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ROUND 17, JULY 23-25, 2010 Features 57

Jude Bolton

Sydney’s hard-nut reaches 250 games.



Daniel Cross

Collingwood’s Ben Johnson has overcome several setbacks and will play his 200th game this week.

Persistence pays dividends for a loyal Dog.


Ben Johnson

No-fuss Magpie has 200 games in his sights.

Regulars 4


Your say on the football world.


The Bounce

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



Stats, history and line-ups.


Dream Team

Advice from Mr Fantasy, our Dream Team expert.

70 74 76 78

Answer Man Kids’ Corner NAB AFL Rising Star Talking Point

THIS WEEK’S COVER Bulldog Daniel Cross celebrates his 150-game milestone this weekend.

Ted Hopkins on the highway to hell for teams visiting Geelong.

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Your say on the world of football


Bending the rules on selection


Bulldog Matthew Boyd evades the Blues’ clutches at TIO Stadium last week.

Top time in Top End

Watching footy up north is a great experience, as anyone who went to last weekend’s Dogs-Power match in Darwin will tell you. The relaxed, carnival feel of the game is enjoyed by all, and the AFL should continue playing games in the Top End. MIKE, VIA EMAIL.

Where is the pride?

What a disappointment this season has been for Lions fans. After last year’s promising showing, we appear set for a finish in the bottom four. Injuries have hurt, but where’s the spirit? Where’s the style that made Michael Voss such a great player? Last week’s

showing against Hawthorn in Tasmania was one of the poorest by the club in more than a decade. Let’s hope it’s not symbolic of what’s yet to come. JIM McGHIE, ST KILDA, VIC.

Roos on the rise

There’s been plenty said and written about the quality of the youngsters at clubs including Melbourne, Fremantle and even Richmond. But not enough credit is paying given to North Melbourne’s recent recruiting. Mark these names down: Ben Cunnington, Ryan Bastinac, Lachlan Hansen and Levi Greenwood. JESSICA, AINSLIE, ACT.

PRODUCTION EDITOR Michael Lovett WRITERS GENERAL MANAGER, MARKETING Nick Bowen, Ben Collins, Jim Main, Cameron Noakes, & COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS Peter Ryan, Callum Twomey Paul Waldren SUB-EDITORS AFL CORPORATE Gary Hancock, Howard Kotton BUSINESS MANAGER Richard Simkiss STATISTICIAN Cameron Sinclair AFL RECORD MANAGING EDITOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR Geoff Slattery Andrew Hutchison AFL RECORD EDITOR DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Peter Di Sisto Sam Russell

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Party time for Pies

Collingwood fans everywhere will agree – what a great view you get from the top of the pile! We hardly needed any more evidence, but last week’s rout of St Kilda proved how good the Magpies are. Get ready for the biggest black and white party you’ve ever seen – the 2010 flag is ours. STAN LOGANIS, BUNDOORA, VIC.


The best letter each round d will receive SportsEars, a portable radio that allows you to listen to thee umpires at AFL venues. Email aflrecordeditor@ or write to AFL Record, Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, VIC, 3008.

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� Every club has its own ‘rules’ or philosophies when it comes to team selection. The Western Bulldogs’ decision to part ways with Jason Akermanis (see page 7) made clear that club’s view. Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says the Hawks try to avoid giving sore players pain-killing injections in order for them to play a late-season home and away match, preferring to have borderlinefit players sit out, rather than risk further injury. Collingwood hasn’t been able to find a spot for veteran Josh Fraser since round 12, with the ruckman/forward perched on 199 matches. Generally, most clubs take a team-first, no-risk approach at selection, aimed at maximising their chances of winning while also maximising their options for subsequent games. Practical matters nearly always outweigh sentimental or ‘gut-feel’ ones. Which was why many reacted with surprise when Port Adelaide midfielder Josh Carr successfully campaigned to play in Mark Williams’ last game as coach in round 15. Carr, who retires this weekend (see story page 16), had not been selected in the 25, with Port requiring AFL approval to play him. It was a curious decision made under unusual and challenging circumstances, proving that sometimes, the rules go out the door. PET E R DI SISTO

ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO TheTHIS Editor,WEEK’S AFL Record,COVER Ground Floor, XXXX XXXXX 140XXXXXXXXXXXXX Harbour Esplanade, X Docklands, Victoria, 3008. Go9627 to afl P: (03) 2600 F: (03) 9627 2650 E: to order prints

of this image.

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REVIVING PAST GLORIES Rd 16 Fremantle v Melbourne, Subiaco Oval


� Luke McPharlin ran to the outer wing like a high jumper in an Olympic final, steps shortening as he approached takeoff. Then he exploded, wrapping his legs around Cale Morton, half strangling him as he took the grab. Instantly, Magpie Peter Moore’s mark over Carlton’s Mike Fitzpatrick (now the AFL Commission chairman) at Princes Park in 1978 came to mind, as did a Trevor Barker special at the Lake Oval from the same era, all examples of the game’s elemental grandeur, each serving to link one generation to the next. PETER RYAN PHOTO: WILL RUSSELL/AFL PHOTOS

WALKING TALL Rd 16 Adelaide v Geelong, AAMI Stadium ďż˝ Snaring his fourth goal for the evening, Taylor Walker celebrates as the Crows extend their lead to 16 points over reigning premier Geelong. Walker, one of several young Crows starting to attract attention, marked in front of Harry Taylor in the opening minutes of the ďŹ nal term and took his kick in the pocket from about 45 metres out. The pro-Adelaide crowd rose as one as the prospect of a fourth consecutive win for the Crows edged towards reality, with the Cats unable to overcome the home team. LAUREN WOOD PHOTO: SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP/AFL PHOTOS

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AFL 200 club

Cat’s scare a timely warning

Michael Doughty Adelaide

250 games Jude Bolton Sydney Swans



eoff Allen was in a jovial mood this week, even seeing the lighter side of his brush with death before the Adelaide-Geelong game at AAMI Stadium last Friday. But the Geelong doctor knows better than most that he had ignored several warning signs that led to him suffering a heart attack on the ground as the Cats warmed up. And while Allen was counting his lucky stars he was in the right place at the right time to suffer a heart attack, the discipline of being involved in an AFL club had his mind on the job at hand. “The first thing I thought of when I woke up was that ‘Bomber’ (coach Mark Thompson) is going to be (annoyed) with me for mucking up the warm-up,” Allen told 3AW’s Sports Today earlier this week. Geelong’s medical staff, including fellow doctor Chris Bradshaw and physiotherapist Duncan Kellaway, performed CPR on Allen as ambulance staff rushed on to AAMI Stadium to assist. Their swift action almost certainly saved his life. “There is no way I would have survived (without that medical assistance),” Allen said.

200 games

LUCKY: Geoff Allen (left) survived a heart attack before last week’s game. One of those who helped save him was fellow Geelong doctor Chris Bradshaw (centre).

“If I had been anywhere else, I wouldn’t have survived.” The 48-year-old, who runs a medical practice in Point Lonsdale, had been feeling chest pains in recent weeks but passed them off as muscular problems associated with lifting weights. “It’s something I never expected because I keep myself pretty fit. I run three or four times a week, go surfing and do weights,” he said. “Over the last month, I had been feeling a little bit of discomfort in my chest when I have exercised and I thought it was a muscle problem because I do a bit of bench pressing.” Last Friday, Allen felt more chest pain as he took a walk around Adelaide with Bradshaw and Kellaway but dismissed it as the same muscular pain. “It wasn’t that severe and we went back to the hotel and I worked out for 6km on

the treadmill without a lot of pain,” he said. “We got to the game and I went out in the warm-up and was just out there having a kick. I kicked a ball to ‘Moons’ (Cameron Mooney) and the next thing I remember I felt faint and I woke up with my shirt off and there was an ambulance guy putting an oxygen mask on me.” Geelong players had to be ushered away as Allen was being treated, leaving several in a state of shock. “Although we came back from SA with a loss, we are thankful to come back also with ‘Joffa’ (Allen). The worst feeling ever experienced on the field,” defender Andrew Mackie said on his Twitter page. Allen was taken to Adelaide’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he spent several days having tests and being treated. He is expected to make a full recovery and plans to return to work soon.

Ben Johnson Collingwood Josh Fraser Collingwood

150 games Daniel Cross Western Bulldogs

100 games Andrew Walker Carlton

50 games David Mackay Adelaide Sam Lonergan Essendon Jay Nash Port Adelaide Tyson Goldsack Collingwood

500th AFL match at Etihad Stadium, Docklands The list includes those not necessarily selected but on the verge of milestones.

TRUE IDENTITY � The honour roll of fallen AFL footballers has been reduced by one, due to a remarkable oversight. Carlton player Thomas (Tommy) Hughes was reported as killed in action on May 3, 1917, but it has been discovered this was a case of mistaken identity. The Winner magazine of June 6, 1917, reported Hughes, who NEWS TRACKER

had played six games with the Blues in 1911, had been killed while serving with the 23rd Battalion. The Winner even noted his friends would hear of his death “with genuine sorrow”. Hughes’ name was added to the VFL’s list of fallen heroes, even though The Winner ran a retraction on June 13, 1917.The soldier killed in action

was Albert Thomas Hughes, and not Tommy Hughes. A member of the former Blue’s family recently saw the reference to him being killed in action on the Carlton website and contacted the club to point out he had been gassed during World War I, but survived. He died many years later, in September of 1981.

Hughes was raised as a foster-child in Port Melbourne and was a brilliant footballer who was captain of the Leopold club and played as a back pocket with the Blues. The killed soldier mistaken for Hughes was born in Strathfieldsaye, near Bendigo, on January 23, 1891. JIM MAIN

The AFL launches a Mandarin-language website for the Demons-Lions exhibition match in Shanghai in October.

