson was drafted in 2007 as a key forward. Brisbane’s depth has been most evident in the ruck. Against Hawthorn, Jared Brennan (who at 195cm is shorter than most genuine ruckmen) was forced to ruck alone when starting ruckman Mitch Clark – who entering the season had been pencilled in for a key-position role – injured a quadricep early in the second half. Clark’s injury was the latest to hit the Lions’ ruck division, which had already lost its top-two exponents, Matthew Leuenberger and Jamie Charman, to long-term injuries. But, as impressive as Clark had been this year, Brennan ensured he was barely missed, giving the Lions a contest in ruck duels and dominating around the ground with 19 disposals, five 5 clearances, five inside 50s and five tackles. Lions developme development Johnso coach Chris Johnson said the ability of players such as R Roe, Henderson, Brennan and Clark to take on key roles and w perform well was encouraging. “They know there’s a role tha there that the team needs th them to fill an and they have hav the right attitude and accept it,” Johnson said. “If we can keep getting guys to stan stand up like this, we’re certainly going to have a good list coming com into the finals and next season.”

TIGHT CHECKING: Lachie Henderson kept Jarryd Roughead to just one goal in the round 12 clash.

Collingwood (45,286 members) and St Kilda (32,343) have established membership records this season.

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Gold Coast to consider QAFL JON PIER IK


he new Gold Coast club – which is this season fielding a team in the under-18 TAC Cup competition – must soon decide whether to play in the VFL or the local QAFL next year. The development of players and financial issues will be at the heart of the final call when the club’s football sub-committee, including recruiter Scott Clayton and coach Guy McKenna, meet to discuss the issue. Gold Coast had originally intended to play in the VFL, but has had a rethink. “It has been an exploration, to see which really would be the better pathway for the players and as a club to be ready for 2011,’’ club spokesman Greg Price said. If Gold Coast does join the VFL in 2010, some club officials believe it’s unlikely any established senior players from rival clubs will be signed to help add muscle to a young list. Next season will simply be about getting as many young players as possible in the right frame of mind

physically and mentally to play at AFL level in 2011. The VFL is keen for the Gold Coast to join, partly because it would eliminate the need for a bye in what is now a 13-club competition. Gold Coast has eight contracted players and will be able to sign 12 17-year-olds from November, with the bulk expected to come from the AIS-AFL Academy squad. The Gold Coast’s initial senior list in 2011 will number 48, plus nine rookies, with the list size to be gradually reduced in line with other clubs.


The emergence of a leader C A L LU M T WOMEY


FL Foundation CEO Jason Mifsud was recently recognised as one of Australia’s top-10 emerging leaders. Mifsud, 36, was presented the sporting category award by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (above right) at Canberra’s Parliament House for his outstanding youth work through the AFL Foundation. The Foundation aims to

provide opportunities to young men from indigenous, multicultural and other backgrounds through football, education and training programs. Mifsud said the award was recognition for the foundation’s important community work. He said he was honoured to be recognised in a field that included AFL Commissioner Sam Mostyn and ex-AFL executive and now-Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley. “It was very humbling to receive the award but I firmly believe it is more a reflection on the programs we manage and people we have involved,” Mifsud said. Mifsud joined the AFL at the start of 2008, following assistant coaching roles at St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs. The Saints drafted him in 1993 – he never played a League match but was a dominant player at country level in Victoria and now coaches and plays for Beaumaris in C Section of the Victorian Amateur Football Association,

maintaining a strong bond with grassroots football. Mifsud understands the role football can play at community level. “It has been very rewarding to re-engage with a community club. It was actually my wife Teena who encouraged me to play again after four years in retirement, although my body is taking some time to readjust,” he said. “I have always felt a great sense of freedom while playing football that I cannot find anywhere else in life.” Mifsud also took the chance to pick the brain of the Prime Minister following the presentation. “We managed to have a brief conversation and he was very complimentary of the approach, commitment and investments we make in the community and encouraged us to show boldness, ambition and innovation in our programs,” he said. “He also passed on some personal advice, which was greatly appreciated.”


HEAR IT LIKE YOU’RE IN IT. 3AW is football. Get the complete run-down on Sports Today with Gerard Healy and Dwayne Russell from 6pm Monday to Thursday on 3AW 693.

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Football unites C A L LU M T WOMEY


ustralian Football has discernible qualities that can unite people from different cultures. The documentary Tackling Peace is proof of that. The 55-minute film, compiled from more than 160 hours of footage, follows the story of Israeli and Palestinian youths who united as the ‘Peace Team’ and played in the Australian Football International Cup in Melbourne and Warrnambool in August and September last year. The Peace Team was an initiative driven by Tanya Oziel,

a Sydney-based director of the not-for-profit Peres Centre for Peace, and supported by the late Carlton president and businessman Richard Pratt. The team included 13 Israeli and 13 Palestinian representatives. “I was talking to the AFL about taking some Auskick clinics to the kids of the Peres Centre and at that time Real Madrid had flown over to Israel to play against a soccer Peace Team, which was made up of professional Israeli and Palestinian soccer players,” Oziel says. “The AFL heard about it and loved the idea, and then we came up with the idea of bringing a peace team to Australia for the International Cup.” The Peace Team’s journey to the International Cup is covered in Marc Radomsky’s documentary, and it also

WORKING FOR PEACE: Tanya Oziel with Peace Team coach Robert DiPierdomenico, ALF legend Ron Barassi and AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan.

Cats, Saints in unbeaten first  For the first time in League history, two teams – St Kilda and Geelong – have won their first 12 games of the season. Only five other sides have achieved this feat in the competition’s 112-season history (see table) and all went on to play in the Grand Final. Three of those five teams – Collingwood in 1929, Melbourne in 1956 and Essendon in 2000 – went on to win the premiership and, between them, lost just a combined three home and away games. Notably, the ‘29 Magpie side went through the home and


away season undefeated but, in a massive upset, was thrashed by Richmond by 62 points in a semi-final. The Pies regrouped to turn the tables on the Tigers in the Grand Final by 29 points. However, the finals campaigns of Melbourne in 1956 and Essendon in 2000 went smoothly, both going through undefeated as they claimed the flags they had long looked to have in their keeping. The two teams that could not translate their 12-0 season starts into flags – Geelong in 1953 and West Coast in 1991 – lost momentum later in those years. The ’53 Cats lost three of their last six home and away matches and were then defeated

includes footage of the players on their return, noting how significantly the experience had changed their lives. Rodomsky mainly focuses on the relationship between two players, 18-year-old Israeli Yonatan Belik and 16-year-old Palestinian Leith Jaber. Belik, who was drafted by the Israeli army, had never met a Palestinian before attending the Peace Team’s training camp; Jaber had never played any form of football. Through football, the two overcome their political and cultural prejudices to form a special bond. “It’s a human story about the inspiration of 26 really brave guys who get together through footy,” Oziel says. “It wouldn’t have happened with any other sport, but Aussie Rules brings people together. “I think there’s a spirit in that Sherrin that transcends all divisions and problems.” In an email sent to Oziel after he watched the film at the Australian Israel Film Festival in Jerusalem last Sunday, Peace Team captain Uri Kandel said he was reminded of his “special” Australian experience. “The movie does the job of showing foreign audiences the complexities of the conflict … I again felt the duty to keep on being involved and active.”

by Collingwood twice in the finals, in the second semi-final and the Grand Final. Similarly, the ’91 Eagles lost three of their final 10 home and away games, before losing to Hawthorn twice in the finals, in the qualifying final and the Grand Final. NICK BOWEN

AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan, who coached the squad during a visit to Israel last year, says the documentary, which is narrated by actor Hugo Weaving, shows how sport can make a difference in changing attitudes, so the players “start to think in terms of the sporting battle and not the other battle”. * Tackling Peace screens on Saturday, July 4, on Network Ten, at 1pm in Sydney and Adelaide, 2pm in Melbourne and Brisbane and 4pm in Perth.


300 games Stephen McBurney Field umpire

250 games Simon Goodwin Adelaide Barry Hall Sydney Swans

250 games coached Mark Williams Port Adelaide

150 games Michael Gardiner St Kilda Mitch Hahn Western Bulldogs

100 games Kade Simpson Carlton Matt Maguire St Kilda Dale Morris Western Bulldogs Rick Ladson Hawthorn Ray Chamberlain Field umpire

Teams that started a season with 12 straight wins 1929 Collingwood (home and away season finish 1st, 18-0, premier) 1953 Geelong (1st, 15-3, runner-up)

100 club games Tyson Stenglein West Coast

1956 Melbourne (1st, 16-2, premier) 1991 West Coast (1st, 19-3, runner-up) 2000 Essendon (1st, 21-1, premier) 2009 St Kilda, Geelong

50 games Richard Douglas Adelaide

Collingwood and the Melbourne Vixens netball team have joined forces in a sponsorship agreement with Jason Family Bedding.

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Alan Didak 15/2/1983 ‘Dids’


st 2006; Best and faire n 2006; lia tra us All-A les 2004; Ru al ion at Intern g NAB AFL Risin 2002. ee in m no ar St

4 184cm 82kg Left Port Adelaide (SANFL) 18 years, 87 days 2001– 145 206.117 1.4 63.8% 10 13 2 3 41 (23 games) 5 7 12 14.3 10.7 4.2 3.6 10 81–0–64


Peter Daicos


Nickname Guernsey No.

20/9/1961 ‘ ‘Daics’, ’ ‘Macedonian Macedonian Marvel Marvel’ 35

184cm 84kg Dominant side Right Recruited from Preston RSL (Vic) Debut age 17 years, 220 days Career span 1979-93 Games 250 Goals/Behinds 549.364 Goals per game 2.2 Accuracy 60.1% Finals 19 Finals goals 30 Grand Finals 3 GF goals 3 Most goals – season on 97 (25 games) Most goals – game me 13 4 goals + 53 Best 3-game goal spree pree 29 Disposals ave. *18.3 Kicks ave. *13.3 Marks ave. *2.8 Handballs ave. *4.9 Brownlow votes 93 Height




* Daicos’ averages for disposals, kicks, marks and handballs were only able to be accessed from 1986 onwards – the last eight seasons and 126 games of his career.

