finals week one | september 9-11, 2011
32 GAMEG GA
51 F FINALS PREVIEW
Our experts e preview the game and highlight the key players. high
78 S SEASON SUMMARY A loo look back at a deﬁning year.
90 40 YEARS OF QUALIFYING & QU ELIMINATION FINALS ELI
Players who will make a diﬀerence in September.
Memories of some great battles. Mem
96 THE MAGPIES OF 1977: LAST TO FIRST 197
No ﬂag but a year of redemption.
regulars re 4 Backchat 15 The Bounce 49 Matchday 76 Scoreboard 116 Answer Man 120 Kids’ Corner 122 Talking Point
Ted Hopkins: H rating the real stats.
A former Bomber re-lives his greatest day on football’s biggest stage.
109 Heppell pell a Rising ng Starr
Essendon’s don’s Dyson Heppelll joins the he NAB AFL Rising ising Star honour onour roll.
THIS WEEK’S COVERS There are dedicated covers for all four ﬁnals.
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Your say on the world of football
Intrigue builds for Malthouse
» Beyond the actual results
Adelaide Oval a big hit
Last Sunday, I went to the Port Adelaide-Melbourne game at Adelaide Oval. It is a world-class arena but there was a problem with the siren. It was not loud enough to hear from the old scoreboard end, which made it hard to know when the start and end of the quarters were. Other than that, the atmosphere was great. Walking down the main road to Adelaide Oval was electric. Adelaide Oval is a fantastic venue and I can’t wait for 2014. THOMAS THULBORN, SOUTH PLYMPTON, SA.
Response from the South Australian Cricket Association ground manager: The siren was
certainly working throughout the match and no complaints were received during or afterwards from patrons, the AFL, the SANFL or the teams. The same siren was used without incident during the Adelaide International Rugby Sevens and the Socceroos game and it was signed-oﬀ by the SANFL and AFL before Sunday’s game.
Next year, Tigers?
I get it that the Tigers are a developing team. I’ve had to get used to it over the past few seasons. Which is ﬁne. I’ve seen enough signs in the development of youngsters such as Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin and Tyrone Vickery to feel conﬁdent that for the ﬁrst time in a long while we’re building a team that could eventually have a sustained period of success. My question, though, is this: when as a Richmond supporter should
GENERAL MANAGER, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS Darren Birch AFL CORPORATE BUSINESS MANAGER Richard Simkiss AFL RECORD MANAGING EDITOR Geoﬀ Slattery
backdrop for the ﬁrst AFL match at the Adelaide Oval.
I cease to feel warm and fuzzy with a few late-season wins and start to expect to play ﬁnals? Hopefully, the Tigers can answer that one for me in 2012. DALE SMITHSON, KOO REE WUP, VIC.
Hats oﬀ to the Swans
I’m not a Sydney Swans supporter, but I can’t help but admire the way they have made the ﬁnals year in, year out for most of the past decade. Where other teams embark on rebuilding campaigns that they accept will keep them out of ﬁnals action for several years, the Swans keep gunning for the ﬁnals—and eight out of the
PRODUCTION EDITOR Michael Lovett WRITERS Nick Bowen, Ashley Browne, Ben Collins, James Dampney, George Farrugia, Katrina Gill, Ted Hopkins,Glenn McFarlane, Adam McNicol, Peter Ryan, Nathan Schmook, Callum Twomey, Jennifer Witham SUB-EDITORS Gary Hancock, Howard Kotton, Michael Stevens
AFL RECORD EDITOR Peter Di Sisto
ATMOSPHERE: The famous scoreboard provided a great
STATISTICIAN Cameron Sinclair
past nine seasons they have made them. Their ability to regenerate their list with smart trading is also remarkable. Even with Paul Roos gone as coach, they haven’t missed a beat under John Longmire. SAMANTHA PRESCOTT, GARDENVALE, VIC.
HAVE YOUR SAY
The best letter each round d will receive the 2011 AFL Record Season Guide. Email aﬂrecordeditor@ slatterymedia.com or write to AFL Record, Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, VIC, 3008.
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of the four ﬁnals, a host of storylines will continue to build this weekend and beyond. Some of the most intriguing sub-plots centre on coaches, including the three appearing in ﬁnals for the ﬁrst time (Geelong’s Chris Scott, the Sydney Swans’ John Longmire and Essendon’s James Hird), and Collingwood’s Mick Malthouse. Malthouse, who moves to equal second for most ﬁnals series coached (see page 19), is set to ﬁnish coaching the Magpies at the end of the season, his 12th in charge of the club. Under a deal brokered in 2009, Malthouse will move to an administration role with assistant coach Nathan Buckley taking over. A second premiership with Collingwood would make Malthouse the eighth man to coach four ﬂags. Not surprisingly, the fact he led the Pies to last year’s Grand Final and guided them to a record 20-win season this year has seen many observers questioning whether the 2009 deal still makes sense. Malthouse has stated he won’t coach elsewhere in 2012; Collingwood has indicated it will announce in Malthouse’s new role when it M sees ﬁt. The intrigue merely se adds to the club’s quest to join ad rivals Carlton and Essendon riv with 16 premierships. wi
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PRINTED BY PMP Print ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO The Editor, AFL Record, Ground Floor, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Victoria, 3008. T: (03) 9627 2600 F: (03) 9627 2650 E: email@example.com AFL RECORD, VOL. 100, FINALS WEEK 1, 2011 Copyright. ACN No. 004 155 211. ISSN 1444-2973, Print Post approved PP320258/00109
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SNA P SHOTS R O U N D 24
Cats on a high
lthough the makeup of the ﬁnal eight was already known, there was still plenty to learn from the 24th and last round of what has been a fascinating season (see review of the year starting on page 78). The two best-performed teams of the season, Collingwood and Geelong,
started proceedings at the MCG on Friday night. Speedster David Wojcinski provided one of the highlights when he ﬂew over Magpie Alex Fasolo to grab this mark late in the ﬁrst quarter, while Steele Sidebottom looked on. The Cats got on top in the second quarter and ran way with an easy win.
The following day, Hawthorn—with eight of its best 22 rested—held off Gold Coast, the Sydney Swans beat the Brisbane Lions to give themselves a chance to host a ﬁnal, the Western Bulldogs accounted for Fremantle on the day they farewelled two veterans, West Coast was too good for Adelaide and St Kilda
ran over Carlton to ensure it had hosting rights against the Swans this weekend. The round’s closest matches were played on the Sunday, with Port Adelaide closing a disappointing season by edging out Melbourne in the ﬁrst AFL match at Adelaide Oval and North Melbourne too good for a spirited Richmond.
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SNA P SHOTS
MOVING ON It has been a sad time for the Western Bulldogs. After defeating Fremantle at Etihad Stadium last week, the Bulldogs farewelled retiring veterans Barry Hall (left) and Ben Hudson (centre). Two days later, it became oﬃcial that Callan Ward (right), the 21-year-old touted as a future captain of the club, would join the AFL’s 18th franchise, the Greater Western Sydney Giants (see story on
page 26). Hall, the Sydney Swans’ 2005 premiership captain, played 289 games and kicked 746 goals (including 39 games and 135 goals at the ‘kennel’); Hudson played 143 games (88 for the Dogs) and local boy Ward 60 games. BEN COLLINS PHOTO: SEAN GARNSWORTHY/AFL PHOTOS
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SNA P SHOTS
END FOR A PROUD ROO Brady Rawlings’ exit from the AFL highlighted the level of respect the football world has for him. Having again played a key role in a North Melbourne win, Rawlings walked from Etihad Stadium past a guard of honour formed by his teammates and their Richmond opponents. As he approached the players’ race, Rawlings shook hands warmly with his coach of the past two seasons, Brad Scott. Scott put Rawlings’ career in its proper perspective after the game: “You shouldn’t forget he is a ﬁrst-round draft pick. He’s a talented player. He has been over a very long period of time.
“He’s won three Syd Barker Medals (as North’s best and fairest player). But he has also extracted (the) maximum amount from that talent. “He’s a player who sets a great example, along with Brent Harvey, as to the way footballers should prepare themselves to play in this competition. He epitomises what we want to be.” Rawlings played 245 games for North from 1999-2011. NICK BOWEN PHOTO: MICHAEL WILLSON/AFL PHOTOS
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THIS YEARâ€™S FINALS WILL BE 100 GREENPOWERED Luke Hodge gives 100% every game he plays. And this September, weâ€™re doing the same. At each game of the 2011 Toyota AFL Finals Series, Origin will match 100% of the estimated electricity used with accredited GreenPower. This will reduce carbon emissions by around 790 tonnes, equivalent to more than 1,000 average Aussie homes not using electricity for a month.* Switch to GreenPower, like Luke, and you can make a difference, too.
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BEST OF 2011
How the priority pick could work in 2011.
All-Australian selectors name a new-look squad.
The Greater Western Sydney Giants announce their big signing.
Worth their weight in goals as accuracy improves
PETER RYA N
ave you ever muttered “he’s no guarantee” to yourself, to the person next to you, to the world at large, as certain players line up for goal? Let’s face it, some players never provide supporters with a sense of comfort in front of goal. We have plenty of names for them, but the most polite is unreliable. But perhaps those who don’t regularly kick straight attract our attention now more than they ever did. Those ‘unreliables’ have, in reality, become a rare beast. Last year, Collingwood became the ﬁrst premiership team since the Eagles in 1994 with fewer goals than behinds. The Magpies’ inaccuracy kicking for goal was a weakness that nearly cost them the ﬂag. They ended the season with 395 goals and 399 behinds after kicking 9.14 in the drawn Grand Final. This year, Collingwood has rectiﬁed that issue, kicking 381 goals and 306 behinds in the home and away matches. From 1977-2010, only four premiership teams ﬁnished the season with fewer goals than behinds (Carlton in 1981 and 1982, along with the Pies and Eagles). But in 65 of the 79 seasons from 1897-76, the premiers kicked more behinds than goals on the way to a ﬂag. In 1963, Geelong won the ﬂag after kicking 209 goals and 310
ON TARGET: Travis Cloke has improved his goalkicking in 2011, booting 62.43 (59 per cent) compared to 38.40 (48.7 per cent) last year.
I don’t think I changed anything signiﬁcantly over the years BERNIE QUINLAN ON HIS IMPROVED GOALKICKING LATER IN HIS CAREER
behinds (40.2 per cent accuracy). The Cats’ star full-forward Doug Wade kicked 48 goals and 53 behinds that season. It wasn’t just the premiership team that kicked more behinds than goals. It was part of the game. In 1963, only the 10th-placed Richmond kicked more goals than behinds during the home and away rounds. That’s not a trend; that’s a feature of the game. A shift took place from 1977 onwards that became entrenched
in the 1980s. Teams became more accurate in front of goal. Brownlow medallist and champion goalkicker Bernie Quinlan’s career statistics reﬂected that overall shift. From 1969-77, Quinlan kicked 241 goals with an accuracy rating of 49 per cent. From 1978-86, he kicked 576 goals (61.67 per cent). However, Quinlan guesses it was probably a change in environment rather than a change in routine or kicking
technique that explained the difference. “I don’t think I changed anything signiﬁcantly over the years,” Quinlan said. He changed teams in 1978, moving from playing home games at the windy Western Oval (now Whitten Oval) to the more predictable Junction Oval. No such thing as playing games under a roof in Quinlan’s era. “There was a lot of bog heaps. Even the MCG was a mess at times. It was pretty hard to get your footing some days coming in to kick,” he said. Coinciding with improved ground conditions was the introduction of the interchange system, increased ﬁtness and professionalism, the introduction of the centre AFL RECORD
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Crows Graham Johncock, Richard Tambling, Taylor Walker and Rory Sloane to have minor post-season surgery.
square and the move to two ﬁeld umpires. The impact of such variables is very difﬁcult to measure, although Quinlan has noticed one change. “Set shots probably aren’t going to ever improve, but the things that have improved are the snapshots by the modern players,” he said. It is leading to greater accuracy in front of goal, an essential if you want to win a ﬂag these days.
OFF THE MARK
Recent premiership teams that kicked more behinds than goals
» COLLINGWOOD 2010 395 goals/399 behinds » WEST COAST 1994 343/362
Been there, done that as ﬁnalists in familiar territory
PETER RYA N
even clubs have played in the past six Grand Finals: the Sydney Swans, West Coast, Geelong, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, St Kilda and Collingwood. Six of those ﬁnished in the top seven spots this year, so it is no wonder supporters have high expectations of a great ﬁnals series.
» CARLTON 1982
EXPERIENCE: Adam Schneider won’t
» CARLTON 1981 355/378
How accurate are the 2011 ﬁnalists? G Collingwood
Sydney Swans 267 295
... 83 players on the ﬁnalists’ lists have a premiership medal This means the amount of Grand Final experience on the lists of this year’s ﬁnalists is extraordinary, with 115 players having played in a Grand Final. Those players take 245 games of Grand Final experience into the ﬁnals series, with 92 premierships between them.
have Grand Final nerves—he has been there on the big day ﬁve times.
(One of those—Essendon’s Mark Williams, who played in Hawthorn’s 2008 premiership— has retired but remains on the Bombers’ list.) Even allowing for the drawn Grand Final last year (adding 44 games to the tally) it is a huge amount of experience for teams to take into a series. In 2010, there were 167 games of Grand Final experience among the top eight clubs; in 2009, there were 111 and, in 2008, the ﬁgure was 145. ‘Been there, done that’ is normally an advantage but,
with at least 10 players with Grand Final experience on six of the lists, much of that advantage is negated. Leading the experienced brigade are St Kilda’s Sean Dempster and Adam Schneider, who have played in ﬁve Grand Finals each (two with the Sydney Swans and three with St Kilda) while Alan Didak and Ben Johnson have played in four Grand Finals with Collingwood. There are 83 players on the ﬁnalists’ lists who already have a premiership medal. The player with the most premierships
THE FINAL EIGHT: Path to the 2011 Grand Final COLLINGWOOD QUALIFYING FINAL 1
WEST COAST CARLTON
PRELIMINARY FINAL 1
ELIMINATION FINAL 1
ESSENDON GRAND FINAL
ST KILDA ELIMINATION FINAL 2 SEMI-FINAL 2
SYDNEY SWANS GEELONG QUALIFYING FINAL 2
PRELIMINARY FINAL 2
Fremantle announces assistant coach Barry Mitchell has left the club to return to Melbourne.
WEEK ONE MATCH-UPS » Fans attending attendi this thi weekend’s k d’ GEELONG V HAWTHORN SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL, MCG
ST KILDA V SYDNEY SWANS SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL, ETIHAD STADIUM
7.45PM, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
7.20PM, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
THIS YEAR: Geelong 2, Hawthorn 0 STORYLINE: The Hawks have not beaten the Cats in their six clashes since the 2008 Grand Final—can they break their drought?
THIS YEAR: Sydney Swans 1, St Kilda 0 STORYLINE: The competition’s two most defensively minded teams enter the ﬁnals in good form. The Swans defeated St Kilda three weeks ago, but the Saints will be tough to beat on their home ground.
COLLINGWOOD V WEST COAST FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL, MCG 2.20PM, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
THIS YEAR: Collingwood 1, West Coast 0 STORYLINE: The Magpies will be keen to show their 96-point loss to Geelong last Friday night was a mere aberration in their premiership defence, but the Eagles’ ruck division and tall forward line could stretch them.
in this year’s ﬁnals series is Geelong’s Cameron Mooney with three (two with the Cats and one with North.)
GRAND FINAL EXPERIENCE Year
Played in GFs
Total GFs played
*Includes 2010 draw
2011 FINALISTS Team
Played Total GFs in GFs played
CARLTON V ESSENDON FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL, MCG 2.40PM, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
THIS YEAR: Carlton 1, Essendon 0 (draw 1) STORYLINE: Form often counts for nothing when these traditional rivals clash. Carlton won easily in round 18 but Essendon was without Jobe Watson, Heath Hocking and Dustin Fletcher that night.
ﬁnals at the MCG will enjoy pre-game musical entertainment as part of the AFL’s ‘Live At The Finals’ program. GEELONG V HAWTHORN FRIDAY, MCG ESKIMO JOE » The Perth band has a new album (Ghosts of the Past) and is touring the country. Go to eskimojoe.net for details. COLL V WEST COAST SATURDAY, MCG WOLFGRAMM SISTERS » Melbourne sisters Kelly, Talei and Eliza pay homage to performers such as Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and The Pointer Sisters. CARLTON V ESSENDON SUNDAY, MCG ABSOLUTELY 80S » Brian Mannix, Sean Kelly, Scott Carne and Dale Ryder perform classics from the 1980s.
Greats to present AFL awards
K ATR INA GIL L
FL greats Michael Roach, Alex Jesaulenko, Michael Long and recently retired Sydney Swans co-captain Brett Kirk will present the main awards during this year’s ﬁnals series. Kirk, who played 241 games for the Swans and helped lead the club to its ﬁrst premiership in 72 years in 2005, is the Toyota AFL ﬁnals ambassador and will be responsible for the premiership cup. He will carry the cup on to the MCG on Grand Final day. The AFL is yet to announce who will present the cup to the winning team; a former player from each participating club will be named for this role during Grand Final week.
Roach, a premiership player and ﬁve-time leading goalkicker for Richmond, will present the Coleman Medal to Hawthorn forward Lance Franklin at the All-Australian awards next Monday night in Melbourne. Roach won the award in 1980-81. Carlton champion Jesaulenko will present the McHale Medal to the premiership coach on Grand Final day. Jesaulenko, an Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend, played in premierships with the
FINALS FEVER: Former stars (from
left) at the launch of the 2011 ﬁnals— Alex Jesaulenko, Phil Manassa, Michael Long, Michael Roach, Wayne Harmes and Brett Kirk.
Blues in 1968, 1970 and 1972, and was captain-coach in the club’s Grand Final win over Collingwood in 1979. Long, a two-time Essendon premiership player, will present the Norm Smith Medal for the best player in the Grand Final. Long won the Norm Smith Medal in the Bombers’ win over Carlton in 1993.
» SELWOODS TO CREATE HISTORY
FINALS STAT Should the Selwood brothers (Cat Joel and Eagles Adam and Scott) play this weekend, they willl become only the fourth set of three brothers to feature in a ﬁnals series. The others are Henry, Jim and Joe McShane (Geelong in 1897), Bill, Mick and Pat Twomey (Collingwood, 1952-53 and Terry, SOURCE: COL HUTCHINSON, AFL STATISTICS AND HISTORY CONSULTANT Anthony and Chris Daniher (Essendon, 1990). AFL RECORD
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St Kilda’s Stephen Milne accepts a reprimand for striking Carlton’s Aaron Joseph.
Bombers have no concerns over bye hoodoo NICK BOW EN
his season, teams had to learn to live with a bye for the ﬁrst time since 1994. Largely, they struggled to do so, with teams coming off byes recording just 10 wins from 33 games. However, as the ravages of the season started to take hold, teams’ performances after byes have improved marginally. In the ﬁrst 13 rounds, teams coming off byes had just four wins from 18 games. Since then, they have had six victories from 15 matches. In the past two rounds, topfour teams Geelong and Carlton both lost after byes, to the Sydney Swans and St Kilda respectively. The question this week is how will the round 24 bye affect Essendon in its elimination ﬁnal against Carlton? Bombers coach James Hird was adamant after his team scrambled over the line against Port Adelaide in round 23 that the week off had come at a good time. His weary players would be better for the rest come the ﬁnals, Hird said. History suggests Hird might be right. In the bye’s previous era, 1991-94, a ﬁnalist had a bye the week before the ﬁnals in three of the four seasons.
How will the round 24 bye aﬀect Essendon against Carlton? Two of those three teams won their subsequent ﬁnal: in 1991, Melbourne beat Essendon by 38 points in the ﬁrst elimination ﬁnal and, in 1992, St Kilda defeated Collingwood by eight points in the second elimination ﬁnal. And the third team, Essendon in 1993, bounced back from losing the qualifying ﬁnal to 18
REGROUPING: After a bye in round 24
and a scare against Port Adelaide the previous week, the Bombers are looking to hit back in the ﬁrst week of ﬁnals.
Carlton by two points to trounce the Blues by 44 points in the Grand Final three weeks later. If we look even further back to the other seasons the bye was in operation—1915, 1919-24 and 1942-43—in ﬁve of those seasons, a ﬁnalist had a bye the week before the ﬁnals. Two of those teams won their ﬁrst ﬁnal: in 1920, Carlton defeated Richmond by 23 points in a semi-ﬁnal, after also having the ﬁrst week of the ﬁnals off; and, in 1921, Richmond defeated Geelong by 61 points in a semi-ﬁnal. Of the others, Melbourne lost a 1915 semi-ﬁnal to Carlton by 11 points, Carlton dropped a 1922 semi-ﬁnal to Essendon by ﬁve points and the Dons lost a 1923 semi-ﬁnal to South Melbourne by 17 points. However, Essendon of 1923, which in addition to the ﬁnal round bye had the ﬁrst week of the ﬁnals off, had something this year’s Bombers don’t—the double chance. It took full advantage of it, recovering to win the Grand Final three weeks later, defeating Fitzroy by 17 points.
GEELONG’S GOLDEN RUN
A third ﬂag the icing on Cats’ greatest era
MICH A EL LOV ET T
ver the past ﬁve completed home and away seasons and four years of ﬁnals, Geelong’s success rate stacks up better than any ﬁve-year era in the club’s history. The tables show the Cats’ best ﬁve-year eras have been 1951-55, 1991-95 and 2007-11. However, the current era is easily Geelong’s most successful with 102 wins and 20 losses since the start of 2007, a success rate of 83.6 per cent. Premierships in 2007 and 2009 are included in those wins and the current era is better than 1951-55 when the Cats also won two premierships, in 1951 and 1952. The 1951-55 era produced 78 wins, 23 losses and one draw for a success rate of 76.4 per cent. The next successful era, 1991-95, saw the Cats make Grand Finals in
1992, 1994 and 1995 but there was no silverware to show. In all, Geelong won 82 games and lost 43 in that era for a success rate of 65.6 per cent. However, the Cats are short of the great ﬁve-year eras of Collingwood (1926-30) and Melbourne (1955-59). The Magpies, the only club in VFL-AFL history to win four successive ﬂags (1927-30), were runner-up to Melbourne in 1926 before embarking on their premiership streak. The Demons also won four ﬂags in their ﬁve-year area (1955, 1956, 1957 and 1959) and an upset loss to Collingwood in the 1958 decider cost Norm Smith’s team the chance to equal the Magpies’ record of four in a row. Melbourne also won in 1960. The Cats’ winning percentage in their 2007-11 era is virtually the same as Collingwood’s from 1926-30 (Geelong’s is 83.6 per cent, Collingwood’s 83.3 per cent) and is better than Melbourne in its 1955-59 era (79.2 per cent). A 2011 premiership would leave Geelong around the same mark as clubs that have enjoyed great premiership success in ﬁve-year eras in the past few decades.
Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss signs new two-year contract.
