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ROUND 2, 2011 APRIL 1-3 $5 (INC. GST)

ON THE RISE Meet the Gold Coast Suns, the AFL’s 17th club PETER RYAN INTERVIEWS THE SUNS’ COACH GUY McKENNA AND LEADERSHIP GROUP


round 2, april 1-3, 2011

features 57 Suns all set

The Gold Coast Suns will become the first new club to play in the AFL since Port Adelaide in 1997 and they join the Brisbane Lions as Queensland’s second AFL team. PETER RYAN talks to their leaders, including captain Gary Ablett (left) and Maverick Weller.

regulars 4 7 25 53 72 74 76

Backchat The Bounce Matchday Dream Team Answer Man Kids’ Corner NAB AFL Rising Star

Essendon’s Dyson Heppell.

78 Talking Point

Ted Hopkins on football’s exclusion zones.

THIS WEEK’S COVER Leading the Gold Coast Suns – Nathan Bock, Guy McKenna, Gary Ablett and Campbell Brown.

67 JOHN LONGMIRE

From teenage goalkicking star at North Melbourne to calling the shots as Sydney Swans coach.

COVER PHOTO: MICHAEL WILLSON COVER PHOTO EDITOR: GINNY PIKE

we would like to welcome 17 more captains to the air. Virgin Blue. The official airline and proud sponsor of the AFL virginblue.com.au


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Your say on the world of football

EDITOR’S LETTER

Suns set to create history crea

» Stag Stage one of the AFL’s

A dashing display

What a great coincidence the article on Geelong’s Darren Milburn in last week’s Record was. As a much-maligned playerr ut by supporters of other clubs – but ns highly thought of by Geelong fans for nearly 16 years – it was greatt to see him again “put in” in suchhaa valuable way against St Kilda. After coming on to the ground as a substitute for Joel Selwood, ‘Dasher’ again provedd ue how much Cats supporters value him. He played a fine part in Geelong’s comeback and kickedd the winning goal. Well done, Dasher. May you keep on playing such good footy in 2011. ANNE WHITE, MITCHAM, VIC.

Window closing for Saints

I agree with Murray Johns’ letter from last week. Time is indeed running out for the Saints. These days, teams only seem to have a few years at the top, giving them precious little time to reward their supporters with a premiership. A decade ago, Collingwood had its chances but couldn’t overcome the Lions, who secured three premierships before too eventually falling way. Even the drought-breaking team from Geelong doesn’t seem as strong as it was a couple of years ago. So if St Kilda doesn’t bag the flag this year, it might be all over for Saints supporters this time around. TIM BORTEN, MONTEREY KEYS, QLD.

GENERAL MANAGER, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS Darren Birch AFL CORPORATE BUSINESS MANAGER Richard Simkiss AFL RECORD MANAGING EDITOR Geoff Slattery AFL RECORD EDITOR Peter Di Sisto

4

AFL RECORD

HERO: Darren Milburn kicked the winning goal for

Geelong in last week’s victory over St Kilda.

Toss of the coin

I was interested to look at the ladder to see where both Melbourne and Sydney would be placed after their fi rst-round draw. The ladders I have seen all show Melbourne as eighth and Sydney ninth, presumably based on alphabetical order. What are the rules in these circumstances? And what would happen in the extremely unlikely case that this scenario existed after round 22? JO VELDMEYER, UPPER COOMERA, QLD.

Here is a summary of the AFL’s rules on ladder positions:

Clubs are separated via premiership points. If premiership points are the same, position is determined by percentage (and however many decimal places are needed to separate teams).

PRODUCTION EDITOR Michael Lovett WRITERS Nick Bowen, Ben Collins, Paul Daffey, George Farrugia, Katrina Gill, Ted Hopkins, Adam McNicol, Peter Ryan, Nathan Schmook, Callum Twomey, Andrew Wallace SUB-EDITORS Gary Hancock, Howard Kotton, Michael Stevens STATISTICIAN Cameron Sinclair CREATIVE DIRECTOR Andrew Hutchison

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If percentages of teams are the same (which can only happen if teams have the same points for and against records), the previous results between the two clubs are considered. If two or more teams can’t be separated by percentage and previous results (i.e. they drew their only match), a coin toss is held to determine the final outcome.

HAVE YOUR SAY

The best letter each round will receive the 2011 AFL Record Season Guide. Email aflrecordeditor@ slatterymedia.com or write to AFL Record, Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, VIC, 3008.

DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Sam Russell DESIGNERS Alison Wright, Daniel Frawley PHOTO EDITORS Natalie Boccassini, Ginny Pike PRODUCTION MANAGER Troy Davis PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Stephen Lording DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Callum Senior COMMERCIAL MANAGER Alison Hurbert-Burns

NATIONAL SALES MANAGER – SPORT Shane Purss ACCOUNT MANAGERS Kate Hardwick, Callum Senior, Rebecca Whiting ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Laura Mullins (03) 9627 2600 PHOTOGRAPHY Sean Garnsworthy, Michael Willson, Lachlan Cunningham, AFL Photos, (03) 9627 2600, aflphotos.com.au

bo bold old ex expansion plans will bee the focus f of attention this weekend, we eeken when the Gold Coast Suns Su uns play pl their fi rst home and away aw way m match. The establishment e of the Suns, Su uns, the th AFL’s 17th club, has taken tak ken three-to-four th years of str rateg planning, with the strategic AFL it a priority to AF FL making ma ha ave a p have presence in the Gold Co oast area, a Coast one of the country’s fastest-growing regions. fas stestCritically, all involved in Criti thee process of setting up th pro scratch have a cclub from f acknowledged errors made acknow decades ago when the Brisbane Bears were hastily set up to play at Carrara, which will be Gold Coast’s home once its impressive transformation into Metricon Stadium is soon completed. The Suns’ management have been clear about their priorities. Yes, they want a competitive and successful team, but they also want to make a genuine connection with the community. Already they’ve made a mark in Queensland, with more than 12,000 members and healthy corporate support. And this weekend, the football part of the operation goes on show. As Peter Ryan’s interview starting on page 57 reveals, the Suns have, so far, done everything right. PETER DI SISTO

PRINTED BY PMP Print ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO The Editor, AFL Record, Ground Floor, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Victoria, 3008. P: (03) 9627 2600 F: (03) 9627 2650 E: peterd@slatterymedia.com AFL RECORD, VOL. 100, ROUND 2, 2011 Copyright. ACN No. 004 155 211. ISSN 1444-2973, Print Post approved PP320258/00109


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STARTING OUT

Our take on the round one debutants.

12

FLYING HIGH

18

Flexible Bombers are on the march.

The fans are going to love walking in and seeing all the colour

CHRIS JUDD

200 games for a Carlton superstar.

Bounce views

news

first person

Brad Johnson, p17

facts

data

culture

THE

Cautious h approach to sub rulee

IMPACT: Demon Ricky Petterd

was one of the successful substitutes last week when he came on and was an infl uential player in the final term.

NICK BOWEN

T

he secrets hidden n stitute beneath the substitute were rule’s green vestt were never going to bee outing. revealed in full at its fi rst outing. But round one at least gave ked us a glimpse of what worked d and what didn’t for teams under the new rule, which has reduced the interchange bench from four players to three players and a substitute. As expected, nearly every team picked substitutes who were small to mid-sized and versatile. Although no player would likely want to start a game in the substitute’s green vest, round one also showed they can have a real impact. We saw Ricky Petterd give Melbourne a forward spark in the final quarter against the Sydney Swans, his effort helping the Demons overcome a 14-point three-quarter time defi cit and emerge with a draw. And Geelong’s substitute, Darren Milburn, kicked the match-winning goal against St Kilda with 19 seconds left in the game. The Sydney Swans’ Mark Seaby was the only ruckman chosen as a substitute in round one. His selection, alongside the Swans’ No. 1 ruckman Shane Mumford, fl ew in the face of the prevailing pre-season

Round one showed injury will have a huge say on when clubs inject a substitute into a game AFL RECORD

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7


Richmond’s Alex Rance accepts a three-week suspension for rough conduct against Carlton’s Jarrad Waite. e.

logic that had back-up ruckmen facing near-certain extinction in the new substitute era. Seaby was relatively quiet when brought on at the 10-minute mark of the fi nal quarter against Melbourne and did not give the Swans the run a smaller player could have. But Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade said there was still room for two ruckmen in a side, arguing the Bulldogs had erred in picking a sole ruckman, Ben Hudson, to take on Essendon duo David Hille and Patrick Ryder. As expected, round one showed injury will have a huge say on when clubs inject a substitute into a game. Obviously, a game-ending injury to one of its players forces a club’s hand. Six teams were in this boat in round one, with Adelaide and Geelong forced to replace Jason Porplyzia (shoulder) and Joel Selwood (concussion) respectively in the first quarter. But the threat of an injury also played on the minds of the clubs that didn’t suffer one. Of those 10 teams, none introduced their substitutes before midway through the third quarter, with Richmond the first to do so 13 minutes into the second half against Carlton. With the Bulldogs down

HIGHS AND LOWS:

Darren Milburn went from substitute (below) to ‘super sub’ after he kicked the Cats’ winning goal.

by 37 points at half-time against Essendon, Eade said he had been tempted to bring on his substitute, Justin Sherman, but had held off for another 15 minutes, fearful a subsequent injury would leave his side a player short on the interchange bench.

ollingwood Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse even admitted he had been tempted not to use his substitute, Brent Macaffer, thinking by doing so he could improve the fitness of the other 21 players. Ultimately, he relented at the 15-minute

mark of the final quarter, with Macaffer kicking a goal. AFL game analysis manager Andrew McKay told the AFL Record he was confident clubs would play their substitutes in every match. But he said any substitutes not brought on to the ground would still be credited with having played that game. There seems little doubt the stricter concussion guidelines introduced by the AFL this year contributed to the clubs’ cautious use of their substitutes in round one. U Under the new guidelines, any player diagnosed with concussion during a game is n no longer permitted to return tto the field. Two of the players rreplaced by substitutes in ro round one left the ground w with concussion (Selwood and Ca Carlton’s Jarrad Waite). The Brisbane Lions, who had alr already used their substitute, loo looked as though they might lose Mitch Clark to concussion too, but he was cleared to return th field. to the If we were to make one conclusion at this early stage, it would be this: the clubs’ use of substitutes is currently governed by the fear of injury. It remains to be seen whether some clubs will use it more boldly and more strategically.