Magpie marvels  Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse caused a stir recently when he revealed that “a Collingwood player from the (Peter) Daicos” era had told

him current star Alan Didak was better than Daicos. Many experts queried the comparison, rating the freakish Daicos well ahead of Didak, while some suggest it is becoming closer than most think. Regardless, it’s a pub debate that simply won’t dissipate, particularly since Didak has

achieved career-best disposal tallies over the past two rounds (33 and 34 respectively). He was clearly best-afield against the Swans last week. Times and styles change, but genius is obvious in any era. Didak is gifted; Daicos was a freak. The ‘Macedonian Marvel’ – who spent seasons in the centre


Australian Football Hall of Fa me; Colli ngwood Team of the Centu ry (for war pocket), d best and fa irest 1982 1988; clu , b leading goalkick 1981 (76) er , 1982 (58) , 1990 (9 1991 (75) 7) , Australian , 1992 (52); All1982, 198 8; AFL Te of the Ye am ar games, 12 1990; Victoria (5 goals); pr em 1990; Goa l of the Ye iership ar 1991.

and on a half-forward flank before playing as a permanent, deep forward – had a penchant for slotting miraculous goals. Didak started as a forward and is increasingly spending time in the midfield. He is perhaps Collingwood’s best player. Hopefully he can continue to add weight to the debate. BEN COLLINS


HEAR IT LIKE YOU’RE IN IT. 3AW is football. Tune in to four quarters of all-star broadcast with Rex Hunt, Dennis Cometti, Tony Leonard and Shane Healy at 3AW 693.

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Liam Jurrah, who hails from a remote community in the Northern Territory, enjoys his first goal at AFL level.

The selfless Yuendumu Demon JOHN T UR NBU L L


n 1994, I was working part-time as Melbourne’s recruiter in Adelaide. Neil Balme was the Demons coach, Garry Lyon captain, Richard Griffiths football manager and Jackie Emmerton the all-encompassing football department secretary – she still is. During the season, ‘Griffo’ asked me to go to Alice Springs to check out a promising indigenous footballer playing for the Pioneers. I flew up on a Saturday and was met at the airport by ‘The Bagman’, a former teammate of mine in South Australia, who deposited me at Traeger Park for the late afternoon-early evening double-header. Pioneers were playing Federals in the late game. The setting and atmosphere were surreal, with warm, pleasant conditions, no wind and wellgroomed turf. Cars surrounded the outer fence and kids were banging rhythmically on the advertising placards on the boundary fence when goals were scored. Football always looks quicker under lights, but t here was certainly plenty of pace, some magic, fierce tackling, little accountability, and the odd tremendous run-and-bounce effort. The target that night was Kenny Cole, a strongly built half-back who was quick, hard at it, courageous and composed and a competent but not outstanding kick. He was in the best three on the ground. Trevor Dhu, a more mature 21-year-old at the time, was brilliant as a slightly built midfielder-forward. Kenny was 180cm at best and I couldn’t rate him higher than


the equivalent-sized players I was watching in the SANFL or those we had seen at the under-17 championships that year. In those days, there was no outstanding Northern Territory Thunder coaching and scholarship program, as there is now. Neither was there a Clontarf school program as has recently been established at the Alice. The Kenny Coles of this generation have a decided advantage, and greater opportunities. That night I stayed at The Bagman’s house, which he shared with Joel Kelly. Kelly was just starting volunteer coaching work with juniors in the local communities. (Now he is in his third year as operations manager for AFL South Africa, doing a tremendous job promoting our game in conjunction with Mtutuzeli Hlomela, South African game development manager and team captain). I was not due to fly out until Sunday evening so Kelly

Long-limbed blokes stretched, yawned and proceeded to change into shorts, and black and white striped jumpers. No changing rooms for these players and, in some cases, no need for boots suggested that footy in the outlying communities would be worth a look that afternoon. So there I was on the grassy banks, the only ruddy-faced bloke in the sparse crowd. At about three-quarter time of the first match, a convoy of 4WDs, trucks and vans drove in and parked near the lone gum tree just behind where I was reclining. They were the Yuendumu Magpies from 300kms north-west of the Alice. Long-limbed blokes stretched, yawned and proceeded to change into shorts, and black and white


striped jumpers. No changing rooms for these players and, in some cases, no need for boots. As the first game finished, the Yuendumu men wandered in dribs and drabs on to the field, a couple holding hands. A casual warm-up was completed and then after some spirited pre-match mutual encouragement in their Walpiri language, the game was underway. The footy was terrific with lots of slick, quick, smart handballs, plenty of run and give and smart, team-oriented, deft kicking. Early on, the bloke playing on the outer half-back flank for Yuendumu took the eye; much more strongly built than his teammates, his first attack on the ball was ferocious and after gathering, he shrugged off a couple of tackles, took a bounce and belted the ball downfield. A couple of similar efforts followed, but it was noticeable that the opportunity to handball to a better-placed teammate was ignored. The universal dismissive back-of-the-hand flick was seen. Then, a high ball came into the defensive area: an opponent and two teammates (one of who was taller and had already taken a couple of clean overhead grabs) were under it. The half-back flanker sprinted 20 metres, launched himself at the jockeying pack and smashed them all to the deck. The ball fell loose and was collected by the opposing team, which subsequently goaled easily. Teammates unhappy, heads shaking. No words were spoken, and the siren rang. Was anything said at the quarter-time break? If so, it was ignored by our man. He had two early possessions in the second term – both long, blasting kicks. Then, just in front of me, he gathered a loose ball, brushed past an opponent, bounced, ignored possible handball gives to teammates either side of him and had to baulk, but was chased down by an opponent. The kick, which he just got away, slewed off his boot into the corridor, straight to an opponent … goal. The Yuendumu man next to CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

Adelaide’s Kurt Tippett (mark) and Port Adelaide’s David Rodan (goal) won the round 11 nominations for mark and goal of the year. AFL RECORD visit 19

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the half-back flanker turned to him and, for the first time in the match, I heard the English language: “You’re not a man from Yuendumu,” he said in the unique indigenous-accented manner. Another community vehicle had just arrived with more players, and the strongly-built defender was benched. Last December, Melbourne’s recruiting manager Barry Prendergast was in Darwin scouting Yuendumu footballer Liam Jungarrayi Jurrah, who was playing for Nightcliff in the Darwin League. He noted a highly skilled, tall but lightly built forward who had real spring in his legs. Jurrah kicked five goals, but Prendergast observed several times a handball give when Jurrah could easily have goaled. He also noticed Jurrah’s reticence at times to fly over the top of teammates when a grab was on. Later, Shaun Cusack, a mentor of Jurrah’s (who also played in Alice Springs that night in 1994) outlined to Prendergast the team-first philosophy of the men from Yuendumu, and so explained Jurrah’s approach. Significantly, as Martin Flanagan recently outlined in The Age, “The Yuendumu football team has no best-and-fairest award. It has no sense of individual gain or glory”.

Melbourne coach Dean Bailey notes that Jurrah has made significant progress and has been embraced by the players and staff. In his debut last weekend against Essendon, Jurrah RARE TALENT: Liam Jurrah

in his debut for Melbourne against Essendon last Friday night.


demonstrated exciting speed, touch, aerial ability and pinpoint kicking. These skills, coupled with his special and unique Walpiri cultural and football background, have laid the basis for his highly tuned team-first approach for the Dees. The proud Walpiri community, Melbourne Football Club and the football world will enjoy watching the progress of this Yuendumu Demon. John Turnbull played and coached football in South Australia, was Hawthorn’s recruiting manager and is now an industry consultant on talent identification.


(left) and Kevin Sheedy have taken on new roles since finishing coaching stints at the Bulldogs and Essendon respectively.


Managing an option for coaches NICK BOW EN


he biggest question facing an outgoing senior coach is, ‘What’s next?’ Many may aspire to be a career coach but the reality is only a rare few in the modern game – Mick Malthouse, Kevin Sheedy and David Parkin spring to mind – are able to surv survive long-term. h Most others have to canvas different option options. W Some like Wayne Brittain (former Carlt Carlton coach) and Robert Shaw S (ex-Fitzroy and Adelaid Adelaide) return to ro assistant roles, as Brittain did at the B Brisbane Lions this season and Shaw did previously at Essendon. Others leave le the club environme environment altogether. A number like lik former Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews go into the me media, former Hawthorn coac coach Peter Schwab is now the CEO of AFL Victoria (the governing body of the VFL a ex-Fremantle and TAC Cup) and coach Damian Drum even made le into politics. the quantum leap remain prominent in an Sheedy remains ambassadorial role. But an increa increasingly popular form coaches – and option for former

one that allows them to stay involved at AFL club level – is a move into football management. Former Melbourne coach Neil Balme enjoyed a long stint as general manager of football operations at Collingwood before taking a similar role at Geelong in 2007, while former coaches Peter Rohde (Western Bulldogs), Chris Connolly (Fremantle) and Neale Daniher (Melbourne) are in similar roles at Port Adelaide, Melbourne and West Coast respectively. This month, the latest former coaches to find themselves at the career crossroads – Terry Wallace (ex-Richmond) and Dean Laidley (ex-North Melbourne) – have both expressed an interest, among other things, in pursuing football management roles at other clubs. Which raises a number of questions. How does football management differ from coaching? What skills will they need to make a successful transition? How hard will that transition be? After almost five years as Port Adelaide’s general manager of football operations, Rohde is well placed to provide the answers. He says football management roles vary from club to club – some wealthier clubs divide the role between two people – but all essentially involve heading the football department, which includes the senior coach, assistant coaches, recruiting and

fitness staff, and players. At the Power, Rohde’s duties include overseeing list management and recruiting, player contracts and player development, sitting on the match committee and liaising with the club’s administration. “I’m involved in a lot of the areas the senior coach doesn’t have the time to focus on, especially mid-season,” he says. Rohde’s background in teaching and school administration made his transition into football management “reasonably smooth” and he says it would be advantageous for anyone moving into a similar role to have “experience other than just straight coaching”. Rohde says football management is a good way to stay involved in a club environment and has ensured he has not missed the competitive drive of coaching too much. “As a footy manager, you’re one step removed from coaching, so, while I’m not as directly involved with training and hands-on work with players as I used to be, I still have a reasonable amount of involvement with the coach nd players, and a match-day role in the coach’s box,” he says. “It’s a way of using your experience and your passion. And it’s probably more of a career than coaching in some ways.”