The Brisbane Lions won three successive ﬂags (2001-03) and the Carlton and Hawthorn teams of the 1970s and ’80s were also successful in their ﬁve-year eras, the Blues from 1979-83 and the Hawks from 1986-90. The Blues won premierships in 1979, 1981 and 1982 while the Hawks were successful in 1986, 1988 and 1989. The Hawks also won in 1991, giving them four premierships in six seasons.
MILESTONES WEEK 1 FINALS
Alan Didak Collingwood
AFL 200 CLUB
ON TRACK: Daniel Menzel (left) and Tom Hawkins are aiming for the Cats’ third ﬂag in ﬁve years.
David Hille Essendon
150 GAMES Mathew Nicholls Umpire
100 GAMES MASTER AND THE APPRENTICE:
Mick Malthouse (right) is preparing for his 19th ﬁnals series as a coach this week while Geelong’s Chris Scott is in his ﬁrst.
Malthouse moves up to No. 2 on ﬁnals list » Mick Malthouse will this
GEELONG’S SUCCESSFUL FIVE-YEAR ERAS
PREMIERSHIPS: 2007, 2009
weekend join his former Richmond teammate and Essendon coaching rival Kevin Sheedy in equal second place for the most ﬁnals series by a coach in League history. The Collingwood coach is lining up for his 19th series, moving him alongside Sheedy, and eight behind Magpies coaching legend Jock McHale. Malthouse coached his ﬁrst ﬁnals series with Footscray in 1985, in his second season after taking over from Ian Hampshire. The Bulldogs lost to Hawthorn in the qualifying ﬁnal by 93 points but after
Josh Gibson Hawthorn
defeating North Melbourne in the ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal, they met the Hawks again, in the preliminary ﬁnal, only to go down by 10 points. After being appointed West Coast coach at the end of 1989, Malthouse guided the Eagles into the ﬁnals in his ﬁrst season (1990) and, in 1992, he claimed the ﬁrst of his three premierships as a coach. Under Malthouse, the Eagles played in 10 successive ﬁnals series (1990-99), winning another ﬂ ag in 1994, before he joined Collingwood at the end of 1999. After missing the 2000 and 2001 ﬁnals, Malthouse had the Magpies in Grand Finals in 2002-03 (losing to the Brisbane Lions). They slumped again in 2004 (13th) and 2005 (15th) but have played in every ﬁnals series since 2006, winning the premiership last year.
Cale Hooker Essendon David Armitage St Kilda
Darren Milburn Geelong Cats Is due to play his 21st ﬁnal to equal Garry Hocking as the most in club history.
19 FINALS Jude Bolton Sydney Swans Adam Goodes Sydney Swans The two are due to play their 19th ﬁnals,, the most in club history. y
COACHED MOST FINALS SERIES
Club (in ﬁnals)
PREMIERSHIPS: 1951, 1952
PREMIERSHIPS: — RUNNERS-UP: 1992, 1994, 1995
The list includes those not necessarily selected but on the verge of milestones.
visit aﬂ record.com.au
Essendon assistant coach Dean Wallis helping AFL with investigation into allegations relating to betting on AFL matches.
Forget wins and losses, percentage is the key ASHLEY BROW NE
he ﬁnal few rounds of the 2011 season were full of talk about the ‘F-word’, both ‘ﬁnals’ and ‘Fevola’. But refreshingly absent was the ‘T’ word, as in ‘tanking’— save for a brief ﬂurry when Dean Bailey said his farewells from Melbourne. The AFL has ﬂagged an examination of how the priority pick is allocated—if at all— after the end of next season. It barely even rated a mention in the days before last Sunday’s Port Adelaide-Melbourne clash, despite the prospect of better draft selections at both the NAB AFL Draft in November and the pre-season draft the following month for the Power—if it lost to the Demons and remained on the bottom of the ladder. Perhaps the lack of passion in the discussions this season was because the draft pool has been compromised this year with the incoming Greater Western Sydney Giants gaining access to the pick of the 17-year-olds at the end of last season and nine of the ﬁrst 15 selections at November’s draft. Or perhaps it could be because both Gold Coast and Port (which both qualiﬁed for priority picks by virtue of ﬁnishing with less than four wins) are considered in need of a priority draft selection at the start of the second round of November’s draft. On exposed form in 2011, it is hard to argue against both clubs being given just that little bit of extra assistance. (Interestingly, without considering the potential for trades, Gold Coast will have had nine of the ﬁrst 29 picks of the ﬁrst rounds of 2010 and 2011, the second pick of the second round of 2011 and the ﬁrst pick at the 2012 pre-season draft—that surely is some foundation for long-term success.) As it turned out, Port got the win against the Demons, meaning it gets pick six instead of pick four at the draft and loses the opportunity to lead the bidding for the four elite 17-year-olds the Giants are 20
HOT PROPERTY: After
securing a priority pick in the 2007 draft, Carlton selected star young big man Matthew Kreuzer.
Percentage can tell you how well, or diabolically, they are going TED HOPKINS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PERCENTAGE AS A TEAM INDICATOR
allowed to list and then trade to other clubs in exchange for experienced players or further draft picks. But not many commentators ventured forward to suggest that Port should have deliberately lost the match in order to be better placed for the end-of-year player movements. Perhaps that’s because the result only changed Port’s place in the draft order; the priority pick was already set in stone. But we’re not all that far removed from the days when the awarding of priority selections— and the means by which they were earned—was hotly debated. The Melbourne-Carlton game of round 22, 2007, is the
obvious case in point. In 2008, West Coast was awarded a priority selection after ﬁnishing with four wins and a percentage of 65.88. Just one year before, the Eagles had ﬁnished the home and away season in the top four. The year before that, they won the premiership. Although it seemed at the time almost outrageous that West Coast would fall away so quickly that it needed the priority pick, those who make it their business to analyse the numbers behind the AFL, mount a case to suggest the pick—which the Eagles wisely used to select Luke Shuey—was warranted. Data analyst and AFL Record columnist Ted Hopkins
has long argued that ladder percentage is a better indicator of team’s performance than pure wins and losses. “It’s a good measure of a team’s ability to score and defend over a period of time,” he says. “A team might get a couple of lucky wins during a season and that can inﬂate how well they’re going. But percentage can tell you how well, or diabolically, they are going.” Hopkins argues that a percentage of 70 is the tipping point—the mark that deﬁnes a team in need. It means over the course of a season, a team is (on average) about ﬁve goals worse than its opponent each week.
n Hopkins’ eyes, this is getting into what he calls the “basket case” category and worthy of special assistance. Both Port, with a ﬁnal percentage of 64.51 and the Suns (56.27) would still easily qualify for the priority
Geelong’s Jimmy Bartel signs four-year contract extension.
pick should the ‘70 per cent’ requirement be brought into place. Including Port and Gold Coast this year, 31 teams have ﬁnished the season with four wins or less since 1988. Of those, only 11 ﬁnished with a percentage of less than 70 and therefore—under the tipping point theory—deserving of a priority draft selection. AFL stats analyst and mathematician Darren O’Shaughnessy believes a more complicated mathematical formula than mere wins and losses should determine which teams get draft picks and how many. “The main problem with draft-pick allocation, and especially priority picks, is that one win or loss can mean a massive difference to the value the club can get out of the draft,” he says. “An advantage of using percentage as an indicator is that you don’t have those arbitrary discrete thresholds to determine who gets the picks, and you get a better measure of how far below the average each bottom club really is.” O’Shaughnessy also says a percentage ﬁgure of 70 is a realistic benchmark. “Teams can camouﬂage their weaknesses through wins and losses, but percentage can help
One win or loss can mean a massive diﬀerence to the (draft) value STATS ANALYST DARREN O’SHAUGHNESSY
determine how much help they need at the draft.” By bringing a percentage component into the eligibility, any possibility that teams might be tempted to lose is eliminated. Let’s revisit the scene ahead of round 22 of 2007. The Blues had ﬁnished last the previous season with three wins and a draw and, by winning fewer than four games in 2007, they would have earned another priority draft pick, this time before the ﬁrst overall selection. Hence the so-called ‘Kreuzer Cup’ discussion because, if the Blues lost the season ﬁnale to the Demons, the priority selection would have given them ﬁrst crack at big man Matthew Kreuzer, the No. 1 prospect in that year’s draft. The Blues entered that ﬁnal match against the Demons with a percentage of 74.28. On the 70 per cent ‘rule’, it would have been all but impossible for Carlton to sink below that threshold.
Let’s imagine they had kicked the same ﬁnal score of 15.18 (108); Melbourne would need to have kicked 47.15 (297) to force Carlton’s percentage under the line. The 189-point margin would then have dropped Carlton’s percentage to 69.9. Under this scenario, there is no question the Blues would have entered the match trying to win (not that we’re suggesting otherwise) because there was no carrot waiting for them if they had lost. Under the existing scenario, a future star was theirs for the taking if they lost. The AFL has ﬂagged an examination of priority selections as part of its sweeping changes to drafting and player exchange rules from the end of next season, once Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast are established in the competition and free agency is brought in. One discussion will be about whether priority selections are still required and, given the travails of the Suns and the Power this year, it could be strongly argued there is still a place for them. But if percentage comes into play as the sole consideration, then priority picks will end up being awarded only to teams genuinely in need of them.
34 DEBUTANTS NEW BLOOD: David Swallow was one of 34 debutants for the Suns in 2011.
Yo Youngsters blooded as Suns bl b turn ttu over list » GGold Coast just fell short
o the of t record for most debutants in n one o season. When the Suns unveiled Jacob Gillbee against unv u Hawthorn in round 24, he Ha H became the 34th player to debut bec b iin n the t club’s inaugural year. The record is held by St Kilda, T which used 35 ﬁrst-year players wh w iin n 1909 1 (when many players walked out). The Saints also had wa w 33 debutants in 1898 and 1911. 3 The Suns’ 2011 list T comprised 48 senior-listed ccom players and ﬁve rookies. pla p IIn total, 46 played at AFL level, with 34 appearing for the ﬁrst wit w time, ttim headed by David Swallow and a Trent McKenzie, who played 21 2 games each, just short of established eest players Jared
Brennan, Jarrod Harbrow and Danny Stanley, the only Suns to play all 22 games. From the senior list, the only players not to appear were Piers Flanagan, Alex Keath, Lewis Moss and Jack Stanlake. Keath had previously committed to playing cricket after being given a Cricket Victoria contract. Of the ﬁve rookies, Alik Magin (three games) and Joel Tippett (two) were given limited exposure while Roland Ah Chee, Jake Crawford and Jack Stanley did not appear. Earlier this week, the Suns delisted Michael Coad (two games), Nathan Ablett (two games), Marc Lock (one game) and Stanlake while rookies Ah Chee, Crawford, Stanley and Tippett were also cut. Daniel Harris had previously announced he would be retiring. MICHAEL LOVETT
FANS FLOCK TO GAMES
CROWD-PLEASER: Supporters across the country enjoyed AFL football in 2011.
AFL PLEASED WITH RECORD ATTENDANCE FIGURES
» A new mark was set for home and away season attendances this season, with 6,525,071 people watching games. There were 11 more matches played this year, with the introduction of 17th club Gold Coast. The previous record was 6,511,255, set in 2008. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou acknowledged the impact of having more matches, but said the AFL was “extremely pleased” with the ﬁgures, considering matches were played at venues with limited capacity, including Cairns, Darwin and Canberra. Twenty-six matches attracted crowds of 50,000 or more, the highest tally recorded. Seven matches drew 80,000 or more, again a record. “The attendance ﬁgures again conﬁrm the AFL as the No. 1 spectator sport in Australia, when combined with the fact that our clubs built a record tally of 650,373 members for the season,” he said. AFL RECORD
visit aﬂ record.com.au
The Western Bulldogs announce their planned Edgewater social club development in Melbourne’s west will proceed.
New-look squad as 25 ﬁrst-timers named
wenty-ﬁve players who have never been named in an All-Australian team feature in the 40-man squad released this week. The selectors were asked to name the 40 best players in the competition this season, with the ﬁnal 22 in the Four’N Twenty AFL All-Australian team to be named in position, at a function in Melbourne on Monday, September 19. Collingwood and Geelong both had six players named in the squad, with the West Coast Eagles supplying ﬁve. Hawthorn and North Melbourne both had four players nominated. Finalist Essendon, along with the Brisbane Lions, Melbourne and Port Adelaide, did not have a player selected in the squad. The All-Australian selection panel is made up of AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou (chairman), football operations general manager Adrian Anderson, Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Danny Frawley, Glen Jakovich, Leigh Matthews and Mark Ricciuto.
SUPERSTAR: Gary Ablett is up for
selection in the All-Australian team for the ﬁfth successive year.
SCOTT THOMPSON Not previously selected
“Selection in the All-Australian team is recognition for a tremendous year of football, as the best player in your position across the entire competition,” Demetriou said. “All-Australian selection is a great honour also because of the quality of those players you have competed against, to win your spot, and the selectors nominated the 40 best players of the year to highlight the outstanding players who are in contention for selection as one of the elite players of the season.” 24
Not previously selected Previously selected 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009
Not previously selected
Previously selected 2009, 2010
Previously selected 2004, 2006, 2008 (captain), 2009, 2010
Not previously selected
HEATH SCOTLAND Not previously selected
Selection is recognition for a tremendous year of football
Not previously selected
Previously selected 2009
SCOTT PENDLEBURY Previously selected 2010
Not previously selected
Previously selected 2009, 2010
Not previously selected
Not previously selected
LUKE McPHARLIN Not previously selected
Previously selected 2008, 2009, 2010
Previously selected 2007, 2008, 2010
Not previously selected
Previously selected 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (vice-captain)
Not previously selected
Previously selected 2008, 2010
Not previously selected
Not previously selected
TODD GOLDSTEIN Not previously selected
Not previously selected
ANDREW SWALLOW Not previously selected
Not previously selected
Not previously selected
NICK DAL SANTO
Previously selected 2005, 2009 200 20 200 09 9
Not previously selected Not previously selected
Previously selected 2003, 2006, 2009
Previously selected 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Not previously selected
Previously selected 2006, 2007
Not previously selected
Not previously selected
Previously selected 2009
Not N No ott p pr previously reevvio iou ous usl slyy selected se sel seleecctteed d IN LINE: Robert Murphy was one of two Bulldogs nominated.
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Supporting your Passion
Collingwood’s Dale Thomas extends his contract until the end of 2013.
NEW HOME: Callan
Ward (left) and Rhys Palmer after signing with GWS this week.
Ward and Palmer sign on dotted line for GWS JA MES DA MPNEY A ND J ENNIFER W ITH A M
ormer Western Bulldog Callan Ward and ex-Fremantle midﬁelder Rhys Palmer ofﬁcially signed with Greater Western Sydney this week. And coach Kevin Sheedy conﬁrmed the Giants were interested in recruiting Port Adelaide premierships players Chad Cornes and Dean Brogan, who had both previously indicated they would retire. Ward admitted he had endured a difﬁcult few weeks contemplating his future, but was relieved the decision to leave the Bulldogs had been made and he was keen to get on with his career. “It was tough. I tried to focus as much as I could, and to play football as best as I could and I was completely committed to the Bulldogs at the time, and I was all year,” he said. “I’m here now and I’m really looking forward to starting a new life.
I’m here now and I’m really looking forward to starting a new life CALLAN WARD
“I was nervous (about the) press conference and, with all the media over me, especially over the last two weeks, it’s been hard to deal with. “It’s great to ﬁnally have a look at Breakfast Point (where many
of the Giants are based). The boys have been really friendly, and I can’t wait to move here.” Ward conceded it was difﬁcult telling his Bulldogs teammates of his decision and wasn’t sure where he now sat with the club.
He said he would like to attend the Bulldogs best and fairest on October 7 and might join his former teammates on their end-of-season trip to Bali. Palmer said he made his decision to move last week, before informing Dockers coaches and players. “I spoke to a lot of people, close family and friends, and I’ve deﬁnitely come to the right decision and I’m happy to be here,” he said. Giants’ CEO Dale Holmes said Ward and Palmer had arrived at the club with “high expectations” and acknowledged the difﬁcult decision the two players had to make. He also said it was a choice everyone “needed to respect”, and paid tribute to the Bulldogs and Fremantle for the way they handled the players’ departures. Ward played 60 games for the Dogs; Palmer played 53 for the Dockers and won the NAB AFL Rising Star award in 2008. The AFL will announce the compensation awarded to the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle after it receives the players’ contract from the Giants. Sheedy said of Cornes and Brogan: “If they’re capable of wanting to come up here and help build this team, then we will be interested in those sorts of players and others who would be interested.
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Merv Hughes, Australian Cricketing Legend
Demons midﬁelder Colin lin
Sylvia agrees to new two-year deal.
see it now … Smith, Barassi, Kennedy, Hafey, Sheedy, Jeans, Matthews, Fantasy. What a list of great coaches.
AFL DREAM TEAM
Statue of honour for ‘champion’ performance
Dr Dream Team: Every
premiership team is deemed on the verge of a dynasty, and few really deliver, so I don’t know if you’ll continue your ascent next year. Let’s talk about the season more generally. Or about anything other than your Grand Final win. Who were your greatest choices from the start of the season, and who did you get wrong?
Smugness has no bounds for Mr Fantasy.
Mr Fantasy: I’ll start with the
failure—Cameron Bruce. Was injured and looks as if he has played with lead in his boots this year. On the other hand, Drew Petrie was a rock in my side. He scored well and ﬁlled in either as a forward or ruckman. I couldn’t have won it without him. Who am I kidding? I would have won it anyway. Well and truly over my smugness yet, Doc?
TIME AFTER TIME:
North Melbourne’s Drew Petrie was the star of Mr Fantasy’s side in 2011.
Dr Dream Team: Well and truly,
Mr Fantasy: I’ve paid my
while you ﬁnished ninth and lost in the minor Grand Final. I’m thinking of erecting a statue in my backyard in honour of my win … should I go with bronze or pewter?
Dr Dream Team: I believe it’s from a Queen song, Mr Fantasy, but not sure which one. I’ve only ever liked Bohemian Rhapsody after it featured in Wayne’s World. What does this have to do with Dream Team?
Dr Dream Team: I reckon papier
dues, Time after time, I’ve done my sentence, But committed no crime. Familiar with the song associated with these lyrics, Doc?
Mr Fantasy: Queen is right, but
the song is We Are The Champions, a tune I played over and over last Sunday night after winning this year’s AFL Record private league Grand Final. No more choker tag, Doc. Our seasons couldn’t have been any more different. I reached the top of the mountain,
mache. Our seasons went the opposite to how I would have liked. But that is the thing about playing Dream Team. My mid-season drop in form was really costly. Who was your Norm Smith medallist?
Mr Fantasy: When the match
was up for grabs, Adelaide’s Scott Thompson was huge, so he gets the medal, but kudos to me for timing my run perfectly. Those two trades in the ﬁnal round were priceless. The experts are already saying I’ll go back-to-back. I can
Fantasy. I’ve had a gutful of your text messages and your emails, and nothing will be enjoyable about shouting you that pizza for the bet we had earlier in the year. Enjoy your premiership. It’s my turn next year.
HEAD-TO-HEAD Round 24 MR FANTASY (2270 DEF. 2063) V DR DREAM TEAM (2059 DEF. BY 2120) » There were tears of joy from Mr Fantasy after he claimed the ﬂag. He ﬁnished the year ranked 9041 of 304,504 competitors. Dr Dream Team ranked 13,208.
IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT BUYING 2011 TOYOTA AFL GRAND FINAL TICKETS
2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final tickets are subject to the following condition of sale: Condition: This ticket is sold or distributed on the condition that it not be resold or offered for resale at a premium or be used for advertising, promotions, competitions or other commercial purposes without the AFL’s prior written authorisation. Any breach of these conditions allows your ticket to be cancelled and for a Declared Event may be an indictable offence under the Major Sporting Events Act 2009. I thank the AFL for their cooperation with the Victorian Government to ensure their 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final Ticketing Scheme has transparent ticket distribution practices. The Hon. Hugh Delahunty MP Minister for Sport and Recreation
Supporters should be aware it is illegal for a 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final ticket to be sold for a premium on its own or as part of a package deal unless the seller is authorised in writing by the AFL. The 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final has been declared an event under the ticketing provisions (Part 9) of the Major Sporting Events Act 2009 to provide more transparent ticketing arrangements and fairer access for supporters to major events. Breaches of the Act can mean entry to the event being denied to the ticket holder and fines per ticket in excess of $7,000 for a person or $35,000 for a company - with multiple offences carrying fines up to 10 times these amounts. Each AFL club must detail its ticket distribution arrangements on its website. If unsure whether a ticket seller is authorised, please contact the AFL on 03 9643 1999
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Carlton great Wayne Harmes reveals he and teammates misplaced the 1979 premiership cup during d post-game celebrations.
1981 GRAND FINAL
Weight of expectation on too much for Magpies es A DA M McNICOL
ormer Carlton rover Alex most Marcou sports an almost constant grin when he rt of talks about being part eam. the Blues’ 1981 premiership team. w we “It was jubilation; we knew ere had it,” Marcou says. “We were running around, looking at each other in the eyes, and going, ‘Boys, we’ve got it’.” Marcou’s recollections are an entertaining part of the second instalment in AFL Media’s series of documentaries, The Final Story, that document the 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 Grand Finals. The ﬁrst of the series, which told the tale of Hawthorn’s come-from-behind win over St Kilda in 1971, premiered on Channel Nine last weekend. This weekend, it’s the 1981 decider between the Blues and Collingwood that features. For Carlton’s players and coach David Parkin, recalling the match makes them smile and laugh. For the men who represented the Magpies, however,
They were probably the most talented team I coached CARLTON’S 1981 PREMIERSHIP COACH DAVID PARKIN
talking about the contest is a painful experience. Collingwood was playing in its ﬁfth Grand Final since Tom Hafey took over as coach in 1977, and the Magpies were desperate to ﬁnally break their premiership drought, which stretched back to 1958.
“They were carrying the weight of expectation, and it became a terrible handicap to carry,” Parkin says. Injuries to star players Peter Moore and Ricky Barham also haunted Collingwood, which had beaten the Blues in the second semi-ﬁnal.
“I was trying to get over a g grade-one hamstring strain in tw two weeks,” Moore says. “I trained on the Thursday n night before the Grand Final, a and really couldn’t run, but T Tommy talked to me and he rreally wanted me to play. “In retrospect, I shouldn’t have p played. It was a poor decision.” The Magpies lost Graeme ‘G ‘Gubby’ Allan to a broken jaw eearly in the game, adding to ttheir dramas. Still, Hafey’s m men courageously snatched a 2 21-point lead midway through th the third quarter. “I thought we h had them,” Tony Shaw says. As in their four previous G Grand Finals under Hafey, the Magpies could not haul themselves over the line. Carlton defender Bruce Doull won the Norm Smith Medal as the Blues won by 20 points. In the aftermath, Hafey’s relationship with his players broke down, and the Magpies sacked him halfway through the 1982 season. The Blues, in contrast, went on and won another premiership, defeating Richmond in the 1982 Grand Final. “They were probably the most talented team I coached,” Parkin says. THE FINAL STORY—30 YEARS ON WILL BE SCREENED BY CHANNEL NINE ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11. SEE LOCAL GUIDES FOR DETAILS.