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the bounce




Stakes still high for everybody � This season is one of the most even I can remember. After round 16, no team has been able to Any side that gain a break on does flirt with the rest of the its line-up or its competition the form, could fall way St Kilda and Geelong did flat on its face last year. be ultraDENIS PAGAN The race to conservative finish in the top and rest players, four extends down just as Fremantle and to seventh-placed Hawthorn, the Western Bulldogs should be while North Melbourne (ninth) going hammer and tongs for a and the fast-finishing Adelaide spot in the top four. (10th) could still force their Collingwood is on top of the way into the final eight. ladder deep into the season And this year’s wooden for the first time since 1990 spooner could come from any and, more importantly, finally of the remaining six sides, seems to have settled on its best with just a game-and-a-half line-up, especially its forward separating 11th (Melbourne) structure, with only Travis Cloke and 16th (West Coast Eagles). to come back in. So why would So how will clubs approach the Magpies want to tamper with the remainder of the home and things at this stage? away season? Teams tread a fine line Teams in top-four trying to peak for the finals contention should keep things and any side that does flirt with simple and focus on trying to its line-up or its form, could fall improve, getting the process flat on its face. correct each match and letting The key to success in football, the result take care of itself. and especially the finals, is to Those already assured of do the basics well over and playing finals – Collingwood, over again, so these teams Geelong, St Kilda and should be focusing on getting Fremantle – may be tempted their attack on the ball right, to rest players with niggling players winning their own ball, injuries to ensure they are fully clearances, kicking efficiency, fit for the finals. quality inside-50 entries, But I’m not sure that conversion, and defensive approach always works. If skills such as tackling, players are injured, they should chasing, shepherding, spoiling be rested, but if you start and smothering. playing games and resting Sydney and Hawthorn have people, you flirt with your no choice but to go flat out for form and that has had dire the rest of the season because consequences previously. – with some luck – they can For me, winning form is still sneak into the top four. good form and, going into Conversely, a few losses could the finals, I’d want to try and see them in danger of dropping maintain that. out of the eight. We saw Geelong and Carlton (eighth), North St Kilda lose last weekend, Melbourne and the Crows so neither is in a position to cannot afford to look any



Collingwood grabbed top spot with a big win over St Kilda last week.

further ahead than their next match, as they seem destined to fight it out for the last spot in the eight. In that respect, their finals campaigns effectively start now. As their coach, you’d be trying to have them at their peak each weekend. They can’t afford to make long-term plans. They will still need a solid session early in the week to make sure their minds are switched on, because there’s no use easing up on their training if that drop in intensity flows into their match-day performance. There is a danger these teams may be spent by the time the finals roll around but it’s worth the risk. For a young side like the Kangaroos, playing one finals game would be worth 10 normal games in their youngsters’ development. For the rest of the competition, the remainder of the season is all about respect. We’ve already seen the boost Richmond has given its members by winning five of its past seven games. Obviously, these teams will be desperate to avoid the stigma of winning the wooden spoon, but they will also look to blood more youngsters and begin their 2011 preparations by booking players with niggling injuries in for early surgery. DENIS PAGAN IS A TWO-TIME PREMIERSHIP COACH WITH NORTH MELBOURNE (1996 AND 1999), AND WAS NAMED COACH OF THE CLUB’S TEAM OF THE CENTURY.



The highest score this year, by Geelong against Richmond in round six.


The lowest score, posted by Port Adelaide against Richmond in round 10.

47 The most contested marks taken (Tiger Jack Riewoldt).


The season’s biggest crowd, for the CollingwoodEssendon Anzac Day match in round five.


Quarters won by Geelong, an AFL high.

4,753,469 The number of people who have attended AFL matches.

Brisbane’s Ashley McGrath (one week) and Port Adelaide’s Daniel Motlop (two) accept suspensions from Match Review Panel.

14 AFL RECORD visit

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the bounce



A Power star who gave it his all L AUR EN WOOD


ort Adelaide premiership player Josh Carr will retire after this weekend, playing his last game against Adelaide in Sunday’s Showdown at AAMI Stadium. The match will be Carr’s 207th. He has played 123 for Port and notched 83 in a stint with Fremantle before returning to the Power. “As a kid, playing AFL football was all I ever dreamed about,” Carr said in a club statement. “To be given an opportunity to play for a great traditional club like Port Adelaide was simply unbelievable. “From the first day I walked into the place, you could tell just how proud this club was. To be part of it, and then be part of a successful era, which included

LOVED BY ALL : Tough Port Adelaide

on-baller Josh Carr (right) was popular with his teammates and fans, particularly after the 2004 premiership.

the 2004 premiership, was amazing and something I’ll always cherish.” Carr began his career at Port in 2000 after being picked seventh in the 1998 AFL Draft from WAFL club East Fremantle. He won the club’s best first-year


player award in 2000 and was named most-improved in 2001. In 2002-03, he was voted best team man, winning the award named after club legend Fos Williams. Carr played a major role in Port Adelaide’s 2004 premiership before heading to Fremantle in 2005 to play alongside brother Matthew. He kicked 44 goals for the Dockers and was vice-captain in 2007-08.

The 31-year-old returned to Port Adelaide via the 2009 NAB AFL Pre-season Draft, but has struggled with hip and ankle injuries.Carr, a long-time friend of former Power coach Mark Williams, was a late inclusion for Williams’ farewell match against Collingwood two weeks ago. He had made a heartfelt plea to officials to be included as a way of paying tribute to




16 AFL RECORD visit

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his coach. Port Adelaide caretaker coach Matthew Primus described Carr’s career as “outstanding” and called the midfielder one of his all-time favourite teammates. “Josh made so many of our players walk taller,” Primus said. “It was extraordinary that he could get so much out of his body through his attitude and just sheer willpower. “He was a major cog in our 2004 premiership side and he can proudly retire knowing he’s given his all.” P L AY FA I R B O W S O U T

� Sydney Swans forward Henry Playfair has announced his retirement as a result of a serious back injury sustained in round 14 against Richmond. Playfair said he was shocked after medical advice. “At first I didn’t know what it meant for my season, and then I spoke further to the doctor and the physiotherapist and it looked like my season was over,” he said. “I gave everything I had to it (my career) and I’m pretty comfortable with that. I’ve faced a lot of challenges along the way.” Playfair, 27, was drafted by Geelong in 2001. He played 52 games for the Cats before requesting a trade at the end of 2007. Swans coach Paul Roos commended the 68-game player on his effort in coming back from a significant hamstring injury and other setbacks over his nine-year career. “He certainly showed when he has played that he’s been a valuable member of the team,” Roos said. LAUREN WOOD


INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: Players representing Germany and Croatia, two teams competing in the European Championships in Australian Football.


Europeans getting a kick out of football



xpanding the game isn’t limited to new local territories such as the Gold Coast and Western Sydney. From August 1-7, the European Championships in Australian Football will be played in Copenhagen in Denmark and Scania in Sweden, with eight teams competing – both hosts, Great Britain, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Germany and Croatia. And in October, the Euro Cup, a nine-a-side tournament, will be held at the Parabiago Rugby Centre near Milan in Italy. The inaugural 16-a-side carnival sees Ireland start favourite, with Great Britain, Germany, Denmark and Sweden expected to provide strong opposition. Finland, Croatia and Iceland will be using the experience as a test while continuing preparations for the 2011 Australian Football International Cup in Melbourne. Though many would believe the game only appeals to ex-pats overseas, the sport – described online as a “strange hybrid of rugby, soccer, basketball and Gaelic football that is difficult to explain” – is attracting new players throughout Europe. “Australians are often integral to most clubs,” says Jörg Pareigis, president of AFL Sweden, “but what many people fail to appreciate is how many non-Australians now play it too.” Each competing nation has its own ‘story’ and links to the AFL. The Danish league evolved after an Australian placed an advertisement in a Copenhagen newspaper more than 20 years ago seeking to meet with anyone interested in a ‘kick-to-kick’.

The league now boasts eight clubs, with 250 senior players and 100 juniors. In Finland, a group of Australians met through the local bar scene and also had the idea of meeting for a casual kick-around. From little things big things grow and now there are more than 60 players in the league, most being native Finns. Grant Siermans, manager of the Finland Icebreakers, says locals have taken the plunge and become involved with the competition. “Finns are reserved by nature, so making them change and do something different and new can be difficult,” he says. “But once they experience Aussie Rules, they seem to stick with it and become very enthusiastic. “I think they like the physicality of the game and the new experience.” Britain’s large Australian population has guaranteed there has always been an Australian Football heartbeat in the United Kingdom, but over the past 20 years, the game has rapidly expanded outside its traditional power base of London’s ex-pat community. The code is played throughout the country, and the national team, the British Bulldogs, is made up entirely of English-born players. Britain’s connection to the

Australian game dates back further than its opponents in the European Championships, with a rugby representative team touring Australia in 1888 to play teams including Carlton, Melbourne, Essendon and Port Adelaide in exhibition matches. Though travel issues are expected and the championships are logistically challenging, participants are expecting fierce competition. “I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get to the final,” Danish coach Jim Campion said. GO TO EC2010.INFO OR EMAIL PETER.ROMANIW@AFL.COM.AU FOR MORE INFORMATION.


Early calls come back to bite pundits



o back to round six. Hawthorn apparently is no chance of making the eight and the 100-1 odds offered about its premiership hopes appear inflated based more on history than reality.

Richmond’s Trent Cotchin suspended for four matches for charging North Melbourne’s Sam Wright.

18 AFL RECORD visit

Adelaide is winless, hopeless and given a serious chance of ‘winning’ the wooden spoon. Port Adelaide is going well at 4-2 and, one week later, beats Essendon to enter the top four. The Brisbane Lions are flying.

CLASS FACTOR: Shaun Burgoyne is back from injury.

We’ve seen teams lose their way, as the Power and the Lions have over the past two months with several straight losses, but rarely have we seen teams rebound from shocking starts the way the Hawks, Crows a and even Richmond have this year. yea Adelaide is looking lo ooking like li a genuine class sq quad aga squad again (it is 7-9 and threa tening tto steal threatening a spot in the top p eight) a and we believe Hawtho orn is ge Hawthorn genuine, with eight wins in nine matches. What explain ns this erratic er explains form? Accordin ng to AFL great According Kevin Bartlett, tthe Haw Hawks and the Crows are better b se settled, both having dealt dea alt with a variety of issues in thee early p part of the year, including includin ng injuries injuri and optimising g game styles. st At one sstage thi this year, Adelaide had 14 p players unavailab ble for selection; se unavailable Hawthor rn had around ar Hawthorn 10 unable to o play be because of injury or suspension. su uspensi a usually usua valid “There are reasons. This Th his just happens h to be b a season sea where injuries w inj and setb a setbacks have hit a lot o h of clubs,” Bartlett said. B “Haw “Hawthorn and Adelaide had such A in nterrup interrupted preseas sons that tha they seasons wer ren’t able to get weren’t ttheir heir best bes 22 on tthe park for the first cou couple off month months.