A ‘weird’ wait, but Petterd provides the spark » Ricky Petterd says being one of the competition’s inaugural 16 substitutes was a “weird” but ultimately satisfying experience. It began two days before Melbourne’s round-one game against the Sydney Swans, when coach Dean Bailey told Petterd he would be the Demons’ substitute. Petterd told the AFL Record this week he prepared for last Sunday’s match exactly as he would for any other game, from his diet through to his pre-match warm-up. But when he took his place on the interchange bench, the realities of life as a substitute began to take hold. With no idea of when he’d be sent on to the

8

AFL RECORD

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ground, Petterd found he soon had to stop watching the game as a player as he was wasting too much nervous energy. By switching into spectator mode, he kept himself mentally fresh. Running up and down the boundary line every four or five minutes and kick-to-kick sessions at breaks helped keep him physically switched-on. When his opportunity came at the start of the fi nal quarter, Petterd was in no doubt about his role – to provide an immediate spark up forward. He delivered, racking up six possessions, taking four marks, kicking a behind and contributing with two score

assists to help Melbourne come from 14 points ts behind behindto tosalvage salva ge a draw. came on on the the When he came erd immediately ground, Petterd re of ofjust justhow howtired tired became aware ayers were, were, and and tried tr ied d the other players at by by running runningat at to prey on that tunity. every opportunity. elt pretty pretty fresh. fresh. “I really felt e when You do notice when you’re you’reout out there you’re running running past pastpeople people hinking, “Why and you’re thinking, “Whyam amI I theseguys guyspretty pretty running pasttthese said. easily?’” he said. “But you’ve ve got got to to understand they’ve they’veplayed playedaa hard-fought game.” game.” At the end of the game, Petterd was content he’d he’ddone donehis hisjob jobbut but “upand andabout”. about ”. felt strangelyy“up

Not to worry, 10 or 15 minutes after the the fifinal siren, siren, Melbourne’s Melbournes fitness staff summoned him back into the middle of a near-empty MCG to do some further running. That’s the less glamorous side of life as a substitute. NICK BOWEN


Richmond signs 18-year-old Irish Gaelic star John Heslin as an international rookie. e.

ponderings No room for faint-hearted as season kicks off » Talk about a ferocious opening. The first round saw four games decided by less than a goal. New Geelong coach Chris Scott matched Fremantle’s Michael Walters for the round’s best post-goal celebration. The substitute rule was introduced. Three on the bench appeared to slow the game down as it went on. Yet ‘super subs’ such as Collingwood’s Brent Macaffer and Melbourne’s Ricky Petterd came on and played the last quarters as though they were soccer strikers being introduced to the fray. It makes me think teams that don’t suff er an injury still have an advantage over opponents that do. Essendon unleashed a brand of football reminiscent of Collingwood’s best. The Lions were tough yet the Dockers stood up and ran them down. Adelaide won’t have the same start to the season in 2011 as it had in 2010, when it lost its first six games. Two of the game’s best players – Jonathan Brown and Joel Selwood – were concussed after horrendous, unlucky clashes. That was horrible but not unpredictable. This game has changed. Zones have changed players’ starting positions and increased the likelihood of two players being forced to charge at the football that lobs in between them, waiting to be won. Players are programmed to chase the ball with fanaticism, as everyone knows that winning the ball is the vital ingredient to success. Throw in some kamikaze courage, which all players possess, and the head-first technique they sometimes apply (arguably in an effort to draw a free kick,

peter ryan

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Collingwood’s

ability to control the ball helped it make short work of Port Adelaide in the opening round.

knowing umpires are instructed to protect the head) and it’s no wonder accidents can happen. It only takes one mis-kick and suddenly players are locking horns like bulls. The truth is, no one wants shocking collision injuries like we saw last weekend. That’s one reason why when the AFL received advice that without a change to the interchange rules, such collisions were likely to happen at greater speed in the future, it acted immediately to slow the time players could be running at top speed. The concussion rule was also implemented with player welfare paramount. The sub rule may reduce congestion, too, particularly late in games. If that brings

back more contests and creates more space for crumbing experts, then that’s a good thing. One point about the game supposedly opening up late: the last quarter was the lowestscoring on quarter, on average, of the round. Other debates about the sub rule are are continuing. Some continuing. Some cite cite the the rule rule as more fair, while arguments about whether soft-tissue injuries njuries will will go go up up or or down down take: fairness fairness ensue. My take: iss difficult cult to to achieve achieve n sport, sport, and and we we need need in properly time to properly assess the impact i mpact on soft-tissue injuries. njuries. Let’s wait wait and and see before we

This season eason has 27 weeks ing of remaining debate e and contest st

take hardened positions on its eff ect. But, enough of that already. What about the style the Bombers played last week? Can they continue it? Forget for a second the forward press and remember the Magpies’ ability to win centre clearances and put the ball inside 50 was why they are more formidable now than they were this time last season. To challenge, teams must win the ball. Nothing has changed in that department, we guess, since 1897, because having the ball is the best form of defence. From there the tactics follow. That’s why the starting four at centre bounces is the most important team within a team. It’s why smart crumbers are critical and why the agility to find space to use the ball effectively once it is won is an attribute coaches and recruiters rate highly. This season has 27 weeks remaining of debate and contest and conjecture and excitement and emotion. Players must pace their bodies and minds to reach the finish with a Liam Jurrah-like spring still in their step. The marathon has started. journey. Enjoy the journey.

DANCING DOCKER:

Fremantle’s Michael Walters led the celebration of the round.

AFL RECORD RECORD

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9


Geelong defender Matthew Scarlett accepts one-week ban for striking St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt.

KICKING OFF A CAREER

A flying start for young and old KATRINA GILL

T

wenty-four players made their debuts in last week’s opening round of home and away matches, a new mark. Of that group, six can be classed mature-age debutants, players who had previously never been listed by an AFL club, or who had made it on to a list but never played a senior game. Carlton had a debutant in each category, with former Adelaide rookie Ed Curnow and ex-Norwood recruit Nick Duigan lining up against Richmond. Curnow was delisted after one injury-interrupted year at the Crows in 2008. He was eligible to play after being chosen as Carlton’s nominated rookie and impressed on debut, gathering 24 possessions and kicking one goal. Duigan took a different path to the AFL. The self-confessed “late-bloomer” didn’t emerge as a draft prospect until last season, but also looked comfortable on debut in defence against the Tigers.

North Melbourne unveiled two mature-age debutants, Cameron Richardson and makeshift ruckman Cameron Pedersen in its loss to West Coast, while 24-year-old Lucas Markovic was selected to play his first game in his second season with the Western Bulldogs. Brisbane Lions forward Rohan Bewick also lined up in his first game. Fremantle star Michael Barlow and Geelong cult hero James Podsiadly put mature-age recruits on the map in the eyes of all followers followerslast last many football truth is is season, but the truth artedlooking looking recruiters started uniorsystem system outside the junior players for potentiall players long before Barlow maa firmed from $1001 longnd shot to second favourite for the Brownlow Medal last season. Carlton’s recruiting manager hes Wayne Hughes said Barlow’s’s rapid made rise had justt made utside everyone outside ng the recruiting ake fraternity take notice of mature-age recruits. ke all all “It’s not like of a sudden clubs g are drafting mature-age players.

Over the last four or fi ve years, we’ve had Michael Jamison, Dennis Armfield, Simon White and Jeff Garlett,” Hughes said. “Barlow was famous last year, but there have been other guys along the way.” Collingwood forward Andrew Krakouer and Fremantle’s Nick Lower were among another 13 ‘recycled’ players to play their first game at a new club. There have been concerns the expansion of the competition to 17 teams will dilute the quality of talent on show in the AFL, but Hughes said the recruitment of the likes of Curnow, C Podsiadly and Ian Callinan by Adelaide we were good for the game. “Maybe “Maybe, the game has always alw been a bit selfish and more guys over the jou journey deserved to play AFL fo footy,” he said. “I was invo involved with Freman Fremantle when it started started and that (dilution) was talked about then, then but it’s sorted itself out. It’s just great 120 more players who have never had an opportunity before get an opportunity.” oppo MATURE RECRUIT: Carlton’s Nick Duigan looked comfortable in his first game last week.

ROUND ONE DEBUTANTS Brodie Smith Adelaide Claye Beams Brisbane Lions Rohan Bewick Brisbane Lions Ryan Lester Brisbane Lions Ed Curnow Carlton Nick Duigan Carlton Dyson Heppell Essendon Jayden Pitt Fremantle Cameron Guthrie Geelong Luke Tapscott Melbourne Shaun Atley North Melbourne Cameron Pedersen North Melbourne Cameron Richardson North Melbourne Jarrad Irons Port Adelaide Cameron O’Shea Port Adelaide Jasper Pittard Port Adelaide Jake Batchelor Richmond Reece Conca Richmond Brad Helbig Richmond Byron Sumner Sydney Swans Jack Darling West Coast Andrew Gaff West Coast Tom Liberatore Western Bulldogs Lukas Markovic Western Bulldogs

When they’re not playing... PLAYER

First job heldFavourite band/musicBest advice receivedFavourite commentator

Brent Harvey North Melbourne

At a sports store Kings Of LeonNever give up

Clinton Jones St Kilda

At Hungry Jack’sLive

Lance Franklin Hawthorn

AFL star

Nathan Fyfe Fremantle

Panel beater

10

AFL RECORD

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Ja James B Brayshaw Work hard andd the rewards will illcome come

B Bruce M McAvaney

Lil Wayne ne

Have a shot if you get the ball within 90 metres

Luke Darcy

Hilltop Hoods

When you are going through hell, keep going

Bruce McAvaney


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Adelaide forward Rory Sloane to have surgery after fracturing his thumb and jaw in last week’s win over Hawthorn.