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Cyril Rioili creates panic in his opponents when he nears a contest, such is his brilliance, with or without the ball.
Cyril Rioli HAWTHORN
Champions live fo for or the big stage, the moment they can turn a contest on its head with acts of breathtaking breath htaking brilliance. Hawthorn’s Cyril Rioli is one such performer, possibly the most ex exhilirating xhilirating player to watch in the game. The other seven ﬁnalists also have game-changers. PETER RYA N
s so often happens, the game exploded when Cyril Rioli arrived on the scene. It was 14 minutes into the huge round 22 clash between Hawthorn and Carlton, and the Hawks held a one-point lead. Blues defender Michael Jamison had just taken a regulation handball in space inside his defensive 50 from teammate Jeremy Laidler when Rioli hit from behind at pace. Jamison did not stand a chance. Rioli’s deceleration was such he was able to stop almost as soon as he latched on to the opponent, his head moving alongside Jamison’s left shoulder, and his legs screaming to a halt ahead of the ﬂustered defender. Rioli’s left arm dragged Jamison’s left arm backwards,
the action akin to a wrestling move. With his right hand, Rioli tried to snatch the ball away. The crowd roared like a boxing crowd does when the champion cops a combination that makes him stagger and everything quickens. Rioli kept working until the ball fell free, as though he was a cowboy lassoing cattle. In an effort to recover the situation, the Carlton defenders began to overstretch, the fact they were reaching forward and bending at the waist an indication they had lost their poise. They were desperate, panicked, forced to accelerate beyond their capability. Isaac Smith pounced and handballed to Luke Breust, who kicked a goal for the Hawks. It was almost as though Rioli had wanted to bring to life the words his coach Alastair Clarkson had used to describe the emerging champ’s value on 3AW days earlier: “He not
only tackles the opposition but somehow extracts the ball as well and pops out with the footy and turns what is an opposition rebound into an offensive play for us, and that is his great beauty as a player in my view.” Rioli’s father, also named Cyril, was a brilliant tackler in Darwin. Many a player learned quickly ‘Junior’ was not someone you could step around. His son, ‘Junior Boy’ has perfected the tackle that follows a chase-down, exhibiting it weekly in the AFL. He has also introduced a tackle no other player has been able to regularly perform, tearing one arm of his opponent off the ball and forcing it behind his back, automatically dispossessing him. In 2008, speaking on 5AA, Adelaide (now Gold Coast) defender Nathan Bock revealed that to those in its grip, the
com au visit aﬂrecord aﬂ record.com.au
Rioli tackle is almost mystifying: “It was pretty much the perfect tackle. I tried to take him on and put a bit of a fend off on him, but he seemed to be able to lock my arms up or lock me up somehow.” Rioli’s threat, a combination of technique and knowing how to hit, shifts the game on its axis when the ball hits the ground inside the Hawks’ forward 50. North Melbourne’s Brady Rawlings admits the game goes into overdrive when Rioli enters the contest. “It can deﬁnitely force people into making mistakes just because you know he is around,” Rawlings said. Forcing turnovers is such an important component of the game that assessing Rioli’s value through his individual statistics is like assessing the quality of a meal by whether it ﬁlls the plate. Occasionally, people raise questions about whether his sub-20 disposal games are enough, but his tackle rates are huge. In round 21, he laid 12 against Port Adelaide and, the next week, followed up with nine against Carlton. He disrupts defensive patterns, rushing the opposition into decisions that are not instinctive, making offensive transitions unplanned evacuations. He can make quality defenders look as unsure as an old granny in a Datsun merging on to an autobahn. His pressure also gives the Hawks’ defence time to set up a press. This makes Rioli an intimidating presence; no one can measure the psychological effect not being able to get the ball easily out of defence has on opponents. It becomes mentally tiring because ﬂicking the ball about near your own goals is an unnatural act, particularly when Rioli is lurking. Mick Smith, Scotch College’s assistant coach, said that intimidation was obvious when Rioli played school football, after he moved from Darwin to Melbourne aged 14. “When the ball came within 20 metres of him, you could just sense the (opponents’) fear. They knew he was coming and what was about to happen,” Smith said. No wonder the Hawks love that aspect of his play. “From a coaching perspective, our favourite part of the game is the stuff he does when he doesn’t have the footy in his hands,” Hawthorn’s head of coaching and development Chris Fagan said. 34
CROWD FAVOURITE: Rioli has an aura
about him and when he takes possession, things happen for the Hawks.
A rhetorical question Rawlings poses underlines why Rioli is so hard to combat: “How do you stop him tackling someone? He might kick two or three goals on someone and the bloke can’t do anything about it,” he said. An aura sits around Rioli when he is on the ﬁeld—former teammates said they could see it in opponents’ eyes—and the crowd responds to it. His other assets excite, too. When he takes possession, things happen. “He’s a one-touch player and he has that great combination of speed and ability that goes with it,” Fagan said, “and he is fearless.” Many wonder now how such a player slipped through to No. 12 in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft. When he tested at the draft camp that year, he was coming off a long break from the game so was only at his best for the early tests, the 30m repeat sprints placing
him in the top three per cent for his year in that category. As his body tired, his form at the camp dropped off, and a few recruiters seemed to drop off, too. However, he has proved a bargain, playing in every game including a premiership in his ﬁrst season, ﬁnishing runnerup in the club best and fairest in his second and becoming recognised among the game’s elite aged just 22. As 3AW commentator and Brownlow medallist Gerard Healy said on air recently: “The whole world loves Cyril.” Hawks ﬁtness coach Andrew Russell told Fox Sports’ AFL Insider that Rioli’s speed off the mark is remarkable: “I’ve never seen anyone as explosive over 10, 20 or 30 metres. We’re talking about a highly explosive athlete.” Not only that, but he is a footballer, able to use his speed to maximum effect. Many look
at Rioli’s pedigree, his father a great footballer and brother to the late Tiger champion Maurice, and his mother, Kathy Long, Essendon star Michael’s sister, and use the word “natural” when describing his talent. Although there is no doubt he has the DNA to play football, it is more likely he played football so often as a child that he reached the threshold of 10,000 hours of purposeful practice that research suggests separates champions from the rest. The words of St Mary’s coach and former teammate of his father, Damian Hale, indicate it is work as much as pedigree that has made him such an exciting player. “Other kids would go in at the end of training and he would always be the last out there, staying in the forward pocket and snapping goals. This is when he was seven or eight (years old),” Hale said. “You could just see he had those little smarts
and things that are really hard to coach.” The appetite to play is an attribute that has ﬂowed through to Hawthorn. “He is one of our best trainers,” Fagan said. Rioli builds conﬁdence through his actions on the track and his teammates—past and present— know he is capable of anything. Premiership teammate Shane Crawford said he would love to see Rioli have the whole forward line to himself. It was a tactic used to great effect when he played school footy at Scotch. Smith remembers the coaching staff asking Rioli during a team meeting where he wanted the ball kicked. Rioli grinned before responding, “I don’t care. Just kick it anywhere. I will get it.” This is not to be mistaken for arrogance. It is an inner belief, expressed through actions, not words. “He understands how good he is, but he does not talk about it, he does not gloat about it, he is the most humble person you will ever meet,” Russell said. Fagan conﬁrmed that, describing Rioli as very coachable. “I don’t think you could ever accuse him in his time here of getting ahead of himself,” Fagan said. In fact, the coaches more often than not need to be positive with Rioli because they recognise him as someone who marks himself hard. That humility is an attribute champions have, driving themselves to get better and pushing beyond what many would consider an acceptable level of performance. The results of the hard work and belief are seen in games
A STAR IS BORN:
Rioli celebrated a premiership in his ﬁrst season in 2008. Here he holds the cup with Mark Williams.
when he expresses himself, and when to pounce. You only darting in and out of contests, need to see the way Rioli times staying in space at forward his runs to be at the front of stoppages but getting under packs travelling at speed when the ruckmen’s feet at centrethe ball hits hands to recognise square contests. his skill. Rioli is happy to attract He turns like a water-skier opponents, drawing them cutting into a ski-jump, building towards his with a couple body, taking of short the pressure to steps before create space for accelerating. his teammates. He does He is, as Fagan not always said, fearless, win the ball taking narrow but he keeps gaps that a presenting, seasoned his ‘just in jockey might case’ running hesitate to a great HAWK ASSISTANT CHRIS FAGAN ON RIOLI take in a example for Group 1 race. other small Because Rioli’s movements forwards around him. Such are so instinctive, his skills so ability and commitment are reﬁned through practice, he can hard to combat. do things that are unpredictable, Rawlings said he always seemingly audacious. tried to give Rioli ﬁve or 10m He appears to recognise up the ground, keeping patterns of games, knowing goal-side of him to give himself when he can make an impact a chance of interrupting his
He has that great combination of speed and ability and is fearless
opponent when he decided to head back towards goal. “It’s hard to get body on him because he is so agile and so quick,” Rawlings said. “You can’t wait for him and then decide to get body on him.” Rioli waits for nobody. He has a habit of leaping slightly when about to take possession in space. It is like the cartoon roadrunner’s wind-up and is exhilarating to watch. Most of his work happens forward of centre, but even in the centre square he is damaging. The description most people use to describe his ability to keep his feet is “cat-like” and it is such an asset in winning a bobbing ball and ﬂat-footing opponents. “Sometimes, when he does (lose his feet), he chooses to go to ground and picks it up in one motion and then he’s out of trouble again,” Rawlings said. His late uncle Maurice once told the AFL Record he learned
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to keep his feet playing footy to avoid falling on the bitumen he played on. ‘Junior Boy’ Rioli has the sort of balance professional surfers display, centre of gravity combining with his strength to make him ‘un-knockoutable’. The ﬁnal centre-square contest in round 22 comes to mind. With the Blues 12 points behind and rattling home, Rioli chased down the ball like a cat attacking a ball of wool and grabbed it facing Carlton’s goal. He turned into trouble and out, then past Heath Scotland’s grasp before Dennis Armﬁeld propped and set himself to grab the Hawk. Rioli’s lateral move saw him pass Armﬁeld and, even though he stumbled, he managed to handball to Jordan Lewis in space. It was an example of what Crawford has recognised lately in Rioli; that he is starting to understand he does not have to give it off immediately but can create space for himself. It was a message his admiring teammates often gave him early in his time at Hawthorn, to get the ball and run. Now he has the conﬁdence to do so. The ability to recognise and blossom in the big moments is something Hale sees in Rioli. “He can be very good and then he just does something where everyone goes, ‘Did you see that?’ and it will be a real, ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ type thing,” he said. His second, third and fourth efforts on the members’ wing during the third quarter of the 2008 Grand Final are part of that game’s folklore, a moment Fagan still refers to as the turning point of that contest. Many similar moments are likely to emerge in the next month as the 22-year-old stalks the Hawks’ forward line. The thought of it is enough to keep opponents awake at night. Rawlings knows that feeling. “It’s deﬁnitely nerve-racking coming up against him. You think about playing on him and you compare yourself to him and he has just got you in every area by such a big length in terms of pace and agility and skill,” he said. As if opponents need to worry more, Russell ﬁnished his segment on AFL Insider with words capable of bringing on cold sweats: “The scary thing is that he could get quicker once he improves his mechanics and he gets stronger.” 36
Scott Pendlebury COLLINGWOOD
DISPOSALS PER GAME
laying as the point Playing competitive sport guard in his basketball from a young age contributed teams for the majority to Pendlebury’s natural balance of his adolescence and athleticism. It has made helped make Collingwood him a “cagey and cunning” midﬁelder Scott Pendlebury sportsman, and having a one of the competition’s most basketball constantly in his hands inﬂuential decision-makers. fast-tracked the development of Since he made his debut his football skills. in round 10 of 2006, against And, with football embracing the Brisbane Lions, the the use of basketball-style 23-year-old has displayed zones, the Pies’ vice-captain incredible composure under feels at home when negotiating ﬁre, poise and balance belying opposition presses. his experience, and a knack of “In basketball, you grow up drawing his teammates into play. with zones all the way through What makes Pendlebury all from under-10s,” he said. the more impressive is he that “It helps me navigate my didn’t actually start playing way through zones and move football until late in his teens, with patterns.” having preferred basketball from Last year, Pendlebury the age of ﬁve. was ranked sixth in the AFL His experience for disposals, led his club in playing point handballs and guard—a hard-ball gets, specialised was second at position that the Pies and requires the 10th in the player to League for control the tackles, and offence by third for goal making sure assists and the ball is in loose-ball gets. the right hands He was the at the right Norm Smith SCOTT PENDLEBURY moment—has medallist in the contributed Grand Final to his replay, was an on-ﬁeld inﬂuence. All-Australian and ran second in “Being point guard is basically the club best and fairest award. the position of the second coach This year, after deciding on the ﬂoor,” he said. to focus on leg weights “I called the play, so what I during pre-season and core called happened; I knew where strength maintenance once everyone was going to be to games started, he has become make the right options. more powerful through his “In football, when I’ve hips and can better break got the ball in my hands, it tackles and push away from almost feels like I’m back on his opponents. the basketball court, when I’m “I feel a lot stronger in my looking to make the best decision running, and it’s helped my I think is going to help the team technique and form,” he said. JENNIFER WITHAM the most.”
I’m looking to make the best decision I think is going to help the team most
PLAY-MAKER: With his balance, athleticism and composure, Scott Pendlebury
is the ultimate decision-maker.
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Travis Varcoe GEELONG
GOALS PER GAME
hen Travis Varcoe “It was pretty shattering,” was looking for Varcoe said. “You never want advice before his to be on a losing (Grand Final) ﬁrst ﬁnal in 2008, side. I have kept it in the memory he only had to take a couple bank because I don’t ever want to of steps towards teammate deal with it again.” Jimmy Bartel. It took only 12 months for the One locker in the Cats to redeem themselves after changerooms at Skilled Stadium their 2008 loss to the Hawks. separates Varcoe, who wears the Somehow, they dug deep in revered No. 5 jumper at Geelong, an epic ﬁnal term in the 2009 and Bartel, who dons the No. 3. decider against St Kilda to pull The talented forward off a 12-point win. was understandably a little Varcoe played his part, ﬁring apprehensive in the build-up to out a handball to Paul Chapman, his ﬁrst September appearance, a who snapped his third goal to qualifying ﬁnal against St Kilda. give the Cats the lead at the “I went over to Jimmy and he 23-minute mark and they were gave me some great advice. He never headed, despite the Saints’ said the bigger the game, the best efforts. more basic it becomes. Jimmy “I guess I was in the right spot is a champion in his own right at the right time,” Varcoe said of and to hear that from him his quick handball to Chapman. reassured me “There was no not to take it better man to (the ﬁnal) any give it to.” differently,” After a Varcoe said. disappointing Three years 2010 ﬁnals on, Varcoe is series for the in a position Cats, this year where he can presents a be imparting different set of some wisdom circumstances. for the beneﬁt There’s no Gary TRAVIS VARCOE of his younger Ablett, no Mark teammates, Thompson and some of whom will be appearing Varcoe ﬁnds himself in a new role. in this week’s qualifying ﬁnal Late this season, he was pushed against Hawthorn. back to defence where coach Chris “The great thing about Jimmy Scott was keen to use Varcoe’s run is that he can keep everything and tackling pressure. simple. I guess that would be my “I have been very fortunate to message to our young guys now,” slot into a backline with so much he said. experience and they have helped Varcoe has been through to fast-track me,” he said. “Chris three ﬁnals campaigns (2008-10) has said to do what the team for nine games in total with six needs, to break a few lines and wins. He has tasted the ultimate get our run going.” high—winning a premiership in Off the ﬁeld, Varcoe is settled 2009—and the lowest of lows, as well, having married his playing in a losing Grand Final partner Nikki during the Cats’ in 2008. bye week before round 23. That defeat to the Hawks was “We kept it pretty low-key, the last time the two met in a just a few of the boys from the ﬁnal and, while the Cats have a club came and a mate of mine perfect 6-0 record in home and from Adelaide was best man,” away games since then, the loss he said. MICHAEL LOVETT still hurts.
He (Bartel) said the bigger the game, the more basic it becomes
BREAKING THE LINES: Travis Varcoe’s move from attack has added pace and tackling pressure to the Cats’ defence.
WEST COAST EAGLES
HIT-OUTS PER GAME
ic Naitanui has shown glimpses of his freakish ability since his debut in round 12, 2009. But it is now, in his third AFL season, that he is impacting games for sustained periods and shaping the result. He has become a genuine game-breaker. The scary thing about Naitanui for opposition clubs is he can turn a game in so many ways, doing things that are unique for a player of his size. At 201cm and with an ability to spring up and over his opponents, the 21-year-old is already a ruck force at centre bounces. He is having an impact on games with his accomplished tap-work, but it is his ability to follow up and win his own clearance that is unique. The Eagles call it ‘change of task’, and Naitanui appears to change task quicker than anyone in the game. “He goes from competing as a ruckman to competing as a midﬁelder and he has the ability to run past midﬁelders and win his own ball,” West Coast ruck coach Simon Eastaugh said. “That’s a rarity for ruckmen. “It doesn’t happen at every contest, but it’s the kind of thing that, when the time calls for it and the opportunity arises, he certainly jumps on it and makes the most of it. “It comes down to his explosive speed and his ability to get himself into those positions.” West Coast already boasts one of the game’s great ruckmen in Dean Cox, and it is not uncommon to see Naitanui lining up as a ruck-rover at
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centre bounces or around the ground. The Eagles also have the option of playing him forward, where he’s proven to be a threat this season, taking soaring marks (most notably his mark of the year contender against Carlton in round 14) and kicking opportunistic goals. Naitanui’s ability as a game breaker was displayed most completely against Richmond in round 20, when he lit up Patersons Stadium with a sublime second quarter. Through his ruck work, the young star orchestrated an 8-1 advantage in centre-bounce clearances for the term, also winning eight possessions, taking four brilliant marks and kicking two goals in the process.
He’s so competitive that he ﬁnds ways to inject himself into the game EAGLE ASSISTANT SIMON EASTAUGH ON NAITANUI
West Coast won the quarter 6.4 to 2.1 and the match by 57 points. “He’s showing he’s starting to evolve his game from being just a roving ruckman to an impacting key forward,” Eastaugh said. “That’s the next phase of his development. If he goes forward, he’s going to cause a major headache for the opposition. “He just creates opportunities from nothing really and he’s got an exceptional ability to impact the game and spark something when you think it’s going to grind out. “Wherever you position him, he’s such a competitive individual that he always ﬁnds a way to inject himself into the game. That allows him to ﬁght through moments where he might not be dominating in one area. “He can do some things that you just sit back and look on in amazement; things we’ve never seen from a guy of his size.”
UNIQUE: Nic Naitanui’s freakish
athleticism has allowed the young ruckman to become an extra midﬁelder for the Eagles.
Chris Yarran CARLTON
ere’s an idea: Every time Chris Yarran grabs the ball, Bruce Springsteen’s classic song Born To Run should be played on the ground’s audio system. Yarran, 20, was born to run. The game has evolved over time, but one aspect hasn’t—speed remains a potent weapon. His transformation from elusive forward to dashing defender has been one of the season’s success stories. Coach Brett Ratten
NO STOPPING HIM: Chris Yarran’s explosive pace has made him a potent weapon for the Blues since switching to defence.
hatched the plan at an end-ofseason review. Yarran returned to pre-season training late last year excited by his new role. He got himself into top shape and gradually felt more comfortable in defence after a few practice matches. “I think it’s working out pretty well so far,” Yarran said. Throughout his junior days and his stint with WAFL club Swan Districts, defence was not part of Yarran’s make-up. His exquisite skills were used
to great effect in the midﬁeld and in attack. In his ﬁrst two seasons at Carlton, Yarran struggled to ﬁnd his feet. This year, he is conﬁdent in his new role and it has reﬂected in his performances. He remains a work in progress as he learns how to defend. In his early games, he struggled in the marking contests, being out-positioned on occasions, but this aspect of his game has improved with the constant supervision AFL RECORD
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of Blues defensive coach Gavin Brown. Yarran’s ability to inﬂuence games was noticed early in the season by opposition coaches, who decided to tag him. It has been a new phenomenon for him and he has consulted some of his more experienced teammates for assistance in dealing with the extra attention. “I take it as a real compliment when they do that because obviously they’ve noticed my foot skills,” he said. “I’ve got good mentors in Chris Judd and Marc Murphy. Murphy has been a big help on how to deal with tags, what to do and what not to do.” Yarran has played mainly in defence this season, but has drifted forward at times where he has shown he has not lost his ability to kick a goal.
I know that I’m quicker than most guys on the footy ﬁeld and I’ve just got to use that CHRIS YARRAN
He is yet to play in an AFL ﬁnal. “I’m looking forward to the ﬁnals series,” he said. “We’re going in with pretty good form. Hopefully, we can win a ﬁnal and go beyond that.” Yarran loves to take a bounce (often swapping the hand he bounces with) and back himself with his supreme speed. Occasionally he gets into trouble by trying to do too much, but has been given a licence to run and trust his instincts. “I’ve just got to take the ﬁrst option and not try to be too fancy.” As he breaks the lines, he dares his opponents to try to dispossess him or run him down. Generally, they are unsuccessful. “I know that I’m quicker than most guys on the footy ﬁeld and I’ve just got to use that to my advantage,” he said. “To get the footy in my hands and run has been a real asset to me. I’ve just got to keep backing myself.”
GO-TO MAN: With his blend of raw power and sublime skills, Adam Goodes has the canny knack of imposing himself on a game when his team needs him most.
INSIDE-50s PER GAME
SYDNEY SWANS S
ydney Swans superstar Adam Goodes appears to possess a sixth sense during AFL games, an u uncanny knack for knowing w when it is time to assert himself o on a contest. Whether it is bursting out o of a pack to launch a foray fo forward or snapping a sublime g goal, Goodes regularly ﬁnds h himself in the right place at the right time, just when his team needs him most. Those unique skills were clearly on display during the closing weeks of the 2011 home and away season. Against Essendon in round 20, Goodes had a number of highlight reel moments, including a clearance and goal in the second quarter that put the Swans in front and demonstrated his power and pace. In that same game, he also pushed forward and took a mark inside forward 50 in the dying
seconds, although he missed the all through the game that shot at goal that would have won I have to be ready when Sydney the game. the ball comes my way Against St Kilda in round to do what the team expects 22, he was at it again, snaring me to do and stay within the a hit-out from ruckman Shane game-plan,” the Swans Mumford co-captain said. and nailing “If it happens an audacious to be kicking check-side goal a goal when that set the the team really Swans on the needs it, then path to victory. that’s what I’m They are supposed to do. individual “I don’t really talents that any think too much team would about it; I just crave and the try to have ADAM GOODES type of skills that positive that win ﬁnals. inﬂuence on Goodes the team when seems to time I can and do his moments to perfection, but the right things so the boys can said they are follow suit. not a result of conscious “My game is about decisions to impose his will making an impact. Whenever at the right moment. I’m around the contest, I try to “No, not really. For me, have a real positive impact for it’s about having that mindset the team.