The round 14 match between St Kilda and Geelong will be broadcast live in Melbourne on Channel Seven from 3pm.

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ACHIEVER: Simon n Goodwin


Crow skipper still flying high

reaches a significant milestone when he plays his 250th game this week. He will become the seventh Crow to reach thee mark, tain Mark with former captain n the Crows’ Ricciuto No. 1 on st with 312. games played list

Adelaide captain Simon Goodwin is scheduled to play his 250th game this round. AS TOLD TO BEN COL LINS

I was a midget until I was about 17. I was tiny – the smallest kid in my class in Year 10. I was a very late developer – I even started puberty later than other people. I couldn’t get a game initially for South Adelaide’s under-17s, and the fact I was the smallest player in the squad didn’t help. As a little bloke, you learn to fight and scrap. You also learn different ways of finding the footy, and reading the play becomes even more important. Those skills have helped me once I started to grow and win my own footy. It makes you a more complete player.

I had as a kid held me in good stead for my AFL career.

It was all about perseverance. I just kept chipping away, hoping that one day it would turn around, and it did turn pretty quickly for me. The difficulties

My footy started to blossom in 1994. I didn’t get a game in South Adelaide’s under-19s, so I played six games of senior football for Kenilworth in the

amateur league. I was 17, and it was the first time I’d played against men. It was a great stepping stone because I played in South Adelaide’s under-19s premiership that year. The next season I played 12 games in the

under-19s, one reserves game and then senior football under (former St Kilda coach) Ken Sheldon. But I didn’t get drafted. My body virtually made the decision for me to give cricket away. When I missed out in

W H E N T H E Y ’ R E N O T P L AY I N G . . . Player

Teammate most likely to ed post-football: succeed

io on: o n: Most valued possession:

You would spend your last $100 on:

Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle)

ew Matthew ch – Pavlich fingerss in all ght pies the right

My couch and Foxtel subscription

Foxtell subscription

Brad Sewell (Hawthorn)

ael Osborne Michael

Sandwich press


Adam Simpson – he can talk a lot and would be a good salesman

icket bat, Cricket st can’t I just let itt go

A nice dinner

Jason Akermanis – he has a big future in the media

mily My family

her A Subway voucher

Leigh Harding (North Melbourne)

Josh Hill (Western Bulldogs)


The annual EJ Whitten legends game will be held at Docklands ckla next Tuesday night, featuring ex-players from every AFL club.

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the draft, I played for SA in the national under-19s cricket championships. Straight after that, the Crows picked me up in the (1996) pre-season draft. I was an opening bowler and I’d been struggling with my back, so (Crows football manager) Johnny Reid said: “Well, that’s just ended your cricket career.” I felt spoilt to play in back-to-back premierships by the age of 20. I haven’t appreciated it until now because we haven’t even been in a Grand Final since, let alone won another flag. That’s disappointing when you’re just so desperate to do it all again. But they don’t come around too often, they take a lot of hard work, and you just have to take your opportunities. The ’97 Grand Final was only my 10th game, but I was lucky enough to be part of one of Malcolm Blight’s great moves. In the second half, ‘Jars’ (Darren Jarman) started on the ball and pushed forward, which allowed me to come off the back of the square and run free in the midfield and get a few touches (19 in fact, including

16 kicks and a goal). That was g of me as a p y the making player. I’d never played in the midfield at AFL level), so to before (at be asked to play that role ng player at halfas a young time of a Grand Final gave me greatt self-belief. So many quality ave people have d my career. enhanced Guys likee Malcolm nd Neil Blight and ve been Craig have able unbelievable coaches, and ned a lot I’ve learned yers like from players cciuto, Mark Ricciuto, Andrew McLeod, arman, Darren Jarman, ehn, Shaun Rehn, kley, Nigel Smart, Mark Bickley, n. They’ve made and so on. er easier. my career Being in ‘the zone’ ility to play is the ability tional footy, where unconditional it doesn’tt matter what the LEADING THE WAY: Simon Goodwin

is excited with the development of Adelaide’s young list.

circumstances are – who you’re p y g against, g , or what niggling playing injury you’re carrying – you can still perform to a rea really high level and have an infl i uence wa at my on the game. I was wh I was peak in ’05-’06, when m weeks copping a tag most but was sti still able perform to perform. It’s so h humbling that it’s almost embarr embarrassing (to share the t Crows’ record of three club b best and faire fairests with Ricc Ricciuto and Mc McLeod) bec because the oth other two are sup superstars. Tyso Tyson Edwards has been ru runner-up a fe few times, so it would be great if he won o one because he really deserves it. I really admire admired (Essendon great) gr James Hird for his on-field

I probably won’t still be around when our list peaks – if I am, I might be up there with Michael Tuck! leadership and demeanour. Ricciuto and Bickley were also great leaders and I’ve adopted the best parts of each into my captaincy. I’d say I’m a fairly demanding leader willing to help and enhance people’s careers. When I was a young bloke, older players took you under their wing and not only taught you about footy but life experiences. I think it’s important to impart your knowledge. I enjoy the teaching and mentoring side of it, so I’m sure that after I retire I’ll be involved in the footy industry, maybe in a coaching capacity. I’m probably more excited about my footy than ever. With the young talent we have, you can’t not be excited. I probably won’t still be around when our list peaks – if I am, I might be up there with Michael Tuck!

The launch of the book you will all want to read Exclusive personalised signed copy offer only


Although books will be available for purchase after the event their will be NO signing opportunity. (Offer must close July 10th.) VE EXCLUSI ALISED PERSON OK O B ED SIGN OFFER!

Venue: The Palladium Crown Casino Date: Wednesday 5th August 2009 Time: 12.00 noon - 3.00 pm Cost: DRC Members $100 per person Non Members $115 per person

On 1 September 1990, four brothers made Australian Rules history by playing together for the one team, the Essendon Football Club, something that is unlikely to ever happen again. Terry, Neale, Anthony and Chris Daniher grew up in a tiny Riverina town where they played footy on Saturdays and Rugby League after Mass on Sundays. They reached the elite level in an era when tobacco sponsorship and a few beers with the opposition after a game were the norm. It was a time when Jim Daniher could throw a teenage son into a trade deal and Kevin Sheedy and Edna Daniher could conspire to make a dream come true. This is an action-packed story of the period when the national Aussie Rules competition emerged and football became big business, seen through the eyes of an unassuming bunch of blokes from the bush. It’s about how the Danihers endeared themselves to footy fans and became part of football folklore.

Come along and hear from the Daniher family themselves, how their story unfolded. To obtain the special order form for booking a table or a seat at the luncheon or to order your personalised copy of this very special book prior to it’s release to the public please contact the Essendon Football Club BY MAIL: Phone 9230 0300 Marketing Services and the order form will be mailed to you INTERNET: Go to, and download the order forms Complete the Order Forms and mail to “DRC Book Orders” Essendon Football Club, PO Box 17, Essendon. 3040

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Umpiring ‘gem’ set for 300th C A L LU M T WOMEY


ohn Beveridge is known for having an eye for talent. For more than two decades as St Kilda’s head recruiter, Beveridge scouted gem after gem. Among many, he plucked Robert Harvey from Seaford and Nick Riewoldt from the Gold Coast. You can also add Steve McBurney from St Peter’s to that list. McBurney, set to umpire his 300th AFL game this round (the Friday night Essendon-Carlton match at the MCG, becoming just the 15th to reach this mark at League level), started umpiring with Beveridge’s encouragement in 1985 as a 15-year-old while playing for the club based in Melbourne’s south-east. “I grew up in South Oakleigh in Melbourne and when I was at school I played football and was coached by John, who was at St Kilda,” McBurney says. “He encouraged me to pursue umpiring rather than playing, because I wasn’t very good, but I was reasonably good at umpiring. “He then had me umpiring


Steve McBurney will umpire his 300th AFL game this round.

I can’t think of anything that involves the intensity and the physical and mental challenge that umpiring does STEVE MCBURNEY

all of St Kilda’s schoolboy zone matches. I did that through university and then got the invite to the VFL development squad in 1989 and kicked on from there.” McBurney’s League umpiring career started at Waverley Park in 1995 in a match involving Hawthorn and the Brisbane Bears (won by the Hawks), and he admits the umpiring landscape has changed significantly since, especially with the increased focus on umpires. Today, the use of technology (umpires carry microphones that record their comments

during games) enables them to receive feedback from coaches, with improvement always on the agenda. He lists his three Grand Finals (2002, 2003 and 2007) and his role as the Australian official in International Rules Series games as career highlights. McBurney works four days a week for Victoria Police as a crime examiner, conducting examinations into organised crime. “We conduct secret hearings and bring witnesses into confidential examinations, and it’s my job to determine which witnesses will be summonsed and to be responsible for questioning under oath,” he says. “I find the best way to unwind from my day job is to go out and train, and the best way to unwind from umpiring is to throw myself back into my day job, so they complement each other quite well.” McBurney and wife Kate are expecting their first child in August. The 41-year-old senses this will be his last AFL season, but has yet to rule anything out. Having aimed to umpire just one game at AFL level, he is honoured to have reached 300. “Umpiring has given me an enormous amount of highs, and I can’t think of anything quite like it that involves the same intensity and physical and mental challenges,” he says.

Umps support young colleague  Members of the AFL’s umpiring department recently visited young whistle-blower Matt McFarlane in Melbourne. McFarlane, 16, was the victim of an on-field assault while umpiring in the Riddell District Football League in May. His assailant consequently received a life ban. The AFL’s umpiring director Jeff Gieschen (pictured) and senior umpires Michael Vozzo and Stuart Wenn addressed RDFL umpires before their training session and made a presentation to McFarlane, who has been involved in the AFL’s development program. Gieschen hopes McFarlane will continue umpiring, despite the setback. “The recruitment and retention of umpires is critical to the health of football at all levels and all umpires and officials deserve to carry out their duties in a safe environment,” he says. McFarlane has been invited to attend an AFL match as a guest of the AFL umpiring department. JONATHON MONASSO

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24 AFL RECORD visit

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expanding horizons

Bulldogs Brad Johnson and Lindsay Gilbee had first-hand experience of the Tiwi Islands’ passion for football. A NDR EW WA LL ACE


Before a captive, yet slightly fidgety audience of about 20 secondary students at Tiwi College, Johnson and Gilbee relate how eating well, listening to their teachers and coaches and setting goals has helped them to achieve in their lives. But the clear highlight for the group – and the cause of the fidgeting – is the chance for a kick of the footy with the AFL players on the school oval, with the barefoot kids desperate to show off their goalkicking skills and tricks from all angles. “They practise so much from deep in the pocket, it’s actually quite rare to see them miss,” says one staff member. “But if you put them straight in front, 15 metres out, they probably wouldn’t know what to do!” Mark Granger, a 23-year-old teacher from Brisbane, details the school’s unusual student enlistment methods. “We basically drive into town and ask: ‘Who wants to come to school?’ If they’re keen, we grab their name and they come back with us,” he says.