NEW GAME-PLAN

Flexible Bombers putting their best foot forward CALLUM TWOMEY

J

obe Watson’s brilliance lies in his creativity, his ability to think with the ball in hand, and use it in a way that almost every time advantages his teammates. In 2011, judging by his performance against the Western Bulldogs last week, Watson could also be using those talents in attack, as well as through the midfi eld where he has made his name. Against the Bulldogs, Watson picked up 35 possessions, but it was his work inside 50 that was impressive – and damaging. Watson, who started his career as a full-forward with the Bendigo Bombers in the VFL, was dominant close to goal. He had nine disposals inside 50, four scoring shots (two goals and two behinds), two score assists and nine scoring

VERSATILE: Bomber

stars such as Leroy Jetta (above) and Jobe Watson (inset)will be playing roles on the ball and in attack this year.

involvements. His infl uence was massive. Essendon appears likely to put an emphasis this year on using its stoppage players – midfielders and ruckmen – in varying roles through the forward line. Watson and the likes of Leroy Jetta are two of those. Jetta said coach James Hird wanted players to be versatile.

“With the new substitute rule, we’ve got three on the bench, so a lot of midfielders are going to spend a lot of time up forward,” Jetta said. “That’s the role a lot of us are going to have as midfi elders resting in the forward line and Jobe did that well.” It needs to be noted last week’s performance was just one game – and the Bombers,

MILESTONES ROUND 2

as Hird said after the match, have won big games in the last few seasons without backing up – but it can also be read as a revealing snapshot of how the team continues to progress and how it wants to improve. Jason Winderlich played almost exclusively as a lead-up forward, Stewart Crameri was used as a marking option, Kyle Hardingham’s agility in defence was critical and David Zaharakis had 19 touches and kicked two goals. Add to that mix, Patrick Ryder and David Hille in the ruck, and the Bombers have a group of players with growing fl exibility. Jetta, 22, has gone from a forward pocket to a dangerous midfield option. “‘Hirdy’ has got a lot of faith in me to play through the midfield, so hopefully I can deliver for the club,” he said. “This is my fi fth year at Essendon now, so hopefully I can improve and become a pretty good player.”

The list includes those not necessarily selected but on the verge of milestones.

200 games

AFL Life Membership

150 games

100 games

238 games Matthew Pavlich Fremantle He will equal the Fremantle games record held by Shane Parker.

Simon Black Brisbane Lions

Paul Chapman Geelong

AFL 200 Club

Ben Rutten tten Adelaide de

Mark Blake Bla Geelon Geelong

Leigh Montagna ntagna da St Kilda

Shannon By Byrnes Geelon Geelong McIntosh Hamish McI North Melbourne Melb

Drew Petrie North Melbourne

12

AFL RECORD

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Judd Chris Ju Carlton

Daniel Harris arris Gold Coast oast

Brett Pea Peake St Kild Kilda

100 games as captain Nick Riewoldt St Kilda

100 games as coach Ross Lyon St Kilda

100 club games Brent Guerra Hawthorn


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The round-three West Coast-Sydney Swans match (April 9) at Patersons Stadium to start 30 minutes later than originally schedule

SOLVING A TALL ORDER

Versatility the key for ruck duos NATHAN SCHMOOK

M

any questions surrounding the AFL’s new interchange rules remain unanswered after round one, but the importance of versatile and effective ruckmen was certainly confirmed after the first set of matches under the ‘three-and-one’ system. Clubs entered 2011 understanding that (potentially) fewer rotations meant more time on the ground for their big men, with ruckmen who can’t play other roles possibly on the way out. Collingwood’s Leigh Brown has been cited as the prototypical modern second ruckman, or ‘half-ruckman’, and he again worked effectively alongside Darren Jolly, the pair combining for two goals and 36 hit-outs against Port Adelaide.

But other clubs struggled with the requirement to keep both their ruckmen on the ground for longer to allow midfi elders to rotate as much as possible on and off the ground. Against Richmond, Carlton started ruckmen Robbie Warnock and Shaun Hampson on the ground, and they played 88 and 90 per cent of the match respectively, with mixed results. The Blues convincingly won the hit-outs 43-26, but the contributions of their ruckmen up forward were minimal: they combined for one goal, albeit an important one kicked by Hampson late in the game. Coach Brett Ratten, whose hand was forced after he lost forward Jarrad Waite, wasn’t sure post-match if the pair would continue to be used in the same way. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was adamant it was the substitute rule that forced Warnock and Hampson to play untypically long stints. “It’s making the rucks stay out there for a hell of a lot longer,” he said. The most successful ruck partnership of the weekend was

that of Essendon’s David Hille and Paddy Ryder against the Western Bulldogs. The Bombers duo combined for 28 hit-outs and had a signifi cant impact around the ground, with Ryder booting two goals. Both were among their club’s best players against the ho chose to play Bulldogs, who ognised ruckman, ruckma n, just one recognised Ben Hudson.. e, with withMark Mark Melbourne, tefan Jamar and Stefan earedto toget get Martin, appeared right,while while the balance right, the Sydney Swans, Mumford with Shane Mumford hite (and (and and Jesse White their Mark Seaby as their substitute),might mighthave havegot got he fifirst openingit wrong in the round draw since 1982. e’s Aaron Aaron Fremantle’s supportedby by Sandilands, supported ley, was highly Kepler Bradley, with41 41hit-outs, hit-outs , influential with ns and aa goal goal 22 possessions Brisbane Lions, Lions, against the Brisbane er cent centof of playing 85 per the game. st’s Dean Dean West Coast’s inimal Cox, with minimal m Quinten support from

d, at 6.10pm (WST).

Lynch, wound back the clock with a best-on-ground performance against the Kangaroos, who were forced to play without a ruckman after Todd Goldstein was a late withdrawal with a stomach bug. With Cox racking up 29 disposals, 29 hit-outs and booting two goals against makeshift ruckman Cameron Pedersen (who was making his AFL debut), North North Melbourne would have have left Perth knowing versatile and effective ruckmen remain crucial underthe the crucial under new interchange interchange rules.

VINTAGE DISPLAY: Dean

Cox wound back the clock with a dominant performance for West Coast last week.

Great on paper. Even better on air. The most entertaining team in footy and you’ll only hear them on 3AW. Your game. Your station.

AFL RECORD

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15


West Coast forward Mark LeCras set to miss up to 10 weeks after tearing his adductor against North Melbourne. e.

HELPING HAND

Vietnam Swans kick in to aid NZ quake victims ADAM McNICOL

T

he football community around Australia played a big role in raising money to help the victims of the fl oods that ravaged Queensland and Victoria over the summer. Many people involved with the game overseas have also been doing their bit to support those impacted by natural disasters around the globe, and the Hanoi-based Vietnam Swans have been leading the charge. A number of Swans players, along with the club’s executive, played a key role in raising almost $100,000 for the Christchurch earthquake appeal. “The morning after the earthquake struck New Zealand, the Vietnam Swans contacted the New Zealand ambassador and consul-general to offer our condolences and full support should they wish to organise

FUNDRAISER: New Zealander John Gardner, holding a Sydney Swans jumper that was auctioned, is pictured with Vietnam Swans national president Phil Johns (left) and national treasurer Danny Armstrong.

a fundraiser,” club president Phil Johns said. “Given the close relationship between New Zealand and Australia, we knew we would start to find people in the club who would be directly or indirectly affected by the tragedy. Inevitably, we did.” Among the fundraising initiatives was an auction of two signed jumpers donated by the Sydney Swans.

Even a small footy club like the Vietnam Swans can make a difference VIETNAM SWANS PRESIDENT PHIL JOHNS

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“The challenge was to get the two jumpers, along with a signed Wallabies jersey, from Sydney to Saigon prior to the fundraiser,” Johns explained. “The Vietnam Swans activated our network, and in the space of a couple of hours we had tracked down someone who could bring them here. It was a wonderful example of people coming together to support a cause. “The AFL does a great job at supporting many worthwhile causes, but even a small footy club like the Vietnam Swans can make a difference.” Johns and his fellow members of the Swans have inspired other Australian Football clubs in Asia to follow their lead, and the Tokyo Goannas recently set up an online appeal to raise money for those affected by the earthquake in Japan. Meanwhile, the Swans are preparing for one of the most significant matches in their short history. On April 23, they will play the Hong Kong Dragons in the inaugural Anzac International Friendship Match. The game will take place in the town of Vung Tau, where the Australian Army was based during the Vietnam War. A large crowd is expected, including many Vietnam veterans, some of whom played a match there during the conflict.


New body, AFL Victoria, to run football in Victoria, with AFL development strategy and operations manager Grant Williams appoin

ted general manager.

STIRRING THE PASSION

The fans are going to love walking in and seeing all the colour

A home away from home for Dogs fans

BRAD JOHNSON

CALLUM TWOMEY

T

here are few who have expressed their love for their football club as openly as Brad Johnson has for the Western Bulldogs since he made his debut in 1994. With his trademark smile and hobbled running style, Johnson played 364 games for the club he supported as a child, retiring at the end of last season. But his involvement with the Dogs continues in retirement. It’s why Johnson was more than happy to help the Bulldogs launch the ‘Footscray End’, a family-friendly section of Etihad Stadium for fans to congregate before and during the club’s home games at the ground. With a kids’ zone and band set to join in festivities, as well

ATMOSPHERE: Brad Johnson has

thrown his support behind the ‘Footscray End’ at Etihad Stadium.

as Bulldogs paraphernalia and player banners adorning the pillars, the area will be, as Johnson suggested, a chance for all Dogs supporters to enjoy themselves. “The fans are going to love walking in and seeing all the colour. It will add a home-ground advantage, which is something the club is after, and it looks back at the history of the club as well,� Johnson said.

“It’s a great opportunity for all the Bulldogs supporters to meet at one place and create a bit of atmosphere and energy leading into games.â€? Johnson will ofďŹ cially unveil the Footscray End when the Bulldogs host the Brisbane Lions on Sunday, after he and former teammate Nathan Eagleton, who also retired last year after 277 games, do a lap of honour before the game.

Johnson, who is completing a 12-month internship part-time at the AFL alongside media commitments with Fox Sports and radio station 3AW, said he was enjoying life after footy. “I spent some quality time with the family after last season and it’s been pretty relaxing, but once the new year kicked in, I started some new work, which has been good,â€? the 34-year-old said. “There’s still enough time during the week to stay reasonably relaxed, and I know that during the footy season I’ll be busy, but that’s always been the way and it’s ďŹ ne. I enjoy it, I love the game, and I want to be part of it as much as I can,â€? he said.