When I’m around the contest, I try to have a real positive impact
“Being in the right place at the right time, being able to kick a goal like (against St Kilda) or kick a goal after the siren, even though I missed that one against Essendon, I really look forward to those situations and being able to deliver for my teammates.” Goodes has taken advantage of his talents, earning most of the accolades the game has to offer. Goodes is among the game’s greats. He is a premiership player (2005), two-time Brownlow medallist, three-time All-Australian, a dual best and fairest and an AFL Rising Star winner. For a big man (194cm and 99kg) he has remarkable speed, perhaps partly a reﬂection of a favourite training method. “Growing up, I hated long distance running. I always liked 100-metre sprints,” he said. “Short little bursts were deﬁnitely my cup of tea.”
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Brendon Goddard ST KILDA
atching the way Brendon Goddard plays—aggressively, skilfully and competitively—would suggest the 26-year-old St Kilda all-rounder loves the big stage. And he does. As his standout performances in last year’s Grand Finals against Collingwood proved, Goddard likes stamping himself on games when they need deﬁning moments. It is a healthy knack. Although it might look like Goddard sets himself to impact key moments in games—consider his spectacular mark in the dying stages of the drawn Grand Final—it is not entirely the case. “It’s not something you consciously think of doing,” Goddard said. “You can feel the game is up for grabs, but at no point do you think ‘I’m the one to do it’. It’s not that mindset. “You don’t think about taking a big mark or kicking a goal, it’s just a trigger point to go harder and push yourself even more. It’s about giving greater effort more consistently, not speciﬁc things like marks or kicks.” It is a fascinating insight into what goes through a player’s mind, particularly one as damaging as Goddard, who is capable of inﬂuencing a match in every area of the ground. He is tall enough to be a key defender or forward and quick and athletic enough to be a midﬁelder. When he started his AFL career (as the No. 1 pick in the 2002 NAB AFL Draft), Goddard
ALL-ROUND STAR: Brendon Goddard’s amazing versatility allows him to impact a match in any area of the ground the Saints see ﬁt.
used to attend every â€˜lineâ€™ meeting through the week. He would meet with the forwards, the midďŹ elders and defenders. Then, he found it hard not being able to settle into one position. Not anymore. â€œEarly days, I used it as an excuse to say it is hard to ďŹ nd a permanent position, but I learned to accept it,â€? he said. â€œNow, itâ€™s one of my strengths that I can be so ďŹ‚exible and I know that, if Iâ€™m struggling in a particular area, Iâ€™ve got the ability to go somewhere else and inďŹ‚uence a game.â€? Of Goddardâ€™s overďŹ‚owing kit bag of ways to break a game in St Kildaâ€™s favour, it is perhaps his kickingâ€”its length, depth, accuracy, precision and paceâ€”which sets him apart from his peers. It is a skill that works best under pressure, when Goddardâ€™s
decision-making is in sync with either boot. â€œI make more kicking errors at training because I tend to try to go a little bit harder and test myself at a higher pace during training so, when I get to a game, it comes naturally,â€? Goddard said. â€œI put myself under so much pressure that I try to emulate the game pressure into my training. It all comes back to preparation.â€? In his ďŹ rst ďŹ nal, against the Brisbane Lions in the second qualifying ďŹ nal of 2004, Goddard recalled realising how difďŹ cult playing at AFL level was. Now, he has played 15 ďŹ nals and enters his seventh ďŹ nals series. He knows what it takes to play well in the ďŹ nals, and so does his team. He said the Saints were ready to make an impact. â€œWeâ€™re just as good a chance as anyone,â€? CALLUM TWOMEY Goddard said.
I know that, if Iâ€™m struggling in a particular area, Iâ€™ve got the ability to go somewhere else and inďŹ‚uence a game BRENDON GODDARD
Michael Hurley ESSENDON
rying to pinpoint Michael Hurleyâ€™s ability to impact a game is a challenge. There are almost too many ways. The key position player, who has spent the majority of his third AFL season in attack with cameos in defence, can change the course of a game in a number of ways. He is an excellent contested mark. He has great hands when the ball hits the ground. He kicks goals. He brings teammates into the play. He is aggressive and physical and plays with common sense. It is all underpinned by a competitive instinct that means it is hard to keep him out of a game. He is also a footballer whose handle on the basicsâ€”winning the ball,
using it, keeping his feet and staying composedâ€”gives him a foundation for other more skilful exploits, like kicking on his non-preferred foot, snapping goals from tight angles or spoiling with different areas of his ďŹ st to direct the ball to speciďŹ c areas of the ground. â€œHeâ€™s a really explosive player and highly competitive,â€? Bombers assistant coach Brendan McCartney said. â€œHaving worked with him closely through the year, heâ€™s also a really good clubman. Heâ€™s very caring for his teammates and looks out for them.â€? Hurley missed ďŹ ve games this season because of calf and foot injuriesâ€”the â€œstress reactionâ€? in his foot continues to be managed closelyâ€”and developed as a forward after spending the
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majority of his ﬁrst two years at the club as a defender. However, after being out-bodied by Carlton and Collingwood defenders earlier this season, Hurley approached McCartney, who works with the club’s forwards. Hurley wanted to know what he could do to make sure it didn’t happen again. “It was a little bit of inexperience. Sometimes when you’re a young player, you allow an opponent to play the way he wants,” McCartney said. “That was a really good time for Michael’s development because he got to play on Michael Jamison, Chris Tarrant and Ben Reid, and he learned a lot and it showed him some things to add to his game. “The beauty of Michael is that he does listen, he learns quickly and keeps looking for ways to get better.”
He listens, he learns quickly and keeps looking for ways to get better BOMBER ASSISTANT BRENDAN MCCARTNEY ON MICHAEL HURLEY
Hurley’s rugged approach at the ball is a key to his game, but McCartney said he had added smarts to match the power. He is learning his craft, understanding where to run, and how to get there quicker. “It’s about incorporating a bit of technique into his game, rather than just relying on sheer power and force. It’s a maturity thing,” McCartney said. Hurley was crucial in Essendon’s push to the ﬁnals, on several occasions being the Bombers’ match-winner when they needed one. He has a presence, and enjoys having the ball in the big moments. Playing in ﬁnals will suit Hurley. “People who step forward in ﬁnals are competitive, but they’re also generally intelligent players. They compete and they try to the nth degree, but they don’t try too hard,” McCartney said. “They have an ability to think through the game, stay in the moment and keep bringing the game back to the basics. He certainly has those attributes.”
MATCH-WINNER: Despite his inexperience, Michael Hurley has presence and likes having the ball in his hands in big moments.
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Finals Week 1 2011
Your ultimate game guide including statistics, facts
club news FIERCE RIVALS: Carlton emerged
with a 74-point win over the Bombers in round 18, but a closer contest is expected this time.
Bitter rivals clash in 20th ﬁnal Blues, Bombers battle in September for the ﬁrst time since 2000. Geelong Cats v Hawthorn
» The Hawks have not defeated the Cats since famously upsetting them by 26 points in the 2008 Grand Final. Geelong has won the six clashes since by an average of only seven points, including this year by 19 and ﬁve points. However, the Cats have not defeated Hawthorn in a ﬁnal since the 1963 Grand Final, losing their four subsequent ﬁnals by an average of 11 points.
Collingwood v West Coast Eagles » The Pies have won
their past ﬁve games against West Coast by an average of 55 points, and have not lost to the Eagles at the MCG since 1995. They have staged four dramatic ﬁnals: a draw in the 1990 qualifying ﬁnal, a Collingwood win in the replay, a two-point West Coast win in the 1994 qualifying ﬁnal and an overtime Magpies win in a 2007 semi-ﬁnal.
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St Kilda v Sydney Swans
» The past nine clashes
between these teams have been decided by an average of 13 points. St Kilda has won six of these games by an average of nine points, including three in a row before the Swans hit back with a 15-point win at ANZ Stadium in round 22. The Saints have won their past four clashes at Etihad Stadium. The Swans have not beaten them there since 2000.
To get involved in this week’s ﬁnals on Twitter, follow these #tags and join in the conversation!
Carlton v Essendon
AFL TIPSTERS PETER DI SISTO AFL RECORD
Hawthorn Collingwood St Kilda Carlton
» Essendon defeated
Carlton in six games in a row from 2007-10, but their past three clashes have produced 76- and 74-point wins to the Blues (the latter in round 18 when Eddie Betts bagged eight goals), divided only by the round four draw. This is their ﬁrst ﬁnals clash since 2000, when the Bombers avenged the preliminary ﬁnal boilover of the previous season. Essendon leads 10-9 in ﬁnals.
Geelong Cats v Hawthorn Collingwood v West Coast Eagles St Kilda v Sydney Swans Carlton v Essendon
#aﬂcatshawks #aﬂpieseagles #aﬂsaintsswans #aﬂbluesdons
3 points 15 points 10 points 9 points
ABC GRANDSTAND Geelong Cats 13 points Collingwood 35 points Sydney Swans 2 points Carlton 22 points TOTAL 129
3AW Geelong Cats Collingwood St Kilda Carlton
21 points 25 points 8 points 11 points TOTAL 126
AFL CEO Geelong Cats Collingwood St Kilda Carlton
8 points 17 points 5 points 11 points TOTAL 122
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AFL ROUND 24
VFL – FINALS
Geelong Cats 2.5 12.8 16.15 22.17 (149) Collingwood 4.0 5.0 7.2 8.5 (53) BEST: Geelong Cats – Menzel, Selwood, Chapman, Enright, Scarlett, Kelly, Christensen. Collingwood – Reid, Pendlebury, Beams, O’Brien. GOALS: Geelong Cats – Menzel 5, Christensen 3, Chapman 3, Hawkins 2, Varcoe 2, Podsiadly 2, Johnson 2, Duncan, Mackie, Wojcinski. Collingwood – Dawes 2, Krakouer, Pendlebury, Beams, Wood, Blair, Fasolo. Substitutes: Blair (Coll), Byrnes (Geel). Umpires: C. Donlon, S. Ryan, J. Mollison. Crowd: 85,705 at the MCG.
West Coast Eagles 2.5 10.6 14.9 22.13 (145) Adelaide Crows 0.0 2.0 4.4 7.8 (50) BEST: West Coast Eagles – Embley, Shuey, Naitanui, Cox, Priddis, Masten, Glass. Adelaide Crows – Thompson, van Berlo, Douglas, Johncock. GOALS: West Coast Eagles – Nicoski 3, Lynch 3, S. Selwood 3, Naitanui 2, Shuey 2, LeCras 2, Cox 2, Masten 2, Kennedy, Embley, Ebert. Adelaide Crows – Walker 2, Tippett, Petrenko, Vince, Johncock, Thompson. Substitutes: Gaﬀ (WCE), Wright (Adel). Umpires: L. Farmer, J. Dalgleish, S. McInerney. Crowd: 36,062 at Patersons Stadium.
Hawthorn 3.4 6.6 12.7 16.10 (106) Gold Coast Suns 5.1 8.5 10.9 14.13 (97) BEST: Hawthorn – Breust, Mitchell, Whitecross, Smith, Puopolo. Gold Coast Suns – G. Ablett, Matera, Bennell, Thompson, Smith, Caddy, Prestia. GOALS: Hawthorn – Breust 5, Whitecross 3, Smith 3, Osborne 2, Lisle, Puopolo, Johnson. Gold Coast Suns – Matera 3, Caddy 2, Bennell 2, Fraser 2, Stanley, Bock, Smith, Brennan, Gillbee. Substitutes: Gillbee (GCS), Cheney (Haw). Umpires: C. Kamolins, S. Wenn, J. Armstrong. Crowd: 19,314 at Metricon Stadium.
Port Adelaide 3.2 8.4 13.6 17.10 (112) Melbourne 3.6 7.11 10.12 15.14 (104) BEST: Port Adelaide – Westhoﬀ, Gray, Boak, Ebert, Motlop, Salopek, Rodan. Melbourne – Moloney, Trengove, McKenzie, Jones, Howe, Bate. GOALS: Port Adelaide – Westhoﬀ 4, Ebert 3, Rodan 2, Boak 2, Banner, Gray, Motlop, Butcher, Salopek, Schulz. Melbourne – Jones 2, McKenzie 2, Green 2, Martin 2, Morton, Bate, Jamar, Trengove, Howe, Jetta, Fitzpatrick. Substitutes: Jonas (PA), Tapscott (Melb). Umpires: S. Stewart, H. Ryan, J. Schmitt. Crowd: 29,340 at Adelaide Oval.
Western Bulldogs 2.6 6.8 8.15 15.17 (107) Fremantle 1.6 4.11 6.13 8.13 (61) BEST: Western Bulldogs – Boyd, Cross, Veszpremi, Griﬀen, Murphy, Ward, Giansiracusa. Fremantle – Johnson, Silvagni, Mzungu, Schammer, Broughton. GOALS: Western Bulldogs – Hall 5, Giansiracusa 2, Jones 2, Veszpremi 2, Griﬀen 2, Tutt, Dahlhaus. Fremantle – Bradley 2, Mzungu 2, Clarke, Sibosado, Hill, Barlow. Substitutes: Higgins (WB), Bollenhagen (Frem). Umpires: S. McBurney, B. Ritchie, S. Hay. Crowd: 18,128 at Etihad Stadium. Sydney Swans 3.3 11.7 14.9 18.11 (119) Brisbane Lions 4.3 6.6 9.9 9.13 (67) BEST: Sydney Swans – Bolton, Goodes, Spangher, Rohan, McVeigh, O’Keefe, McGlynn. Brisbane Lions – McGrath, Rich, Leuenberger, Hanley, Karnezis, Hawksley. GOALS: Sydney – Bolton 4, Goodes 4, Rohan 3, Spangher 3, Parker 2, Hannebery, Malceski. Brisbane Lions – McGrath 3, Karnezis 2, Rich, Hawksley, Redden, Cornelius. Substitutes: Jetta (Syd), Buchanan (BL). Umpires: D. Margetts, R. Chamberlain, S. Meredith. Crowd: 27,721 at the SCG. St Kilda 1.2 4.3 9.6 13.8 (86) Carlton 3.5 5.8 7.12 9.12 (66) BEST: St Kilda – Clarke, Montagna, Gilbert, Steven, Peake, Blake, Dempster. Carlton – Simpson, Henderson, Gibbs, Murphy, Duigan, Armﬁeld, O’hAilpin. GOALS: St Kilda – Milne 3, Steven 2, Koschitzke 2, Schneider 2, Montagna, Goddard, Gilbert, Dawson. Carlton – O’hAilpin 4, Gibbs 2, Tuohy, Kreuzer, Simpson. Substitutes: Davies (Carl), Ray (St K). Umpires: B. Rosebury, M. Stevic, M. Nicholls. Crowd: 55,606 at the MCG.
FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL Werribee Tigers 3.1 5.6 8.8 13.11 (89) Box Hill Hawks 1.2 3.3 5.6 9.9 (63) BEST: Werribee Tigers – O’Dwyer, Chisholm, Hartigan, Castello, Tuck, Ruggles. Box Hill Hawks – Jackson, Boumann, Ralph, Mirra, Sierakowski, Williams. GOALS: Werribee Tigers – McKinley 3, Castello 3, Ross 2, Warren 2, Tighe, Prismall, Chisholm. Box Hill Hawks – Ralph 3, Pattison, Wanganeen, Jackson, Mirra, Neil, Kiel. FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL Port Melbourne 3.4 9.7 17.12 24.16 (160) Casey Scorpions 3.2 6.4 6.7 9.9 (63) BEST: Port Melbourne – Valenti, Fanning, Pinwill, Brewer, Batsanis, Skipper. Casey Scorpions – Panozza, Fevola, Stockdale, Mohr, Warnock, Lees. GOALS: Port Melbourne – McMahon 5, Rose 4, Burstin 3, Dwyer 3, Cain 2, Lynch 2, Pinwill, Fanning, Galea, Batsanis, McGrath. Casey Scorpions – Fevola 6, Lawrence, Dunn, Gawn.
David Rodan was one of the stars of Port Adelaide’s win over Melbourne. NO FAULT:
Brendan Fevola kicked six goals in a losing side for the Casey Scorpions.
North Melbourne 5.3 7.7 12.11 15.14 (104) Richmond 3.2 9.7 10.10 13.13 (91) BEST: North Melbourne – Harvey, Cunnington, Bastinac, Petrie, Adams, Thompson. Richmond – Nahas, Martin, Cotchin, Deledio, Foley, Houli. GOALS: North Melbourne – Petrie 4, Thomas 2, Harvey 2, Edwards 2, MacMillan, Black, McIntosh, Harper, Swallow. Richmond – Nahas 5, Riewoldt 3, Martin 2, Vickery, White, Miller. Substitutes: Webberley (Rich), Mullett (NM). Umpires: M. Vozzo, R. Findlay, S. Jeﬀery. Crowd: 32,890 at Etihad Stadium.
SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL Williamstown 2.3 8.5 14.10 20.14 (134) North Ballarat 1.4 3.5 7.6 10.7 (67) BEST: Williamstown – Jolley, Gilbee, Panos, Djerrkura, Minson, Hill. North Ballarat – George, Tate, White, Hoy, Micallef, Sharkey. GOALS: Williamstown – Panos 5, Hahn 3, Gilbee 2, Hooper 2, Hill 2, Skinner 2, Djerrkura, Howard, Stretton, Carr. North Ballarat – Driscoll 2, George 2, Micallef 2, Dare, Tyler, Lynch, Hoy. SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL Northern Bullants 1.3 2.6 8.6 14.9 (93) Bendigo Bombers 3.2 5.4 8.5 10.5 (65) BEST: Northern Bullants – Ellard, Casboult, Lambert, Bower, McLean, Gianfagna. Bendigo Bombers – Duscher, Dyson, Campbell, Liddle, Lonergan, S. Kerridge. GOALS: Northern Bullants – Casboult 5, Saad 2, Kerr 2, Ellard, Gale, Twomey, McCorkell, Bransgrove. Bendigo Bombers – Duscher 3, Steinberg 3, Dickson 2, Thompson, Dunell.
Dane Swan Matthew Boyd Trent Cotchin Bryce Gibbs Sam Mitchell Marc Murphy Scott Thompson Ryan Griﬀen
Bryce Gibbs Travis Cloke Ben Reid Heath Scotland Grant Birchall Nick Riewoldt Sam Fisher Quinten Lynch
Matt Priddis Scott Thompson Daniel Cross Chris Judd Scott Pendlebury Simon Black Matthew Boyd Gary Ablett
Collingwood Western Bulldogs Richmond Carlton Hawthorn Carlton Adelaide Crows Western Bulldogs
419 398 372 369 361 356 343 341
Carlton Collingwood Collingwood Carlton Hawthorn St Kilda St Kilda West Coast Eagles
170 170 156 150 147 147 146 143
West Coast Eagles Adelaide Crows Western Bulldogs Carlton Collingwood Brisbane Lions Western Bulldogs Gold Coast Suns
344 330 323 316 311 305 303 301
Scott Selwood Matt Priddis Jack Redden James Kelly Andrew Swallow Luke Ball Ben Howlett Jude Bolton
Ryan Griﬀen Adam Goodes Matthew Boyd Quinten Lynch Travis Cloke Dane Swan Trent Cotchin Kade Simpson
Rebounded from 50 Nathan Bock Pearce Hanley Robert Murphy Graham Johncock James Frawley Shannon Hurn Rhyce Shaw Scott McMahon
West Coast Eagles West Coast Eagles Brisbane Lions Geelong Cats North Melbourne Collingwood Essendon Sydney Swans
182 166 166 160 145 145 142 139
Western Bulldogs Sydney Swans Western Bulldogs West Coast Eagles Collingwood Collingwood Richmond Carlton
130 124 115 112 111 109 108 104
Gold Coast Suns Brisbane Lions Western Bulldogs Adelaide Crows Melbourne West Coast Eagles Sydney Swans North Melbourne
117 116 111 111 110 102 99 95
Chris Judd Josh Kennedy Matt Priddis Andrew Swallow Gary Ablett Matthew Boyd Trent Cotchin Scott Pendlebury
Loose-ball gets Ryan O’Keefe Dane Swan Gary Ablett Matthew Boyd Scott Pendlebury Adam Goodes Scott Thompson Brent Harvey
Todd Goldstein Matthew Leuenberger Dean Cox Sam Jacobs Shane Mumford Robert Warnock Mark Jamar Ben McEvoy
Carlton Sydney Swans West Coast Eagles North Melbourne Gold Coast Suns Western Bulldogs Richmond Collingwood
156 153 147 146 138 132 125 125
Sydney Swans Collingwood Gold Coast Suns Western Bulldogs Collingwood Sydney Swans Adelaide Crows North Melbourne
94 91 83 83 80 77 73 72
North Melbourne Brisbane Lions West Coast Eagles Adelaide Crows Sydney Swans Carlton Melbourne St Kilda
741 724 657 611 581 522 484 477
Source: CHAMPION DATA
A F L S E A S O N S TAT S
FOR YOUR NEAREST STORE CALL
THE HIGH-DEFINITION SPECIALIST
WA F L – R O U N D 2 4
NEAFL NORTH – FINALS
SANFL – ROUND 22 Central District 1.2 5.9 9.13 16.14 (110) Norwood 3.3 4.3 7.6 9.7 (61) BEST: Central District – Barmby, Jenner, Williams, Habel, Thomas, Reichert. Norwood – McGuinness, Suckling, Webber, Pfeiﬀer, Forster, Zorzi. GOALS: Central District – Hynes 4, Dunne 3, Williams 3, Habel 2, Molyneux, O’Sullivan, Thomas, Sansbury. Norwood – Davis 3, Langford 2, Shenton 2, Grigg, Suckling. Port Adelaide 2.2 8.5 13.10 18.15 (123) Glenelg 4.5 5.7 8.10 12.13 (85) BEST: Port Adelaide – Maric, Milera, Harder, Robson, Summerton, Beard. Glenelg – Kennedy, Sellar, Kirkby, Kirk, Grima, Neale. GOALS: Port Adelaide – Milera 5, Lokan 4, Slattery 2, Harder 2, Gray, Maric, Biacsi, Summerton, Robson. Glenelg – Kirk 4, Kirkby 3, Grima, Snook, Murdoch, Kennedy, Neale. Eagles 3.6 9.8 13.9 19.12 (126) West Adelaide 1.1 4.3 5.5 8.7 (55) BEST: Eagles: Cicolella, Parry, Giuﬀreda, Rowntree, Powell, Raymond. West Adelaide – Green, Caire, Ferguson, Pettigrew, Beech, Morris. GOALS: Eagles – Tiller 4, Hall 2, Cicolella 2, Treeby 2, Lane 2, Allmond 2, Jarrad, Rowntree, Staple, Lewis, Powell. West Adelaide – Pettigrew 2, Webb, Fisher, Ferguson, Davenport, Willits, Homburg
TOUGH DAY: Michael
Pettigrew tried hard in West Adelaide’s big loss to the Eagles.