We drive into town and ask: ‘Who wants to come to school?’ If they’re keen, we grab their name and they come back with us MARK GRANGER, SCHOOL TEACHER

The school, which is only a year old, has live-in facilities during the week, with students heading back to their families on weekends. Tracking down free-spirited youngsters for classes on a Monday morning is one of the many challenges faced by Tiwi College. Watching his students kicking around with the Bulldogs players, Granger points out Jean, an undersized teenager who has recently been named in a Northern Territory under-15s squad. Apparently, Jean was abandoned by his parents as a baby – Granger refers to him as an “orphan” – and often struggles to find a place to stay on weekends. After the kick-to-kick session, Gilbee, regarded by many as the best kick in the AFL, is dumbstruck by the talent he has seen on display. “Never seen anything like it,” he says, enthusiastically. “Amazing.” The players’ next stop is the neighbouring Bathurst Island via a three-minute light plane hop, but not before Gilbee seizes the chance to cool off by diving into a nearby water hole. Despite being the smaller of the two Tiwi Islands, Bathurst Island has a larger population than Melville (about 1500), with community issues and the good work of Red Dust more obviously apparent. The party, greeted by cheers from groups on the front yard of almost every house in the main street, arrives at Xavier Community Education Centre to find only a handful of students present. A local funeral and a neighbourhood fight have kept most of the youngsters away, an ongoing problem in

indigenous education. However, Johnson and Gilbee make their way across to a barbecue at the community’s safe house project, which provides a cooling-off facility for local men and a secure shelter for women in need of protection. For the past week, a Red Dust team of eight – including former National Basketball League star Darren Smith – has worked around the clock in conjunction with landscapers from Greening Australia to liven up the facility with a multi-coloured paint job and more welcoming surrounds. Here, the Bulldogs receive a glimpse of what Beatle-mania might have been like in the 1960s when mobbed by adoring locals. Young and old are quick to remind the Bulldogs’ captain of his after-the-siren missed kick at goal against Geelong in round nine. “Thanks for that,” says Johnson, flashing his trademark grin. “Appreciate it.” Gilbee, meanwhile, discovers the depth of football passion of the Tiwi Islanders when a mother presents her toddler son, who happens to be named Lindsay Gilbee. All too soon, the Bulldogs must head back to Darwin to join teammates for the club’s main training session. Their whirlwind visit, however, has made a lasting impression. For more information on the work of Red Dust role models, go to

ROLE MODELS : (this page) Lindsay

Gilbee discusses the finer art of kicking with a Tiwi College student. Next page (clockwise from top): Gilbee gives some guidance on Melville Island; meets his young namesake on Bathurst Island; and provides some more tips; Bulldogs captain Brad Johnson contests a mark at Tiwi College and meets some of the locals; Gilbee presents a guernsey; Johnson finishes off some landscaping work at a safe house facility.


efore their round 12 clash against Port Adelaide in Darwin, a pair of Bulldogs embarked on an unforgettable Top End experience. In the early hours of the Thursday morning before the game, captain Brad Johnson and Lindsay Gilbee flew into the Northern Territory capital ahead of the main group of players, stealing a couple of hours’ sleep before taking to the air once more just after sunrise. Their destination? The Tiwi Islands, 80 kilometres to the north. Johnson and Gilbee, along with Bulldogs football manager James Fantasia, had volunteered their time to support Red Dust, an Australian-based charity that uses role models to deliver health and education messages to disadvantaged youth. A bumpy light plane ride across to Melville Island, the largest in the Tiwi group of islands – featuring a plasteredto-your-seat steep turn by the cheeky local pilot on approach to the unmade runway – turns Gilbee a slight shade of green, but the aircraft eventually touches down without a hitch, or need for a paper bag. Greeted by a pick-up bus from Tiwi College, the players shake hands with three young indigenous students – Bulldogs supporters who have been given the honour of a ride back to school with their heroes. “You know Malcolm Lynch, right?” asks one of the boys on the journey, referring to the 21-year-old on the Bulldogs’ list. “He’s my brother!” As it turns out, the youngster is actually a second or third cousin of Lynch, which, in such tight-knit communities is referred to as “cousin-brother”, or simply “brother”. 26 AFL RECORD visit

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the interview

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He is a member of one of football’s most famous families milies and an nd is now an established player with Richmond. But football all – and an nd life – have not always dealt Shane Tuck the best of hands. s. BEN CCOL OLLINS LINS


hane Tuck didn’t think life could get much worse. His much-hyped Tigers had been humiliated on the big stage, suffering an 80-point defeat to Carlton in the season-opener at the MCG. It was the most deflating recent loss many Tiger fans could recall. Predictably, the critics were merciless, with some declaring Richmond’s season already over. But 36 hours later, Tuck suffered a loss of infinitely greater proportions – a tragic loss that put the on-field disappointment into proper perspective. On the morning of Saturday, March 28 – as the Tigers were still licking their wounds amid a media frenzy after the Thursday night shocker – Tuck received a devastating phone call. His cousin Ryan Ablett – the best man at his wedding two-and-a-half years earlier – had died suddenly in his Berwick home. “I was shattered,” Tuck says. “It was pretty bad, pretty sad – horrific really. I had a big cry – like anyone would when they lose someone so close to them.” It’s important to understand that in many ways Tuck is your stereotypical Aussie: a man’s man who generally understates things in a she’ll-be-right-mate kind of way. He is also a distinctly private person who rarely subjects himself

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h make to media interviews, which a subjectt his insights into his grief (a gently broached by the AFLL rable. Record) all the more admirable. ven Ablett was 27 – just seven months older than Tuck. They er since since had been close mates ever han a e they could remember. (Shane Tuck’s father, AFL games uck ck, record-holder Michael Tuck, ter married Faye Ablett, a sister off, of Gary snr, Kevin and Geoff, Ryan’s father). nned Ablett and Tuck had planned n to play footy together when er – Tuck finished his AFL career land probably for a club in Gippsland nsula a. or on the Mornington Peninsula. ays. “I didn’t care where,” Tuck says. rn Ablett, a former Hawthorn ne rookie and a Port Melbourne as a best and fairest in 2002, was superstar local footballer who ad kicked centuries of goals. Bad knees probably cost him an ous u AFL career – he had numerous ge knee operations from the age d of 16. “I was looking forward lss,”” to feeding him plenty of goals,” Tuck laments. Ablett’s death forced Tuck to think about his own health – and mortality. An autopsy revealed Ablett died from a serious, previouslyy undetected, heart condition. This was of particular concern for Tuck, who, a decade ago, was diagnosed with a heart problem himself – an ‘electricall irregularity’ that could

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At Glenferrie Oval, Dad’s picture was in the hallway and there were Grand Final photos up ... I didn’t handle it too well as a younger bloke SHANE TUCK


Shane Tuck is averaging more than 23 disposals a game since 2005.

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accelerate his heart rate as high as 270 beats a minute during strenuous exercise. He says it was similar to what former Hawthorn and North Melbourne player Nathan Thompson suffered recently. Years ago, Tuck underwent shockwave therapy – which he claims was “nothing major” – in which electric currents were sent through the problem artery. Following his cousin’s premature death, Tuck was naturally worried it might be a genetic condition; that there might be some correlation between the two. Tuck sought a thorough medical examination that included a heart test. “There are no dramas with my heart,” he says. “They reckon it’s really strong. I was confident it would be OK, but it was a relief.” Exactly a week after Ryan Ablett’s death, Richmond played Geelong at Skilled Stadium. Eerily, the match pitted Shane Tuck against another cousin, Gary Ablett jnr. “It was weird the way it worked out,” Tuck recalls. “After the game, ‘Gaz’ and I had a bit of a chat with each other. It’d been a pretty big, emotional week.”


Shane Tuck is now a lot fitter than when he first arrived at Punt Rd in 2004.

Somehow, Tuck managed to play well that day, collecting 24 touches and even had seven third-man-up hit-outs in a gallant loss. And he has continued in the same fashion since. His numbers are impressive. He is averaging 28 touches a game, breaking the 30-barrier in the past five games, to be equal fifth in disposals. He leads the AFL in hard-ball gets with 89, well clear of superstars Ablett (82) and Carlton skipper Chris Judd (75), is second to Judd in contested possessions, and equal third (with teammate Nathan Foley) in handballs. Tuck appears well on his way to his fourth top-three finish in the Tigers’ best and fairest in five seasons (he was runner-up last year and third in 2005 and 2007). It has been his best start to a season – genuinely remarkable considering his personal pain. It is testament to his ability to separate parts of his life. “It hasn’t put me off my footy because I’ve become pretty good at putting things out of my head,” he explains. “I’ve got training during the week and then two hours on a weekend where I’m totally focused on footy, so I can worry about other stuff later. “When someone dies, you can even say to yourself: ‘I’m going to play well for you.’ That gives you even more incentive because you want to do their memory proud. “I suppose it makes you try to live every day like it’s your last. And in terms of footy, play every game like it’s your last.” There were times when Tuck could well have played his last AFL game. In fact, he mightn’t have made it there in the first place. He certainly didn’t need a life-changing tragedy to treasure his opportunities in football and life. He kept going when many others would have given up, and has built his career on dogged persistence and desperation, while readily admitting he has enjoyed his share of good fortune. Rookie-listed by his beloved Hawthorn in 2000, he spent two years battling for a game with its VFL affiliate, the Box Hill Hawks. He was plagued by injuries

Oh, Brother

 Travis Tuck is making steady progress at Hawthorn and no one is prouder than older brother Shane. “He’s ahead of where I was at the same age, which wouldn’t be hard,” says Tuck, who is six years his brother’s senior. Although Travis has played 17 AFL games, he is yet to play against his sibling. “I’m spewing about that,” Shane says. “One time he was out with a knee, and another time he just wasn’t in the side. He must be avoiding me!”