“For the Hawks, (Shaun) Burgoyne was injured and missing, (Clinton) Young was out of the side, their ruck stocks were gone when Simon Taylor went down (broken leg) and Wayde Skipper was injured. They’re just starting to get their best side on the field.” Adelaide dealt with similar issues (the promising Andy Otten was lost for the year to a serious knee injury) and Jason Porplyzia was limited. “A couple of them got into trouble and needed some disciplinary measures,” Bartlett said. “All of a sudden, they’re getting some consistency and fitness into the players and they’re playing the way we know the Crows can.” Brisbane has suffered “the opposite” impact, he said, with a raft of injuries to important players (including captain Jonathan Brown, forward Brendan Fevola, utility Jarred Brennan and defender Josh Drummond) spoiling a fast start. Port hasn’t won since champion forward Warren Tredrea injured his ankle against the Bombers in round seven. It has also been without dangerous Daniel Motlop, young stars Robbie Gray and Hamish Hartlett and highly rated running defender Nathan Krakouer for long stretches. As for the Tigers, the early payout to punters who backed them for the wooden spoon after just a few weeks of the season

looked like a marketing exercise, and so it has proven to be. After beating Sydney and Fremantle in recent weeks, they are barely in the running – let alone supposed certainties – for football’s least wanted award, having developed impressively as the season has progressed.

Seven is season’s best � It seems this year is about streaks and slumps. Geelong and St Kilda were unbeaten after 13 rounds last year and the Saints won their first 19 games, but no team has won more than seven straight matches this year. The Cats, St Kilda and Hawthorn have enjoyed seven-game runs, with Collingwood and Adelaide riding four-match streaks. The Pies also won five on end, as did the Sydney Swans. Port Adelaide is in a club-worst nine-match slump, matching Richmond’s 0-9 start to the year. The Brisbane Lions and Essendon have both lost six in succession. West Coast had dropped seven consecutive matches before winning last week. The ‘form’ teams of the competition are the Magpies and Crows, both winning their past four. PETER DI SISTO

There’s a fresh new team in the AFL You won’t believe the big names lining up for 3AW in 2010. New recruits Brian Taylor, Tim Lane and Richo will join cult hero Dennis Cometti, Robert Walls and ‘Lethal’ Leigh Matthews. And there are even more names on our team sheet. Like Tony Shaw, Mike Sheahan and footy’s First Lady, Caroline Wilson, just to name a few. With a fresh new team like this, in 2010 Melbourne’s own 3AW is football.

Home team v visitors tonight

AFL RECORD visit 19

the bounce



Roos join Tigers in Tassie push



Brady Rawlings (left) and Levi Greenwood enjoy North’s win over Hawthorn in Launceston earlier this year.

Weathering the heat





obart continues to firm as a possible AFL venue, with North Melbourne joining Richmond in expressing interest in playing ‘home’ games at Bellerive Oval. While stressing the Roos would remain a Melbourne-based club, chairman James Brayshaw said Hobart was “screaming out for AFL football” and the club was excited to explore the possibility of playing home matches there. “Hawthorn and The potential its partnership to explore a with Launceston partnership has been an with Hobart is unqualified something we success and it is Brayshaw’s no surprise there cannot pass up comments is a plan to replicate ROOS CHAIRMAN JAMES BRAYSHAW follow that model in the talks between south,” Brayshaw told Richmond CEO “Every club needs to grow, Brendon Gale and Tasmanian even the biggest ones. Our Premier David Bartlett earlier football club certainly needs to this month about the Tigers grow, in membership, supporter playing home games at Bellerive. base, attendance, corporate Gale reaffirmed Richmond’s partnerships, merchandise interest in the plan last weekend. and, the most important area of “We’ve registered our interest. all, revenue. We’re not wedded to do it, we “The potential to explore don’t need to do it, but I think a partnership with a city like we’ve got a responsibility to look Hobart, to expand in the areas at opportunities like these and to I have mentioned and have the continue to grow our footprint as chance to make our business a club,” Gale told Triple M. bigger, better and stronger, is Gale said the best model simply something we cannot would be for one club to play pass up and I just think it’s home games at Bellerive Oval. really exciting.” “To encourage clubs to

20 AFL RECORD visit

invest and grow and develop, they’ve got to be cut a bit of slack,” Gale said. “(But) that really wouldn’t be up to us, that would be up to the AFL.” Hawthorn has played home games at Aurora Stadium in Launceston each year since 2001. It is in the final year of a five-year, $15 million deal to play four games a season at the venue. The Tasmanian Government has said renegotiating that deal remains its priority, but welcomes clubs’ interest in playing in Hobart. The AFL is considering scheduling games in Hobart in the future but no decision is expected until later this year.

hen Western Bulldogs midfielder Matthew Boyd stood on the boundary line last weekend, he crunched an ice bag on to his head and, for the briefest of moments, appeared to be burning, as steam, like smoke, curled into the sultry air. The official temperature was 32 degrees and it was humid. Really humid. Players sweated profusely, so much so that the ball became slippery. Sweatbands were standard issue. The Bulldogs had again prepared for the game by cycling in a heat chamber set at 30 degrees and 60 per cent humidity. But the Dogs’ head of physical conditioning, Bill Davoren (former coach of Australia’s triathlon team), explained while heat-acclimatisation was important – because it taught the body to sweat earlier – there was nothing that could quite prepare the body to play football in Top End humidity (particularly when it was accustomed to wintry Melbourne that was in the middle of a cold snap). Davoren, who coached Australian triathletes in Sydney, Athens and Beijing and watched them swelter in 43-degree heat at 80 per cent humidity, said there were a number of factors that made the game in Darwin tough and recovery tougher. Earlier this year, Melbourne’s Brad Miller revealed he lost almost 4kg after playing in Darwin; that is the equivalent of four litres of sweat.

While there were no such reports of huge weight losses coming out of the Bulldogs camp, Davoren said the game still took its toll, particularly on the midfielders. COOLING DOWN: Matthew Boyd applies an ice bag to his head on a hot and humid night in Darwin last week.

“There’s definitely a high level of fatigue,” he said. “There is a significant thermal load. You’ve got a dehydration factor and there are a whole series of triggers (that make it hard to recover) recover). r “It’s not easy rehydrating and loa It’s not easy meeting that load. a eating straight after the game y perform in because,, when you u lose los that appetite.” the heat, you th he night ni He said the game and a long flight (longer than a trip to Per rth) also a interfered Perth) sleeep patterns p with sleep and was so omet something that neeeded to be addressed needed du uring recovery. during “S “So you’ve got all tthose things to deal with w with; there’s definitely a fatigue fatig factor that co omes out of that and comes our jjob is to come up with ht program pro the righ right to bring of that.” tha them out o vore acknowledged But Dav Davoren ha ad a couple of the Dogs had heir fa things in th their favour; an brreak (even though eight-day break in previous year years they usually affter the t trip) and had a bye after Melbourne’s weather. we Melbourne’s wea ather is pretty cold “The weather tha at ca here and that can be stimulus in aid. itself,” he sa said. w “I think when we got off n Melbourne Mel the plane in it was a w 10 degrees and when we left w 3 Darwin it was 30, so you’ve got dro It was like a 20-degreee drop. i bath. I think being hit byy an ice help.” that can help.”


Parkin honoured by Blue Ribbon Foundation � It’s not often David Parkin is lost for words, but the former premiership captain and coach was humbled by an award presented to him in the lead-up to this week’s Blue Ribbon Cup match between St Kilda and Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium. Parkin was the inaugural recipient of the John Forbes Community Sports Award, created this year by the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation. “I’m truly humbled,” Parkin told guests at the foundation’s annual partners’ breakfast in Melbourne recently. “I go back a long way with John (Forbes) and I know the incredible passion he has for the community and policing, so this is a great honour.” Forbes played a key role in setting up the Blue Ribbon Foundation in 1988 to perpetuate the memory of police officers killed in the line of duty. A former chairman of the foundation, Forbes spent his working life in sport as a commentator, administrator, promotional manager for boot and apparel manufacturer Puma and a friend to leading sporting identities around the world.


David Parkin accepts his award.

Although recovering from illness, Forbes sent a video message congratulating the four-time premiership coach. “Through sport, David has helped to make our community a better place and has always encouraged our young people to realise their sporting dreams,” Forbes said. “Being the first year of the award, I had the say in who would win it and I had no hesitation in naming David.” Parkin coached Hawthorn to one fl ag (1978) and Carlton to three (1981-82, 1995), captained the Hawks’ 1971 premiership team and is a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. MICHAEL LOVETT

,7¶6)227< :,7+2877+(58/(6 For a no holds barred view on everything footy, join Gerard Healy and Dwayne Russell, 6pm-8pm Monday to Thursday. Sports Today - only on 3AW 693.

AFL RECORD visit 21

the bounce


membership is up more than 18 per cent in 2010.


Record high as member figures pass 600,000




JUNE 30, 2010

JUNE 30, 2009




















FL club membership has hit a record high, with 614,251 people joining by June 30 this year, an increase of 4.48 per cent on last year’s tally of 586,748. Collingwood’s total of more than 57,000 is a club record. Eleven clubs saw their membership increase this year and seven boast membership bases greater than 40,000. Collingwood recorded the greatest increase, adding 11,436 members, or about 20 per cent. The Pies have 57,408 members, the highest tally recorded by any club. St Kilda had the second largest increase (18.23 per cent) following last year’s stellar season, and the Western Bulldogs also had double-digit growth. “On behalf of the AFL, I wish to thank every single person




































across Australia who supports our game and who makes the commitment to join an AFL club,” AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said. “Membership continues to be the lifeblood of our clubs

and the AFL’s single-most important indicator of the game’s health remains attendances at our matches and the commitment of our supporters to become a member of one of our clubs.”

Stars unite for Tree Day � Current and former AFL champions Jonathan Brown, Luke Hodge, Brian Taylor, Adam Goodes and James Hird will next weekend team up with volunteers to support Toyota’s 11th year of involvement in Planet Ark’s ‘National Tree Day’ and ‘Schools Tree Day’. Since the program’s inception, more than two million volunteers have planted more than 15 million native trees and shrubs. “Playing and training outdoors, you get a real appreciation of our natural environment,” Sydney champion and dual Brownlow medalist Adam Goodes said. “Planting a tree is such a simple way we can make a positive impact on our local parks and also our local community.” Goodes urged footy fans to participate in Schools Tree Day on Friday, July 30, and National Tree Day on Sunday, August 1.


For more information, go to treeday or head to your local participating Toyota dealership.

Adelaide captain Simon Goodwin has expressed an interest in coaching after he retires at the end of the season.