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Brisbane Lions skipper Jonathan Brown expected to miss at least eight weeks after surgery to repair facial fractures.

PLAYERS WE LOVE

Chris Judd CARLTON

» This round at the Gabba,

He has given his all at every contest until he can give no more, such is his commitment to the cause

as the Gold Coast Suns make history as the AFL’s 17th club, one of the game’s great modern players will set foot on an AFL arena for the 200th time. From the day Chris Judd made his debut for West Coast against Collingwood at the MCG in 2002, also in round two, he has captivated fans with his exhilarating speed and ability to win the ball, often in challenging situations. He has given his all at every contest until he can give no more, such is his commitment to the cause. Judd was picked at No. 3 in the 2001 draft and inherited the No. 3 jumper made famous by two-time Eagles premiership wingman Chris Mainwaring. Selected before Judd were two other Victorian teenagers, Luke Hodge and Luke Ball. Like Judd, they have become club captains and premiership players, yet Judd is the fi rst of that terrifi c triumvirate to reach 200 games – Hodge is on 173 and Ball 167. In 134 games with the Eagles, Judd ruled the roost around the midfield with teammates Ben Cousins and Daniel Kerr. The thrilling sight of Judd flying around the flanks at Subiaco will live long in the memories

of Eagles fans, as will his achievements – Brownlow and Norm Smith medals, premiership captain and twotime best and fairest winner. When he made the diffi cult decision to return home to Victoria at the end of 2007, he decided to join Carlton and accept responsibility as captain for lifting the Blues up the ladder. In 65 games with his new club, he has done just that, often carrying the team to victory on his broad shoulders. It could be argued he has become a more complete player at Carlton. At West Coast, he was perceived as an outside runner with supreme pace and skill. He has lost none of that with the Blues, but complemented these assets with the ability to be a leading contestedpossession winner. Judd has won the John Nicholls Medal as the Blues’ best and fairest player in his first three seasons with the club, achieved All-Australian honours in each year (taking his All-Australian seasons to five), and a second Brownlow last year. Now the Carlton captain, 27, can set his sights on more achievements – perhaps 300 games, a third Brownlow Medal and another premiership. Who’s to say he can’t accomplish all three before his brilliant career is over? HOWARD KOTTON

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Brisbane Lion Brent Staker has LARS surgery to repair a torn ACL in his rightht knee. knee.

HELPING HAND

Old Lions invited back into the den

HALL OF FAME

OLD BOY: Chris Johnson, who

played for both Fitzroy and the Brisbane Lions, is helping bring former players together.

Emotions bubble over for proud Pie » Former Collingwood and

CALLUM TWOMEY

H

eaded by president Angus Johnson and CEO Malcolm Holmes, the Brisbane Lions have moved to re-engage with their Victorian heritage – particularly Fitzroy Football Club – after seeing the partnership fall away in recent seasons. A disagreement last year – which saw the clubs in court over a proposed change to the Lions’ jumper and resulted in an out-of-court settlement – was “a real wake-up call for the club,” Johnson said. It will be seen as the turning point of relations between the clubs, he suggested. “It reminded us that Fitzroy is a big part of our heritage and that our Melbourne members and supporters are a really signifi cant part of our club,” Johnson said. “We’d rather be working with people productively and in the best interests of the Brisbane Lions, than being at loggerheads.” The restructure of Brisbane’s Melbourne office was the fi rst move. Lions board member Paul Williams was appointed to assist the management team in Melbourne, while staff have been relocated from Brisbane to Melbourne. The club hopes to work closely with Fitzroy in organising

Melbourne events, giving Melbourne members and supporters greater access to Lions players, supporting Fitzroy’s efforts as a stand-alone club participating in the Victorian Amateur Football Association and ultimately, as Holmes put it, “making sure they feel a part of our club, because they are”. Such measures have already paid dividends. In February at the Lions’ Melbourne family day, Fitzroy was invited to set up a stall and sell its memberships for the amateur competition. More use of Brunswick Street Oval is also planned. “We had a number of Brisbane Lions supporters come up and say how delighted they were that Fitzroy was there and that hasn’t happened for years,” Fitzroy president Joan Eddy said.

A better cooordinated past players’ association is also a priority, with former Fitzroy and Brisbane champion Chris Johnson, who played 264 games with the clubs, likely to have a strong involvement. “A lot of players from Fitzroy and the Bears have come and gone, so trying to build that together with all of the clubs’ histories is something I’m really looking to get involved with,” Johnson said. The Lions know that such a turnaround will take time to see dividends. “It’s a pet project of the board. We see real upside for the club, and huge opportunity down there to increase membership and supporter base,” president Johnson said. “Fitzroy is part of our family.”

Sydney Swans midfi elder Paul Licuria still regrets not having his family present when he announced his retirement at the end of 2007. Licuria, last week inducted into Collingwood’s Hall of Fame, knew his decision to retire was the right one – 192 games had taken their toll physically. But he couldn’t invite his family to what he knew would be an emotional farewell. “I didn’t want my family to see how much I was hurting,” he said. “I do regret it now. I would definitely have loved for them to share that moment.” His induction on the eve of the season gave him the chance to make amends The dual Copeland Trophy winner is not a stranger to public showings of emotion. He was photographed straight after the Magpies’ 2002 Grand Final loss crying alongside coach Mick Malthouse, who was also in tears. His feelings bubbled over again when acknowledging his induction into the Hall of Fame. He was going well until his young daughter Saff ron toddled on stage mid-speech to hand him a bunch of flowers. Then, he lost it. Since he finished playing, Licuria has remained with the club as VFL and player development manager.

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The Gold Coast Suns will this weekend become the ďŹ rst new AFL club since Port Adelaide entered the competition 14 seasons ago. But, three years in the planning and, with a hand-picked list featuring an experienced core and the cream of the best young talent in the country, they could not be better prepared as they enter the great unknown. PETER RYAN EXCITING TIMES: The Gold Coast Suns will be a mix of old and new, as this cross-section of players highlights. From left are

David Swallow, Maverick Weller, Josh Fraser (rear), Campbell Brown, Nathan Bock, Gary Ablett, Nathan Krakouer (rear), Brandon Matera, Josh Toy (rear), Michael Rischitelli, Jarrod Harbrow, Jared Brennan and Karmichael Hunt.

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57


gold coast suns

S

queezed around a table at Broadbeach’s Alto Cucina & Bar on a Monday morning in mid-March sat the Gold Coast Suns’ leadership group, as well as coach Guy McKenna and football manager Marcus Ashcroft. The players had just finished a recovery session in the pounding surf in front of the Kurrawa Surf Club. Their fi rst game was just weeks away. Despite their bright red polo shirts and the presence of the game’s biggest name, Gary Ablett, the club’s inaugural skipper, no one who passed them looked twice. Perhaps it was an indication of their relative anonymity – a new fact of life Ablett admits he is enjoying. Perhaps it was the fact their regular trips in the nearby surf either recovering or earning a bronze medallion (as every player on the Suns’ list had done since arriving) had made them part of the furniture. Perhaps it was the way they were conducting themselves: quietly, respecting their surroundings and understanding the constant need to make a good impression with the locals. Most likely it was a combination of all three. The group was a mixed bag. The big-name newcomers (Ablett, Campbell Brown, Nathan Bock and Michael Rischitelli, each with either a premiership, best and fairest award or All-Australia selection on their CVs) were there. A revitalised Daniel Harris, the former North Melbourne player with 149 games behind 58

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him, was present, too. He joined the Gold Coast in 2010, toiling in the VFL and impressing everyone with his attitude and ability to win the football. Now he was a revitalised AFL player. Sprinkled in between were the youngsters: last year’s skipper and Southport local Marc Lock, Tasmanian Maverick Weller and a shy ruck prospect with a growing reputation, Zac Smith.

through the odd game of golf, a movie or a quick surf had been part of summer, everyone knew a feeling of togetherness that only games can provide was still in front of them. That’s why their enthusiasm to take on Carlton this weekend was palpable. The leadership group is realistic enough, however, to know the challenge confronting the club is huge.

They are a very easy group to get along with, a great bunch of guys CAMPBELL BROWN

Smith admitted his nerves were growing as his AFL debut approached. “I think closer to the game, I will be shaking a bit,” he said. McKenna threw in the one-liners, drawing the AFL Record’s attention to a polite prospect in the corner when asked what new names might impress football watchers. “The other one is Gary (Ablett),” he said after Seb Tape and Brandon Matera were mentioned. “We haven’t seen him play yet. We hear he’s really good. Apparently he’s really exciting,” McKenna said, amid much laughter. Although bonding at training, over a hand or two of poker,

The list is talented but young. Only 14 players are aged over 22. Only 12 players have previous AFL experience. Karmichael Hunt is a rugby league star, who made the switch to the AFL only last year. Ten players are expected to make their AFL debuts in the club’s first game. Eight of the first 13 picks in last year’s NAB AFL Draft went to the Gold Coast. Now the spotlight is shining on the Suns. They are about to enter the great unknown. With the journey to the fi rst game nearly complete, the AFL Record asked this group to muse on how they are placed to meet the challenges ahead.

When the Gold Coast Suns came together as a list for the first time, what was the atmosphere like? Campbell Brown: We all came together at different stages. Young guys arrived in the middle of October while some guys joined on November 1 and then there was the draft. It was a little bit staggered but then everyone came together really quickly. They are a very easy group to get along with, a great bunch of guys. We’ve been training really hard. Guy McKenna: Were you (senior players) shocked or surprised as to how young the squad was compared to what you were used to at Geelong and Adelaide and Hawthorn? Gary Ablett: Yeah, that’s where it is different to any other club. Three-quarters of the group are 17- or 18-year-old boys. We were used to being at clubs that have a mixture of different aged players, which makes it easy in a sense, because you might only have three or four young blokes who come in. It is easy to grab hold of them and teach them what it takes to play in the AFL. But to have three-quarters of the group (so young), there is a lot for them to learn, a lot of meetings, a lot of extra stuff that you have got to go through, but it’s exciting also.

What things did you do to help the group gel? Nathan Bock: We spent three days at Mooloolaba at a training camp. We had an SAS guy who took the guys through some tough physical and mental challenges. It really showed guys


FACTS ABOUT THE CLUB... » The club’s planning has been to have its playing list at its peak in four-to-fi ve years.