FIRST SEMI- FINAL Morningside 1.3 9.5 16.9 19.13 (127) Gold Coast Suns 3.3 5.5 6.5 7.10 (52) BEST: Morningside – Bell, Abey, Shelton, Brown, Lucy, Brown. Gold Coast Suns – Dixon, Hickey, Magin, Ablett, Joyce, Wilkinson. GOALS: Morningside – Abey 7, Bell 4, Lucy 2, Mugavin 2, Lillico 2, Rootsey, Logan. Gold Coast Suns – Magin 2, Stanlake, Dixon, Wilkinson, Ryswyk, Krakouer. SECOND SEMI- FINAL NT Thunder 4.1 8.1 14.3 17.5 (107) Mt Gravatt 3.4 7.6 9.8 11.8 (74) BEST: NT Thunder – Rioli, Tyrrell, J. Ilett, McLeod, Ewing, Roe. Mt Gravatt – Schultz, Smith, Scott, Lake, M. Hamill, W. Hamill. GOALS: NT Thunder – Ewing 8, Farrer 3, Rioli 2, Motlop, Maher, J. Ilett, Palipuaminni. Mt Gravatt – Smith 2, Gilliland 2, Labi, Reid, Pennington, Proud, Mowat, Vearing, Grose.
SANFL ladder P W L
19 16 3
Agst % Pts 57.15
19 14 5
19 12 7
AFL SYDNEY – FINALS SECOND SEMI-FINAL East Coast Eagles 4.2 4.4 9.11 11.12 (78) Balmain 1.1 4.13 4.16 7.18 (60) BEST: East Coast Eagles – Johnston, Charleston, Silvester, O’Connor, Bourke, Dimery. Balmain – Taggart, Ryder, Stevens, Bates, Saddington, Brown. GOALS: East Coast Eagles – Doyle 3, Jamie Vlatko 2, Johnston 2, Bilkey, Spiteri, Costello, Dimery. Balmain – Saddington 2, Taggart, Bates, Edwins, Howard, Naughton. FIRST SEMI-FINAL Sydney University 7.3 10.6 15.7 24.11 (155) North Shore 3.0 5.3 7.4 10.4 (64) BEST: Sydney University – Clarke, McConnochie, Crichton, Campbell, Elkington, Lye. North Shore – Brackin, Terrey, Attwood, Harry, Paynter, Fitzgerald. GOALS: Sydney University – Campbell 5, McConnochie 4, Barrett 4, Crichton 4, Cole 2, Moller 2, Turco, Clarke, Elkington. North Shore – Brackin 3, Attwood 2, Roberts, Pryor, Fitzgerald, Strudwick, Clancy.
South Fremantle 4.2 8.5 14.10 18.13 (121) East Fremantle 2.5 5.7 7.9 12.13 (85) BEST: South Fremantle – Bairstow, Miller, White, Cook, Dell’Olio, North. East Fremantle – R. O’Brien, Young, Dalziell, Stevens, McNamara, Howlett. GOALS: South Fremantle – Hasleby 3, Wilson 3, Murphy 3, Dell’Olio 2, Palumbo 2, Phillips 2, Bairstow, Winter, Cooper. East Fremantle – B. O’Brien 2, Young 2, R. O’Brien 2, Fasolo, Dalziell, Stevens, Howlett, Dunn, Dodd.
NEAFL EAST – FINALS SECOND SEMI-FINAL Sydney Swans 7.1 13.3 17.5 21.7 (133) Ainslie 2.3 6.6 7.7 9.17 (71) BEST: Sydney Swans – Moore, Guthrie, Heath, Gordon, Seaby, J. Potter. Ainslie – Holmes, Tow, Shirley, Lawless, Griﬃn, Mulroney. GOALS: Sydney Swans – Gordon 5, Meredith 3, Lamb 2, Seaby 2, McNeil 2, May 2, Wales, Pyke, Crawford, Moore, Moody. Ainslie – Lawless 4, Argall, Bowles, Tuohey, Vandenberg, Tutt. FIRST SEMI-FINAL Eastlake 6.1 12.5 19.12 20.16 (136) GWS Giants 2.3 4.9 6.11 9.14 (68) BEST: Eastlake – Ainsworth, Bruce, Smith, McMahon, Mesman, Maiden. GWS Giants – Reid, Townsend, Steele, Phillips, Schulz, Bruce. GOALS: Eastlake – Bruce 7, Taylforth 4, Armstrong 3, Wiles 2, McMahon 2, Gray, McMahon. GWS Giants – Reid 3, Casley, Bruce, Cunningham, Steele, Collins, Tunbridge.
North Adelaide 2.5 7.9 9.9 13.11 (89) Panthers 2.5 6.5 11.7 12.8 (80) BEST: North Adelaide – Allan, Gallman, Miles, Ryswyk, Thring, Amato. Panthers – Gotch, Liddle, Thewlis, Veide, Cross, Cockshell. GOALS: North Adelaide – Boras 3, Bennett 2, Allan 2, Ryswyk 2, Thiele, Stewart, Mayes, Amato. Panthers – Wundke 3, Carey 2, Macleod 2, Brown, Bass, Sandery, Liddle, Ainger.
Subiaco 3.5 6.8 12.9 16.14 (110) Peel Thunder 3.3 4.5 5.7 5.12 (42) BEST: Subiaco – Horsley, Bristow, Parker, Phelan, Forrest, Bloxsidge. Peel Thunder – B. Jones, Flaherty, K. Thornton, J. Jones, Beswick, Triplett. GOALS: Subiaco – Phelan 2, Blechynden 2, Wade 2, Kerr, Parker, Pickett, Cockie, Wheeler, Hughes, Rix, Broadhurst, Hampson, Hildebrandt. Peel Thunder – Battye 2, K. Thornton, B. Jones, Brown.
A F L TA S M A N I A – F I N A L S QUALIFYING FINAL Burnie 6.4 10.6 14.10 20.15 (135) Clarence 1.1 5.6 10.9 12.12 (84) BEST: Burnie – Baldock, Laycock, Shackleton, McKenna, Whish-Wilson, Hardy. Clarence – O’Brien, Drury, Gilmour, Nibbs, Green, Standen. GOALS: Burnie – Baldock 6, Lee 3, Laycock 3, Banham 3, Munday, Hardy, Barrett, Hislop, Rice. Clarence – Williamson 3, Gilmour 3, Standen 2, Thurley, Paine, Gleeson, Balcombe. ELIMINATION FINAL Glenorchy 3.2 7.7 12.13 16.17 (113) North Hobart 3.4 5.8 6.11 9.15 (69) BEST: Glenorchy – Reynolds, Hunt, C. Brown, Bowden, B. Brown, Matthews. North Hobart – Wells, Hall, Nichols, Allison, McCulloch, Fox. GOALS: Glenorchy – B. Brown 4, Hodge 3, Webb 3, French 2, Bowring, Crouch, Cox, Dilger. North Hobart – Wilson 3, Muir, Arnold, Wells, Di Venuto, Murphy, Dobosz.
Former Docker Paul Hasleby kicked three goals for South Fremantle. Claremont 3.4 6.5 11.9 16.11 (107) East Perth 2.4 4.5 8.6 12.9 (81) BEST: Claremont – Browne, Wilkes, Murphy, Foster, Mitchell, Stevenson, Franz. East Perth – Lee, Payne, Wulﬀ, Sweet, Clutterbuck, Anderson. GOALS: Claremont – Wilkes 4, Jones 2, Handley 2, Blackwell, Mitchell, Rudeforth, Foster, Weedon, Swift, Crawford, Richardson. East Perth – McKenzie 2, Prior 2, Travers 2, Sweet 2, Payne 2, Derickx, Kommer. Perth 4.2 5.7 8.8 14.10 (94) Swan Districts 6.5 7.10 11.12 12.17 (89) BEST: Perth – Young, Armstrong, Florio, Kayler-Thomson, Tedesco, Robinson. Swan Districts – Roberts, Hams, Ames, Roach, Howard, Jetta. GOALS: Perth – Leeson 2, Brennan 2, Donovan 2, Young, Billings, Armstrong, Rogers, O’Sullivan, DeJongh, Florio, Houghton. Swan Districts – Hansen 3, Geappen 3, Jetta, Colreavy, Simpson, Aitchison, Gault, Manton. BYE: West Perth
WAFL ladder P W L
20 15 5
Agst % Pts
20 14 6
20 12 8
20 12 8
20 11 9
TAC C U P – F I N A L S FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL Dandenong Stingrays 3.0 6.1 7.1 10.2 (62) Calder Cannons 3.6 6.7 7.9 8.11 (59) BEST: Dandenong Stingrays – Hill, Pongracic, O’Hanlon, Kelly, Haynes, Minchington. Calder Cannons – Ellis, Talia, Sheridan, Saad, McBean, P. Sahlberg. GOALS: Dandenong Stingrays – Minchington 2, Benbow, Salopek, O’Hanlon, Elton, Rolfe, Wallace, Whitﬁeld, Kellerman. Calder Cannons – McBean 2, Markworth, Madden, Ball, Solomon, Sahlberg, Saad. SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL Sandringham Dragons 4.3 11.4 16.10 19.12 (126) Gippsland Power 4.0 5.0 8.0 13.4 (82) BEST: Sandringham Dragons – Ong, Roberts, Zijai, Woodward, Paine, Seccull. Gippsland Power – Butcher, Tynan, Hams, Muir, Smith, Hall. GOALS: Sandringham Dragons – Roberts 3, Paine 3, Sumner 2, Zijai 2, Anastasio 2, Williams, Coleman, Seccull, Tyquin, Woodard, Glennen, Temay. Gippsland Power – Deery 3, Hams 2, Lange 2, Muir 2, Hall, Huts, Staley, Hector.
FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL Western Jets 6.2 11.4 13.8 16.8 (104) Geelong Falcons 4.2 6.5 7.9 12.14 (86) BEST: Western Jets – Critchley, Hylton, Kennedy, Hoskin-Elliott, Fairley, Brown. Geelong Falcons – Buchanan, Sheahan, Smith, Boseley, Merrett, Lever. GOALS: Western Jets – Fairley 4, Cooke 2, Mead 2, White 2, Nastasi, Piva, Hoskin-Elliott, Hunter, Brown, Aneet. Geelong Falcons – Gordon 3, Sheahan 3, Buchanan 2, Mahoney, Stack, Keras, Lever. SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL Oakleigh Chargers 3.2 5.8 7.13 13.14 (92) North Ballarat Rebels 4.3 6.6 10.9 10.12 (72) BEST: Oakleigh Chargers – Tomlinson, Viney, Purcell, Curran, Greene, Hammond. North Ballarat Rebels – Mackenzie, Crouch, Schache, Downie, Rippon, Neade. GOALS: Oakleigh Chargers – Murphy 3, Mascitti 2, Tyson 2, Greene 2, Hammond, Orval, Jaksch, Curran. North Ballarat Rebels – Crouch 3, O’Brien 2, Spriggs, Rippon, Watchorn, Dobson, Dalgleish.
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2011 IN REVIEW SEASON OF THE GREAT DIVIDE The gulf between the top teams and the rest of the competition has never been greater after a momentous season that included a new team, new rules, new coaches, the return of the high mark, remarkable comebacks, exciting newcomers and emotional farewells. And more excitement awaits, with the ﬁnals kicking oﬀ this week. ASHLEY BROW NE
The ﬁeld for mark of the year is as deep as it has been for many years
HIGHS AND LOWS: Exciting Eagle
Nic Naitanui soared to new heights in 2011, while Melbourne’s Dean Bailey’s coaching career came to an abrupt end (far left). Former Geelong champion Gary Ablett, in his ﬁrst season with Gold Coast, renewed acquaintances with Cat Jimmy Bartel (middle) and Brad Ebert had plenty to rejoice about as West Coast went from wooden-spooner in 2010 to a top-four ﬁnish.
2011 IN REVIEW
arely before has the cream risen to the top as it did during the 2011 home and away season. It was the ﬁrst season in League history when the top three teams— Collingwood, Geelong and Hawthorn—lost just nine games between them. With its 20-2 record, Collingwood was the deserved minor premier. Only Essendon in 2000 and Geelong in 2008 negotiated the home and away season with a better win-loss record. Geelong ﬁnished with an imposing 19-3 record, while Hawthorn entered the ﬁnals with 18 wins from its 22 matches. They were staggeringly good performances over the course of the home and away season and, in most seasons, the records of the Cats and Hawks would have been good enough to ﬁnish on top of the ladder.
The brilliance of the top three gives rise this will be a belter of a ﬁnals series And, in keeping with the general excellence, West Coast ﬁnished fourth, having lost only ﬁve matches. It was the brilliance of the top three and the belief that each would start close to an even-money bet against the other that gives rise to hopes this will be a belter of a ﬁnals series. And here’s another fact to consider. The CollingwoodGeelong-Hawthorn trifecta marks the ﬁrst time since 1947 (Carlton-Essendon-Fitzroy) that the top three on the ladder were the three most recent premiership winners. It is the sort of statistic that concerns those who argue that the gaps between the rich and
SCREAMERS REVISITED: The speccy is back—and how! Magpie Andrew Krakouer (far left), Blue Andrew Walker (above), Magpie Dale Thomas (right), Swan Adam Goodes (right) and Demon Jack Trengove all laid claim to the Hungry Jack’s mark of the year.
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2011 IN REVIEW powerful are continuing to widen. Certainly, the Magpies, Cats and Hawks are well-managed clubs with deep ﬁnancial resources. But to say the success of those three clubs this year is solely down to their deep pockets is to sell them short. Outstanding recruiting has helped Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse develop excellent depth, so that when Nick Maxwell, Heath Shaw, Nathan Brown, Alan Didak, Darren Jolly and Chris Dawes all missed signiﬁcant amounts of the season, the Pies could call on quality AFL-ready players to replace them. Luke Rounds, Tom Young, Alex Fasolo, Lachlan Keefe and Ben Sinclair all look accomplished at senior level. At Geelong, the Cats chose wisely in Chris Scott to replace dual premiership coach Mark Thompson. The former Brisbane Lions hard man tweaked the game-plan and stoked the competitive ﬂames of a veteran squad that many believed didn’t have another premiership run in it. And the Cats seamlessly covered the loss of superstar Gary Ablett, who went north to become the inaugural skipper of Gold Coast. At Hawthorn, Alastair Clarkson earned himself another three years as coach by developing a new style of football that places a premium on methodical and pinpoint disposal out of the backline to a forward line that allows Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli to weave their unique and spectacular skills. That the Hawks ﬁnished where they did despite the loss to season-ending injuries of key defender Stephen Gilham and ard Jarryd Roughead was a forward an outstanding feat. Rounding out the top four was West Coast, a remarkable
AT A GLANCE
The biggest margin of the year, when Geelong defeated Melbourne at Skilled Stadium in round 19.
Hawthorn’s Clinton Young applies a tackle on Collingwood’s Luke Rounds, one of several young Pies to debut this season.
Sadly for Port Adelaide, it endured a season from hell story. The Eagles won the wooden spoon last year and were considered good things to ﬁnish at or near the bottom again; many believed coach John Worsfold would lose his job. But champion ruckman Dean Cox and star midﬁelder Daniel Kerr overcame their injuries and returned to form, Josh Kennedy developed into an elite forward and Worsfold developed a formidable full-ground press the envy of many other clubs. Throw in a fearsome home-ground advantage and he way the Eagles marched all the into a qualifying ﬁnal.
The other end of the ladder threw up stories of a different kind. Sadly for Port Adelaide, it endured a season from hell. It was the ﬁrst team to lose to the Suns and, with the exception of a Showdown win over Adelaide and others against Richmond and Melbourne, was largely non-competitive. The nadir for the Power came in rounds 20 and 21, when beaten by Collingwood by 138 points (at home) and by the Hawks by 165 points at the MCG. Blowouts were something of a regular occurrence in 2011. Ten games ended in margins
The only player to kick 10 goals in a game this year was West Coast’s Josh Kennedy, who did it against the Western Bulldogs in round nine at Patersons Stadium.
The highest attendance of the year, on Anzac Day at the MCG, when Collingwood beat Essendon by 30 points.
Western Bulldogs captain Matthew Boyd led the competition in total disposals, collecting the ball 701 times in 22 games at an average of 32 3 2 an outing.
2011 201 11 THE STATS LEADING KICK-GETTERS L
COLEMAN COL LEM MEDAL
« Lance Franklin Hawthorn
« Dane Swan n
Matthew Boyd d
Scott Thompson Thompsson
Ryan Griﬀen Griﬀen
Kade Simpson n
Scott Pendlebury Pendleb bur
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2011 IN REVIEW of more than 100 points, with the biggest margin of the year the 186-point hammering of Melbourne by Geelong at Skilled Stadium in round 19 that led to the sacking of Demons coach Dean Bailey. The Cats belted the Suns by 150 points the following Saturday. By that time, Geelong boasted an average winning margin at home for the season of 99 points. There was no coming back for either the Demons or the Suns when they went down to the Cats at Skilled. But there were some memorable comebacks over the course of the season, as teams rebounded from the brink to register famous wins. In round nine, Adelaide held a 23-point lead six minutes into the ﬁnal quarter before the Pies rattled on 11 unanswered goals to win by 43 points. A fortnight later at the MCG, Fremantle led Hawthorn by more than four goals nearly 10 minutes into the ﬁnal quarter before the Hawks erupted with eight straight goals to win by 20 points. Then, in round 23 at Etihad Stadium, bottom team Port Adelaide led Essendon by 34 points early in the last quarter, before the Bombers rattled on seven goals, to get the win by seven points and book their place in the ﬁnals. The new substitute rule left much of the AFL world in a spin months before its introduction. Instead of four-man interchange benches, clubs were restricted to three on the bench and one substitute. Players expressed their concerns about the impact of the rule on their overall ﬁtness, especially their capacity to recover and get back into training after games. Interestingly, Essendon skipper Jobe Watson had
STICKING POINT: The AFL’s new substitute rule created plenty of comment.
Essendon’s Jobe Watson proposed a sit-in by the Bombers and the Bulldogs as a form of protest proposed a sit-in by the Bombers and the Bulldogs during a NAB Cup game as a form of protest. A few coaches, notably Collingwood’s Mick Malthouse, were also vociferous in their opposition. Clubs took time to come to grips with the new rule. There were several instances when teams made early substitutions for tactical reasons and were then caught out by injuries, meaning they had two (or sometimes fewer) players to rotate off tthe bench for the rest r of the match.
As the season wore on, coaches eventually worked out not to deploy their substitute player until late in the third or early in the ﬁnal quarter, unless injuries caused them to make an earlier change. And they also better came to understand how to parlay the sub rule to their advantage, often nominating running players as the sub and then giving them a brief to add zip and spark during a tight ﬁnal quarter. Many outside the bubble— including commentators
and spectators—loved the rule. Early in the season, it led to some frantic ﬁnal quarters, as exhausted players willed themselves to contest after contest. It also led to less congested and more free-ﬂowing football, which the AFL said it was aiming to achieve when it introduced the rule. The other contentious rule change was the one that left the onus on an infringed player, rather than the umpire, to determine whether to take advantage and play on. Unlike the sub rule, opinion remains divided on a rule that, in some cases, appeared more like a ‘disadvantage rule’, with players instinctively taking one or two steps after a free kick before realising there was no advantage in doing so.
2011 THE STATS LEADING MARK-TAKERS Bryce Gibbs Travis Cloke
MOST HANDBALLS M 170 170
Matt M att Priddis P
Scott Sc cott Thompson T
Da aniel Cross Daniel
Western Bulldogs 323
Heath Scotland Carlton
Ch hris Judd J Chris
Sc cott Pendlebury P Scott Collingwood
Sim mon Black Simon
Western Bulldogs 303
Ma atthe Boyd Matthew
Ga ary A Gary Ablett
An ndrew Swallow Andrew
Ma arc Murphy M Marc
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2011 IN REVIEW EARLY EXIT:
Rodney Eade was informed by the Bulldogs after round 21 that his contract would not be renewed.
player returned to competitive football in 2010 after completing a 16-month prison sentence and swept the awards pool in the WAFL in winning the Sandover and Simpson medals, playing in a premiership and winning his club’s best and fairest award. Collingwood pounced in the draft and, despite three years out of the AFL, Krakouer added speed and skill to a team already brimming with talent. In 2010, Geelong’s James Podsiadly was the face of the AFL’s mature-aged recruits. This year, it was the 28-year-old Krakouer, as clubs cast their recruiting nets far and wide,
By that stage, as we saw several times, umpires signalled play on and the beneﬁt of the free kick was entirely negated. The 2011 season will, in part, be remembered for some great high marks. With a tendency for increased longer kicking thought to be a factor, the ﬁeld for the mark of the year is as deep as it has been for many years. Andrew Krakouer (Collingwood), Nic Naitanui (West Coast), Adam Goodes (Sydney), Dale Thomas (Collingwood) and Andrew Walker (Carlton) were among those who had commentators reaching for the superlatives as they jumped high and landed hard. Some of the marks were simply breathtaking. Krakouer featured in one of the AFL’s fairytale comeback stories. The former Richmond
partly as a result of the draft pool being diminished by the arrival of the Suns (and the Greater Western Sydney Giants next season). Norwood pair Nick Duigan (Carlton) and Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn) enjoyed ﬁne seasons, while a blistering VFL Grand Final performance last year elevated North Ballarat speedster Isaac Smith up the draft pecking order and he gave the Hawks desperately needed run and carry. Cam Pedersen emerged from the Box Hill Hawks to give North Melbourne great key position depth at both ends of the ground. Coaches new and old generated plenty of news in 2011.
Krakouer featured in one of the AFL’s fairytale comeback stories
2011 THE STATS
Guy McKenna ofﬁcially started his AFL coaching career after guiding the ﬂedgling Gold Coast through its stints in the TAC and the VFL competitions. McKenna’s work could not be judged on wins and losses alone. Almost every player on the Suns’ list was looked at as McKenna worked out who would be part of the club’s long-term future. The club enjoyed some electrifying moments, such as its ﬁrst win, over Port Adelaide. It had fallen behind by seven goals before storming home for a famous victtory. The win over the Brisbane Lions in the inaugural regional QClash a fortnight later was also sweet. Chris Scott must have thought the AFL coaching caper was a breeze. Geelong scraped past St Kilda in the season-opener and then proceeded to win the next 12 straight. In doing so, Scott broke the record of South Melbourne’s Johnny Leonard for consecutive wins on debut. (Leonard won 10 straight in 1932 after taking over as coach of South Melbourne.) John Longmire stepped in for Paul Roos in Sydney and guided the Swans to their eighth ﬁnals series in 10 years. The Swans do not like drastic rebuilds and Longmire continued to oversee a tinkering of the squad without letting it slide too far down the ladder. James Hird took over Essendon amid great fanfare, with Mark Thompson by his side as a mentor. The dual Geelong premiership coach had left Skilled Stadium citing exhaustion. With ﬁve wins and a draw from their ﬁrst eight matches, the Bombers were all the rage for a top-four ﬁnish. Five straight defeats then followed but, by making the ﬁnals despite a crippling injury
Chris Judd battles for possession under pressure from Eagle Scott Selwood.