22 AFL RECORD visit

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Swan stands the test of time Jude Bolton may have jokingly been labelled a “pretty boy” in his early days, but there have been few tougher and more durable players in recent times than the star Sydney Swans midfielder, who is in line to play his 250th game this round. J IM M A IN


ad Jude Bolton not been so fresh-faced as a 17-year-old, he might have been drafted by Port Adelaide instead of the Sydney Swans. Bolton, who is due to play his 250th match this weekend against Melbourne at the MCG, chuckled when he recalled his unusual interview with Power coach Mark Williams at the 1998 AFL Draft Camp. “A Port official warned me that ‘Choco’ liked putting young players on the spot, so I was a bit wary going into the interview,” he said. “Even then, I was surprised when he asked me whether I wanted to be in a Men For All Seasons calendar, and was still thinking about that when he added: ‘I used to like playing on pretty boys like you’.” Port used its selection (No. 7 overall) to nominate Josh Carr, who ironically, announced his retirement earlier this week, leaving the Swans to pick Bolton with the next selection. Bolton had grown up in Melbourne’s north-west as a passionate St Kilda supporter but, after the Saints showed no interest in him, he had to pack his bags and head for Sydney. “It didn’t worry me,” the 30-year-old said. “I just wanted the chance to play at the highest level and, although it took me a little while to settle in, I was lucky to share 57 AFL RECORD visit

accommodation with other young players in Rowan Warfe and Ryan Fitzgerald.” Bolton made his debut against Carlton at Optus Oval in round 12 of 1999, but does not have too many happy memories of the first time he touched the ball in AFL action. “My first kick was a shocker,” he said. “It went straight to Carlton’s Fraser Brown and I got an immediate message from coach Rodney Eade to ‘never kick short again’.” He finished the game with six disposals and four tackles. Bolton impressed, even in his earliest games, with his head-down, tail-up style of game and gives credit for this to his grandfather, Harold Blake, who always is seen sitting alongside Bolton after Swans games in Melbourne. “He told me at a very early age that it was better to be carried off in an ambulance than shirk an issue,” he said. “I guess it is something I have taken to heart because I always have liked to drag the ball out from the middle of packs. “I have never been a flashy player and, never having been fast, I like to think I fill a role in a team game by working as hard as I can in the packs.” Despite having built a wonderful reputation as a player who always puts his head over the ball, Bolton has been remarkably durable. He has not missed a game since the middle of the 2005

season when he was ruled out supporter who happened to be for a week with a calf injury. cheering us on that day, and it And, of course, that season turned out that he was related to culminated in the highlight Geelong president Frank Costa,” of his career – playing in the he said. Swans’ first premiership side Bolton will become only the for 72 years. fifth Swan to reach 250 games “It was a wonderful feeling,” – behind Michael O’Loughlin Bolton said. “It was terrific (303), teammate Adam Goodes to make so many older (268), John Rantall (260) and supporters happy and, after all, Mark Browning (251). premierships are what it is all Along the way this season, about. I just feel so privileged to he has passed Stephen Wright have played in one for the club I (246), Mark Bayes (246), Daryn love to bits.” Cresswell (244), Bob Skilton Yet Bolton has one regret (237), Leo Barry (237) and from that premiership triumph – Paul Kelly (234). having to play part of the Grand Bolton is in awe of these great Final in a helmet after having club champions but, even more had his head split open. so, that he sits among them. “I am coming up “I started taking to 250 games and, notice of this list I feel even though when Michael I played in a O’Loughlin I have been helmet for just played his 300th blessed as I am 10 minutes or last year and I immensely proud so, everyone just shook my remembers it,” head to think of being a onehe joked. that I would be club player “Everyone up there with JUDE BOLTON forgets that Brett such great players,” Kirk wore the he said. same helmet in “I feel I have been the preliminary final the week blessed as I am immensely before, but I’m the bloke in the proud of being a one-club player helmet as far as the premiership and I regard it as a tremendous is concerned.” honour to play with the Swans During the on-field as we pride ourselves on our premiership celebrations, Bolton unity and commitment to handed the helmet to a young each other.” man wearing a Swans guernsey Bolton is hopeful of adding and was surprised when it was to his total of 16 finals, but also later returned to him. has longer-term goals. “Another “The bloke wearing the premiership and 300 games Swans guernsey was a Geelong would be great, wouldn’t it?”


C lf E N s e le S T im hi s SI h w N e s n t e r m ic . t th C O id e F p r s i s t in g k e O L o s s o n ow o r DE Cr g c gl is w O n M ie l e in l k i t h n b a u Da o n s t a b o r he


58 AFL RECORD visit aďŹ&#x201A;

Searching for the DA N I E L C R O S S

Daniel Cross epitomises the Bulldogs spirit as they strive to end a 56-year premiershp drought this season. With an incredible capacity for hard work and an intense desire to improve, the 27-year-old has developed into one of the most committed and consistent midfielders in the game. ASHLEY BROWNE


alk to people around the Western Bulldogs about Daniel Cross and there is a specific word all of them mention. Work. If it doesn’t come out in the first comment they make about the low-profile but big-impact Bulldog, it emerges in the second, or no later by the third. The ability to work hard – to constantly improve all facets of his game – is a quality Cross brought to the club the day he was drafted. And nearly a decade later as he approaches the 150-game mark, he continues to set the bar at the club when it comes to constant improvement. It’s that characteristic coach Rodney Eade noticed about Cross the first time the pair met, when Eade was appointed late in 2004. Nearly six years later, Eade continues to marvel about Cross’ capacity to work. “I didn’t know much about him when I first came to the club,” Eade recalls. “He was young, but I threw him a challenge in my first pre-season and full credit to him because he worked hard, smashed the door down and demanded a game. He then cemented a spot in the side.” Cross arrived at the Whitten Oval at the end of 2000 from Albury in New South Wales, having been selected in the fourth round of that year’s draft as a 17-yearold.

He played for the Murray Bushrangers “My consistency is the thing I really in the TAC Cup, and represented pride myself on and I think in the last NSW/ACT in its Division Two win in the few years, I have been consistent and 2000 under-18 championships. done the things the coach has asked In his AFL 2001 profile, Cross was me to do,” Cross said. described as “agile and good overhead”. “All I care about is what (midfield He had impressed scouts at the 2000 coach) Leon Cameron and ‘Rocket’ draft camp with an “outstanding” (Eade) say, and being guided by them. I beep test measuring endurance. think my year has been pretty consistent, He made his debut in 2002 (against without having many standout games.” Richmond in round 10) but only started Cross won the Bulldogs’ best and stringing games together in the second fairest in 2008 and was runner-up to half of 2004 under Peter Rohde. Matthew Boyd last year. He missed two Eade replaced Rohde as coach at games with an ankle injury towards the the end of that season, so Cross had end of last season (which may have cost to go to work all over again in an effort him a second Charles Sutton Medal), to prove himself. but it is a source of pride for Eade that ce at the trifecta in last year’s award “He gave me my chance compris the start and has always comprised a bottom-age id draft pick (Cross) and two believed in me,” Cross said Full credit p pl ay originally picked last week. “In the past, players to him because a rookies: Boyd and as coaches have looked at D my weaknesses when Dale Morris. he worked hard, they assess what I Said the coach: “With smashed the door o u system, you don’t might bring to the side, our down and demanded nneed e to be the standout, but he’s always looked jjust jus ju u do the job expected at my strengths.” a game o Those strengths off yyou every week.” RODNEY EADE ON DANIEL CROSS d Cro include exceptional hand Cross is renowned for d b eing th skills, superior fitness and being the hardest worker rm at the club, occasionally even the concentration to perform d d a run-with role when required. overdoing it. The day before our interview, Eade says the 27-year-old is only now Cross had been assigned, and beaten starting to understand there are limits hands down, dangerous Carlton to how much training a player can do. playmaker Heath Scotland to help his “Daniel is very hard on himself and team to an important win, keeping the does a lot of a lot of extra work,” he says. Dogs’ top-four hopes on track. “Perhaps too much sometimes, and he Before Eade’s arrival, Cross was used needs to be careful about the wear and primarily as a run-with player. In time, tear on his body.” his role expanded – he has played as an Cross breaks into a inside midfielder and on the wing. Now, sheepish smile when asked his coach can tap him on the shoulder to whether he is prone to do any, or all of the above, with a great overdoing it. degree of confidence that he will do “I don’t know whether whatever required. my conscience is good AFL RECORD visit 59




Daniel Cross Born: March 30, 1983 Recruited from: Albury (NSW)/Murray U18 Debut: Round 10, 2002, v Richmond Height: 187cm Weight: 86kg Games: 149 Goals: 26 Player honours: best and fairest 2000; 2nd 2005, 2009; 3rd 2006 Brownlow Medal: 36 votes

or bad for me, but I’m not programmed to relax,” he says. “I’m always pushing myself for that next goal and it drives me mad sometimes – and others as well.” Perhaps we should blame Boyd, his partner-in-crime. The pair joined the club around the same time and are as thick as thieves. Eade says while there are plenty of hard workers at Whitten Oval, Cross and Boyd are the “standouts”. As a result of their different body shapes, Boyd has the edge in the gym, but when it comes to running and skills training, the competitiveness between the pair comes to the fore. “We bounce off each other a bit and we’ve been close for a long time,” Cross says. “Our partners are close, our lockers are next to each other – we can’t be any closer at the footy club. “We’re the best of mates but we compete against each other and that’s the competitive nature of being an athlete, I suppose.” Club insiders say the pair’s competitiveness is infectious. “We’re a close-knit bunch. A lot of us have been together for a long time, starting out with the Werribee Tigers (the Dogs’ VFL feeder team) and we’re striving to do something really special together,” Cross says. “The leadership group is really big on changing the culture of this place, away from ‘near enough is good enough’. Anything we play in, we want to win. “We’ve been close the last couple of years and you see after those preliminary final 60 AFL RECORD visit

SET TO POUNCE: Daniel Cross believes there is plenty

of light on the horizon for the Bulldogs in 2010.

losses (to Geelong in 2008 and us to do well.” Last year’s defeat by seven points to St Kilda last clearly was the more painful. season) that it really does hurt “In 2008, it was the first the players. time we had been that close for “You see it in their eyes. It’s not a very long time,” he says. “It put on and it’s not a fake feeling. wasn’t a case of us just being There were tears, knowing it happy to be there, but last year was so close.” there were real opportunities to Back-to-back preliminary snatch the win. final defeats are not the “I haven’t watched the whole elephant in the room for this game but I’ve seen parts of it. group. Far from it. Cross is Hindsight is a wonderful thing and there are happy to discusss what always things you’d went wrong in like to t change, but those losses and I’m not it b the effect they burns. have had on “You hear St ashamed to say K him and his Kilda talk about I cried for most ho teammates. how much the of the night when G “I’m not Grand Final loss I got home ashamed to (to Geelong) DANIEL CROSS ON LAST YEAR’S hur them. Every say I cried hurt PRELIMINARY FINAL DEFEAT for most of the team mourns lost opport night when I got opportunities and home,” he says off we’re no different.” ints brin us to the loss to the Saints Which brings last September. this year. The Bulldogs were “Not only just for our playing impressive in winning the group but for my family and NAB Cup and were tipped to my wife’s family. They’re all use the heartbreak of the past Bulldogs supporters and they two preliminary final losses as haven’t seen success. I know motivation for a genuine attempt how badly everyone wants at winning the premiership.