THINK TANK: Gold Coast’s leadership group share their thoughts – far left, Campbell Brown and coach Guy McKenna; captain Gary Ablett, Maverick Weller and Michael Rischitelli, and Brown, McKenna, football manager Marcus Ashcroft, Daniel Harris and Nathan Bock.

can stand up in those situations. I think that brought the guys a lot closer together and brought out some leadership qualities in the guys no one was aware of. McKenna: It was a tough camp. The SAS picks the best troops after food deprivation and sleep deprivation over 21 days. Of course, we know that if we send these blokes on a 21-day course, they are going to lose a lot of muscle mass. So all we can do is get back to the core and see what they do in a very short space of time with a lot of sleep deprivation. The boys woke up just as they were nodding off at 9pm and then at midnight again and then the very last night there was a movie ( Inglourious Basterds) at two o’clock in the morning, which went for three hours. The players were then told there was a recovery session and then the next half hour turned out to be a running session on the beach. We just kept poking them and prodding them and saw their ability to push through that and understand what it takes.

What messages have you leaders been trying to impart? Brown: Just a little bit of

knowledge. The fi rst thing that probably struck me was just how professional the young guys actually were. Their training is first-class, so I did not need to do too much in that regard. It is more just knowledge of the game stuff. It’s about trying

to teach them things you have picked up over your career or journey; just little things they may not know about.

What have they taught you young players already? Marc Lock: Just different ways

of approaching the game, before training, after training, things like that. Brown: I can tell you the thing Maverick taught me was how to sunbake (laughter).

What has he done with you Mav?

»

The ‘magic’ year is 1992. It has 26 players on its list born in that year.

»

Followed a progressive storyboard, moving from the TAC Cup in 2009 to the VFL in 2010 to the AFL in 2011.

»

Had eight of the first 13 selections in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft.

»

Had the capacity to develop its own recruiting strategy. The Suns chose only eight uncontracted players when

»

One Brownlow medallist (Gary Ablett)

»

The average age of West Coast’s list in its fi rst year was 24; the Adelaide Crows’ was 25 and Port Adelaide’s was 21. The average age of the Gold Coast list is 21 years and 58 days.

»

The Eagles won a premiership in their sixth season, the Crows in their seventh season and the Power in their eighth season.

Weller: Physically, it’s

think it is important with young kids. I guess they just have to realise how hard it is to reach the top level and how much work has to go into it and how hard you have to train and how

It was able to trade some players off its list – including Andrew Krakouer to Collingwood and Tendai Mzungu to Fremantle – for future draft picks.

»

Will cut eight players from its list at the end of 2011.

Nathan Bock and Michael Rischitelli)

»

Three All-Australians (Gary Ablett, Bock and Rischitelli)

HISTORY TELLS US THAT...

Have you noticed the lift in intensity going from the VFL to the NAB Cup?

Ablett: Just leading by example. I

»

(Gary and Nathan Ablett and Campbell Brown)

a modelling contest.

You’re the captain, Gary. What is your approach going to be?

If the Suns had taken 16 uncontracted players, the team woud have had its best possible team in place in its opening game of 2011. Instead, it took a long-term, progressive view.

» 53 players (including rookies) » Two No. 1 draft picks (Josh Fraser and David Swallow) » 15 Queenslanders » Three best and fairest » 3 premiership players winners (Gary Ablett,

Brown: Killed me in it too – fi fth

thereabouts because it’s men in both leagues, but just the speed and the little decisions you make and the consequences of those decisions. It’s been good to have some games played in preparation for (this weekend).

»

THE SUNS’ LIST HAS...

Weller: He got me roped into

hottest man on the Gold Coast, Maverick Weller, and (he was) dirty with that (result), too.

they had the option of choosing up to 16.

»

The South Australian clubs were in the fi nals in their third seasons, while the Eagles did so in season two. Of course, Fremantle has been the least successful of the ‘starting from scratch’ clubs and did not play its first final until its ninth season in the competition.

WE KNOW THAT... »

About 70 per cent of players drafted play fewer than four games in their fi rst season.

»

Each modern premiership team has roughly eight first-round draft picks and a couple of either father-son or zone selections. The 2006 West Coast team is the exception, with just six first-round draft picks in the line-up, while Port Adelaide

in 2004 had six fi rst-round picks and five zone selections. Gold Coast had nine first-round draft picks in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft and used eight of those selections. The Suns also have three first-round draft picks – Josh Fraser, Jared Brennan and Daniel Harris – as part of their experienced core, with Gary Ablett originally a father-son pick.

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59


gold coast suns professional you have to be. I just want to lead by example and teach them that.

How do you go about that? Ablett: You get out there and

try to lead and train. It has been hard for me this year. I have had a few injuries and have not been able to be out there as much as I want to. But to be a successful team, you need 22 leaders out there every week and the more leaders we can get here among the young boys the better.

How do the youngsters here compare to the young stars at the clubs you played with previously? Brown: Some guys get drafted and you can see straight away they are going to make it. There are certainly a lot of guys in that category. It’s going to be exciting to watch these guys come into the competition and play their fi rst game, fi rst season and then develop into star players. That is going to be the most exciting thing.

How have you found the culture different from the club you came from? Michael Rischitelli: I think you

forget at various stages that the boys are pretty young. It is pretty important, not only this year but for a few years down the track, to remember that, (so) the way you go about approaching the boys is really important, even if at times you find something frustrating. Brown: There has been a self-imposed ban on going out in Surfers Paradise. That is not something any of the older guys brought into the club. That was something that was here before we got here. For a group of young guys to bring that into the footy club

MASTER AND THE APPRENTICE: Gary Ablett passes on some advice to highly rated Gold Coast youngster Maverick Weller.

says a lot about the culture of the place.

track as much as we can and feed the young blokes through.

Have you done much away from the place to get to know each other better?

How do you expect to go?

McKenna: We’re very conscious

of making sure the boys want to come to the footy club and there is an opportunity there to socialise. We want them there and we want them to learn and ply their trade with teammates. The boys catch up for Xbox, and poker and movie nights, but we would like them to come down to the football club and socialise and talk about how they could get better.

What has been the biggest challenge?

McKenna: We go into the unknown. We have seen that our good is good enough, but just having that consistency, as ‘Harro’ said, is the challenge. We will only grow as the younger fellas develop around these senior players and the consistency gets longer in quarters and then longer in games. It could be frightening – it’s the great unknown.

How is Karmichael Hunt adjusting? Have you been surprised by his progress? Rischitelli: A bit surprised. He’s

Daniel Harris: Reaching

consistency every week will be a challenge for us. We have a lot of young bodies so we need to keep our older blokes on the

a pretty mellow sort of kid and his work rate is pretty high. It is always good when players come into the competition and believe in themselves. Obviously, he has a big belief

in himself. His presence out on the field is going to make a big difference for us.

I know you don’t put any limit on it, but when do you think you will be in contention? Is it four or five years away? Harris: Nah. Nah. Nah. Surely not. Ablett: I think ‘Bluey’ (McKenna)

answered that question before. It’s the great unknown and we go in to win every game. Brown: I don’t think we will put a win-loss ratio on to it this year. It’s a little bit irrelevant. It’s about getting games into young guys and the way we go about playing and how competitive we are. Having said that, we will win games of footy if we go about it the right way.

Is the football you are capable of playing as good as what you have experienced at other clubs?

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Brown: Yeah, absolutely it is. It’s exciting, it’s quick, it’s pretty bold, but the hard bit is maintaining that for the whole four quarters. We have shown we can do that for half quarters or halves. The more game-time we get into the young guys, the more we will be able to maintain that intensity.

You said exciting and bold but obviously you need a defensive element. How do you progress the group so it meets the modern game’s demands? McKenna: The modern game says the good defensive sides are going to be an 80 per cent chance of winning a game of footy, so we’ve done a lot of work in the last two years with these kids, who have always been good, exciting talents, teaching them to play one-on-one footy. The lack of rotations means the zone is probably the best way of tactically staying in the game and also physically staying in the game, so there has been a crossover: 50-50 one-on-one and 50 per cent zone. The attacking message hasn’t changed since these blokes were under-12: it’s quick and fast down the middle. I think every coach has preached that.

Have you had to have more meetings to teach the youngsters some specifics? McKenna: Not necessarily. Basically, our training program and model lends itself to doing enough technical work, some game-sense work and some long-term future and vision stuff. Meetings have been held for specific reasons. The last thing you want to do is bury their heads in books. Our greatest challenge with the young kids is getting the chemistry among these boys, so the more time they can spend training – without

how physical Browny is and ‘Rischa’s’ spread, they won’t really understand the actual level they need to step to. They might understand it but then, physically, can they do it? Alik Magin is already mentally switched on to it. Physically, he is now starting to show that, even though he is one of our skinniest Do the senior players feel players going around, he has an extra responsibility to bought into that. Some of our lift your physical presence other players going around, who because might look a there are bit bigger and so many stronger then younger him physically, players can’t do it yet, around? so there is Brown: No. that physical Not really. We and mental want to be maturation. known as a Maverick GUY M CKENNA hard football Weller and side right from David Swallow the start. A lot of the boys are understand it and have shown Queensland boys, so they have they can do it. I won’t say they can imes in an AFL AFL got a bit of rugby background. do it 10 out of 10 times w, it might be They are pretty hard at it. In game but, right now, tim me,once once terms of taking extra burden, I six out of 10 times.. In time, irdpart pa artof ofthe the won’t be changing my game at the second and third und, they t will they will all to help out the younger guys. season comes around, ninee times. times. be doing it eight orr nine What would you like nknow wn. That is the great unknown. your trademark to be? theyy We understandd they quick kly, will learn it fairly quickly, Marcus Ashcroft: As a team, we’ve lly being being but then physically got DIs (desire indicators). I guess outisissthe the able to carry that out the overriding message is that great unknown. there is no real secret formula. The more time we spend away How do you be demanding eman nding as a team training and getting yet show patience ce at at the t the together socially, the better. cooking the kids – the better off they are going to be. If ‘Browny’ and ‘Bocky’ are going to spend time down back, they are going to have younger defenders coming in and out of the side, so they are going to have to get to know them as quickly as they can.