Ear, ear!

 Tuck has suffered osteitis pubis, a broken ankle and a heart scare, but says his worst injury has been a perforated eardrum he has endured for the past four years. It’s the reason he wears tape over his ears during matches. The damage was done when Tuck copped an accidental punch in his right ear in a marking contest in 2005. Instead of healing naturally, the perforation became bigger. Tuck admits he should have had an operation as soon as the 2005 season finished, but naively delayed it for a month. Then he started running just two weeks later – four weeks ahead of the prescribed time – and the problem has lingered. “It’s knocked me around a bit,” he says. “My other ear also gets really sensitive. If I don’t look after them, I get

(osteitis pubis, a broken ankle and the heart complaint) but concedes: “I showed absolutely nothing there.” This blunt self-assessment is a throwback to a vivid memory of Essendon great Simon Madden saying: “The most important thing is what you tell yourself when you’re by yourself.” Tuck found it simple, yet profound, and adopted it as a life motto. For a time, he distanced himself from his father’s legacy at Hawthorn. “At Glenferrie Oval, Dad’s picture was in the hallway and there were Grand Final photos up and people were always

a bit headachy.” The risk of dirt entering his inner ear forces him to cover it with tape. “My hearing is fine,” he says. “It just looks a bit stupid.” In round three, the Western Bulldogs even queried whether Tuck was illegally receiving messages from the coaches’ box. “That was pretty funny,” he says. “The boys still have a joke about it.” Tuck will have another ear operation at the end of this season and promises to “handle it a lot better this time.”

talking about him and the father-son connection,” he says. “I didn’t handle it too well as a younger bloke. It turned me off footy a bit.” It was part of the reason Tuck took a year off football. That was 2002, when he was 20. He played a few games with some mates at Carrum Downs in Melbourne’s outer south-east, recalling: “They’ve (since) folded – they were pretty ordinary!” But Tuck felt reinvigorated: “It did me a world of good. It got my hunger back.” He joined SANFL club West Adelaide for the 2003 AFL RECORD visit 63

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HOLDING HIS GROUND: Shane Tuck has overcome many setbacks to become an automatic selection for the Tigers.

season and played under Shaun Rehn, who he knew from Hawthorn. Despite being homesick, Tuck finished third in the best and fairest in a team that made the Grand Final. It was a fruitful season that helped set up his life on and off the field, as he also met his now-wife Katherine, an Adelaide girl he credits with settling him down … “in a good way”. They now have a 17-month-old son, Will. “It was a good year – Adelaide was great to me,” Tuck says. The 2003 draft was “make-or-break” for Tuck, who had no contingency plan if he wasn’t selected. “I wouldn’t have had the faintest idea what to do,” he recalls. The Tigers gave him another chance with their seventh pick, No. 73 overall. “It’s a massive number, but older players usually are later picks,” he says. “I would’ve taken any number.” History shows the Tigers had manufactured a steal, although this wasn’t immediately evident. Despite being determined to capitalise on his second chance, Tuck wasn’t fit enough when he arrived at Punt Road. “That hurt me,” he says. “I was behind the eight-ball.” He didn’t make his AFL debut until round 14 (at the ripe old age of 22 and 192 days) and played just three games in that first year, 2004. When Terry Wallace replaced Danny Frawley as coach at the

I’m better suited to getting jobs and doing them rather than giving them, but I need to introduce more of it into my game SHANE TUCK

end of the year, Tuck thinks he could easily have been delisted. He remains grateful to Wallace for giving him a chance to impress. “I made sure I was one of the fitter blokes the next pre-season,” he says. It paid off. Tuck surprised everyone, himself included, with a breakout 2005 season. He hasn’t missed a game since, averaging 23.5 touches in 100 consecutive appearances. Tuck hopes he has inherited some of his father’s legendary durability, which took him to an AFL record of 426 games. He is also similar to his father in style – unfashionable but, of course, effective. “I always cop that,” he says. “I suppose I am a bit of an ’80s footballer! I’m never going to take a few bounces down the wing or kick 10 goals in a game, but that doesn’t bother me.” Tuck is keen to “raise the bar” for himself. “That’s what the best players do,” he says. “I didn’t think Gary (Ablett) would be able to raise it any higher, but he has. I’m glad, too – he’s in my fantasy team!”

Tuck wants to improve his leadership skills. In the Tigers’ win over West Coast last round, he was his team’s second-oldest player behind Ben Cousins. He has never been part of the club’s leadership group. “I’ve got to speak up and communicate more,” he says. “I don’t say anywhere near as much as I should in meetings. And I certainly don’t get up blokes or have a go at them on the field when they do the wrong thing. “I’m better suited to getting jobs and doing them rather than giving them, but I need to introduce more of it into my game.” Regardless of whether in fact Tuck makes this change, his football speaks volumes for him. He is a man of action rather than words. And in light of recent events, no one could blame him for being quieter than usual. FAC T F I L E


Shane Tuck Born: December 24, 1981 Recruited from: Drouin, Dandenong U18, West Adelaide Debut: Round 14, 2004 Height: 189cm Weight: 90kg Games: 103 Goals: 49 Player Honours: 2nd best and fairest 2008; 3rd best and fairest 2005, 2007 Brownlow medal: 19 votes

COURAGE, INITIATIVE AND TEAMWORK ON AND OFF THE FIELD. Voting is now open in the 2009 AFL Army Award. Get online at or SMS ‘Courage’ to 13 19 01 and pick the play of the round and you could have the chance to win an awesome Army experience for you and a mate.

Authorised under VIC Permit number 09/1090, NSW LTPS/09/2684, ACT TP09/1133, SA T09/690. Entries close 7/9/09. See for full terms and conditions. AFL Authorisation Code: GFAFL09/29

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Courage, initiative and teamwork are values the AFL and the Army proudly share. Get involved and help recognise the player you think best embodies these values in the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

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66 AFL RECORD visit a

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Teeing up

a new ball game To the delight of Essendon fans, Brent Stanton made a big call to trade in a possible career in golf to become one of the brightest young stars in the AFL. A NDR EW WA LL ACE

B FACE OF THE FUTURE: The outlook for Brent Stanton and the Bombers is particularly bright, given the midfielder is the youngest player in the AFL to have reached 100 games.

rent Stanton’s inherent sporting gifts might have taken him in any number of directions, including the professional golf circuit, but there is an increasing possibility they could lead him to the captaincy of the Essendon Football Club. At just 23, Stanton is the youngest player in the AFL to have reached 100 games, and a quick glance at the Bombers’ 2009 statistics tells you just how important he is to the emerging team from Windy Hill. The midfielder leads the club in kicks (171), effective kicks (equal with Andrew Lovett on 111), marks (75), handball receives (146) and inside 50s (53), trailing only Jobe Watson for total disposals and handballs. Raised in Banyule in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, Stanton was mentored

by Phiv Demetriou – brother of AFL CEO Andrew – at Viewbank College, helping the school football side to a number of state finals and titles. However, unlike many talented youngsters, football was not the extent of his sporting world until later on. Tagging along with father John and brother Shane on their regular rounds of golf, Stanton started having the occasional swing and found the game came naturally. “When I was about 13, I joined the Rosanna Golf Club and took to playing regularly,” he said. “I got my handicap down and entered junior tournaments – there were a lot of good golfers out there, but I was really enjoying it.” Decision time came when Stanton was selected to go to Fiji to partake in the Aaron Baddeley Junior International Tournament. AFL RECORD visit 67

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Thankfully for the legions of Bomber fans across the country, he chose to stay home and focus on football. “I really ran out of time and was getting worn down. I don’t know how far I could have gone with golf, but once footy started to get a bit serious with the under-16 nationals, I really had to choose.” A natural runner, Stanton tried to model himself on St Kilda legend Robert Harvey, who completed a marathon in his younger days and often pounded the pavement in his own time against club wishes. “I’m not sure where my running ability comes from, but I always enjoyed cross-country and athletics at school, and it’s a part of my game I pride myself on. I actually really enjoy getting out for a run and not really thinking about anything – it’s a time I can get away from all of the stresses and hopefully gain an edge on my opponents.” Pick No. 13 in the 2003 NAB AFL Draft landed the right-footer at Essendon, an intimidating place for any recruit, with AFL heavyweights such as Kevin Sheedy, James Hird, Dustin Fletcher and Matthew Lloyd all part of the furniture. Stanton admits he retreated into his shell somewhat. “I’m not a naturally quiet person, but just walking into the club when I did, I was in awe of a lot of the players I’d grown up watching,” he said. “I didn’t say a hell of a lot initially.” Nicknamed ‘Humphrey’ due to his lack of chatter, Stanton was nevertheless able to quickly

You can’t really pass up the opportunity to wear a number like the No. 5 at the Essendon Football Club, with players like James Hird and Terry Daniher having worn it BRENT STANTON

BOMBER BALL MAGNET: Brent Stanton has been finding plenty of the ball in

2009 – he leads Essendon in kicks, marks, handball receives and inside 50s.

establish himself at AFL level. Wearing the No. 34 guernsey, the teenager debuted for the Bombers in round one of the 2004 season, and played 15 of a possible 24 games in his first year, including two finals. Such was his work ethic and impact on senior clubmates, retiring stalwart Joe Misiti suggested Stanton take his No. 24 at season’s end, an offer the youngster gratefully accepted. Stanton upheld Misiti’s penchant for finding the football

over the next three years, averaging almost 22 possessions in a struggling side and finishing third in the Bombers’ 2005 best and fairest count. When two-time premiership hero, Norm Smith and Brownlow medallist James Hird decided to call it a day at the end of ’07, another honour was thrust upon an unsuspecting Stanton. “Obviously, I’d taken over the No. 24 at a young age, which was pretty exciting at the time.