The Bulldogs have played some brilliant football, some poor football and much in between. Yes, they’re in contention for the flag, but not the outright favourites they were after beating St Kilda in the pre-season Grand Final in early March. “We’ve been ‘there’ a few times this year,” Cross says. “You can feel that as a side we’re almost there and you come in on Mondays for the video review and you feel like it’s coming back and coming back and then the next week one thing falls away and it blows everything else up. “The competition is so close you can’t afford to lapse in any area, especially against top-four sides. “We did that against St Kilda when we lost that low-scoring game (by three points in round six) and we’ve lost a few other close games and it has been just basic things we practise every week, but which in the heat of a game we don’t carry out properly. And in a close


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game, it The Bulldogs recently engaged can cost the services of Leading Teams, you dearly.” a consultancy that works with That was the case several AFL clubs to develop against the Hawks leadership skills. The program in round 14, with two has led to fuller and more Hawthorn goals in the frank discussions between final quarter highlighted senior players. endlessly on the many panel “We’re starting to get a lot shows that now fill our stronger with each other,” television screens. Cross says. “We’ve learned to The first was when nobody challenge each other more stood Hawks skipper Sam and more and I believe that pp g Mitchell at a boundaryy approach is going to take g throw-in, freeing us a long away. “Even thoug we’re close him to snap an though mat we can important goal. mates, Our tackling ch The second challenge each and defensive ot was when other and look e Luke Hodge pressure is what each other in th eye and was given the we believe will sa ‘You have enough space say take us to the to swing on to better in a next level cer to his deadly certain area’. DANIEL CROSS o Th left-foot and also That’s a good pa about the kick truly. part ts bo we have Several pundits bond assages of oth here.” seized on these passages with each other play, demanding to know Quite possibly, Cross had who the superstar leaders of one of those full and frank the Western Bulldogs were, discussions with his teammates the types who could deliver after a radio interview the that moment of magic at day after the shattering loss crunch times. to St Kilda. “I think we have a more even The Bulldogs led a lowspread of players,” Cross says. scoring scrap all night before “If you’re relying on just one or three late goals to the Saints two players every week and one helped them snatch the win, of them is out or not playing with Cross admitting in the well, you’re in trouble. interview to a level of confusion “Everyone has to be driving when kicking long to a forward the bus, as they say. It can’t be line that now features fulljust one or two blokes.” forward Barry Hall.

62 AFL RECORD visit

“I didn’t mean for it to come out the way it did, but I think ‘Coons’ (Adam Cooney) answered it best when he said Barry is such a good forward that he leads to all the right places. “Before, we had three or four different guys leading to different places, but he has such a big presence down there and he’s playing so well that he’s hard to overlook.” So have the Bulldogs finally got their forward structure sorted out? Cross hopes so. “We definitely have that balance right; we work on it every session and we have other young forwards stepping up as well, like Jarrad Grant and Brennan Stack and the old stagers like ‘Johnno’ (captain Brad Johnson), Mitch Hahn and ‘Gia’ (Daniel Giansiracusa) doing their job as well. We just needed to find that balance,” he says. “The attacking side of our game is on the mark most of the time, but it’s the defensive side that’s been criticised in the past. Our tackling and defensive pressure is what we believe will take us to the next level. “The defensive side of footy has gone up a level and we’re probably going to have to go up two levels if we want to have success at the end of the year.”

Driving the Dogs � Call them operating philosophies or key performance indicators, but there are four key planks which Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade believes must underpin his team’s quest to win this year’s fl ag. Daniel Cross says while much is kept in-house at the Whitten Oval, he is happy to share what Eade calls the “bottom of the triangle”. “They’re things that don’t have anything to do with talent: perseverance, dedication to the cause, your role for the team and your competitiveness. “You bring those every week and it doesn’t matter if you’re having a shocking game, if you’re doing those things, then he’s going to be more happy than not because you’re making a contribution.”


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BEN JOHNSON Johnson worked hard during the 2009 pre-season, getting his diet right, his social life in order and his skinfolds down. And he made sure he did everything he could to earn selection in round one, which he did. In round three, just as things were looking brighter, he broke his leg, a cruel twist of fate that made him think – for just a second – that his career was over. After enduring rehabilitation – doing all the things he isn’t fond of, including swimming – he came back as strong as ever. His third quarter in the second semi-final against Adelaide, when he kicked two crucial goals, demonstrated he was a resilient character, a player at his best when his back was against the wall. He has continued in 2010 where he finished 2009. This weekend, Johnson is due to reach 200 games, all played under Malthouse. At 29, he will become the 27th Magpie to reach the mark, one of just 3.6 per cent of AFL players to achieve the milestone. He has been a Collingwood supporter all his life and he plays like one. Few are as popular with the grassroots as Johnson, his expressions of delight when he finished second in the 2004 and 2006 best and fairest counts demonstrating the down-to-earth approach that has endeared him to supporters. Those around the club who know him well understand he

Ben Johnson has been a key part of the Malthouse-era at Collingwood. He has overcome setbacks and the occasional struggle with motivation to reach 200 games as a respected member of the top-of-the-table Magpies. PETER RYA N


t the end of 2008, Ben Johnson’s career was teetering on the edge. He had played 171 games but seemed to have lost the passion that had driven him to two Grand Finals and two runner-up finishes in the club’s best and fairest. His social life during the year had not been conducive to being an elite athlete. He was not part of the finals team that season. He had one year left on his contract. During a post-season chat with Mick Malthouse, the coach told him to stop feeling sorry for himself and delivered some home truths. Johnson, who appreciates honest communication, knew what the coach was saying was true. He understood that his attitude needed re-aligning. He was not satisfied with what he had achieved. He knew he wanted to be part of a premiership team. 64 AFL RECORD visit

to Jason Akermanis. He was is a man who calls things as he missing in round 12 when the sees them, and that he will fight Magpies needed a match-up for hard to ensure all at the club are Melbourne’s Aaron Davey. treated fairly. His ability to fulfil such roles Although he is no longer makes him an important player one of the team’s stars, he is as reliable as dawn and still capable for Collingwood. “He has a strong will and of turning a game on its head. Collingwood’s defensive coach strong concentration powers,” Watters says. Scott Watters describes Johnson “The way he prepares for as a traditional clubman. “He’s opposition players when he is really passionate about playing playing defensively is extremely with his teammates and has a thorough and would put him in real passion for being part of the top echelon. He just leaves this club and what we are nothing to chance.” doing,” Watters says. Blessed with an “That shines uncanny ability to through in More often wind his way on to everything he than not, he will his preferred left does, the way foot, break tackles he trains, be given the task and run the lines, the way he on the opposition’s Johnson has prepares most dangerous been important and the in defensive and seriousness player midfield roles with which he throughout his career. takes on some of In 2006, he said it was a the key roles he style that “keeps working, so I has to play.” keep doing it”. Johnson responds well to Watters says Johnson’s ability pressure. Everyone knows that to read the game allows him to when Malthouse directs his get away with being one-sided: attention to Johnson and asks “He is smart at positioning for a supreme effort, the utility/ himself early at contests and he defender will do everything he reads the game a step or two can to deliver what is expected. ahead, so when he gains the More often than not, he will be footy, he has already opened up given the task on the opposition’s most dangerous player. Last week that left option.” Those who were only seeing it was St Kilda’s Stephen Milne. the obvious, kept querying his If history is any guide, Gary kicking. Those watching the Ablett will have him by his side game with a forensic when Collingwood next plays eye knew he possessed Geelong. Against the Bulldogs in that knack of beating his recent times, he has stuck close


Ben Johnson is admired within Collingwood for his strong will and concentration powers.

AFL RECORD visit aďŹ&#x201A; 65

Over the journey, he has shown really good versatility and the ability to adapt to a number of roles

2002 Grand Final side. In that year’s qualifying final against Port ASSISTANT COACH Adelaide, SCOTT WATTERS he tackled Peter Burgoyne in the goalsquare after being out-marked as the match seemed to be shifting Port’s way. His last-ditch effort saved a certain goal and changed the game’s direction. It also made him a Collingwood hero. The following season he played every game, but again was part of a losing Grand Final team (and for the second successive season, finished sixth opponents and creating damage in the best and fairest). on the rebound. He has closing Johnson started 2004 in speed, rarely loses his feet and, brilliant form. He was explosive, although his kicking style can be pushing into the midfield, ungainly, it is effective. and was the club’s best player Watters thinks Johnson is an in the first half of the season. underrated kick, judged more He finished equal second in on style than substance. “He the best and fairest behind has got very good penetration. James Clement and polled 10 When he gets the opportunity to Brownlow Medal votes. finish from long range, he is very His 2005 season was efficient and his efficiency rate impacted by a quad problem forward of centre is actually very but he bounced back again in high,” Watters says. 2006, beginning the year in It’s been some career already. defence before moving on to He was a key member of the

the wing, then playing in the midfield, winning the Anzac Medal along the way. Again he finished equal second in the best and fairest, this time to his mate Alan Didak. Jubilant on the night, he dedicated the runner-up trophy in passionate fashion to his girlfriend, Bianca, his mates and family, particularly his mum Johanne and dad John, whom he guesses have watched him play in every game – bar a couple outside Victoria – since he was about nine. In 2006, he polled 11 Brownlow votes. “Over the journey, he has shown really good versatility and the ability to adapt to a number of roles,” Watters says. Johnson’s leadership qualities are unsung. He has what you would call a quiet influence. Dane Swan is just one player who tacked on to the back of him during a pre-season campaign early in his career in an effort to build his fitness. Swan credits Johnson’s support as vital in turning his career around. They remain great mates and it was Swan who warmed up next to Johnson before his comeback game last season in round 15, keeping the mood light, relaxing his teammate.