It could be frightening – it’s the great unknown

THE COACH

GUY McKENNA

The former West Coast champion has had two full seasons guiding Gold Coast through its embryonic stages, starting in the TAC Cup in 2009 and the VFL in 2010. Initially, McKenna was appointed in August, 2008, to coach Gold Coast in the TAC Cup and his appointment as coach of the inaugural AFL side was announced on October 1, 2009. The TAC Cup side performed admirably under his tutelage, reaching the 2009 fi nals, and last year he guided the VFL side into 10th place in the 14-team competition, winning five-and-a-half ve ve-a e--an an nd d--a a--ha a-h ha alf lff g games. ga am meess Player profiles next page

same time?

Are you where you wanted to be at this stage? McKenna: We have been talking

about a few drills we need to do and how to get better at them. One of them is work rate and spreading from stoppages. Until these guys actually go out and do it and the other young guys can actually see how intense Bocky is down back and

McKenna: We spoke ke about abo out it out being beeing just before. It’s about firm but fair.

What can you expect pect if you’re a Gold Coast Coastt supporter this year? ear? McKenna: From first bounce bounce ey’re going g going to to last bounce, they’re to y’regoing go oingto to have a crack; they’re have a go.

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What a great match HOSTPLUS is proud to be the Gold Coast SUNS’ Joint Foundation Partner. And we’re pleased to be supporting the Gold Coast both on the field and off. As the industry super fund for sport, it makes sense for us to support the GC SUNS. We’re also the industry super fund for

7

hospitality, tourism and recreation – three of the Gold Coast’s biggest industries and employers. That’s why we’re a great match for the GC SUNS. To join or find out more, visit hostplus.com.au or call 1300 HOSTPLUS (1300 467 875), 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday.

The information contained in this material is general information only and is not intended to contain any recommendations, statements of opinion or advice. It does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should obtain a copy of the HOSTPLUS Product Disclosure Statement and consider the information contained in the Statement before making any decision about whether to acquire an interest in HOSTPLUS. Host-Plus Pty Limited ABN 79 008 634 704, AFSL No. 244392, RSEL No. L0000093, HOSTPLUS Superannuation Fund ABN 68 657 495 890, RSE No. R1000054. INH_0185_03/11_01


gold coast suns

THE TEAM

9 Gary Ablett

The marquee signing for the Suns, Ablett arrives as the No. 1 player in the competition and at the peak of his powers. Has won or been placed in the past three Brownlow Medal counts, has made the past four All-Australian sides and is a dual premiership player. Made a momentous decision to leave Geelong, but is looking forward to a fresh start. Has been appointed the Suns’ inaugural captain and is coming off an interrupted preparation with a groin injury.

55 Nathan Ablett

The younger Ablett has not been seen at AFL level since he played alongside his brother and now Gold Coast star Gary in Geelong’s 2007 premiership side. Moved to the Gold Coast to work and play local football, but has decided he’s ready to re-commit and the Suns took him in last year’s pre-season draft.

37 Harley Bennell

Rated one of the best young talents in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft, Bennell is expected to have an immediate impact. The West Australian teenager won the Larke Medal as best player at the 2010 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. Is super quick, highly skilled and gets in and out of contests with ease. Can play forward, on the ball or on a half-back flank.

44 Nathan Bock

Will be a key player in defence and will have the job on the opposition’s best forward most weeks. The 2008 Adelaide best and fairest and AllAustralian defender has had injury problems in the past two seasons, playing 14 games in 2009 and 13 last year. However, he is an attacking defender who can win his own ball and will play a crucial role in the back half. Will be vice-captain.

3 Jared Brennan

Tall, versatile running utility who will be an important link player for the Suns in their embryonic years. Was used mainly in defence in recent seasons by the Brisbane Lions and was a consistent performer, averaging almost 20 disposals and six marks in his 18 games in 2010.

30 Campbell Brown

Another experienced player who will provide the fl edgling side with hardness and football smarts. A nine-year veteran and premiership player with Hawthorn, Brown’s uncompromising attack on the ball will be appreciated by his younger teammates. Battled a knee injury and was suspended for two games last year, but should be reinvigorated after being named deputyy vice-captain.

42 Josh Caddy

Tough inside midfielder who has a bit of Mark Ricciuto about the way he crashes through packs to get the ball. Was highly rated

before the 2010 NAB AFL Draft after impressing at the AFL Draft Combine where he won the clean hands test and was in the top 10 in the beep test and 3km time trial. Averaged 24 disposals a game for Vic Metro at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and gained All-Australian selection.

27 Michael Coad

The former Sturt defender was one of the fi rst players to be tied to the Suns after being selected in the 2010 Rookie Draft. A matureaged 27-year-old, he had an excellent year with Sturt in 2009 and was playing good football with Gold Coast in the VFL in 2010 until he was badly injured in a game against the Northern Bullants.

23 Charlie Dixon

A tall key-position prospect from Cairns, Dixon was one of Gold Coast’s first signings as a 17-year-old in 2008. Has come through the TAC Cup and VFL systems in the past two seasons and has impressed with his ability at ground level and his clean use of the ball.

15 Piers Flanagan

The former Geelong College student and ex-Geelong Falcon was signed as one of the Gold Coast’s 17-year-old access selections and played good football for the Suns in the VFL in 2010. Can play on the wing or half-back and has a penetrating left-foot kick.

39 Sam Day

Talented all-round athlete who could put his hand to just about any sport he tried. Has given up promising careers in baseball and basketball to concentrate on football and it’s not hard to see why the Suns were happy to snare the 196cm forward. His athleticism is his greatest asset and he has the potential to become an elite AFL player.

19 Joseph Daye

Tall, running utility who has progressed from the Suns’ TAC Cup line-up in 2009 to the VFL side in 2010 and is now on the club’s AFL list. Athletic and is a long kick on his left foot.

17 Josh Fraser

The former Collingwood ruckman was taken as one of the last uncontracted players by the Suns and will be looking to kick-start his AFL career. Was squeezed out by the addition of Darren Jolly last year and was overlooked for the Magpies’ successful fi nals campaign. If he gets his body right, he will be a valuable addition.

49 Jacob Gillbee

Young forward from Tasmania who applies plenty of defensive pressure and is precise with his disposal, by hand or foot. Recorded a 15.1 beep test at the AFL Draft Combine, placing him fourth overall.

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gold coast suns 47 Daniel Gorringe

The first ruckman taken at the 2010 NAB AFL Draft, Gorringe shapes as an outstanding prospect. The AIS-AFL Academy graduate is coming off a fine 2010 season, where he played most of the year in Norwood’s seniors in the SANFL. Has great skills and is a natural ruckman – he averaged 21 hit-outs a game at the 2010 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

5 Jarrod Harbrow

The pick of the young uncontracted talent available to the Suns, the former Bulldog dasher is entering the prime of his career. Spent four seasons with the Bulldogs and has matured into a brilliant running player in the past two years. Played 22 of a possible 25 games in 2010, missing three through illness and injury, and averaged 22 disposals a game.

21 Daniel Harriss

The experienced former Kangaroo was the first player selected of the fi ve available to the Suns in the 2010 Rookie Draft. Showed at VFL level last year he is still as competitive as ever and was second in the best and fairest. Known for his clearance work, he will be a good foil for fellow midfielders such as Gary Ablett. Is ready for another chance at this level.

40 Tom Hickey

Young ruckman who has an interesting background, having played state volleyball for Queensland and his father Mick was a top-level rugby league player in Brisbane. A latecomer to Australian Football, Hickey is a promising tap ruckman who can also move forward.

29 Taylor Hine

The disciplined young defender from the Calder Cannons likes to rebound from defence and had some excellent games in the VFL in 2010. Is working hard on his use of the ball and, after juggling school and football last season.

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7 Karmichael Hunt

The high-profile rugby league convert will be one of the most fascinating additions to the AFL landscape in 2010. Signed with the Suns in July, 2009, before fi nishing his NRL commitments with the Brisbane Broncos and heading to France to play rugby union. Returned to Australia in May last year and played eight games in the VFL, starting as a forward before settling into defence. While he is a work in progress, Hunt played Australian Football as a schoolboy in Queensland and was identified as an elite junior. Has worked closely with Gold Coast’s coaching staff on all aspects of his play and will generate excitement when he plays his fi rst AFL game game.

34 Jack Hutchins H

A Another young player who p has reaped the benefits of a season in the Gold Coast system after being signed as a 17-year-old from the Sandringham Dragons. Showed promise at centre half-back and has a real hunger to win the ball. A former top-class swimmer, he is developing his strength for football at the highest level.

36 Sam Iles

Originally from Tasmania, Iles is a midfi eld and defensive option for the Suns and boasts AFL experience with Collingwood. After being delisted by the Magpies at the end of 2008, he played a season with the Box Hill Hawks in 2009, where he came third in the Liston Trophy. Was selected by Gold Coast in the 2010 Rookie Draft and had an outstanding year, winning the club’s best and fairest.

13 Hayden Jolly

The young South Australian midfielder was signed as one of the Suns’ 17-year-olds in 2009 and made 14 appearances in the VFL last year. A tough inside player, he is a good decision-maker and uses the ball well. Played

top-level volleyball and is able to use the reflexes required for that sport to great g eff ect.

53 Alex Keath

Remains on the Suns’ list even though he has committed to cricket. Has a Cricket Victoria contract. The Suns are hopeful he might change his mind and have retained him on their list.

14 Nathan Krakouer

One of the fi rst uncontracted players signed by the Suns, the former Port Adelaide running defender will be a valuable acquisition. Has great pace and skills coming out of defence and will complement the bigger bodies of players such as Nathan Bock and Campbell Brown.

33 Rex Liddy

After struggling up forward in the first half of 2010 for the Suns’ VFL side, Liddy was a revelation playing off the half-back fl ank in the second half of the season. The strong, bullocking style and penetrating delivery of the Cairns youngster impressed Gold Coast’s coaching staff .

1 Marc Lock

Competitive and versatile midfi elder, who has shown great leadership qualities in his two seasons with the Suns. Captained the TAC Cup side in 2009 (he also won the best and fairest) and, despite his tender years, was appointed captain of the VFL side in 2010.