Scott Selwood West Coast
Adam Goodes A
M Matthew Boyd Western Bulldogs
Ryan Griﬀen Western Bulldogs 130 R Sydney Swans
Q Quinten Lynch West Coast
Andrew Swallow North Melbourne 145
T Travis Cloke
D Dane Swan
T Trent Cotchin
K Kade Simpson
L Luke Shuey
C Chris Judd
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2011 IN REVIEW list, Hird’s maiden coaching season was outstanding. The same can not be said for Port Adelaide’s Matthew Primus, whose ﬁrst full season will be remembered as the worst in Port’s AFL existence. It took a famous and historic win over Melbourne in the ﬁrst AFL game at Adelaide Oval on the last day of the home and away season for Port to get off the bottom of the ladder. Next season will also feature at least three new coaches. Joining Bailey as departures from the coaching scene were Adelaide’s Neil Craig and the Western Bulldogs’ Rodney Eade. Craig pulled stumps in the aftermath of a 103-point thrashing by St Kilda in round 18, in which the Crows managed a measly 3.6 (24). Eade was told after round 21 that his seven-year tenure with the Bulldogs was over. Despite three straight top-four ﬁnishes from 2008-10, a slump in form this year led to the Bulldogs seeking new blood. The Bulldogs’ decline was nearly matched by that of St Kilda. Coming off two years of Grand Final disappointment and a tumultuous off-season, the Saints were just about done after the ﬁrst three rounds. They lost to Geelong after leading for most of the night in the ﬁrst round and then followed with a draw against Richmond and a loss to Essendon. All up, St Kilda won just one of its ﬁrst seven matches and, although it rallied well to climb back into the eight, it does not look a serious ﬂag contender. Carlton enjoyed a great season. The Blues ﬁnished the home and away season with 14-and-a-half wins, which in just about any other season would have been good enough for the double chance. The Blues had to settle for ﬁfth and the difﬁcult job of
FAREWELL: Port Adelaide
premiership stalwart Chad Cornes acknowledges fans after his last game.
Judd will start the shortest favourite in many years to take home the Brownlow winning four ﬁnals to win the ﬂag. But if there was a consolation for the Blues, it was the brilliant form of Chris Judd. If the Carlton skipper surprised us with his Brownlow Medal win last year, there will be few raised eyebrows if he wins a third later this month. Judd was in outstanding touch all year, dominating most of the media awards, and will start the shortest favourite in many years to take home the Brownlow. He would become just the ﬁfth player in League history to win the coveted prize three times. The Coleman Medal went to a previous winner. Hawthorn’s
Lance Franklin was not as proliﬁc as in 2008 or as spectacular as last year, but he banged the goals through on a regular basis and, with several bursts through the midﬁeld and a renewed appetite for contested marking, he emerged as a more rounded footballer. However, his ﬁnal tally of 71 goals, the lowest for a Coleman medallist since Hawk Leigh Matthews kicked 68 in 1975, again raised the question about whether the days of the triple-ﬁgure goalkicker were over. The full-forward ranks lost a rts when Barry Hall pair of stalwarts adshaw haw retired. retired and Daniel Bradshaw d after two Hall called itt a day
ﬁne seasons with the Western Bulldogs, but surprised many with his admission that, in retirement, he will feel more disposed to the Dogs than to Sydney, the club he captained to a premiership in 2005. His Swans teammate from that season, Craig Bolton, also retired after struggling with injury, while other notable departures included the Brisbane Lions three-time premiership player Luke Power, Port Adelaide premiership players Chad Cornes and Dean Brogan, the Bulldogs’ Mitch Hahn and Ben Hudson, North Melbourne’s Brady Rawlings, Fremantle’s Roger Hayden, Gold Coast’s Daniel Harris and Essendon’s Mark Williams. Geelong’s Cameron Mooney and Collingwood’s Leigh Brown also signalled their intention to retire when their 2011 campaigns p g were over.
2011 THE STATS MOST HIT-OUTS
MOST REBOUNDS FROM 50 Nathan Bock
Matthew Leuenberger Brisbane Lions
Western Bulldogs 111
North Melbourne 7411
Graham Johncock Adelaide
Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein led the competition with 741 hit-outs.
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40 YEARS OF ELIMINATION AND QUALIFYING FINALS
The evolution of the expanded ﬁnals system over the past 40 years has been a winner for the AFL and fans alike.
MICH A EL STE V ENS
t was dubbed the “get rich quick ﬁnals series” in 1972 when the ﬁnal ﬁve became a reality and the structure of the Victorian Football League ﬁnals changed for the ﬁrst time since the Page-McIntyre ﬁnal-four system was introduced in 1931. With VFL Park in Melbourne’s outer south-east added to the mix, clubs received a windfall allocation of $43,780, almost double the previous year’s $22,040.
It took considerable lobbying to get the initiative passed by three quarters of the clubs Gross receipts more than doubled—from $439,665 for four ﬁnals matches at the MCG, to $914,949 for the six ﬁnals played for the ﬁrst time 40 years ago. Bearing in mind that a series ﬁnal ticket cost $7.20 for an adult and $4 for children, the ﬁnal ﬁve was a ﬁnancial bonanza. Even the players received a bonus—they were voted an increase of $2 to $14 for 90
every match, paid into the VFL provident fund. The prospect of ﬁnancial riches for the clubs would have been the obvious selling point when the VFL Board ﬁrst mooted the suggestion of an expanded ﬁnals series. But it took considerable lobbying to get the initiative passed by three quarters of the clubs. Minutes show the issue was ﬁrst discussed at board level on April 14, 1971, but it was felt the ﬁnal ﬁve would not receive the required support. It was not mentioned again until a meeting on November 17, before it was passed at a special meeting on December 1, 1971. The Age newspaper reported that nine clubs voted for the plan and three against, with the dissenters being Melbourne, Collingwood and South Melbourne. Magpies president Tom Sherrin was an outspoken critic of the plan. “We would be strongly opposed to it,” he said. “Some people would kill the game for the sake of a few dollars. Any new ideas would be purely to make money. “There is some merit in a team making the ﬁnal four, but not in the top ﬁve out of 12. Where
CUTTHROAT: Past Football Records
for eliminations ﬁnals, which have been keenly contested aﬀairs.
WINNING FEELING: Farren Ray and
his St Kilda teammates are set to play in an elimination ﬁnal against the Sydney Swans.
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40 YEARS OF ELIMINATION LIMINATION AND QUALIFYING FINALS would we go next? Would we bring in ﬁnals for six or seven clubs?” n In hindsight, the VFL decision was a masterstroke, even if it caused considerable angst in itss ne relationship with the Melbourne Cricket Club, custodian of the MCG, where all ﬁnals were previously played. ve But not even the VFL could have predicted the undoubted successs of the 1972 ﬁnals series, the proceeds of which were swelled considerably by a drawn second semi-ﬁnal between Carlton and Richmond at VFL Park. That match ended in en sensational circumstances when ﬁeld umpire Ian Coates was d punched in the back of the head n and kneed in the kidneys by an 18-year-old spectator—despite being escorted off the ground by al two mounted police and several police on foot. The concept of the ﬁnal ﬁve was also sold to the clubs on the basis that the top three on the ladder would have a doublee chance in the ﬁnals, and that it would enhance competition forr fourth and ﬁfth spots. VFL administrative director Eric McCutchan stressed the team ﬁnishing top would still have a double chance, despite a bye during the ﬁrst week of the ﬁnals. Under the new system, two extra ﬁnals were played to decide second and fourth—a qualifying ﬁnal between the second and third teams, and an elimination ﬁnal between fourth and ﬁfth. The loser of the elimination match was out of the ﬁnals race and the winner of the qualifying ﬁnal met the top team in the second semi-ﬁnal. Essentially, after the first week, the remaining four clubs played out the finals under the Page-McIntyre final-four system. Apart from the ﬁnancial beneﬁts, the new system had much to recommend it. Sometimes in the past, only ﬁve or six clubs appeared to have any chance to make the ﬁnals after they had played each other once during the 22-round home and away season. Under the new system, clubs as low as ninth or 10th position late in the season could at times entertain some hope of making it to ﬁfth. For example, in 1976, Melbourne was 10th with four rounds to play and only just failed to make the ﬁve. 92
MEMORABLE: Richmond and Collingwood met in front
of 91,615 fans in the 1972 qualifying ﬁnal.
For the ﬁrst time in years, gaining top place had a distinct advantage. With a bye in the opening week, that team had to win only two matches for the premiership, whereas second and third had to play three ﬁnals. With the double chance applying to those three teams, it meant they could afford a loss in the qualifying or second semi-ﬁnal. This system lasted until 1991 when a ﬁnal six was introduced to cater for a 15-team competition after the introduction of Adelaide, and 24 home and away rounds. Initially, under a ﬁnal six, two elimination ﬁnals were played: ﬁfth versus sixth, and third versus fourth. First and second also played in a qualifying ﬁnal with the loser of that match still enjoying a second chance. In the second week, the remaining clubs in order of qualifying ﬁnal winner, second elimination ﬁnal winner, qualifying ﬁnal loser and ﬁrst
elimination ﬁnal winner then played out the ﬁnals as per the Page-McIntyre ﬁnal-four system with the ﬁrst and second semi-ﬁnals in week two. The ﬁnal six was further revised in 1992 with the ﬁrst elimination ﬁnal now featuring fourth versus ﬁfth and the second, third versus sixth. First and second still played off in a qualifying ﬁnal. In week two, the winner of the qualifying ﬁ nal played the higher-placed elimination ﬁ nal winner in the second semi-ﬁ nal, and the loser of the qualifying ﬁ nal played the lower-placed elimination ﬁ nal winner. Despite the advantage of a bye and a week’s rest, not all teams ﬁnishing ﬁrst were assured of the premiership. In 1973, Collingwood ﬁnished eight points clear on top, yet failed to make the Grand Final, and again in 1977, lost the Grand Final replay to North Melbourne, despite ﬁnishing top.
Despite a week’s rest, not all teams ﬁnishing ﬁrst were assured of the premiership
In 1980, Geelong ﬁnished ﬁrst o on percentage from Carlton, b but lost the second semi-ﬁnal to R Richmond, and then was booted fr from the ﬁnals by Collingwood w when it lost the preliminary ﬁnal by four points. In 1983, North Melbourne ﬁnished a game clear on top, but w went out after losing to Hawthorn in the second semi-ﬁnal, and E Essendon in the preliminary. Conversely, in the 19 seasons of th the ﬁnal ﬁve, only Collingwood (1 (1980) Essendon (1983) and M Melbourne (1988) advanced to th the Grand Final after winning the el elimination ﬁnal, with none of th those three being premier. Both the elimination and qu qualifying ﬁnals provided m memorable moments for the V VFL, none more so than in 1972 w when powerhouses Richmond an and Collingwood met in front of 9 91,615 people at the MCG in a qu qualifying ﬁnal. The Magpies, minus champion fu full-forward Peter McKenna but w with Brownlow medallist Len T Thompson in the team, had no aanswer to the Tigers. Richmond led at every change aand, with centre half-forward Royce Hart kicking six goals and wingman Francis Bourke dominating, won 25.14 (164) to 18.12 (120). St Kilda dented Essendon’s ﬁnals hopes in the ﬁrst two years of elimination ﬁnals at VFL Park, winning by 53 points in 1972 and 67 points in 1973. In 1980, Collingwood disposed of North Melbourne by eight points in the elimination ﬁnal with ruckman Peter Moore outstanding and Ray Shaw kicking four goals. The Magpies also defeated Carlton in the ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal and Geelong in the preliminary, but were no match for the Tigers in the Grand Final, losing 9.24 (78) to 23.21 (159). Richmond rover Kevin Bartlett kicked seven goals, giving him a record-equalling 21 for the ﬁnals series. Fitzroy proved Essendon’s nemesis in elimination ﬁnals on at least two occasions. In 1981, the Lions won by ﬁve points, before losing the ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal to Collingwood by a point, and in 1986, got up by a point when Mick Conlan kicked the winning goal at the 27-minute mark of the ﬁnal quarter. In the last quarter of that 1981 elimination ﬁnal, Essendon’s Ron Andrews kicked three goals when moved from defence to full-forward.
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40 YEARS OF ELIMINATION AND QUALIFYING FINALS
PHOTO: FAIRFAX PHOTOS
Helmeted rover Garry Wilson then snapped a brilliant left-foot goal to regain the lead for the Lions. The 1985 elimination ﬁnal between Carlton and North Melbourne provided a stunning result when the Roos, trailing by more than 30 points in the third term and still by 17 points at three-quarter time, kicked eight goals in the last quarter to win by 19 points. Wayne Schimmelbusch ran himself to a standstill during the game and, in an emotional aftermath, coach John Kennedy singled him out for special praise. Unfortunately, Schimmelbusch injured his knee at training the following week and was absent for the ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal when North lost by 30 points to Footscray. Andrew Demetriou, now the AFL CEO, was among the Roos’ best. In 1987 and 1988, Melbourne advanced from the elimination ﬁnal, only for its dream run to ﬁnish in tears on both occasions. Jim Stynes fell foul of coach John Northey in 1987 when he ran across the mark, conceding a 15m penalty which allowed Hawthorn’s Gary Buckenara to kick the winning goal after the siren in the preliminary ﬁnal. Then, the following year, after accounting for West Coast by two points in the elimination ﬁnal, Melbourne advanced to its ﬁrst Grand Final since 1964, only to lose to Hawthorn again, this time by 96 points—then the biggest Grand Final loss in history. Players are usually judged on their performances in ﬁnals, and Geelong’s Billy Brownless was a towering force in qualifying ﬁnals in 1992, 1994 and 1995. Remarkably, Footscray was on the receiving end on each occasion. In 1992, Brownless kicked nine goals in the Cats’ winning score of 26.16 (172) to the Bulldogs’ 17.9 (111)—still a qualifying ﬁnal record. In 1994, Brownless became a villain among Footscray supporters when he goaled with a kick after the siren to give Geelong the points, 15.16 (106) to 15.11 (101). The following year, the Cats kicked the highest ﬁrst-quarter score in a qualifying ﬁnal—10.2— on the way to inﬂicting an embarrassing 82-point loss on the Dogs, 24.11 (155) to 10.13 (73).
DECIDER: Fitzroy rover Garry Wilson (right) snapped a crucial goal in the 1981 elimination ﬁnal against Essendon.
Once again, Brownless was dominant with six goals. Little did Tom Sherrin realise the prophecy of his words, but the ﬁnal eight did become a reality in 1994 when McIntyre created a new system to cater for the entry of a 16th team (Fremantle) the following season. Under this new system, four qualifying ﬁnals were played in the ﬁrst week, designated from one to four in the following order—fourth versus ﬁfth, third versus sixth, second versus seventh and ﬁrst versus eighth. After the qualifying ﬁnals, teams were ranked according to their ﬁnishing order, with the highest-ranked winners being rated one to four, and the same with the losers. The two lowest-ranked losers overall were eliminated and the two highest-ranked winners overall had a bye in the second week and proceeded to the ﬁrst and second preliminary ﬁnals. The ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal was played between winner four and loser two, and the second semi-ﬁnal between winner three and loser one.. The winner of the ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal advanced to the COLLOSUS: Billy Brownless kicked a record nine goals in the 1992 qualifying ﬁnal against Footscray.
second preliminary ﬁnal against the highest-ranked winner after the ﬁrst week, and the winner of the second semi to the ﬁrst preliminary against the secondranked winner. In 2000, a simpliﬁed ﬁnal-eight system was introduced, which guaranteed a double chance to the top four teams on the ladder after the home and away season. In the ﬁrst week, ﬁrst plays fourth, second meets third, ﬁfth takes on eighth and sixth faces seventh. In its ﬁrst year of
operation, the all-conquering Essendon inﬂicted a 125-point thrashing on North Melbourne in the ﬁrst qualifying ﬁnal on the way to the premiership. With the addition of 17th and 18th teams in 2011 and 2012, some felt the AFL might succumb to pressure to further expand the ﬁnal contenders. But, in June, the AFL announced the ﬁnal-eight system would remain at least until 2013, as would the 22-round home and away season.
Billy Brownless was a towering force in qualifying ﬁnals in 1992, 1994 and 1995
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OFF AND RUNNING:
Collingwood’s Phil Manassa eludes North Melbourne’s John Cassin as he embarks on his famous run and goal in the 1977 drawn Grand Final. 96
LISTEN UP: Although
the premiership eventually eluded them, Tom Hafey took the Magpies from a wooden spoon in 1976 to top place on the ladder in 1977, at the time the biggest turnaround in League history.
1977 Magpies’ year of redemption Collingwood went from last to ﬁrst in 1977, much the same way West Coast made the top four in 2011 after their ﬁrst wooden spoon. GLENN McFA R L A NE
he contrast could hardly have been starker. In the months leading up to the 1976 season, Collingwood players embarked on a trip to Thailand that was meant to be a team-bonding exercise. But for some, it turned into an experience normally reserved for end-of-season trips. “I can tell you, it deﬁnitely wasn’t like Arizona,” former Magpie defender and now Sydney Swans football manager Andrew Ireland recalled, comparing what happened back then to the rigorous pre-season training camp Collingwood conducts annually in the United States. In many ways, it was a precursor to a season of political unrest and personality clashes that dragged the club to the bottom of the ladder for the ﬁrst time. Twelve months later, most of those same Magpie players— many of them likely chastened by that historic wooden spoon—pounded the pavements of the suburbs surrounding Victoria Park in Melbourne’s inner north like never before. Under the watchful eye of new coach Tom Hafey, the ﬁrst ‘outsider’ coach in the club’s long history, Collingwood aimed to become the ﬁttest team in the competition.
“It was really tough,” Ireland said. “I’ll never forget one night, it might have been the ﬁrst run we did after Christmas. “Tommy had us run from the ground around the (Yarra) Boulevard and up to the hill into Kew Junction. We came back and then we had to do four 400s, 300s, 200s, 100s, and 200s, 300s and 400s. “We were all really tired, and we thought that was going to be the end of it. But then he made us do relay races.” With an almost fanatical approach to training, a change in playing philosophy, as dictated by the four-time Richmond premiership coach, and with a collective cause to make amends for the sins of 1976, the Magpies set about making the 1977 season one to remember. Twelve months after ﬁnishing last, they ended the home and away season on top. And even if Hafey’s team didn’t win the premiership—they came agonisingly close by drawing the Grand Final—it remains the biggest turnaround in a club’s fortunes in a League season. In 1976, Collingwood created unwanted history on two fronts. The club that had previously proudly boasted it had never won a wooden spoon, did just that for the ﬁrst time, and also became the team with the most wins (six) to ﬁnish last, a record it still holds. Coach Murray Weideman and the club’s outspoken AFL RECORD
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1977 Magpies’ year of redemption
president Ern Clarke had a fractured relationship. After much angst, it culminated in Clarke’s resignation midway through the season. The club’s season was already in a nosedive. There were schisms among the players, with the Richardson brothers (Wayne and Max) demoted brieﬂy to the reserves. Injuries impacted signiﬁcantly and the team performed inconsistently. Ireland recalled: “Given we had been in the ﬁnals for a long stretch (1969-75), we clearly underachieved (in 1976). “I’ve got to say that I never went down the race thinking that Collingwood wouldn’t win. But, in 1976, it was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ It was just one of those years where things didn’t really go our way, but we probably didn’t help our own cause.” Collingwood’s best and fairest in 1976, Robert Hyde, said it was unfair to blame any one individual for what happened that season, including coach Weideman, whom he acknowledged as a “legend” of the club. “But for one reason or another, nothing seemed to go right for us,” Hyde said. Weideman had already decided he would return to Adelaide, and Hafey’s time at Richmond had come to an acrimonious end. So when Collingwood’s new president John Hickey and his board went against a long-standing tradition of choosing a Collingwood person to coach the club, he knew Hafey was the man to move the goalposts. Hafey had watched the Magpies in 1976, and instinctively knew that pride would drive the players to rebound. “I felt that whoever was going to coach them, they were going to come up a bit better,” Hafey said. “I was working on the theory the players would be self-motivated. I just felt they would be so disappointed that this great club had for the ﬁrst time ﬁnished on the bottom of the ladder. “They probably got hounded for it.” The ﬁrst thing Hafey changed was the ﬁtness regimen. He drew on the services of his brother, Peter, a former professional runner, who played a role in the pre-season and during the season as Hafey’s runner. 98
DEMOTED: Magpie stars Max (left) and Wayne Richardson were dropped to the reserves in 1976, as the club threatened to implode (above) on its way to its ﬁrst wooden spoon.
Tom came in and there was whole lot of structure about our fitness levels. They would have risen by 70 or 80 per cent ROBERT HYDE
“We ﬁnished last in 1976 with a percentage of 86 and having lost 16 games, so we knew we had a team,” Max Richardson recalled last year in the Herald Sun. “Tommy joined the club, though we didn’t see him much until February. His brother Peter took us in ﬁtness work for 10 weeks before Christmas. We were seriously ﬁt.” Hyde recalled the presence of Hafey—who was 45 at the time—on the punishing runs helped to inspire the players. “Tom came in and there was a whole lot of structure about our ﬁtness levels,” Hyde said. “They would have risen by about 70 or 80 per cent, I reckon.