Ben Johnson

Born: April 5, 1981 Recruited from: St Marys (VMFL)/Northern U18 Debut: Round 1, 2000, v Hawthorn Height: 183cm Weight: 84kg Games: 199 Goals: 59 Player honours: 2nd best and fairest 2004, 2006 Brownlow Medal: career votes 29

Johnson has missed only two games since he returned from the broken leg, a career on the brink reclaimed. He has seen where the boundaries are, pushed them occasionally and matured into the professional footballer he is now. Not one for individual achievements, Johnson’s milestone this weekend will be a chance for others to do for him what he does for them every week: give everything. “He is one of those guys who genuinely loves playing with the group of players he has been playing with for a long time and takes pride in that,” Watters says.

QUICK JOHNSON FACT When Gavin Brown retired at the end of 2000, Johnson took over No. 26 after wearing No. 31 for one year.

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66 AFL RECORD visit


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Moments of the


The greatest comeback of them all

The fierce rivalry between Essendon and North Melbourne reached its peak in an exhilarating shootout in 2001.



espite a couple of false dawns and their close geographic proximity, the rivalry between Essendon and North Melbourne didn’t fire up until 1998. That was when Bombers coach Kevin Sheedy referred to then Kangaroos football manager Greg Miller and director of football Mark Dawson as “marshmallows” because he thought they and their football club to be a bit soft. It led to great scenes after thatt year’s qualifying final (which North won by 22 points) of Kangaroos fans joyously pelting Sheedy with marshmallows as he walked the boundary line back to the Essendon rooms. Sheedy – ever the spruiker and salesman – referred to the first clash the following year between the clubs as the “marshmallow” game. But with a powerhouse team at his disposal, he didn’t need to worry about any soft-centered sweets being thrown his way that day, or any time after that, as the Bombers won by 35 points and dominated their new-found rival for the next couple of years. Indeed, they handed the Roos some fearful beltings around the turn of the decade. Essendon beat North by 49 points in round 13 of 2000, by a massive 125 points in the qualifying final that season and by 85 points in the opening game of 2001. The Bombers’ domination had become unacceptable to anyone of the North Melbourne persuasion, none more than 68 AFL RECORD visit


Jubilant Essendon players after they had staged the greatest comeback in League history – from left, Scott Lucas, John Barnes, Adam Ramanauskas, James Hird, Cory McGrath, Mark Mercuri and Steve Alessio while North Melbourne’s Adam Simpson (left) ponders his side’s fadeout. The scoreboard sums up the story of an incredible game.

Shannon Grant was the coach Denis Pagan, who, as star for North Melbourne as it Essendon’s reserves coach smashed the Bombers out of the in 1992, had helped develop centre, and when the Roos’ lead several of the Bombers stars was extended to 69 points 10 who were now rubbing his nose minutes into the second quarter, into the dirt every time the it should have been ‘game over’ teams met. – no team had ever come back The second clash between from that large a deficit to win the clubs in 2001 took place at a game. the MCG in round 16, and it But then a change would be fair to say came over the Pagan had his side game. Essendon whipped into a My biggest started to win frenzy before the clearances the opening regret from that and Matthew bounce. And day is that we Lloyd started it showed. didn’t shut kicking goals. Even with The Bombers superstar them down rattled on 10 forward Wayne NORTH MELBOURNE COACH DENIS PAGAN goals in the Carey watching second term, to from the reduce the half-time stands, North margin to just 21 points. piled on 12 goals to two in Instead of game over, it was the first quarter to lead by ‘game on’. 58 points at quarter-time. “It was all about the The Roos’ 12.1 remains the fifth clearances,” Pagan said last highest first quarter score in week. “Basically, whoever won AFL/VFL history.

the ball from the stoppages controlled the game. It was us early and them later in the match.” Seven goals to Essendon and six to the Kangaroos in an exhilarating third term left the margin at 14 points to North at the last change. Pagan was still hopeful his team could hang on, while over in the Bombers huddle, skipper James Hird was convinced his side would finish all over the tiring Kangaroos. “Jason Johnson was just sensational for us,” Hird recalled this week. “We always thought we were a chance to win it. We had been such a good side for two-and-a-half years that we thought we could win any game, at any stage.” And win this one they did, rattling on eight goals to three in the final term to win by 12 points, 27.9 (171) to 25.9 (159). It was the greatest comeback in League history.


“Definitely one of the best wins I played in,” Hird said. “You look at the reasons why we fell so far behind and what we did to turn it around, and it was a really memorable performance.” Lloyd ended up booting nine for the winners, Jason Johnson had 31 touches and kicked four

goals and Blake Caracella had 28 touches and booted three. Corey McKernan kicked five goals and Saverio Rocca four for the Kangaroos. “It was so frustrating because we played so well so early,” Pagan recalled. “But my biggest regret from the day is that we didn’t shut them down. “If we had played nine defenders and just three forwards in the final quarter, we probably would have won the

� Essendon was rightly exultant after the historic win, but you could mount a sound argument that the Bombers have been in decline ever since. They lost their next two matches and three of their last six in the run home to the finals that year, eventually being beaten in the Grand Final by the Brisbane Lions. Since then, they have not made it past the semi-finals. And their record against North Melbourne hasn’t been much better. The Bombers followed up their comeback win against North with six consecutive losses. All up, they have lost seven of eight to the Roos since the famous triumph in 2001.

game, but you didn’t do that sort of thing in those days.” Pagan’s other memory of the day is one of his assistants quipping at quarter-time that the Kangaroos were on pace to kick 48 goals for the day. It wasn’t an omen, but it was a reminder of how unpredictable football can be. “It was just amazing how quickly it turned,” he said. ASHLEY BROWNE IS EDITOR OF BACKPAGELEAD.COM.AU

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AFL RECORD visit 69

Col Hutchinson

timeon Our AFL history guru answers your queries.


Barry Hall has kicked 54 goals for the season and seems sure to be the Bulldogs’ leading goalscorer for the year. He previously won awards for both St Kilda and Sydney. Will he be the first player to be leading goalkicker for three different clubs?

The top name


CH: Big Barry

accumulated 41 and 44 majors in 1999 and 2001 respectively for the Saints and was top scorer for the Swans for seven consecutive seasons from 2002 until 2008. Two other sharpshooters have achieved the feat at three clubs. The unpredictable Mark Jackson led the goalkicking with 76 for Melbourne in 1981, 41 for St Kilda in 1983 and 74 for Geelong in 1984. Scott Cummings did likewise, notching 34 for Essendon in 1994, 70 for Port Adelaide in 1997 and 95 for West Coast in 1999.

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

70 AFL RECORD visit


Barry Hall is on target to join former Demon, Saint and Cat Mark Jackson (left) as the leading goalkicker at three different clubs.

AFL mystery men Archibald Robinson � Born on July 9, 1890, Robinson was recruited from North Melbourne Juniors by Richmond in 1911. In round two, he made his only appearance as a 177cm, 89kg stocky forward pocket. In 1912, he transferred to Melbourne City Football Club, which participated in a suburban competition.

James Joseph Makin � Makin played his early football with southern Melbourne suburban club Leopold before making 30 appearances as a 185cm, 80kg defender for South Melbourne between 1919 and 1922. He joined Melbourne in 1923 and played 16 games. Born on June 22, 1896, he was believed to be living in Hawaii in 1933.

Should you have any further information regarding mystery men Robinson or Makin, including their date of death, contact Col Hutchinson on (03) 9643 1929 or

� This year again sees Johnson as the most popular surname on AFL lists, with eight entries. True, there are also eight Brown(e)s, however, when you consider that “son of John” is also represented in other forms by Jones (six entries), Johns (one) and Bevan (one), there are 16 instances. Bevan looks nothing like Johnson, but in Welsh, ap- and ab- at the front of a name mean “son of” (as, for example, O’ does in Gaelic). The Welsh form of John is Evan and so abEvan (which became Bevan) is a form of Johnson. (An example of the use of apis the surname of former Hawk Darrin Pritchard: apRitchard = son of Richard = Richardson.) Johnston and Johnstone also appear on AFL lists but they are rarely forms of Johnson. There have been 48 Johnsons play at least one League match over the years – none better than Bulldogs champion Brad Johnson. KEVAN CARROLL


THIS IS THE YEAR THE SAINTS COME MARCHING IN Be there in September when the Saints put things right and march to victory. It’s going to be a day that goes down in history, 44 years in the making, and a day you’ll never forget. So don’t miss your chance to feel the power of victory as it happens. You can now guarantee your spot for that one day in September at the AFL Event Office. Only the AFL Event Office can tailor unforgettable Grand Final package experiences like no other –


exclusive AFL functions and entertainment, accommodation, travel and, of course, the best tickets to the biggest match of the year. So when the Saints make it to the big one in September, make sure you’re there cheering them on. Don’t miss a second of the action; book your place today to ensure you’re a part of the 2010 Toyota AFL Grand Final spectacular.

Book at a or call 1300 235 235


Rick Milne


Good Evans, a beauty!

A weekly look at collectables, t tables tables, , memorabilia and all footy things th thing stored in boxes and garages.

I have a Victorian guernsey my grandfather Roy Evans wore representing the Big V in 1938. My grandfather played 49 games with Footscray from 1936-39 and captained the Bulldogs in their first VFL finals match, in 1938. He also played in the VFA (now VFL) with Yarraville.

BIG V, BIG VALUE: A Victorian BI

jumper, similar to the one pictured heree and worn by fformer fo rmer Footscray captain Roy Evans, is worth at least $4000.


RM: You have a super item as

y. this is a piece of football history. It is worth at least $4000, so look after it. I am a keen autograph collector, r, of players past and present. I get them to sign my cards, but so far, only on my less expensive ve cards. Some of my cards are quite ite valuable, so should I get these signed as well? PETER CULLEN, VIA EMAIL

RM: I would not get them signed

if they are worth $50 or more as this devalues them.

I have the autographs of 10 Footscray players from 1942, including Brownlow medallist Norm Ware and forward George Tribe, who also played Test cricket for Australia. The signatures are in pencil.

autographs t graphs sell forr less than h rdl those in pen. Regardless, you have good autographs and they are worth $250. I have assorted football memorabilia, including a 1965 Footy Life magazine summarising that season, plus Herald Sun premiership souvenir lift-outs from 1970 to 1986. These had colour pin-ups of the premiership teams and a summary of each club’s results for the year. I also have Football


RM: As I have written previously

in this column, pencilled

R Records Record Rec d for f all ll finals l ffrom the th 1967 Grand Final. What is the best way of finding a buyer and are my items worth anything?