46 Tom Lynch

Surged to prominence in 2010 after impressing for the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup and Vic Country at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. A late starter to the game, the tall forward has a big motor and is good on both sides of his body. Finished third in the Stingrays’ best and fairest despite missing several games because of injury.

32 Brandon Matera

The son of former West Coast and Fitzroy small man Wally Matera is expected to be a regular in Gold Coast’s inaugural season. An in-and-under small forward and occasional midfielder, Matera is an excellent left-foot kick and a great fi nisher. Kicked 22 goals in 17 games in the VFL last year and was regularly among the Suns’ best players. An AIS-AFL Academy graduate, he starred for Western Australia at under-16 and under-18 level and was selected in the All-Australian team in 2009.

45 Steven May

The talented Northern Territory key-position prospect can play forward or back and is a good size. A left-footer, he completed his final school year at Melbourne Grammar before joining the Suns last November. Had been earmarked for some time as one of the best young players in the NT and won All-Australian selection after impressive performances at the 2010 under-18 championships.

18 Trent McKenzie

Highly skilled winger/half-back who can be used as a release player. Kicks the ball long distances with ease on his left foot. Originally from the Western Jets, he is quick off the mark and has a good leap. Played 16 games at VFL level last year.

10 Lewis Moss

Athletic young key-position player from Cairns, who turned his back on soccer in a bid to make the grade at AFL level. A tall left-footer, he will be a project player, but the 2008 AIS-AFL Academy graduate is a good decision-maker.

22 Tom Nicholls

Lean young ruckman of Fijian heritage and is a long-term development project. Originally from Yarrawonga in country Victoria, he attended


St Kevin’s College in Melbourne and played TAC Cup football for the Sandringham Dragons.

43 Liam Patrick

High-leaping forward from the small Lajamanu community, 900km south of Darwin. His background is similar to his cousin, Melbourne’s Liam Jurrah. The 22-year-old has also displayed freakish talent and is sure to become a crowd favourite. Showed his commitment by making the long trip to Darwin in 2009 to play for NTFL club Wanderers.

41 Dion Prestia

This star young midfielder is a tireless worker and has a large appetite for winning the contested ball. Averaged 28 disposals a game for the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup last year and was dynamic in the Grand Final, collecting 36 possessions, eight clearances and seven hard-ball gets. Finished in the top two in the agility run and the top five in the repeat sprints at the AFL Draft Combine.

35 Michael Rischitelli

One of the most consistent and durable midfielders in the AFL, Rischitelli was another recruiting coup for the Suns in their first year. Coming off his best season when he won the Brisbane Lions’ best and fairest, Rischitelli will be a vital player for the AFL’s newest club. Has missed just one game in the past four seasons and averaged 24 disposals a game in 2010, leading the Lions in kicks, handballs, marks and loose-ball gets.

8 Luke Russell

The young Tasmanian is a superb kick, has good speed and likes to take a big mark. He was part of the 2008 AIS-AFL Academy intake and played senior football with the Burnie Dockers in the NTFL as a 16-year-old. Was also a standout junior basketballer, but cut short those aspirations to concentrate on football.

26 Matt Shaw

The former Dandenong Stingray was signed by the Suns in 2009 and is a speedy winger/half-forward. Is a good mark overhead and shows great courage, even though he is on the light side. He played 15 games in the VFL in 2010 and impressed with his fi rst and second nd eefforts.

2 Zac Smith

One of the most promising players on the Suns’ list, the Rockhampton giant is set to play in the ruck alongside Josh Fraser. Described as an athletic “freak”, the 206cm youngster has developed his endurance and game-sense to the point where he is ready to play AFL football.

12 Jack Stanlake

A project player, Stanlake will develop as he gains more bulk, but he has impressed with his finishing ability. Best suited to a half-forward fl ank, he could move to a key position when he builds up. Played fi ve games in the VFL in 2010. His father Warren played one game for Footscray in 1981.

25 Danny Stanley

Found it hard to break into the Collingwood line-up and after being delisted by the Magpies at the end of 2009, the Suns selected him in the 2010 Rookie Draft. An inside player with a mature body, Stanley often displayed excellent form in the VFL with the Magpies and that was evident again when he played for the Suns in 2010.

24 David Swallow

The first player taken in last year’s NAB AFL Draft, Swallow will hit the ground running for the Suns after coming off an ideal preparation for AFL football. Was identified as a top-three selection in 2009, meaning he could play in the VFL in 2010 – and play he did. Even

though he didn’t turn 18 until last November, he finished fourth in the Liston Trophy for the VFL’s best and fairest player. In 2009, he won the Larke Medal as a 16-year-old at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. Brother of North Melbourne star Andrew Swallow.

won the Alan McLean Medal as best player at the 2008 NAB AFL Under-16 Championships. Made his senior debut with Burnie Dockers in the NTFL as a 15-year-old in 2007 and played in the 2008 Grand Final with Burnie in his second year of senior football.

38 Joel Wilkinson

48 Seb Tape

This impressive young defender from Glenelg captained South Australia at the 2010 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and tested well at the AFL Draft Combine. Finished in the top 10 in the repeat sprints and standing vertical jump. Has great balance and closing speed and is cool under pressure.

50 Jeremy Taylor

Tall, willing young defender who came on in leaps and bounds in 2010. Is a good athlete, has great endurance and excellent skills. The former Geelong Falcon will be given plenty of time to develop, but is sidelined for the moment with a groin injury.

16 Rory Thompson

Former Southport junior and a Queensland representative at the NAB AFL Under-16 and Under-18 Championships. Strongly built young ruckman who will benefit from several appearances at VFL level with the Suns in 2010.

20 Josh Toy

Young defender who is an excellent kick, a fine reader of the play and makes good decisions. Committed to the Suns as a 17-year-old in 2009 and showed strong form in limited VFL appearances last season due to final-year school commitments in Melbourne. Is an AIS-AFL Academy graduate and represented Vic Metro at the NAB AFL Under-16 and Under-18 Championships.

4 Maverick Weller

Strong, competitive midfielder from Tasmania who

The athletic midfielder was a standout at last year’s AFL Draft Combine, winning the 20m sprint (in record time) and the repeat sprints test. He also finished in the top 10 in the beep test, 3km time trial, vertical running jump and clean hands test. The Nigerian-born youngster has been praised for his attention to detail and his commitment to his biomedical studies. Will miss the first month with a knee injury.

ROOKIE LIST

28 Roland Ah Chee

A former standout junior tennis player, Ah Chee is a hard-running and versatile defender. Played VFL otbal in 2010. football

51 Jake Crawford

Tall defender who played for the Suns’ VFL side in 2010. Takes a great mark, has quick hands and a big motor.

6 Alik Magin

The young goalsneak booted 17 goals in 14 games for the Suns in the VFL last year and has built up signifi cantly ver th over the pre-season.

31 Jack Stanley

The former Queensland under-18 representative was one of the fi rst young locals to sign with the Suns. He is a quick, medium-size defender who has a strong trong g work w ethic.

52 Joel Tippett

The versatile keyposition prospect has had a mixed entry to the game at this level. He concentrated mainly on basketball as a junior and was twice selected by the Brisbane Lions as a rookie. The brother of Adelaide’s Kurt, he battled a back injury in 2010, but is ready to play in 2011.

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65


Longmire JOHN

a coach &

confidant Star goalkicker John Longmire overcame many setbacks and hardships to become a premiership player at North Melbourne. It was this tough grounding that shaped his views on the game and equipped him for what is hopefully an equally successful coaching career with the Sydney Swans. BEN COLLINS

I

f the hard-earned wisdom of two coaching oracles – namely Mick Malthouse and Denis Pagan – is anything to go by, and it is, it’s easy to forecast a leng lengthy and distinguished career for new n Sydney Swans coach John Longmire. Pa Pagan, who coached Longmire for seven s seasons at North Melb Melbourne in the 1990s, once obse observed that “manufactured foot footballers” – those who have had to “scrap” for everything – have proved to be better coaches. Pa Pagan was a “manufactured footb footballer” himself, as was Malt Malthouse – and as Longmire beca became. Of course, Longmire was a sta star before injuries curtailed his care career and forced him to “scrap”. Re Reigning premiership coach Malt Malthouse was of a similar view, once explaining: “If you had a play playing career that was successful from start to fi nish, it would be a fant fantastic achievement as a player, but iit wouldn’t necessarily be a good preparation for coaching (bec (because) if everything goes wron wrong for you when you coach, wha what experiences do you draw on? If you’ve sampled (neg (negative) things, it makes you a better coach.” O that front, Longmire is On bett better credentialled than most who have pursued coaching.

Although he enjoyed a raft of individual and team triumphs as a player, his career was littered with setbacks that tested his resolve, and compelled him to evolve. Along the way, he learned lessons that have shaped his philosophies on the game; indeed, lessons that will equip him for many of the challenges he will confront as an AFL coach. The AFL Record caught up with Longmire briefly in Melbourne just hours before the Sydney Swans took on Collingwood in round two of the NAB Cup. The new coach was polite but business-like – understandably so, given he was preparing for a clash with the reigning premier. He simply wanted his team to match the Pies’ work rate and ferocity in what loomed as a great early test under the new coach. The Swans were hammered early but ultimately passed the test, and were disappointed to lose by 14 points. Our next conversation was a far more relaxed affair, albeit via telephone, on a comparatively lazy Wednesday afternoon. Longmire had just arrived home after taking three-year-old daughter Sahara with him to pick up her two older brothers – Thomas, seven, and Billy, fi ve – from school, which the proud father regards as a rare treat. AFL RECORD