But when Matthew Knights became coach, he asked me if I’d be interested in changing numbers and the No. 5 came up,” Stanton said. “I had to think about it for three or four days and speak to people who were important in my life, like my brother and my dad. I spoke to Joey (Misiti) as well, because I was a bit unsure what he’d think about it. “But he said you can’t really pass up the opportunity to wear a number like No. 5 at the Essendon Football Club, with players like James Hird and Terry Daniher having worn it before you. That really swayed my decision to take it.” Rather than view the new number as a burden and added pressure on him to perform, Stanton sees it as a privilege and a positive challenge. “I take it upon myself to hopefully excite the fans about me wearing the No. 5,” he said. “Someone was going to wear it eventually, and it just happens to be me. But it’s not only the number you’re representing every week, it’s the Essendon Football Club jumper, and that’s the most important thing.” As Sheedy, Hird, Misiti, and Mark and Jason Johnson have moved on and the club

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has turned to youth and the draft table to rebuild, Stanton has found himself as a young veteran among a new breed of Baby Bombers. He is no longer hesitant to speak his mind or lead the way at Essendon. “With all of the younger blokes coming in, you have to take on a role to help them through the exciting times and also the tough times,” Stanton said. “I’ve tried to pass my knowledge on, especially from the mistakes I’ve made.” Coincidentally or perhaps by design, Stanton has taken to mentoring 2008 draftees Michael Hurley and David Zaharakis, both also extremely talented footballers hailing from Melbourne’s north – Hurley from Macleod and Zaharakis from Eltham. Like Stanton, they both came through the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup and the AFL pathway program. “Matthew Lloyd has a muck around whenever we’re having lunch, saying it always seems like the northern suburbs boys are sticking together.” With Lloyd nearing the end of his career and captaincy tenure, Stanton would love to



Brent Stanton Born: May 1, 1986 Recruited from: Banyule/Northern U18 Debut: 2004 Height: 182cm Weight: 82kg Games: 110 Goals: 68 Honours: 3rd best and fairest 2005, 2008; International Rules Series 2006; NAB AFL Rising Star nominee 2004.

SINGING IN THE RAIN: Brent Stanton (middle) and his Essendon teammates celebrate their Anzac Day victory over Collingwood this year.

Like every other young guy, I’ve always dreamed of being captain or a leader at my footy club, so it’s an aspiration of mine. I’m more than happy to put my hand up if there comes a time BRENT STANTON

assume the much sought-after role when the time comes. “Like every other young guy, I’ve always dreamed of being captain or a leader at my footy club, so it is an aspiration of mine,” he said. “We do have a lot of good

leaders around the place, but I’m more than happy to put my hand up if there comes a time. As a football club, we’ve just got to work together to make the right decisions and get the success we’re looking for.”

In the meantime, the on-baller is aiming to take the final step and propel himself into the elite bracket of midfielders in the competition. To do so, he feels he must increase his impact on the scoreboard during matches with more goals, and also improve his kicking efficiency. “I’ve been criticised a little bit for my disposal, and I think that’s improving. Of course, I can still improve in all areas, but there’s probably two kicks a game where I’m not hitting targets going into the forward line. “If I can fi x that up, it will maybe take me to the next level, where I want to be.”

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Hall shaped by Swans move On the eve of his 250th AFL game, star forward Barry Hall reveals the switch to the Sydney Swans and the influence of the famed Bloods’ culture helped save his career. NICK BOW EN


arry Hall doubts he would still be playing at AFL level if he hadn’t joined the Sydney Swans in 2002. Hall started his career with St Kilda in 1996, playing 88 games and kicking 144 goals over six seasons, but says he desperately needed a change at the end of 2001. “I wasn’t handling living in Melbourne the best. With life in general, I wasn’t happy,” Hall says. “So, even if I’d been traded to a Melbourne-based club, I quite possibly wouldn’t be playing now. “The move to Sydney was great, everything about it agreed with me. There’s not as much (media) attention up here and the club has really looked after me.” Speaking with the AFL Record over the phone on the eve of his 250th AFL game (this Saturday against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium), Hall is happy to chat and laughs often. After ringing as previously arranged with the club, Hall introduces himself, but there is no need – his gravelly, deep voice, one of the most recognisable in football, is identification enough. He has also been one of the most recognisable players in the AFL for more than a decade. A menacing forward presence at 194cm and 104kg, Hall’s fearless attack on the ball and commitment to defensive pressure – no doubt coupled with the knowledge he is a former Victorian amateur boxing champion – has always had opposition defenders watching their backs and his Swans teammates walking tall. Hall has also long been one of the most talented power forwards in the competition.

It’s not just me. You see with other blokes who come to the club, they leave as better people. It’s a good endorsement for the club BARRY HALL

LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE: Barry Hall says he would probably not be playing in the AFL now if he had not switched to the Sydney Swans at the end of 2001.

Although his career took off after he joined Sydney, Hall was the Saints’ leading goalkicker in 1999 (41 goals) and 2001 (44). But at the Swans he reached a level of consistency he had not appeared capable of previously. The goals and individual accolades soon flowed and, in 2005, he was a key player in the Swans’ premiership side, kicking two goals in a low-scoring Grand Final to help break the club’s 72-year flag drought.

Just as telling, though, was Hall’s growth as a person. It did not escape coach Paul Roos and his teammates, who voted him a club co-captain in 2005, a position he held for three seasons. Hall says the famed Bloods’ culture of teamwork and mateship has helped shape him as a player and person. “I changed a lot (after joining the Swans),” he says. “Obviously part of that’s a natural thing of growing up and maturing, but the Swans have

helped me quite a bit in that area as well. “It’s not just me. You see with other blokes who come to the club, they leave as better people. It’s a good endorsement for the club.” Despite what he has achieved in the game, Hall, 32, wants to play on next year. While he admits his much-publicised lapses of discipline earlier this year were “disappointing”, he says his body remains in good shape and his competitive instincts are as keen as ever. He also wants to help shepherd in a new era at the Swans. We spoke less than an hour after fellow premiership forward Michael O’Loughlin announced he would retire at the end of the season. Hall wants to help the Swans cover the loss of O’Loughlin, and ultimately himself, through his mentoring role with first-year player Lewis Johnston, who he hopes to help develop into the team’s next key forward. Hall is not sure what life after football, whenever that comes, will hold for him, but is certain of the debt he owes to Swans player welfare manager Phil Mullen. “He’s been a father figure and a best mate at times for me,” he says. “I can go to him and, if I’ve been unreasonable, he’ll tell me the truth and I really value that. He keeps me on the straight and narrow.”

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Getting on the train on a sat arvo and heading to the G with thousands of others. The atmosphere and the hype makes me feel proud to be an Australian! Footy, it brings us all together. Nathan, St Kilda, VIC

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elite juniors N A B A F L U N D E R -1 8 C H A M P I O N S H I P S

Rankings add to recruiting intrigue Champion Data statistics are being used to assess potential draftees at the NAB AFL Under-18 championships. ANDREW WALLACE


he final eight games of the 2009 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships take place this Saturday at Casey Fields in Melbourne’s outer south-east and next Wednesday at Docklands Stadium (Tasmania v NSW/ACT, Queensland v Northern Territory, Vic Country v Western Australia and Vic Metro v South Australia). By the end of the national carnival, which this year sees all teams playing five games each, AFL club recruiters will have access to an unprecedented level of statistical information on potential draftees. Champion Data has applied the same player ranking system it uses at AFL level to assist in the assessment of the latest batch of talented youngsters, an exciting step forward in the eyes of AFL national talent manager

Kevin Sheehan. “The use of efficient use of the football. data is becoming more and Vic Metro’s Tom Scully, more important in determining projected by many observers to what makes a successful be this year’s No. 1 draft pick, player, and we’ll continue to is just outside the top-10 player look at every number rankings after three rounds of that is available,” Sheehan said. the championships. “The Champion Data ranking “Vic Metro has, quite rightly, system is an managed Scully’s workload in established, wellthe championships, resting him known formula in game two with the team well that already ahead, and he was probably gives AFL players his team’s best player in a specific rating the other two matches. at the end of each His average ranking is performance.” still excellent at 116,” Importantly, the Sheehan said. formula does not only take “These numbers are one into account how many of the intriguing aspects of disposals the recruiting game, a player accumulates, which is really but where he wins about crystalthe ball and in what balling into the circumstances. future, not necessarily For example, more EYE-CATCHER: Vic Metro’s Tom Scully weighting is given to is touted as this year’s No. 1 pick. contested possessions and

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about the here and now. “This is just another tool to help the clubs with their overall judgments.” * Entry to Docklands for next Wednesday’s games is free, with all four matches broadcast live by Fox Sports.



Jack Trengove

Ryan Harwood

(SA) Medium midfielder Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 146.3 Disposals: 76 Disposal efficiency: 69.7% Goals: 5 Score assists: 4 Kevin Sheehan says: “Jack has had a major impact. He shows great intensity around the ball, is strong overhead and kicks important goals.”

(Tas) Medium midfielder Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 143.0 Disposals: 75 Disposal efficiency: 69.3% Goals: 3 Score assists: 7 Sheehan says: “Best on ground in his past two matches. Outstanding at stoppages, leading the competition with 19 clearances.”



Matthew Panos (SA) Tall forward Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 128.0 Disposals: 41 Disposal efficiency: 78.0% Goals: 8 Score assists: 4 Sheehan says: “Shows clean hands on the lead and overhead, and has been the best-performing tall forward of the championships.”

Andrew Hooper (Vic Country) Small utility Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 127.7 Disposals: 66 Disposal efficiency: 68.2% Goals: 3 Score assists: 4 Sheehan says: “A unique player who has made a terrific contribution across half-back, up forward and in the midfield. Exceptional reader of the game.”

3 Jordan Williams (NSW/ACT) Medium midfielder Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 135.3 Disposals: 65 Disposal efficiency: 81.5% Goals: 1 Score assists: 3 Sheehan says: “A consistent ball-winner, he leads the competition in long kicks with seven a game. In the top bracket for disposal efficiency.”

8 Marcus Davies (Tas) Medium defender Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 127.3 Disposals: 75 Disposal efficiency: 73.3% Goals: 0 Score assists: 3 Sheehan says: “Has provided great drive from defence with his willingness to run and create. Prominent in his side’s narrow loss to Vic Country.”

4 Roland Ah Chee (NT) Medium midfielder Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 134.7 Disposals: 88 Disposal efficiency: 70.5% Goals: 3 Score assists: 2 Sheehan says: “Leads the disposal count with his hard running and ability to find space. His two running goals against NSW/ACT were a highlight.”