“I remember going on 10km runs and he would be passing you halfway, and telling you to hurry up.” The Magpies recruited Stan Magro and Kevin Worthington from Western Australia, Ricky Barham, Gerald Betts and Chris Perry. And Sam Kekovich, a premiership player with North Melbourne, had a short-lived four-game stint with the club. Barham later said it was Hafey’s ability to bring the group together that was his greatest strength. For a time, it appeared Collingwood’s back-up ruckman to Len Thompson, Peter Moore, who had played 42 games for 24 goals to the
start of 1977, would be leased to South Fremantle in return for Magro. Fortunately, for Collingwood, it never happened. Moore played forward in 1977, kicking 76 goals in his 22 games before winning the Brownlow Medal as a ruckman two years later. Hafey’s Magpies won eight of their ﬁrst nine games. The only loss in that time was against North Melbourne, in round two by nine points. The biggest clash of those early wins came in round four, against Richmond in a game that 18 years later would be used as the catalyst to establish what has become a modern football tradition. On Anzac Day, 1977, more than 92,000 fans—at that stage the second biggest home and away crowd of all-time, and still the fourth highest—crammed into the MCG as Hafey came up against his old club. One of Hafey’s former disciples, Kevin Sheedy, the man who later used this game as part of his brainwave for the Essendon-Collingwood Anzac Day concept in 1995, felt lost without his former coach and friend. The Magpies narrowly led at half-time, and the ﬁrst passage of play after the main break still resonates with Sheedy and Hafey, 34 years on. “I had a feeling that a couple of Richmond players might have been a bit upset that I was up against them,” Hafey recalled. “Richmond got the ﬁrst kick after half-time and Kevin Sheedy kicked the ball 70m the wrong
way. It was the best kick he had done in his life.” Looking back on the moment he still lists as one of the hardest of his playing career, Sheedy said: “I just had a bit of a mind lapse ... I hated playing against Tom Hafey (as coach). “I kicked the ball straight to (Collingwood forward) Phil Carman. I remember saying to Francis Bourke, ‘Stop playing off your man’. ‘Bourkey’ didn’t like that. “What Tommy managed with that Collingwood team was unbelievable. I rate it right up there—probably better than John Worsfold’s effort (with West Coast) this year,” he said. For a time, it was thought the win over Richmond was Collingwood’s 1000th in League company. Only after the fact was it found to have been the 999th; the Pies had to wait one more week (when they posted a 15-point win over Geelong at Victoria Park) to become the ﬁrst to 1000. There was little doubt the Magpies were on the march after that famous Anzac Day win. That win over the Tigers, by 26 points, was one of seven straight, the streak broken by a loss to South Melbourne in round 10, also by 26 points. Five wins in a row followed in the middle of the season before a ﬁve-point loss to Geelong in round 16. The club’s only other loss of the home and away season was by six points to another contender, Hawthorn, in round 20. Hafey recalled: “I was right. The players were super motivated because of the poor year in 1976. They were fantastic to work with.” Hyde said the players were “regenerated” by the change. “You just knew in games that the preparation you had was never going to let you down,” he said. He said Hafey’s philosophy— as simple as it sounds three-and-a-half decades on— resonated with the group. “You beat your man, and you took the long option rather than the short one,” Hyde said. Ireland agreed: “People say (Hafey’s game-plan) was characterised as simply kicking the ball long, but he was quite tactical in terms of getting numbers where the ball was, and getting players to leave their area to get more numbers
DRAINED: Len Thompson
(foreground) and Ricky Barham are exhausted after the 1977 drawn Grand Final.
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1977 Magpies’ year of redemption somewhere else, as long as other players moved around as a result.” Collingwood ﬁnished a game clear of Hawthorn, with North Melbourne, coached by Ron Barassi, a further two games back. Keeping to the fairytale script of redemption, the Magpies narrowly overcame the Hawks in the second semi-ﬁnal, by two points. Thompson, who later won the Copeland Trophy for a ﬁfth time, was best aﬁeld, and Carman booted four goals. But in keeping to the enigmatic nature of Carman’s career, a moment of madness cost him—and Collingwood— dearly. Only later was it understood just how costly his indiscretion was. Carman struck Hawk Michael Tuck and the subsequent two-week suspension meant the controversial but brilliant forward known as ‘Fabulous’ missed the Grand Final, as well as the replay. Collingwood led the Grand Final—the ﬁrst to be telecast live in Victoria and the ﬁrst featuring pre-game entertainment (in this case, Barry Crocker singing The Impossible Dream)—by 27 points at three-quarter time against an inaccurate North Melbourne. A remarkable ﬁnal term saw the Kangaroos ﬁght back and regain the lead before Ross ‘Twiggy’ Dunne took a memorable pack mark and kicked a ﬂat torpedo through to level the scores. It was only the second Grand Final draw in League history. A week later, a seemingly fresher North Melbourne won the replay by the same margin Collingwood had led by at the last change the week before. There was criticism later from some members of the team, including Ray Shaw, who voiced those thoughts again after last year’s Grand Final, that Hafey trained the team too hard in the lead-up to the replay. Ireland accepts the team trained very hard before the replay, but concedes it was the hard edge they had developed in the ﬁrst place that had got them where they were. But the absence of Carman was a major factor in both games. “Fabulous Phil cost us in the end,” Hyde said. “But that was his nature. He was unpredictable 100
TWO HIGH JUMPS
» Collingwood ﬁnished with six wins in 1976 and ‘won’ the club’s ﬁrst wooden spon. The next season, it posted 18 victories and ﬁnished in ﬁrst spot after the home and away matches. Last year, West Coast claimed its ﬁrst wooden spoon after winning only four matches; this season, the Eagles won 17 matches and ended the home and away season in fourth place.
ENIGMA: Phil Carman takes a speccy over Footscray’s Terry Wheeler during the 1977 season, but missed both Grand Finals after being reported in the preliminary ﬁnal.
Fabulous Phil cost us in the end, but that was his nature. He was unpredictable and you were always on edge about him ROBERT HYDE
and you were always on edge about him.” Ireland concurred: “I have little doubt we would have won the Grand Final if Carman had played. “I remember seeing some television footage (that week) and I reckon they showed about 20 incidents from the game and 19 of those were never reported. “You look at them now and all of them should have been reported. But I still don’t
know why he decided to give ‘Tucky’ one.” Two members of Collingwood’s 1977 team (Thompson and Wayne Gordon) are gone now, but the others still mix and mingle at club functions. Many are still close mates. As much as they are pleased with the fact they created history, they acknowledge the main prize didn’t come their way, and it remains the itch they cannot
scratch, as much as they have tried. “Nobody has ever done it (gone from last to ﬁrst) and won the premiership, so that would have been real history in the making,” Hyde said. “North Melbourne deserved it in the end, but I am sure it would have stuck in Tommy’s craw because he is a very proud man. “Who knows, if the (ﬁrst) Grand Final had’ve gone another 30 seconds, we might have won it. Shane Bond was streaming down the wing with the ball and might have banged home a point … “Still, you look at last year’s Grand Final draw (between Collingwood and St Kilda). If the ball bounces the other way, Stephen Milne might have won it for St Kilda. So maybe that was the payback.” Hafey’s Collingwood teams went on to play in the 1979, 1980 and 1981 Grand Finals. But Ireland maintains the 1977 side was the best. “Those other teams over the next few years weren’t really considered the best in the competition in those years,” he said. “But we were pretty close to it in 1977. It was probably the one that got away for us.” Hafey has maintained the same—that if Carman had not been so impetuous, the Magpies of 1977 might have become the centre of one of the greatest football stories. But, having just celebrated his 80th birthday, he doesn’t want to go over past sins. Like any good coach, past or present, his mind is always moving forwards. Hafey said losing the ’77 ﬂag was “a big disappointment”. Then, just to emphasise it, he repeats the words in such a tone to suggest that time has not totally dulled the pain of the experience for him, or his players.
T ED FORDHAM
Fordham – A Coleman protégé Essendon premiership hero Ted Fordham was a bona ﬁde star.
omewhere in the pages of football history, Ted Fordham’s story has been lost, an injustice for a player who can legitimately claim the tag ‘premiership hero’. When you add Coleman Medal winner to his football CV and a close association to the man the medal is named after, it is not quite right he has not been given the recognition he deserves. Some might argue he was a one-hit wonder but, on closer inspection, Fordham’s record puts him in pretty good company. He kicked seven goals in Essendon’s 1965 premiership side and, if they were handing out retrospective Norm Smith Medals, the Bomber spearhead, who started his career as a half-back ﬂanker and occasional half-forward, would be a shoo-in. In fact, the day we met at Docklands recently, Fordham raised the point he thought a Norm Smith Medal had been put aside for him at AFL headquarters. Alas, that is not the case, but I gave him the news that, in 2001, the AFL Record dusted off old tapes of Grand Finals from 1965-78 and selected a panel of past players and media experts to choose who they thought was best on ground in those 14 Grand Finals (the ﬁrst ‘ofﬁcial’ Norm Smith Medal was presented to Carlton’s Wayne Harmes in 1979). The list also features annually in the AFL Record Season Guide and I gave Fordham a copy of the 2011 Guide to keep as a permanent reminder of his achievement. The panel that judged the 1965 Grand Final—ex-players Nathan Burke (St Kilda) and Terry Wheeler (Footscray) and freelance football journalist Stephen Phillips—gave Fordham six votes, ahead of teammates John Birt, Brian Sampson and Ken Fraser, who all polled four votes.
MICH A EL LOV ET T
So he has an unofﬁcial Norm Smith Medal to go alongside the Coleman Medal he won the following year when he topped the VFL goalkicking at the end of the home and away season with 73 goals. His great regret is missing the presentation of retrospective Coleman Medals in 2004, when there was a mix-up over his invitation, which, sadly, never arrived. He has since been presented the medal. Part of that regret is what the Coleman Medal represents to Fordham and, by extension, the Essendon family.
I played my ﬁrst game under John Coleman and he was absolutely fantastic TED FORDHAM
Even today, 38 years after Coleman’s passing at the age of 44, Fordham talks in garrulous tones about the man who gave him his ﬁrst crack at League football, then turned him into a match-winning full-forward. “I played my ﬁrst game for Essendon in 1961 under John Coleman and he was absolutely fantastic,” Fordham said. “He had a wonderful ability to handle people one-on-one. He was a hard coach but he was fair. He could put you down one moment and pick you up the next … I like that in a coach.” He paused for a moment and looked ahead to the Bombers of today. “Do you know what?” he said, with a touch of excitement. “I think James Hird is a replica of John Coleman. He (Hird)
Ted Fordham recreates his Scanlen’s football card of the 1960s.
T ED FORDHAM
was a star like Coleman, he can handle men and he has a great footy brain. Coleman got a ﬂag in his second year (1962)—I have reminded ‘Hirdy’ of that.” Coleman was in his ﬁrst season as coach in 1961 when he succeeded another Bomber legend, Dick Reynolds, who had coached the club for the previous 21 seasons. Fordham was a local, recruited from Essendon Baptists-St John’s, a club which had provided the Bombers other premiership players of that era, including Fraser, Ron Evans and Don McKenzie. In his late teens, Fordham had to juggle his National Service commitments with his ambition to make the grade as a footballer, be it in the local league or the big league with Essendon. Somehow he managed both and he played in two under-age premierships and one senior premiership, all in successive years, for Essendon BaptistsSt John’s in the late 1950s. He joined Essendon’s under-19s in 1959, coached by another club legend, Bill Hutchison, and spent 1960 playing in the Bombers’ reserves. But it was Coleman’s appointment to succeed Reynolds in 1961 that was the catalyst for Fordham launching his League 104
FLYING HIGH: The 1960s saw the rise of the Bombers and Ted Fordham (top left) shared in plenty of good times. He is with
teammates, from left, Russell Blew (partly obscured), Charlie Payne, John Ellis and Ken Fletcher. Well-known supporter of the day, Ted Waterford, joined in the celebrations.
career, and for turning him into a premiership hero in 1965. Fordham made his VFL debut in the opening round of 1961, against North Melbourne at Arden Street. He played 10 games that year, mainly on the half-back ﬂank, and seven were in losses, which saw him in and out of the team. The Bombers ﬁnished seventh, with nine wins and a draw from its 18 games and it was the portent for natural improvement the following year. Essendon ﬁnished in top spot (16-2) in 1962 and won through to the Grand Final, but it had to wait an extra week to meet Carlton. The Blues and Geelong drew in the preliminary ﬁnal—a game best remembered for the Doug Wade-Peter Barry shorts-pulling incident. Late in the game, Wade, who had kicked six goals for the Cats, took a mark right in front of goal, but was ruled to have pulled the shorts of his Carlton opponent. Senior games were harder to come by for Fordham that season and he had managed just four in the early part of the year and made one more appearance in round 16.
But he was named an emergency for the Grand Final and couldn’t believe his luck when he was told to get changed before the game. “At 2.20pm, I was still stripped and ready to go. (Ruckman) Geoff Leek had a sore ankle and they got a medicine ball out and
into becoming a regular senior player. He played 14 games in 1963 as the Bombers missed the ﬁnals by percentage, and 16 in 1964, a deﬁning season for the then 24-year-old. Late in 1964, Coleman took Fordham aside and asked if he would like to play at
I wasn’t a very good kick for goal, but Coleman said it didn’t matter FORDHAM
gave him all these tests where he had to actually kick the big ball,” Fordham said. “In the end, they said he was right so I got back in my clothes and sat on the bench next to Coleman. “Years later, ‘Leeky’ told me he’d actually been kicking the medicine ball with his good foot … I think he was having me on, though.” Although not part of the premiership 20, Fordham knew he was close to Essendon’s best side and put all his energy
full-forward. The hook was that the greatest full-forward the game had seen—Coleman— would act as his tutor. “I wasn’t a very good kick for goal, but Coleman said it didn’t matter,” Fordham said. “He said he would teach me when to lead and how to position myself. He was a great believer in (full-forwards) standing on the far side of the goals as the ball came in because you’d give yourself a better chance of getting to the contest.” The new challenge had immediate results. In the last
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4, home and away game in 1964, Fordham kicked eight goals against South Melbourne at man, Windy Hill. He was no Coleman, g. but Bomber fans were smiling. After Essendon bowed out in the ﬁrst week of the 1964 ﬁnals, Fordham returned to nd goalkicking duties in 1965 and way throughout the home and away ut season was consistent without being spectacular. Then came his deﬁning moments: the preliminary ﬁnal against Collingwood, when he kicked six goals, and the da Grand Final, when he booted match-winning seven. The preliminary ﬁnal was a match tarnished by one of the most controversial incidents in the game’s history. With play down the other end of the ground, Essendon half-forward John Somerville was suddenly spotted lying unconscious on the ground; the only person near him was Magpie defender Duncan Wright. No charges were ever laid over the incident and, while Somerville has since passed on (in 1984), Fordham believes Wright, now 71, should give his version of what took place. “I’d love to know the truth. I’d like him (Wright) to come out and say, ‘I did do it or I didn’t do it’,” Fordham said. Fordham said he didn’t see what caused Somerville to go to ground, even though he was playing in the forward line himself. Losing their popular teammate for the Grand Final gave the Bombers even more incentive. “We’d come from fourth and in every ﬁnal we played, including the Grand Final, we were the underdogs,” Fordham said. On the eve of the Grand Final, Fordham picked up a copy of the Melbourne afternoon broadsheet, The Herald. As was tradition, its veteran chief football writer Alf Brown had written a preview that was so typical of the game’s coverage then. Long and analytical, it was a forum for Brown to offer his well-regarded opinions. But it also served as a means for any club ofﬁcial or coach who was close to Brown to not let a player, particularly a young one, get ahead of himself. “Alf wrote that maybe Fordham had played above himself in the preliminary ﬁnal. To this day, I have no 106
MOTIVATED: At 71,
Fordham is still working in his own business, driving a delivery van.
I remember I earned 1300 pounds ($2600) that year, the most I got out of footy FORDHAM
doubt Coleman got him to write that but, I have to say, it worked beautifully,” he said. Fordham was awesome. He kicked 7.4 in the Bombers’ 37-point win over the Saints and beat two of the game’s ﬁnest defenders of the day, Bob Murray and Verdun Howell. Writing in The Age, under the heading ‘Clever Dons had too many guns’, Melbourne star Brian Dixon said: “Essendon had too many good players, with Ted Fordham best on the ground. Saturday’s effort was his own best in a great ﬁnals series for him, during which he has amassed 17 goals. “He has played more conﬁdently with each appearance and he will be the League’s top goalkicker if he carries on in the same way.” The celebrations were full-scale but Fordham said he was spent. “I remember we went to some place in Bourke Street and I didn’t enjoy it,” he said. “I think someone took a photo of me outside this place sitting on the stairs by myself. To me, the job was done and I was ﬂat.” But his teammates quickly lifted his spirits when they
reminded him they were about to embark on a 10-day end-of-season trip to Surfers Paradise. “I remember I earned 1300 pounds ($2600) that year, the most I got out of footy in my career. So we headed up there and we had a great time, even though I got burned like a lobster.” The following season, Coleman predicted his rising star would be the next player to kick 100 goals in a season (Coleman had been the last to achieve three ﬁgures, in 1952). Fordham appreciated the sentiments of his coach, but he knew his conversion rate was not up to scratch. “I kicked a hell of a lot of points,” Fordham said. “One day, we were playing at Footscray and I’d kicked something like 1.5. Anyway, Ron Brophy, who was the umpire, had arranged for a few of the boys to go away duck shooting the next day. After I missed another one, he ran past me and said, ‘Hey ‘Boof’ (Fordham’s nickname), I hope you shoot ducks better than you kick goals’.” But Fordham had some magical moments in 1966, including a bag of 10 against Collingwood at Victoria Park. It
remains equal with St Kilda’s Bill Mohr (in 1930) and Melbourne’s George Margitich (in 1933) as the most goals kicked by an individual against Collingwood at Victoria Park. Mohr and Margitich played in losing sides; Fordham led the Bombers to a 65-point victory and he is still bemused by the fact he received just two Brownlow Medal votes. Despite winning the Coleman Medal in 1966, Fordham spent more time on the ball the following season, Coleman’s last as coach, and under new coach Jack Clarke, he shared ruck-roving duties with Charlie Payne in 1968. However, a quiet effort in the 1968 losing Grand Final against Carlton and a back injury in 1969, when he managed just six games, signalled the end for Fordham. He considered a lucrative offer to play for South Bendigo in country Victoria in 1969 but the Bombers refused his clearance. By then, Fordham was working full-time for Coleman in the hotel business and his football career ground to a halt through injury and work. “John asked me to manage the Victoria Hotel in Brunswick for him,” Fordham said. “He had other hotel interests down at Dromana, so it suited me to become my own boss and manage the pub.” They remained close mates, as they had done as player and coach, and no one was more devastated than Fordham when he received the news Coleman had died of a heart attack working at his hotel in Dromana in 1973. “It was devastating; he was too young,” Fordham said. Fordham never pulled on a boot after his last game in 1969. He coached local club Ascot Vale in the Essendon District Football League for a couple of seasons in the 1970s and later served as a committeeman and chairman of selectors at Essendon. At 71, he is still working his own business, driving a delivery van around Melbourne, and his children, Jason and Libby from his ﬁrst marriage, and Kaliste from his second marriage, keep him occupied. So do his two grandchildren, Riley and Jamison. Perhaps now his grandchildren will grow up knowing their ‘Poppy Feather’ (the nickname derived from the Sylvester the Cat cartoon they have bestowed on him) was a bona ﬁde star.
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nab afl rising star
yson Heppell is the ﬁrst Essendon player to win the NAB AFL Rising Star award. Heppell, 19, polled 44 of a possible 45 votes, with West Coast’s Luke Shuey ﬁnishing with 37 votes and Gold Coast’s Zac Smith in third place with 21. Heppell and Shuey were considered the strong favourites to take out the Ron Evans Medal after earning the ﬁrst two nominations of the year. Heppell received the award and the medal at a function at Melbourne’s Crown Casino on Wednesday afternoon. “He (Shuey) has had an amazing year and he would’ve been a very deserving winner,” Heppell said. Essendon coach James Hird acknowledged Heppell’s excellent season and pointed to his natural leadership skills. “If Dyson keeps working on his career and keeps getting better, and keeps dedicating himself to the game and doesn’t get ahead of himself, which I’m sure he won’t, and stays the sort of person he is now, then he has the potential to be a captain of our club,” Hird said. Heppell played every game this year, mainly as a half-back and in the midﬁeld. He averaged 21.5 possessions.
He has the potential to be a captain of our club ESSENDON COACH JAMES HIRD ON DYSON HEPPELL
After winning the 2010 Morrish Medal for the best and fairest in the TAC Cup, Heppell was touted as a potential top-ﬁve pick in last year’s NAB AFL Draft but slipped through to the Bombers at pick eight. Some clubs were supposedly concerned about Heppell having problems with his groins, with reports suggesting he had
Dyson Heppell polled 44 of a possible 45 votes to easily win the Ron Evans Medal.
suffered osteitis pubis. But the stories were merely Chinese whispers, according to Heppell. “That was completely out of proportion. I had no groin trouble at all,” Heppell said after his nomination for the award in round one. That day against the Western Bulldogs, he won the ball 20 times and impressed with his approach. Although frustrating at the time, the rumours were a blessing for Heppell, who was the only top-10 draft pick last year to remain in his home state. He joined the club he barracked for growing up. One of his biggest inﬂuences has been his childhood hero and now coach Hird. The pair’s ﬁrst encounter came the night before the draft when the Essendon legend visited the Heppell family caravan in Burleigh Heads in Queensland to meet the young man he hoped to draft. Hird’s guidance and advice was a constant for Heppell throughout the season. Hird had intended to nurse Heppell through his debut
season but had no opportunity to rest him, as his consistency and—ironically—lack of injury kept him in the team. Heppell thanked the Bombers’ ﬁtness staff for managing him before and after games. Heppell is the ﬁrst graduate of TAC Cup team Gippsland Power to win the award, an impressive feat considering the Power have provided the AFL with stars including Saint
2011 NAB AFL RISING STAR AWARD VOTING
Brendon Goddard, Magpies Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas and Hawk Jarryd Roughead. LUKE HOLMESBY
AFL CEO ANDREW DEMETRIOU CONFIRMED THE AFL AND NAB HAVE EXTENDED THEIR PARTNERSHIP BY FIVE YEARS.
HONOUR ROLL 1993
1994 Chris Scott
1995 Nick Holland
1996 Ben Cousins
1998 Byron Pickett
1999 Adam Goodes
2000 Paul Hasleby
Luke Shuey (WCE)
Zac Smith (GC)
David Swallow (GC)
Jack Darling (WCE)
PLAYER Dyson Heppell (Ess)
Justin Koschitzke (St K)
2002 Nick Riewoldt
2003 Sam Mitchell
2004 Jared Rivers
2005 Brett Deledio
Sam Reid (Syd)
2006 Danyle Pearce
Andrew Gaﬀ (WCE)
2007 Joel Selwood
Trent McKenzie (GC)
2008 Rhys Palmer
2009 Daniel Rich
Jack Steven (St K)
Daniel Hannebery (Syd)
Daniel Menzel (Geel)
visit aﬂ record.com.au
Rising to stardom Another classy young batch of NAB AFL Rising Star graduates was presented to the 2011 judging panel, which had to work a fraction harder this year. The introduction of Gold Coast to create 17 teams meant an extra two rounds were played, requiring 24 nominees for the ﬁrst
time since 1994. Back then, the Rising Star award was in its second year and the winner was a young Brisbane Bears utililty, Chris Scott. Today, Scott is in his ﬁrst year as coach of Geelong and he has three players under his tutelage who were nominated in 2011— ROUND
DYSON HEPPELL D
Mitch Duncan, Daniel Menzel and Allen Christensen. All were barely out of nappies in 1994. In a sign of things to come, the Suns had the most nominees (four) while 12 of the 24 tabbed were preparing to play AFL ﬁnals. Here are the Rising Star nominees for 2011.
WEST WES COAST EAGLES WE DOB: June 2, 1990 D DO
Height: 183cm H He
DOB: May 14, 1992
Weight: 88kg W We
Junior Jun clubs: Bulleen-Templestowe/ Bu Bu Marcellin College/Oakleigh U18 Ma M a
Weight: 81kg Junior clubs: Leongatha/Gippsland U18
2011 games: 22 Goals: 23 2 20
2011 games: 22 Goals: 3
Kicks: 286 Marks: 61
Kicks: 252 Marks: 130
“I’m so grateful for the opportunities West Coast has given me and I look forward to a long career here.”