� Her Here is a classic for all H Tiger fans! Ti f This 88-page souvenir souven u n club history book wass issu iss issued s in 1951 and is chock-full cho cchock ock-f -fu fu of photos, stories, ffacsimile s m autographs and advertisements advertise a v t for local Richmond Ri Ric R h ond businesses. One hmo advertisement advertise a v t says Griffiths Sweets, S e s m maker of Kool Mints, Mint Mi Mints M nts, offe off ffeers steady jobs for men, but men m b p pr prefers Richmond ssupporters p r r This book is as supporters. good g o as a it gets ge and is worth Byy thee way, at least a l s $400. $400 $ 4 ay, tthee Governor v n of Victoria, o V t a Sir Dallas S l s Brookes, B o ke wass the w Tigers’ No. 1 T tticketholderr in 1951.


RM: Unfortunately, you are

not sitting on a fortune. Footy Life magazines sell for about $8 each and the Herald Sun souvenirs are worth $15 each. Grand Final Football Records average $25 each and anyone interested in buying the items can contact me.

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












FITZY St Kilda Collingwood Geelong Cats North Melbourne West Coast Eagles Western Bulldogs Sydney Swans Adelaide

72 AFL RECORD visit

MICK St Kilda Richmond Geelong Cats North Melbourne Carlton Western Bulldogs Sydney Swans Adelaide

SAM St Kilda Collingwood Geelong Cats Essendon Carlton Western Bulldogs Sydney Swans Adelaide

DAVE Hawthorn Collingwood Geelong Cats North Melbourne Carlton Western Bulldogs Sydney Swans Adelaide

LEHMO Hawthorn Collingwood Geelong Cats North Melbourne Carlton Western Bulldogs Melbourne Adelaide

ANDY St Kilda Collingwood Geelong Cats North Melbourne Carlton Western Bulldogs Sydney Swans Adelaide

This week, special guest appearances by ALASTAIR CLARKSON & DALE THO THOMAS

TISSOT PRC 200 LIMITED EDITION 2010 The watch for all occasions with an automatic movement, scratchproof sapphire crystal, water resistance up to 200m/600ft and a 316L stainless steel bracelet, AFL engraved caseback









� Solve this puzzle by filling in the empty squares with the nine letters of the player’s name. You must make sure you use each letter only once in each row, column or small box of nine squares. Do not guess, as there is only one correct solution.













3 Which player has collected the most



4 With which club did now-retired Swan

Henry Playfair start his career?


5 What is the Gold Coast team’s nickname??



his last match this Sunday?

possessions this year?


1 Which Port Adelaide player will play 2 Who was the leading goalkicker after round 16?











A THIS WEEK’S ANSWERS SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Blue hoop on back of Crows player’s guernsey has been removed; the small yellow stripe on shorts also removed; the ‘U’ on the background signage changed to ’O’; Gary Ablett’s No. 29 has been changed to 79; the umpire’s green shirt has been changed to purple.





74 AFL RECORD RE R EC CO COR OR O RD visit RD viis vvis isit it afl om m.a .a au



Worth the wait Crows defender Phil Davis is making up for lost time after aft f er ft er being being forced to earn his senior debut. CALLUM TWOMEY


hil Davis admits that, at times, 2009 was a frustrating first season in the AFL system. The Adelaide defender, selected 10th at the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, had a slow start to the year before being named an emergency eight times – without breaking through for his AFL debut. “Obviously you want to be playing in the senior side and to get so close so many times without getting a crack was a bit disappointing,” Davis said. “The club was pretty happy with my form, but the people I was competing against – Ben Rutten, Scott Stevens, Nathan Bock and Andy Otten – made it tough to break into the side. I thought I was playing well and so did the club, but obviously I didn’t manage to get a game.” With Otten and Bock missing, Davis was given his first opportunity in round four this season and is yet to put a foot wrong. Playing a sweeping/rebounding role in the Crows’ backline, Davis has impressed with his football nous and ability to read the play. In last week’s 11-point win over Geelong, Davis continued his strong form with 14 possessions and was rewarded with the NAB AFL Rising Star nomination. Playing in defence, however, hasn’t always been the norm for the 19-year-old. “I played most of my junior career as a forward, and came to the club as a forward, so I did all pre-season with the forward group,” he said.

2010 NAB AFL Rising Star Nominees

TRANSITION: After playing junior football as a forward, Phil Davis is making his mark in defence for the Crows.

Round 1 – Chris Yarran (Carl) Round 2 – Daniel Hannebery (Syd) Round 3 – Ryan Bastinac (NM) Round 4 – Nic Naitanui (WCE) Round 5 – Jack Trengove (Melb) Round 6 – Todd Banfield (Bris) Round 7 – Tom Scully (Melb) Round 8 – Jake Melksham (Ess) Round 9 – Nathan Fyfe (Frem)

Our fitness guys were trying to work out how many ‘G forces’ went through me PHIL DAVIS ON THE AARON SANDILANDS BUMP

“When I started playing with North Adelaide in the SANFL, they moved me to the backline and I’ve been there ever since. “I try to play as if I’m a forward, though, and think about what (my opponents) are going to do and try to predict their movements.” Davis’ courage has also been evident in his short career, with the only game he has missed since making his debut coming as a result of a monster bump from Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands in round 11. Going back with the flight of the ball, Davis ran

Round 10 – Dustin Martin (Rich) Round 11 – Jordan Gysberts (Melb) Round 12 – Ben Reid (Coll) Round 13 – Tom Rockliff (BL) Round 14 – Ben Stratton (Haw)

straight into the 211cm Docker and subsequently missed the next week with concussion. Davis doesn’t remember much of the incident. “I didn’t know it was him coming. I have seen it a few times on video, and our fitness guys were trying to work out how many ‘G forces’ went through me,” Davis said with a laugh. Despite not making an immediate impact as a first-round draft pick, Davis said he had not had the same amount of media criticism heaped on teammate Patrick Dangerfield, who was picked 10th in 2007. “I have had it pretty easy compared to him.”

Round 15 – Jack Redden (BL) Round 16 – Phil Davis (Adel)


Davis grew up in Canberra and left for Adelaide as a 14-year-old.

2 He lives at home and

is the youngest sibling; he has two sisters and a brother.

3 He is studying

commerce and law at Adelaide University.

Each week throughout the home and away season, a panel of judges will select the nominee for the 2010 NAB AFL Rising Star. At the completion of the season, one outstanding player will be chosen as the 2010 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.

76 AFL RECORD visit



Applying data laterally

Visitors beware, there’s no country hospitality at Cattery


he trip down the Princes Highway to watch Geelong play at home has become a football pilgrimage. Aside from a few years at Carlton (1968-71 in the seniors), I played the bulk of my football in the country, for Latrobe Valley League clubs Moe and Yallourn in Victoria’s east and Albury in the Ovens and Murray League. As a result, I have strong recollections of the special experiences ‘visiting’ country teams: Saturday mornings packing the footy kit, hopping into the car and driving to play a rival town or regional city. Notwithstanding the prospect of miserable rooms and a decent thrashing by a cocky home team, I can fondly recall the pleasures of travelling along bitumen roads through Australian landscape, listening to local radio, engaging in car chatter and then absorbing the local oval setting and views. When I was at Carlton, there were no such things as a national competition and interstate travel. The annual team bus journey to Geelong was the sole occasion Melbourne-based VFL players had to travel to another part of the world to play footy. My dear coach Ron Barassi, perpetually obsessed with winning at all costs, had calculated the disadvantages of travel on the visiting team. One year, not long after the team bus passed Werribee, Barassi demanded the driver immediately stop. On the

78 AFL RECORD visit

ON SONG: Another

home victory and it’s another chance for Cats (from left) Cameron Ling, Darren Milburn, James Kelly and Jimmy Bartel to sing the theme song.

pretext of stretching the legs and concentrating the mind, he ordered all players to disembark and walk along the freeway apron for more than 1.5km towards Geelong. Within a few metres of the bus exodus, cars screeched to a halt, amazed to see Carlton players ambling along the freeway as other vehicles swerved and drivers slammed on brakes to avoid collisions. Miraculously, serious injury and death were avoided while Barassi seemed totally absorbed in how to beat Geelong. He was oblivious to the potential highway carnage occurring around us. Interestingly, we won the two times I played

in the seniors at Geelong (in 1968 and 1970). This weekend (a week after flying to and from Launceston), the Brisbane Lions travel to Geelong. The Lions are struggling to win games, and haven’t sung their song for nearly two months. On top of having to fly in from south Queensland, they will have to make the bus trip from Melbourne to Skilled Stadium. By my calculations (and considering my roadside experiences from 40 years ago), the unfortunate Brisbane could easily become another Geelong highway victim statistic. The Cats are indeed unique. They are the only team representing regional Australia.





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Geelong is the only club name in the competition derived from Aboriginal language. The rest are from British stock. The Cats have won more games than any other club since the AFL was formed in 1990. During the past 20 years, they have made the most Grand Final appearances (six) and have won two premierships (West Coast and the Lions have won three each). They have won 123 of their 174 matches at home, including their past 16 and 27 of their past 30. My most recent trip to Geelong was in round 14 when it played North Melbourne. The visit confirmed my theory of the Cats’ deceptive brilliance. They had a record-shattering 505 disposals for the day, the first time any team had topped 500 in a game. Afterwards, coach Mark Thompson nonchalantly remarked: “I guess we did let the boys off the leash a little.” Later in the week, explaining the team’s defensive match-up strategy, he floated the ultimate total deception strategy: “No one’s got an opponent anymore.” Thompson’s comments were surprisingly revealing. Geelong generally likes playing attractive football, and visiting the regional city and parkland can seem a welcoming experience. But beware! The Cats are, in reality, killers. Especially at home. Visiting Geelong only confirms how important a real home ground advantage can be. While the home team is less likely to play poorly, the visiting team has difficulty performing up to its general standard. Geelong is an outstanding team anywhere, but at home, it is especially dangerous. Invariably, the visiting team struggles to keep up. I do not like Brisbane’s chances this round. TED HOPKINS IS A CARLTON PREMIERSHIP PLAYER AND FOUNDER OF CHAMPION DATA. HIS CURRENT PROJECT IS TEDSPORT, A HIGH PERFORMANCE DATA ANALYSIS AND CONSULTING SERVICE.