9 David Swallow (WA) Medium def/mid Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 124.3 Disposals: 69 Disposal efficiency: 75.4% Goals: 1 Score assists: 1 Sheehan says: “Has had three excellent games, with his ability to read the play across half-back and at the clearances. Great decision-maker.”

5 Luke Russell (Tas) Medium forward Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 130.3 Disposals: 68 Disposal efficiency: 72.1% Goals: 7 Score assists: 4 Sheehan says: “A very athletic player with terrific spring and a superb ability to get through traffic. Has provided a spark up forward in all three matches.”

10 Hayden Jolly (SA) Medium midfielder Games: 3 Ave. ranking points: 122.0 Disposals: 74 Disposal efficiency: 78.4% Goals: 0 Score assists: 3 Sheehan says: “Hunts the footy with great success and finds a good balance between contested and uncontested possessions.”

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24/6/09 4:39:03 PM

time on Answer man

AFL history guru Col Hutchinson answers your queries.




Jock’s lone voice

Beau-tiful name

Adam Simpson played his first 300 senior matches under just two coaches – Denis Pagan and Dean Laidley. Which players hold the records of having the fewest and most coaches for their first 300 games?

 The decline in the use of the given name Bruce on AFL lists was recently recorded in The Age by Cameron Noakes. He could have added many more names in decline – George, Arthur and Herb, just for starters. They have all been overwhelmed by an army of Brads, Bretts and Jarrods, in various forms. One name making a small impression is Beau, brought to the fore by the recent brilliant debut of Hawthorn’s Beau Muston (pictured). The Hawks had two Beaux playing that day (Dowler being the other). The Eagles have already had two Beaux on the field at the same time – Wilkes and Waters – and, up to the end of the 2006 season, the Brisbane Lions had Beau McDonald. Beau is French for “handsome” and is the male equivalent of belle, “beautiful”. Of course, all babies are beautiful and some of them grow into handsome footballers.


CH: The only triple century man

to be under the control of just one coach was Collingwood goalscoring machine Gordon Coventry, whose mentor was Jock McHale. Dustin Fletcher was guided by just two tacticians – Kevin Sheedy and Matthew Knights. Carlton star defender Bruce Doull received instructions from 10 men, some of whom were in a temporary coaching capacity – Ron Barassi, John Nicholls, Keith McKenzie, Ian Thorogood, Ian Stewart, Sergio Silvagni, Alex Jesaulenko, Peter Jones, David Parkin and Robert Walls.


WRITE TO ANSWER MAN The Slattery Media Group 140 Harbour Esplanade Docklands, 3008 or email

Jock McHale (left) was Collingwood champion Gordon Coventry’s only coach during his 306-game career.


Are you, or do you know, a descendant of former player James Francis Caffery?  Caffery played seven matches and kicked four goals for Carlton in the first League season (1897), after being recruited from Carlton Juniors and Rainbow (a metropolitan club). He made an excellent debut, booting three

majors from the forward pocket against Essendon at the East Melbourne ground. Eleven years passed before the next Carlton player scored as many in his first senior appearance. On June 8, 1918,

Caffery passed away at about the age of 46. Should you have any information regarding Caffery, including his date of birth, height and weight, contact Col Hutchinson on (03) 9643 1929 or



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AR13 p76 Ask Col.indd 76

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It’s on the cards A weekly look at collectables, memorabilia and all footy things stored in boxes and garages. RICK’S RARITY

 This item is so rare I do not even have a complete copy. It is a book written by St Kilda champion Dave McNamara, who was famous for his overall brilliance in 122 games with the Saints over three stints from 1905-23. Famous for his magnificent long kicking, McNamara wrote this book in 1914 and there are remarkable chapters on gambling, player payments and management. If I could find one in top condition, I would pay $400 for it.

I have several football cards and was wondering about their value. One is a Wayne Carey All-Australian card of 2000, the second is a Ted Whitten snr Legends card and the third is a Stephen Silvagni AFLPA 1996 Centenary card. NATHAN, VIA EMAIL

RM: According to Steve at

Card Zone, these are worth $18, $12 and $2 respectively. I have a Fitzroy yo-yo with a Lion logo on one side and Fitzroy FC on the other. Value? KIM, BRIGHTON, VIC.

RM: The team I love, Kim!

These were done for the then 12 VFL clubs in the 1970s and are worth $30 each. CAREY CARD: This 2000

We have a framed photograph of the 1933 South Melbourne premiership squad. It is an original photograph with player names in ink and the name of the photographic source – Allan Studios. Any value?

card featuring Wayne Carey as an All-Australian is worth about $18.

I would ld like lik a valuation l ti for a Sherrin football signed by the 1990 Collingwood premiership team, including the late Darren Millane.


RM: This is a beauty! Being

Please help me settle a bet. My mate reckons St Kilda is the most popular club for collectors, but I say it is Richmond. A bottle of Grange Hermitage rests on this.


the last of the original South Melbourne premiership teams is good for a start, but having the players’ names is even better. It is worth at least $2500.

RM: This is one of the better


footballs out there in the market and, although it would be one of many Collingwood released, it is worth about $800.

RM: You are both wrong. The top three clubs are Collingwood, Essendon and Hawthorn, with St Kilda and Richmond next.

CONTACT RICK MILNE or drop him a line: 5 Cooraminta St, Brunswick, Vic, 3056 or call (03) 9387 4131. One query per reader.


70 68 67 64 62 30


MICK Carlton Collingwood Adelaide Hawthorn Brisbane Lions Geelong Cats Western Bulldogs St Kilda

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LEHMO Carlton Collingwood Adelaide Hawthorn Brisbane Lions Geelong Cats Western Bulldogs St Kilda

DAVE Carlton Collingwood Adelaide Hawthorn Brisbane Lions Geelong Cats Western Bulldogs St Kilda

STRAUCHANIE Essendon Fremantle Sydney Swans West Coast Eagles Melbourne Port Adelaide North Melbourne Richmond

SAM Carlton Collingwood Adelaide Hawthorn Brisbane Lions Geelong Cats Western Bulldogs St Kilda

ANDY Carlton Collingwood Adelaide Hawthorn Brisbane Lions Geelong Cats Western Bulldogs St Kilda

24/6/09 3:30:14 PM

24/6/09 3:44:53 PM


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KNOWLEDGE AC R O S S 1 3 5 9 10 11 12 14 18 19 23 24 28 29 30 32 34 35 36 37


Nickname of John Newman (3) Given name of Carlton’s 1947 Brownlow Medal winner (4) Boundary umpire re-starts the action, when he throws the .... .. (4, 2) Given name of former Carlton president known as ‘Collo’ (3) Given name of the Collingwood, Essendon ‘Hulk’; played in six losing Grand Finals (4) Umpired Hawthorn’s 1961 Grand Final win, Frank ...... was the father of former Hawk premiership player and coach (6) Gavin ........, a former Magpie star from Queensland (8) Shinboner of the Century (6) A loss (6) Given name of Collingwood’s 1972 Brownlow winner (3) Aggressive term for suspension (3) Coach implores players to go ...... (6) Given name of former Blue Keogh (6) Brothers, Lorenzo and Renato ........ (8) ‘Bulldog’ ...... was a Fitzroy Brownlow Medal winner (6) Given name of Melbourne’s Green (4) Mark ..., Richmond’s ‘General’ (3) Mick ...... was an unfashionable stopper in Collingwood’s 1990 premiership year (6) Don was a premiership Eagle, then midfield coach at Adelaide (4) Get the ball and ... (3)

r e t s u b n i Bra

1 2 3 4

From one side of the ground to the other (6)


Description applies to straight shot for goal (8)


Ian ..., rover in Hawthorn’s 1961 premiership team (3)

8 13 15

Rising Star Medal sponsor (initials) (3)

16 17 20

A place on the ladder (4)

21 22 25

Players fear injury to this joint (4)


Jim or ‘Frosty’ ...... was a VFA legend, but played 11 games with Carlton (6)

27 30 31 33

The last few minutes of any quarter (4-2)

Former Bomber and Blue Glenn ...... (6) One of Robert DiPierdomenico’s nicknames (6) Given Name of 1949 South Melbourne Brownlow Medal winner (3)

Tiffany ...... was a Fox Footy reporter (6) Jack .... coached Hawthorn to its first final, in 1957 (4)

Ray was a star Hawk defender (6) Former Demon Andrew who represented SA in State of Origin (4)

Aids a player at Tribunal hearings (8) Brad ...... won a Brownlow Medal with Footscray (6)

The spiritual home of football (3) Former umpire ... Sleeth (3) Given name of dual Tiger Brownlow Medal winner of the 1950s (3)

Scrambled footballer Makes rain

Cryptic footballers 1. Rash men disturbed Lion.

At the end of the season, three footballers each decide to play a practical joke on the club’s football manager, physio and social club manager. From the clues below, can you work out which player played a trick on which staff member and what was that person’s job at the club.

2. Risk wrongly filed for


6. Untidy cover put around a Cat.

Adelaide player. 3. Free kick if this Saint is held. 4. Moe contains alternative

player for Tigers. 5. Sick inside, he plays

for Bombers.

The players’ names are JASON, BRAD and SHANE (you can write those down in any order in the answer box) and their surnames, not necessarily in the same order, are JONES, SMITH and CARTER. The staff members’ names are MS JOHNSON, MS DERUM and MR BROWN. 1 Jason played his practical joke on the female physio.

7. Momma is one Power player. 8. Carbon monoxide – unknown

factor at Collingwood. 9. US coins changed for Tiger. 10. Hawthorn to name recruits

– Carlton player included.


2 Jones played his practical joke on Ms Derum. 3 The football manager was caught out by Smith’s practical joke. 4 Brad did not play his joke on Mr Brown and Shane did not play his joke on the social club manager, who is not Ms Johnson.