“There are a lot of fantastic players in the system. It would be a pretty tough gig (to win the award) but you never know.”
PORT POR ADELAIDE DOB: April 1, 1991 Height: 186cm Weight: 80kg Junior clubs: Torquay/Geelong U18 ROUND UND
2011 games: 13 Goals: 2 Kicks: 141 Marks: 34 Handballs: 58
“I just DOB: June 10, 1991 decided to Height: 187cm train as hard Weight: 82kg as I could Junior clubs: Trinity College/ and that has East Perth paid oﬀ.” 2011 games: 18 Goals: 21 GEELONG CATS GEE
Kicks: 172 Marks: 96 Handballs: 157
“Every player gets injured at some stage and it’s really important how they deal with the injury.”
BRANDON MATERA B
GOLD COAST SUNS GO DOB: March 11, 1992 Height: 174cm Weight: 68kg Junior clubs: Leeming/South Fremantle
2011 games: 12 Goals: 15
GOLD COAST SUNS
Kicks: 112 Marks: 32
DOB: February 22, 1990
“It’s good having (strong leaders). They bring a lot of experience and advice.”
Weight: 98kg Junior club: Zillmere 2011 games: 20 Goals: 14 Kicks: 135 Marks: 61 Handballs: 133 H
““The modern-day rruckman can’t just be a ttap ruckman anymore. ta He has to follow up H around a r the ground and go forward.”
SHANE SAVAGE HAWTHORN HA
DOB: January 5, 1991 Height: 185cm Weight: 80kg Junior clubs: Noble Park/ Dandenong U18 2011 games: 17 Goals: 16 Kicks: 184 Marks: 91 Handballs: 111
“Something I really wanted to work on over the pre-season was my endurance.” ROUND
JORDAN GYSBERTS MELBOURNE
DOB: June 11, 1991 Height: 190cm
Weight: 84kg Junior clubs: Norwood/Yarra Valley Grammar/Eastern U18
WEST COAST EAGLES
DOB: June 13, 1992
2011 games: 15 Goals: 3
Kicks: 140 Marks: 51
Junior clubs: Sorrento-Duncraig/West Perth 2011 games: 20 Goals: 19
ST T KILDA
Kicks: 148 Marks: 93
DOB: March 28, 1990
“I’m just going out there and doing what I’m told to do. I’m working hard and it’s paying oﬀ ﬀ.”
Weight: 79kg Junior clubs: Lorne/Geelong U18 2011 games: 20 Goals: 13 Kicks: 220 Marks: 73 Handballs: 173
“I didn’t know if I was able to be nominated. It was a little bit of a surprise.”
DOB: August 12, 1992 Height: 185cm Weight: 78kg Junior clubs: Victoria Park Raiders/Perth 2011 games: 17 Goals: 0 Kicks: 139 Marks: 68 Handballs: 126
“It certainly helps to play good footy when you’re with a bunch of guys you get along with.”
“We’ve got a lot of players under 22 and we’re trying to set the agenda for the next 10 years.”
DOB: December 27, 1991 Height: 195cm Weight: 91kg Junior clubs: Wangaratta Rovers/Murray U18 2011 games: 21 Goals: 20 Kicks: 131 Marks: 96 Handballs: 92
“I had six shots at goall in the ﬁrst half, so I’ll take ke that any day of the week.” eek k..””
DAVID SWALLOW D
GOL GOLD COAST SUNS
DOB: November 19, 1992 Height: 186cm Weight: 83kg Junior clubs: Rossmoyne/ East Fremantle 2011 games: 21 Goals: 11 Kicks: 208 Marks: 62 Handballs: 205 ROUND R
DANIEL MENZEL D
GEELONG CATS GEE
DOB: September 13, 1991
“There was probably a bit of pressure at the start, but you just concentrate on the things you can control.”
Height: 188cm Weight: 79kg Junior clubs: Golden Grove/Central District 2011 games: 17 Goals: 26 Kicks: 150 Marks: 79 Handballs: 67
“It gave me conﬁdence tto know I had (coach Chris Scott’s) backing to C give it a real crack and g ccement my spot.” ce ROUND
DOB: November 11, 1990 Height: 184cm Weight: 76kg Junior clubs: Temora/NSW-ACT U18 2011 games: 16 Goals: 30
“That small forward/halfforward role is what I’ll play. I’m happy with that role.”
Kicks: 114 Marks: 54 Handballs: 82 2
TRENT McKENZIE GOLD GO COAST SUNS DOB: April 3, 1992
RICHMOND R ICH
DOB: February 13, 1992 Height: 188cm Weight: 78kg Junior clubs: Frankston Bombers/Dandenong U18 2011 games: 16 Goals: 0 Kicks: 125 Marks: 52 Handballs: 77
“I’ve been thrilled to have been given the opportunity by the coaching staﬀ.”
Height: 188cm Weight: 83kg Junior clubs: Williamstown Juniors/Western U18 2011 games: 21 Goals: 13 Kicks: 244 Marks: 87 Handballs: 115
“I’m still working on my aerobic capacity. I’m improving my ﬁtness every week.”
ALLEN CHRISTENSEN A ROUND
GEELONG CATS G DOB: May 19, 1991
WEST WES COAST EAGLES
DOB: June 16, 1992
Junior clubs: Lara/Geelong U18
2011 games: 16 Goals: 16
Junior clubs: Kew/Carey Grammar/Oakleigh U18
Kicks: 125 Marks: 54 Handballs: 122
2011 games: 14 Goals: 7
“I had all the older boys looking out for me and most of us younger boys are starting to develop AFL bodies.”
Kicks: 143 Marks: 61 Handballs: 101
“It’s great to be involved iin n a team that’s up and n about.”
DOB: March 28, 1990 Height: 203cm Weight: 92kg Junior clubs: Surrey Park/Oakleigh U18 2011 games: 13 Goals: 6 Kicks: 62 Marks: 42
“I did Auskick when I was a little tacker then focused on basketball most of my childhood.”
L LUKE DAHLHAUS
WESTEN BULLDOGS WES DOB: August 21, 1992 Height: 177cm Weight: 72kg Junior clubs: Leopold/Geelong U18
“That was the ﬁrst time I played on the wing and I just wanted to give the team some run.”
“Our development Height: 181cm guys help the Weight: 80kg young guys Junior clubs: Attadale JFC/ out a lot and Trinity College/East Fremantle they’ve done 2011 games: 11 Goals: 15 a lot for me.”
COLLINGWOOD COL DOB: June 8, 1992
2011 games: 11 Goals: 11 Kicks: 76 Marks: s: 23 Handballs: 79 9
Kicks: 79 Marks: 42 Handballs: 61
MEL MELBOURNE L
DOB: February 19, 1991 Height: 184cm Weight: 80kg Junior clubs: Norwood/Yarra Valley Grammar/Eastern U18 2011 games: 5 Goals: 0 Kicks: 48 Marks: 10 Handballs: 26
“I was never going to get anywhere if I was second guessing myself.”
WESTERN BULLDOGS DOB: February 24, 1991 Height: 197cm Weight: 94kg Junior clubs: North Hobart/ Tasmania U18/Scotch College 2011 games: 20 Goals: 19 Kicks: 136 Marks: 96 Handballs: 60
“It was good to take a couple of marks this year.”
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Young forward looks a readymade made replacement for the rretiring Barry Hall.
estern Bulldogs forward Liam Jones was the ﬁnal nominee for this year’s NAB AFL Rising Star award after a breakout season that saw him emerge as a replacement for Barry Hall. The 20-year-old played 20 games this year after playing the last ﬁve home and away matches last year. Jones ended this year ranked sixth in the AFL for contested marks, the part of his game he improved most this season. “It’s obviously been a pretty hard year for the club but from an individual perspective, it’s been good to keep my spot,” he said. “It was good to take a couple of marks this year.” The Tasmanian was the Bulldogs’ second selection in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft (pick 32 overall).
Liam Jones ranked sixth in the AFL for contested marks.
J ENNIFER W ITH A M
2011 NAB AFL RISING STAR NOMINEES Round 1 Dyson Heppell (Ess) Round 2 Luke Shuey (WCE) Round 3 Mitch Duncan (Geel) Round 4 Jasper Pittard (PA) Round 5 Brandon Matera (GCS) Round 6 Jack Darling (WCE) Round 7 Zac Smith (GCS) Round 8 Shane Savage (Haw) Round 9 Reece Conca (Rich) Round 10 Jack Steven (St K) Round 11 Jordan Gysberts (Melb) Round 12 Sam Reid (Syd) Round 13 Daniel Menzel (Geel) Round 14 David Swallow (GCS) Round 15 Luke Breust (Haw) Round 16 Jake Batchelor (Rich) Round 17 Trent McKenzie (GCS) Round 18 Allen Christensen (Geel)
The most important thing ‘Hally’ taught me was always have a crack
Round 19 Andrew Gaﬀ (WCE) Round 20 Zac Clarke (Frem) Round 21 Luke Dahlhaus (WB) Round 22 Alex Fasolo (Coll) Round 23 Sam Blease (Melb) Round 24 Liam Jones (WB)
His ﬁrst year at the club was basically a non-event as he combined year 12 studies at Scotch College with part-time training. He played for the school and a few games for Williamstown’s reserves in the VFL. Although he admitted it was frustrating to be a listed player and rarely at the club in his ﬁrst year, it ended up being a blessing in disguise as it allowed him to make a smoother transition into AFL ranks.
“I was just easing my way in, so in pre-season, I could just go for it and I didn’t have to be nervous or anything like that because I already knew a lot of the guys,” he said. Before this season, he was able to participate in the Dogs’ entire program and boosted his ﬁtness levels. This year, he hopes to further improve with more running and by increasing his strength. He also hopes to make up for the loss of Hall. “We’re deﬁnitely going to miss him, so hopefully,
myself and Jarrad Grant can stand up,” he said. “The most important thing (Hall) taught me was to just keep leading at the ball and always have a crack, like he did in training. “Liam has grown into a key component in our forward structure, leading the club in contested marks,” caretaker coach Paul Williams said. “We’re excited with what he can produce with another full pre-season under his belt.
THREE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW
His father Bob played 20 games for St Kilda in 1988-89. Jones snr also represented the Northern Territory in 1988.
He performs as part of a rap duo with teammate Luke Dahlhaus and wants to launch a rapping career.
His greatest non-football achievement was second place in a school talent show.
Each week throughout the home and away season, a panel of judges will select the nominee for the 2011 NAB AFL Rising Star. At the completion of the season, one outstanding player will be chosen as the 2011 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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Our AFL history guru answers your queries.
col hutchinson NAME GAME
» The surname of Gold
STUNG INTO ACTION:
The Magpies recovered from a last-round loss to the Hawks to win the 2010 ﬂag, but can they bounce back from last week’s thrashing?
Big loss a bad omen for Magpies
Being a keen Magpies supporter, I hope that my club’s 96-point defeat by Geelong in round 24 proves to be a short-lived glitch on the way to its second premiership in a row. Have any previous ﬂag-winners experienced at least one heavy defeat during their successful seasons? TERRY FINN, IVANHOE, VIC.
CH: In 1945, eventual premier
Carlton lost its ﬁrst three matches, including a 100-point thrashing by Essendon at Windy Hill. There is no other case of a
premiership team losing a game by at least 96 points during the year in question. There have been 23 instances of the eventual premier losing their last match before the ﬁnals. Last season, Hawthorn defeated Collingwood by three points in round 22. Fitzroy suffered the largest defeat in a ﬁnal round before winning the ﬂag. On the eve of the 1904 ﬁnals, the Roys went down by 61 points against Essendon at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground, but recovered to defeat Carlton in the Grand Final.
GENUINE SENIOR FOOTBALLERS » Gary Dudley has informed us his uncle, Merv Dudley, recently celebrated his 94th birthday in Tocumwal, NSW. Born on May 31, 1917, Dudley made his debut as a centre half-forward for South Melbourne in 1940 after transferring from Numurkah in country Victoria. After three matches and seven goals with the Swans, he gained a
clearance to Footscray. Between 1943 and 1945, he booted 10 goals in 30 appearances as a ruckman who was equally proﬁcient in defence or on the forward line. He was a member of the Bulldogs’ semi-ﬁnal team against Essendon at the Junction Oval in 1944. It is believed he is the oldest living Swan and Bulldog.
Do you know of other senior players who are close to 90 or older, or who reached such an age before passing? Contact Col Hutchinson on (03) 9643 1929 or col.hutchinson@aﬂ.com.au.
Coast debutant Josh Caddy may have several origins. The most common is that Caddy is a variation of Cade which derives from a Germanic word meaning “swelling” or “lump” and so may have been a nickname for an overweight person. From the same origin came the medieval English word cade meaning “cask” or “barrel”. Caddy/ Cade therefore could be a name originally given to a cooper—a barrel-maker. No Caddys have previously played senior League football but 16 Coopers have. Caddy may also derive from cade, a diﬀerent medieval word with the same spelling as that previously mentioned, but denoting a domestic animal or a pet. In this case it was applied to a gentle, inoﬀensive person—generally good characteristics, but maybe not on a football ﬁeld. Finally, Caddy may be a derivative of the Scottish word meaning “messenger” or “carrier”— the forerunner of golf’s “caddie”. Josh may end up being a runner or a trainer. KEVAN CARROLL
WRITE TO ANSWER MAN The Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, 3008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ask As k th thee ex expe expert p rt about all your pe your footy memorabilia. JUBILATION: A pennant from
the Swans’ 2005 premiership year is worth $1000.
I have a several WEG posters for the losing Grand Final teams from 1999 onwards. Do they have value? JUNE FLEMING, VIA EMAIL
RM: June, they do. I wish it
wasn’t so, as I’m not really keen on modern ‘limited-edition’ footy collectables, although I’m glad for your sake. A fairly small number were released, and I’ve seen them sell for up to $500 each. I don’t really think they’re worth that much—but the market tells me otherwise.
I was given a huge (4m) pennant from the Swans’ premiership year in 2005. I was told they were hung from the lamp posts in Sydney in the week before the Grand Final. FIONA RODER, VIA EMAIL
RM: I mustt say I’ I’ve never seen
ﬂag ﬂ ag. Unfortunately Unfortunately, I cut oﬀ the Herald logo at the top so it would ﬁt in a frame.
I have a supplement from Pals magazine dated September 26, 1925. It shows a posed photograph of C. G. Greeves, Geelong Football Club. I assume it is ‘Carji’ Greeves, winner of the ﬁrst Brownlow Medal.
RM: Uh oh. That’s some ome
one, so I would think not too many could have survived. I like it. Maybe $1000.
DEAN WALLSCOTT, VIA EMAIL
RM: You’re right, Dean, although the magazine got the initials a bit wrong. His name was Edward. I’ve seen the supplement, and it’s a good one. Not less than $300. I have WEG’s original poster for the mighty Pies who won the 1958
ARTHUR SQUIRES, VIA EMAIL MAIL
o news I didn’t want to hear, Arthur. As is, you might get $500. I’d hat better not tell you what it might be worth if itt ght was complete—it might l. make you feel a bit ill.
CONTACT RICK MILNE email@example.com or drop him a line: ck, 5 Cooraminta St, Brunswick, 1. Vic, 3056 or call (03) 9387 4131 4131. One query per reader.
» Here are two examples from one of the most bizarre card issues of all-time. Around 1926, Cain’s Sweets, a Sydney-based company, issued a series of swap cards of Collingwood and Fitzroy footballers. Here’s the weird bit: these cards were only issued in Sydney—no wonder they didn’t know Harry Saunders’ initial. As Sydney had no Australian Football culture at the time, I’d reckon 98 per cent of these cards would have been thrown in the bin. Those that survive are worth plenty. Not less than $200 each in reasonable ble condition.
BRAINS FINAlSanswers at bottom of page
The Magpies hold the AFL record for most Premierships won in a row. How many? A. 3 Premierships B. 4 Premierships C. 5 Premierships D. 6 Premierships
Current coach John Worsfold coached one of the Eaglesâ€™ three Premierships. Who was the coach in the other two Premierships? A. Ron Alexander B. Ken Judge C. Ben Cousins D. Mick Malthouse
Carlton won their most recent Premiership in 1995. Who won the Bluesâ€™ Best & Fairest that year? A. Stephen Kernahan B. Greg Williams C. Justin Madden D. Brett Ratten
The Hawks have been the most successful Finals side of the last 50 years. How many premierships have they won in that period? A. 5 Premierships B. 7 Premierships C. 10 Premierships D. 13 Premierships
The Saints won their only Premiership in 1966 defeating the Magpies by how many points? A. 1 point B. 8 points C. 18 points D. 27 points
Kevin Sheedy coached the Bombers to their most recent Premiership in the 2000 season. Who was the Captain? A. James Hird B. Tim Watson C. Simon Madden D. Matthew Lloyd
The Cats defeated Port Adelaide in the 2007 Premiership by the greatest winning margin in any Grand Final. How many points did they win by? A. 76 points B. 99 points C. 111 points D. 119 points
The Swans won the 2005 Premiership. When was their last Premiership before that? A. 1933 B. 1949 C. 1965 D. 1982
Silver CODE cards and enter codes to play
Answers: 1. 4 Premierships, 2. Mick Malthouse, 3. Brett Ratten, 4. 1 point, 5. 10 Premierships, 6. James Hird, 7. 119 points, 8. 1933
TV N O N E AS SE
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SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
FIVE TO FIND
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Stripe on Magpie Steele Sidebottom’s boot removed; tape removed from Cat Travis Varcoe’s left arm; logo on Varcoe’s shorts changed; the word ‘Kangaroo’ removed from football; Sidebottom’s sock on his right leg pulled up.
E X TE NDE D P L AY T I M E The AFL Playground outside the MCG will continue to operate in the ﬁrst two weeks of the AFL ﬁnals series, before moving to Melbourne’s Federation Square on September 23-24 and from September 2630. The playground is the coolest fan zone for kids looking to test their footy skills and warm up before watching the footy, Located below Gate 6 at the MCG,
the playground features activities of all types for kids, with club mascots also in attendance. It is open 90 minutes before the start of the match until the end of the half-time break. Federation Square is located on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets. Visit aﬂ.com.au/ playground for more information.
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AFL AF FL F L RECORD RECOR RE CO CO OR RD
viisit vvis i siitt aﬂ is aﬂrecord.com.au visit
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Applying data laterally to analyse and understand the modern game.
Vital stats show others can gain some ground
Brett Deledio is getting close to super-elite midﬁeld status for the Tigers.
o assess the performance and future requirements of this season’s non-ﬁnalists from a data perspective, the framework I have adopted is founded on the principles of legendary late coach Allan Jeans, and the scarcely known pioneer of football data analysis, the late Dick Porter. Jeans famously said the acid test for identifying a player’s genuine talent is his ability to win the ball in pressure situations, and then do something with it. Hence, I have no interest in capturing raw or exotic new data. Rather, my new interest is grading each possession and disposal according to a scale of its quality inﬂuence, or otherwise, on the game. In football terms, it is of no use gaining the ball in a spectacular manner that results in a turnover or dead end. Nor is there much value in a player who has clear opportunity and does not put the opposition on notice. If a possession does not result in a proper disposal, I refer to it as ‘incomplete junk’ and disregard it. The reverse is a ‘completion’, when a proper disposal follows a possession. Calculating the respective value of a completion is the mathematical formula used to rate a player’s impact on the game. As previously outlined, Porter devised a ‘Vital Five’ analysis model. It was based on having sufﬁcient on-ﬁeld team leadership. It assumed successful teams thrived when they could call upon at least three elite midﬁelders, a marquee forward and defender,
and thereafter a number of quality back-up troops. Based on an assessment of all players in every game this season, the model then sets a benchmark for each of the three roles in the Vital Five combination: a midﬁelder/ ruckman is valued at 100 points or above, a marquee defender 90 points or above and a marquee forward 85 points or above. For example, the model highlights that Port Adelaide’s dire season was a direct result of its paucity of on-ﬁeld leaders. Midﬁelders Hamish Hartlett and Robbie Gray were the Power’s best, but no others emerged to stem the carnage. At the other end of the scale, Richmond and the Western Bulldogs appear best-equipped of the non-ﬁnalists in Vital Five terms, which suggests their
ladder positions will improve if and when the productivity of the supporting troops improves. Tiger Brett Deledio is getting close to super-elite midﬁeld status, Trent Cotchin has stepped up to elite grade and Dustin Martin is a whisker from the entry-level elite standard. Chris Newman is a marquee defender. Last year’s Coleman medallist, Jack Riewoldt, spluttered this season, but should get better next. The Bulldogs’ contingent of midﬁelders includes the super-elite productivity of Matthew Boyd and elites Daniel Cross and Ryan Griffen. Robert Murphy is a marquee player in defence, Daniel Giansiracusa is one in attack. The rest of the Doggies did not perform so well. North Melbourne also has a good contingent of elites. Daniel
Port Adelaide’s dire season was due to its paucity of on-ﬁeld leaders
Wells and Andrew Swallow are close to super-elite status. Veteran champion Brent Harvey still clings to it. Young ruckman Todd Goldstein is a beauty and getting better. North has two elite forwards, Drew Petrie and Leigh Adams, but no defender warranting elite status. Melbourne has a reasonably strong contingent of midﬁelders hovering near the elite benchmark: Brent Moloney, Colin Sylvia and Nathan Jones. Mark Jamar is an established elite ruckman, but no defender or forward was near the benchmark. Fremantle has an unusual Vital Five combination. David Mundy is its sole elite midﬁelder. Aaron Sandilands (ruckman) and Matthew Pavich (utility) are super-elites and young Nathan Fyfe achieved elite status. Otherwise, no other forward or defender warranted a pass. Adelaide has only one midﬁelder (Scott Thompson) who achieved an elite average rating. Rory Sloane was close to it, while young ruckman Sam Jacobs cleared the benchmark. Defender Graham Johncock was marquee-quality, but no forward shone consistently. The Brisbane Lions had two midﬁelders of elite standard: prospect Tom Rockcliff and veteran Simon Black. Young ruckman Matthew Leuenberger is an emerging star. The Lions have no marquee defender and can only hope champion forward Jonathan Brown can impact next season. Gary Ablett was the super-elite standout for Gold Coast and Michael Rischitelli was near the mark. Jarrod Harbrow and Nathan Bock were the Suns’ best defenders this season, but given the ample opportunities coming their way, performed below elite status. TED HOPKINS IS A CARLTON PREMIERSHIP PLAYER AND FOUNDER OF CHAMPION DATA. HIS BOOK THE STATS REVOLUTION (SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP) WAS RELEASED RECENTLY AND IS AVAILABLE VIA FOOTYBOOKCLUB.COM
A true legend stands the test of time.
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He’ll selflessly give his all, day in, day out. He puts his body on the line and backs himself to go the distance. When the team is down, he’ll courageously step up, take on a bigger workload and go even harder. A reputation for toughness that can’t be faked, it’s been earned with every challenge conquered. It’s the confidence to never give in until you come out on top. That’s what makes it the unbreakable, New-Look HiLux.
Published on Sep 11, 2011
Published on Sep 11, 2011
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