We got Lance Franklin to hang up his boots≥

Artist: David Williams, Gilimbaa

‘Buddy’ is one of the most exciting players in the AFL today and is now one of the Hawks leading goal kickers. Which is why we asked him to hang up his boots. Buddy’s playing boots have been painted by an Australian Indigenous artist, and hung as part of an exhibition to celebrate the talent of Indigenous players in the AFL today. See the full Qantas Boots & Dreams Exhibition and tour details at Qantas. Proud supporter of dreams.

is mega strong. Own the legend, and you might just have a few legendary journeys of your own.

heaps of room in the tray for your surfboard or motorbike and the crash-absorbing front chassis

with earth-shattering power and handling that’ll help get you in and out of any nook or cranny. There’s

The tightest jams are no match for the unbreakable HiLux. It’s the hardest, most resilient ute there is,



DOG DAYS OVER: Jason Akermanis played 77 of

his 325 matches for the Western Bulldogs. He won a Brownlow Medal and featured in three premierships for the Brisbane Lions, in 2001-03.

It is about team values, about what we stand for, our trademarks, it’s about team first, end of story RODNEY EADE


Bulldogs put team first as Akermanis departs PETER RYA N


o Jason Akermanis’ career ended in acrimonious circumstances at a second club, his undeniable football talent unwanted because he was unable to adhere to the Bulldogs’ team principles. Essentially, the need for both confidentiality and collective behaviour clashed with Akermanis’ desire to build a media career and its required individual profile. Add to that

combustible mix the player’s inability – according to the club – to behave in a manner that accorded with what it demanded, particularly in areas relating to team behaviours – and the decision reached on Wednesday became inevitable. President David Smorgon stressed this point, in both words and body language: “We can’t tolerate unique individuals who don’t play by team rules. It’s team above all else.”

Coach Rodney Eade was keen to convey there was nothing personal in the decision. “It is about team values, about what we stand for, our trademarks, it’s about team first, end of story,” Eade said. From the Bulldogs’ perspective, the decision is logical and if the player’s behaviour was deemed disruptive to the club’s quest to win a second premiership, then the right decision has been made. However, the Akermanis saga – as it has become this year – marks an interesting juncture in the evolving nature of the game at the elite

level. At some point, something had to give. It may be that this is only the start of such discipline being imposed. And the capacity of individuals to earn outside their playing requirements – particularly in the voracious media – may be diminished. People within clubs spend more time than ever with each other, total commitment is demanded and an individual’s life is more or less tied to the football club. Opportunities to connect, participate and provide good service beyond the club are compromised while they are playing. CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

AFL RECORD visit 7

the bounce


At the same time, individuals within clubs are attempting to maximise the opportunities (and sometimes control the income) that comes with being an AFL player. Akermanis (and the club) thought he would be able to combine what was more than likely to be his final year of football with an extension of his media commitments.

His wish to play on this year matched the club’s wish to keep him on – but at a reduced salary. Being the individual he is, he negotiated strongly for the first phase of a post-football career – a high-profile place in the media, as a columnist for the Herald Sun, and lately as a regular on fledgling radio station MTR. To fulfil those media commitments in a way

commensurate with the salary he was commanding, he needed to deliver insight that went beyond the guarded statements most players deliver. As it is in Akermanis’ nature to say things capable of attracting headlines, he performed his role well, yet he created controversy nobody at the football club wanted (or needed in their pursuit of a flag). There were

DOGS’ STATEMENT Following is an edited extract of the statement made by Western Bulldogs president David Smorgon: � “It is with disappointment that I announce today the termination of Jason Akermanis’ contract. This is a unanimous decision made by the club and in the best interests of the Bulldogs. Jason has been a tremendous player since arriving here at the start of the 2007 season, but recent events have made the relationship between the player and club untenable. Outside of his performances and significant contribution on the field, Jason’s profile provided the Bulldogs with a strong presence in the media, which has been undoubtedly beneficial for the club.

CLEAR MESSAGE: Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade, president David Smorgon and football manager James Fantasia explain the decision.

However, it is also the case that Jason has over the past 18 months been involved in a number of incidents in which matters confidential to the inner sanctum of our football department and players have been the subject of inappropriate disclosure outside the club. In most instances, Jason has admitted these breaches and sought to remedy his behaviour.

But the breaches have continued. We will continue to demand compliance with the club’s core values and we will not shirk tough decisions, which are for the greater good of the club. It is our sincere hope that as a three-time premiership player and Brownlow medallist, Jason will be remembered as one of the AFL’s great players. As a gesture of good faith, the club will pay out the balance of his contract in full.”

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

Dish you would serve up on f MasterChef:

Jack Trengove (Melbourne)

tto Risotto

Teammate most likely to go into politics afte after football:

Life motto:

Non-AFL sports team you support:

Live every day as if it is yyo your last

South Australian Redbacks, Cleveland Cavaliers

Jas Jason Bl Blake

T Tre Treat each day as an op opportunity

Melbourne Storm, Manchester United, Cleveland Cavaliers

Ad Adam Go es Goodes

T Take every o opportunity tthat comes yyour way

Arsenal, LA Lakers, St Bernard’s OCFC

ew w Matthew h Pavlich

Do what you g got to do

Hull City


Leigh Montagna (St Kilda) Jude Bolton (Sydney Swans) Kepler Bradley (Fremantle)


Salmon o on

L b Lamb shanks

A roast

other breaches of team discipline that exacerbated those issues. There are no winners in this, but everyone stood to lose more if the position continued. The Bulldogs gave him every chance to be part of their premiership tilt and seem to have acted with decency. Even at the final meeting, they offered Akermanis the chance to retire. As Eade said, they counselled him, being explicit in what he needed to do to win back the trust of the group but he had not been able to rectify his behaviour. “Unfortunately it is a continuing pattern,” Eade said. So the club made the hard decision. It would have been a process that gave no joy to anyone, but the message was clear. No matter who you are or how good you can be (and Akermanis was a great of the game), the team rules the roost. It’s the only way to win a premiership.


Dawn of a new era for Suns PETER DI SISTO


he Gold Coast club will be nicknamed the Suns and will wear a predominantly bold red jumper at home matches. The Suns’ away jumper will also be red, with a yellow, blue and white surf wave-like flourish on the right. The nickname, jumpers, logo and club song were launched Thursday night at a function in Southport on the Gold Coast, attended by more than 600 guests. Gold Coast CEO Travis Auld said choosing a name was an exciting but difficult process, with the club considering extensive community feedback and also having to undertake a long legal process to obtain trademark rights. “Ultimately, we wanted a name that aligned with our club

First-year Carlton midfielder Kane Lucas suffers a serious hamstring injury during the Blues’ loss to Sydney last week.

8 AFL RECORD visit


Capturing the Gold Coast spirit � CEO Travis Auld on the selection of the club song, The Suns of the Gold Coast Sky, written by Victorian-born musician Ross Arundale: “We only ever seriously considered one song and strangely enough it was perhaps the first song ever to arrive. “During the bid process almost two years ago, we were

BRIGHT MIX: From left, the home, away and clash jumpers that will be worn by the Gold Coast next year.

values. The Suns is bold and fresh in a sporting market that is dominated by tradition and years of history,” Auld said. “And it was important the name reflected the spirit and values of where we come from – we are not just a football team – we are a community-owned sporting club which is a unique model in

the local sporting landscape.” Coach Guy McKenna and several players were involved in workshops to help define the club’s brand, its values and the core elements of the jumpers. “The Gold Coast is a place where you feel alive and energised, so the sun is a fitting symbol that sets us apart from other teams and reflects this club,” McKenna said. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou congratulated the club for the significant progress it has made and predicted the club would

sent a song that immediately touched a nerve. We worked with Ross to make changes to the song based on our feedback. “It embodies the spirit of the Gold Coast and it makes us proud to be part of this community of fearless competitors. The song will be successful as it stirs emotion in our fans as we run out to compete and as we celebrate our victories. We believe The Suns captures the essence of a club.”

We are the suns of the gold coast sky We are one in the red gold and blue We are the mighty gold coast suns We play to win the flag for you Fight! Fight! Fight! Till we hold up the cup Run, run, run all the way! We are the suns of the gold coast sky We’re the team who never say die! help grow the code, increase the game’s profile, media share and participation numbers, boost televisions audiences, expand talent opportunities and establish more local facilities. “We have a chance to build something special for our game but also something special for this community,” Demetriou said. “It’s not easy to start a new AFL club from scratch,

particularly in a non-AFL market like the Gold Coast. But Gold Coast has responded to the challenge magnificently. “You only need to walk through the door at the Gold Coast offices at Carrara and you quickly get a sense of the enthusiasm and positive energy that abounds around the place.” Gold Coast will join the AFL as the 17th club next season.



Mark LeCras celebrates another goal.


� Mar Mark M Ma ark rk kL LeCras surged into in int ntto o the tth hee record rre books with a bre br breathtaking breathta b rea eat ath tht hta ta 12-goal performance performa p pe per erf rfo for orm rm ma a in West Coast’s demolition demolitio d de em moli mo olliti tio io o of Essendon att Eti Et E Etihad tih ha had ad dS Stadium last Saturday S Sa Sat atu tur urd rda day ayy night. LeCras, LeCras L eCra eC a 23, set a new mark for most goals in a game at Docklands, bettering Bomber Matthew Lloyd and Saint Stephen Milne’s 11-goal displays in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

He booted the dozen from just 19 kicks and becomes the 24th player in history to kick 12 goals in a match. Former Saint and Swan Tony Lockett holds the record for 12-goal efforts, having booted a dozen on seven occasions. Ex-Hawk Jason Dunstall and former Magpie and Blue Peter McKenna both did it four times. LeCras’ bag was the biggest by a West Coast player since Scott Cummings kicked 14 in

round four of 2000. It was the third-highest tally in a match by a West Coast player, behind Cummings and Peter Sumich (13) in 1991. His effort was the best by an Eagle outside Western Australia and in Victoria. LeCras is the first player to kick 12 goals against Essendon since Jason Dunstall in 1992. Gary Ablett snr kicked 14 against the Bombers in 1993. LAUREN WOOD

North Melbourne small forward Lindsay Thomas ruled out for two weeks after sustaining a knock to his knee at training. AFL RECORD visit 9

AFL Record, Round 17 2010  

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

AFL Record, Round 17 2010  

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