SCRAMBLED FOOTBALLER: Akermanis CRYPTIC FOOTBALLERS: 1. Sherman 2. Dangerfield 3. Ball 4. Moore 5. Hille 6. Varcoe 7. Cassisi 8. Cox 9. Cousins 10. Thornton





Mr Brown Ms Derum



Ms Johnson


first name

staff name

Football manager Social club manager Physio


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A top life in the Top End Darwin is an untapped goldmine for AFL recruiters. A NDR EW WA L L ACE


he Darwin region has produced some brilliant AFL players, including Michael ‘Magic’ McLean, Andrew McLeod and Daniel Motlop. But despite best intentions, it seems club recruiters simply haven’t done enough digging in the area. Spend a couple of days in and around the Mitchell Street strip in central Darwin and you’ll soon realise there is an untapped minefield of Irish backpackers from which to glean the next AFL superstar. Problem is extracting them from the poolside bar and breaking the news that only one AFL premiership game per year is played in the Top End. Huddled inside my wintry Melbourne abode, I’d been monitoring the Darwin weather forecast closely in the lead-up to my latest expedition, and it seemed there was some kind of recurring technical glitch with the internet updates. They kept running the same forecast – 30-degree maximum, fine – over and over again. But when I drove past some ovals on the way from the airport to my hotel and saw kids playing competition cricket in the middle of winter it dawned that being a weatherman up here in the ‘dry’ season must be a cushy gig. TIO Stadium is a great depiction of the outdoor lifestyle in the Northern Territory. Stepping through the admission gates is like walking into a country carnival, with food stalls that offer well beyond the standard pie, chips and hot dog footy fare (awesome steak sandwiches), makeshift merchandise stores and kids running riot on the oval adjoining the main ground.

DARWIN DELIGHTS: (from top left) Wally gets up close and personal with the Northern Territory wildlife at Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove and catches up with two members of the visiting Timor-Leste Crocs football team, in town to play the Bali Gekos for the inaugural Steve Irwin Crikey Cup. The Saturday morning Parap Village markets offered a great mix of tasty food and local arts and crafts, while TIO Stadium provided a relaxed atmosphere on a balmy night, with the chance for a kick of the footy after the game. Andrew ‘Wally’ Wallace travelled to Darwin courtesy of Jetstar.

Aside from the one grandstand seating about 5000 fans, TIO Stadium is ringed by lush grassy hills, where you can sit and watch the game from the comfort of your foldout deckchair or on your backside. Since playing their first match for premiership points in Darwin in 2004, the Western Bulldogs have built a dedicated fan base not only in the city, but throughout the Territory. Lounging back on the grass on a cloudless Darwin evening and watching the Dogs perform a crocodile-style ‘death roll’ on Port Adelaide, I struck up a conversation with Amy Lauder-Dickson, an indigenous woman from the remote community of Elliott. Amy and her family had driven almost 800 kilometres to catch the game, with her daughter desperate to get a close-up glimpse of her hero, Daniel Giansiracusa. The family-friendly, alcohol-free area at the Abala Road end of the ground proved as entertaining as the game itself, with hundreds of children involved in their own mini-matches; kicking, tackling, ducking and weaving in and out of the crowd. When a goal was kicked in the main game, they all flew as one to win possession of the prized Sherrin. In the final term, Amy and I were horrified when yet another Bulldogs goal resulted in the ball falling right on top of us. We covered our heads as the mob descended, and it wasn’t for several seconds that I was brave enough to peek out from my fetal position. The ball and the pack were gone, but one young boy stood over me, shaking his head. “Why didn’t you mark it?” he asked incredulously. Like I said, recruiters could be doing a whole lot more in the Top End.


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Learning from the best Budding Blues on-baller Aaron Joseph is being groomed by some of the best midfielders the game has produced.

NAB AFL Rising Star nominees


Aaron Joseph has won plenty of the ball but has also negated his opponents in 2009.

Round 1 – Daniel Rich (BL) Round 2 – David Zaharakis (Ess) Round 3 – Patrick Dangerfield (Adel)


Round 4 – Jaxson Barham (Coll)


he start of Aaron Joseph’s AFL career was lost in the hype. One of four Blues to debut in round one against Richmond, the midfielder was understandably not part of the ‘Ben Cousins v Chris Judd’ fanfare, but in front of 86,972 spectators at the MCG, Joseph had 10 disposals in Carlton’s thumping win. “I walked out of the race and the crowd was massive,” the 19-year old said this week. “At that stage, I was pretty nervous and, when I went through the banner, I got stuck halfway because I had never really run through a banner before. “As soon as I got my first touch, I was fine though, and you don’t tend to hear the crowd too much when you’re out there unless you kick a goal. “I was playing half-back and actually played on Cousins for about a quarter and that was a really good experience. “Being one of the big names, he was one of my idols growing up.” Taken No. 2 in the 2008 NAB AFL Rookie Draft, Joseph grew up a Blues supporter in Strahan on the west coast of Tasmania before moving to Hobart to go to college. He played for Glenorchy and the Tassie Mariners, and managed a handful of

Round 5 – Garry Moss (Haw) Round 6 – Stephen Hill (Frem) Round 7 – Jack Ziebell (NM) Round 8 – Jarryn Geary (StK) Round 9 – Andy Otten (Adel) Round 10 – Taylor Walker (Adel Round 11 – Brad Dick (Coll) Round 12 – Aaron Joseph (Carl) HIGH FIVE

He has two tattoos – one is his surname inked across his chest. 2 Gave up basketball aspirations aged 16 because he was too short to go professional. 3 While at home, he rides motorbikes and goes fishing to relax. Sings, plays guitar and 4 has a small recording studio set up at home.


When I went through the banner, I got stuck halfway because I had never really run through a banner before AARON JOSEPH games in the Tasmanian VFL team in 2007. Joseph honed his skills with a strong season in the VFL with the Northern Bullants in 2008, before being elevated to the senior list as the nominated rookie at the start of this season, playing every game, mainly in a tagging role. “(Coach) Brett (Ratten) likes to bring his new players in through a tagging role,” Joseph said. “It’s good to play on the good players as they tend to lead

you to the ball, so you learn a lot from them.” Nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star award following his blanketing job on St Kilda’s Stephen Milne in round 12 – he kept the Saint to only seven disposals and one goal while claiming a career-high 19 possessions himself – Joseph says that improving the attacking side of his game has been a focus. He also knows there’s no better place to be learning his trade.

Works as an electrician and personal trainer throughout the week.


“Every opportunity I get, I talk to ‘Juddy’,” he said. “His knowledge on the game is unbelievable and, of course, Brett knows what he’s talking about as well. “Having Robert Harvey, Craig Bradley and Greg Williams around as assistants is great, and I tend to use them a lot.”

Each week throughout the home and away season, a panel of judges will select the nominee for the 2009 NAB AFL Rising Star. At the completion of the season, one outstanding player will be chosen as the 2009 NAB AFL Rising Star winner. He will receive an investment folio, a dedicated personal banker, a financial planner and the Ron Evans Medal, all courtesy of the NAB. The NAB Rising Star award is the final stage of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulfil their dream of playing in the AFL.

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Excitement of youth With players the calibre of Stephen Hill, Liam Jurrah and Nick Naitanui bursting on to the AFL scene, the fans of struggling sides have plenty to look forward to. NICK BOW EN


t’s hard to take when your team is struggling. Going to the footy and knowing your side will probably lose is a bit like hitting your head against a wall – you just want to know when the pain will stop. The more comprehensive defeats leave you flat, even despondent, the words of legendary gridiron coach Vince Lombardi ticking over and over in your head: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” But, inevitably, you soon see a ray of light. Most Fremantle fans saw the light against Geelong last week. The Dockers were two goals down with a minute to go in the third quarter, when first-year player Nick Suban snapped a superb left-goal goal. Seconds later, fellow 2009 debutant Stephen Hill kicked a goal on the run from 50 metres out on a tight angle. If Suban’s goal got the Subiaco crowd roaring, Hill’s sent it into a frenzy. As disappointed as fans would have been when their team eventually lost to the Cats by 19 points, they would have walked from the ground feeling buoyant about the future. As rays of light go, they don’t come any brighter than those provided by Suban and Hill. Fremantle fans would have also been heartened by the promising displays of rookies Matthew de Boer, 19, on Joel Selwood and Greg Broughton, 22, on Steve Johnson. On such occasions, winning is not everything. Sure, you always go to the footy wanting your side to win – desperately so in most cases – but sometimes you’ve got to be realistic. If your team is not a genuine finals contender, do you just mope about and pray for the end


Supporters of every team know that when it comes to recruiting players, the financial playing field is – as far as possible – level

After just one game, Nick Naitanui has given Eagles fans plenty to cheer about.

of the season to come? Hell, no. Few people these days wish a season away just because their side’s finals chances have gone. True, they look beyond that particular season, but given they can see there is a future, they can live in the moment. This sense of perspective among footy fans seems more widespread than I can remember. Have we just become better losers? Possibly. But I think more likely it can be traced back to the introduction of the salary cap in 1985 and the draft in 1986. Where in the English Premier League the financial strength of clubs such as Manchester

United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool allows them to sign most of the big-name players and dominate their less-affluent rivals every year, this is not the case in the AFL. Supporters of every team know that when its comes to recruiting players, the financial playing field is – as far as possible – level. Or, at the very least, that money can’t buy you draft picks. So when you’re down, you’re not destined to stay there. Just look at the lowly Brisbane Bears of the early 1990s and the similarly struggling Hawthorn and St Kilda teams this decade. All had to bide their time at the bottom of the ladder, as they

rebuilt at the draft table with the nation’s best youth. But all returned as genuine forces. It’s the hope of a similar youth-based revival that’s sustaining Fremantle supporters. And it’s not just them. Melbourne fans’ spirits would have soared almost as high as Liam Jurrah flew in the second quarter against Essendon last week. Jurrah may have missed that mark, but the cat-like goal he snapped as he hit the ground would have convinced Dees supporters the first-gamer had a bright future. And – along with the promise shown this year by fellow first-year player Jamie Bennell, and second-year players Jack Grimes, Cale Morton and Addam Maric – convinced them their club, soon enough, would climb the ladder. This season’s other bottom five sides – Richmond, West Coast and North Melbourne – have also given their fans cause for optimism. For Tigers fans, it has come in the form of Robin Nahas, Alex Rance and Tyrone Vickery, for Eagles supporters in Nick Naitanui and Chris Masten and for Kangaroos followers in Jack Ziebell and Sam Wright. Such emerging youngsters give supporters the most precious commodity in football – hope. And it will be enough to sustain them to the end of this season, however disappointing, and beyond.

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AFL Record, Round 13  

The AFL Record is the most loved and read football magazine in the country and for the first time, is now available free to read online each...