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67


john longmire Longmire has fond memories of his own childhood on a 1200ha grain farm just out of Corowa, in the Riverina district of New South Wales. He feels lucky to have experienced an active country lifestyle in which he learned the value of hard work and resourcefulness. Longmire has good football pedigree. His maternal grandfather, Keith Williams, won Fitzroy’s best first-year player award in 1948, his only season at the highest level. An uncle, Robert Longmire, played two games for Collingwood in 1964. Leadership is also in the ON A HIGH: John blood. Last September, Longmire, here Longmire’s father Fred was with Martin Pike, finished his elected mayor of Corowa. career on top, In 1987, Longmire played playing in North just a handful of senior games Melbourne’s 1999 for Corowa before he attracted premiership side. the interest of AFL clubs. A 16-year-old man-child (193cm and 89kg), he bagged 8.5 in a became the youngest Coleman senior representative match, won medallist, the youngest player the league goalkicking award and to kick 10 goals in a match, was signed by North Melbourne. broke the club goalkicking Longmire’s first coach record twice with hauls of 12.5 was John Kennedy, a man and then 14.3 (the equal most of “enormous presence” and goals in a match at the MCG), powerful oratory. Of the many and represented both New Kennedy-isms, Longmire singles South Wales and Victoria. All out one – “Just because you’re at just 19. in a city with Somehow a couple of he managed to million people keep his feet on doesn’t mean ground. you don’t get “That was lonely.” It’s a pretty easy,” saying that is he says. “In still applicable a footy club to Longmire, environment, with the vast particularly majority of the at North DENIS PAGAN Swans’ playing Melbourne, if list hailing they thought from outside you were getting New South Wales. ahead of yourself, they’d bring “I’m always very conscious you crashing back to earth of how difficult it can be for quick-smart.” players initially when they come Longmire crashed back to to live in Sydney,” he says. “It’s earth in the fi nal round of 1990. very important to welcome Needing just four goals for a them into the fold and surround century, he kicked 2.8 against them with a support network to Collingwood at Waverley. help them along.” “I’d love to be able to say there Longmire didn’t take long was a howling wind and I did to acclimatise to the big smoke well to kick two,” he says. and League football. He made “But the reality is I was 19 his debut at 17 in 1988 and, in and I just didn’t handle it as well his first two seasons, kicked as I would have if I had more 30 goals in 27 games, before experience. That’s what can making a meteoric rise to happen with young players.” stardom in 1990. That year, he From 1990-95, Longmire won North’s best and fairest, amassed 464 goals in 128

You can trust him with your life. How many people can you say that about?

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games, while playing second fiddle to Wayne Carey. (“My role was just to stay out of Wayne’s way,” he says.) Then, as Longmire describes, “things started going haywire”. A second knee reconstruction cost him the 1996 season. Pagan invited him into the coach’s box and gave him the job of looking after zone set-ups from opposition kick-ins. Former teammate John Blakey recalls Longmire being “like another coach”, but Longmire plays down his role. He hadn’t previously considered coaching, but suddenly he was. Longmire missed the premiership side that year, but you won’t hear him express any disappointment. “I was just so rapt for my mates,” he says. Then Longmire wasn’t selected for the 1998 Grand Final, which North lost to Adelaide. Time was running out. In 1999, he tore a hamstring and then an elbow tendon. As he limped around in the reserves in the last round, he thought he might be finished. “North wasn’t a wealthy club but here I was costing them a fortune in tape,” he says. “That was the only thing holding me together.” But his luck finally changed. Pagan says Longmire showed “enormous courage and resilience”, but Longmire admits he was “extremely lucky” to make it back for the preliminary

final and then keep his spot to win a treasured premiership. “I had three possessions, two of which were ineffective, but I carried on as though I’d won the Norm Smith Medal,” he says of his 200th and fi nal game. His experiences have given him great empathy for players who encounter hardship. “If you’ve experienced some of that stuff yourself, it makes it easier to see things through players’ eyes,” he says. Longmire played competently in virtually all key positions, and says he learned more about football in his last two years while “trying to be a ruckman” than he had before. “At centre bounces, I was a ruck-bag because I couldn’t jump,” he says. “But it forced me to think more deeply about the game and employ different tactics just to compete.” Building club spirit came more naturally, with Longmire regarded as one of North’s great “bonders” who helped develop the close-knit environment which was crucial to North’s success. Longmire believes bonding is an important part of a football club. “You need players who are keen to come to work and enjoy each other’s company,” he says. “It can’t be created artifi cially, though. You need to create an environment where that happens naturally.” Pagan regards Longmire as a special individual. “John is a person of such quality and substance and integrity that you can trust him with your life,” he says. “How many people can you say that about?”

W

hile he was still playing, Longmire was gaining a broader perspective on the football industry. Vice-president of the AFL Players’ Association for three years, from 1999-2001, he also headed up IMG’s AFL division, a role in which he identifi ed, recruited and nurtured young talent (including Joel Corey, Darren Glass, Justin Koschitzke and Chance Bateman), negotiated contracts and sponsorships, and fostered contacts. At the end of 2001, Longmire joined the Swans


john longmire as an assistant coach. One of the attractions was to work under Rodney Eade, whose instinctive, left-field approach contrasted with Pagan’s highly structured regime. “I wanted to get a breadth of experience,” Longmire says. It was a tumultuous fi rst season. Midway through 2002, Eade was sacked and Paul Roos took over as interim coach. Rumours abounded that Western Bulldogs coach Terry Wallace would take over, and Longmire was uncertain about his future. Of course, Roos kept the top job, and it was to be the start of a long and successful relationship between coach and club, and coach and assistant. Longmire and Roos barely knew each other before their paths crossed in Sydney. They first met in 1987 when Roos and a few Fitzroy teammates watched Corowa play a game at Wangaratta. Given their respective status at the time, it’s easy to imagine the meeting being vividly recalled by Longmire yet forgotten by Roos. “Roosy remembers it,” he says, “but that’s only because he was being worshipped by the locals as he walked around the ground with his big flowing mullet.” Longmire and Roos shared a close mutual friend in John Blakey, who joined his two mates in Sydney as an assistant coach at the end of 2006. Blakey describes both as “very switched-on,

FACT FILE

John Longmire

Born: December 31, 1970 Recruited from: Corowa-Rutherglen (NSW) Debut: Round 4, 1988 v Footscray Height: 194cm Weight: 102kg Games: 200 Goals: 511 Player honours: North Melbourne best and fairest 1990; All-Australian 1990; Coleman Medal 1990; North Melbourne leading goalkicker 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994; North Melbourne pre-season premierships 1995, 1998; North Melbourne premiership 1999 Brownlow Medal: career votes 33

CLOSE BOND: As a long-time assistant coach to Paul Roos (left), John Longmire is well prepared for the senior role he has taken on this season.

focused and driven, but also very down-to-earth.” The pair’s personalities and football philosophies meshed perfectly. “Roosy was such a fantastic person to work for and with, and a great mentor,” Longmire says. “He’s unique. With his thoughts on football, his man-management, his outlook on life, and everything he stands for, it was a real privilege to spend so long with him.” Longmire says Roos’ model for success included imperatives such as contested ball, defence, competitiveness and continual

improvement. He was most impressed by Roos’ insistence on giving players a say, and some responsibility, rather than simply imposing disciplines upon them. New Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh says the players have “absolute faith” in Longmire’s coaching ability. “He has had something to do with every player that has come through the club in his time here,” McVeigh says. “He’s had a hugely positive impact on a lot of guys’ careers.” McVeigh included. “A few years ago when he was our midfield coach, he really put

it to me to really step up my game and my leadership,” McVeigh says. “Like a lot of guys, I just want to repay him for the faith he had in me, and for teaching me so much about the game. “He has lunch with the boys and talks with us about a lot of things, not just football,” McVeigh says. “He’s a confidant, and he’s great to bounce ideas off. “Since he’s become coach, he’s spent even more time with the boys, which is the thing we wanted him to continue most. “Win or lose, coaches and players need to build strong relationships, and we’ve got that.”

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Our AFL history guru answers your queries. queries.

col hutchinson Genuine senior footballers » The AFL history researchers

A WIN ON DEBUT: Brad Hardie kicked two goals to help the Brisbane Bears beat North Melbourne in the Bears’ fi rst match, in 1987 at the MCG.

Beginner’s luck I believe Gold Coast has a strong chance of beating Carlton in its first match for premiership points. Has a newly-introduced club won its first ever match previously? RAY STANTON, WARRACKNABEAL, VIC.

CH: New clubs have had

reason to celebrate in such circumstances surprisingly often. In 1908, Richmond outscored Melbourne by 11 points at the Punt Road Oval. Seventeen years later, North

Melbourne shocked Geelong at Corio Oval, when it won a thriller by eight points. In the opening round of 1987, Brisbane defeated the Kangaroos by 33 points at the MCG (with Brad Hardie kicking two goals) and West Coast finished 14 points ahead of Richmond at Subiaco Oval. Adelaide has been the most impressive starter. In 1991, it thrashed Hawthorn, the eventual premier, by 86 points, delighting the Crows fans at Football Park.

have a list of 51 players at AFL level born before 1922 who are either still alive or a record of death cannot be traced. The earliest of them are Stephen Roy Stevens (born 5/2/1903), who played one match for St Kilda in 1920, and Henry John (Harry) Brown (born 16/10/1903), who represented the Saints three times in 1927. The most experienced mystery man is William Francis Roy (Billy) Leahy (born 7/3/1911), who gained selection for Footscray in 40 matches between 1934 and 1936. One of the others represented three League clubs. Christopher John Lamborn (born 3/4/1916) played with North Melbourne in 1938, South Melbourne in 1943 and St Kilda in 1944. Do you know of other senior players who are close to 90 or older? Should you have such information, contact Col Hutchinson on (03) 9643 1929 or col.hutchinson@afl.com.au. WRITE TO ANSWER MAN The Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, 3008 or email michaell@slatterymedia.com

NAME GAME

Cruising to the lead » Despite the appearance of more and more

unusual given names, the three most popular names on 2011 AFL lists are old favourites Tom, Matthew and Daniel. Tom occurs 31 times and has had a remarkable surge from immediately previous years. This may be coincidence or possibly the popularity with mothers of Tom Cruise a couple of decades ago. Thomas derives from the biblical language Aramaic and means “twin”. Thomas was the name borne by one of 72

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Christ’s disciples, best known for his doubting of Christ’s resurrection – thereby giving English the phrase “doubting Thomas”. Matthew (“gift of God”), including one variation (Mathew Stokes) and all the Matts, appears 28 times to run a close second after being the leading name in recent times, while Daniel (“God is my judge”) has 26 instances, including Dan and Danny. Still strangely in decline is the all-time popular name John. There are just two Johns on AFL lists in 2011. KEVAN CARROLL


PAGE BRAINS answers at bottom of page

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COLLINGWOOD

Collingwood are the only side in AFL history to have won 4 Premierships in a row from the 1927 to 1930 seasons.

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Answers: 1. Jack Grimes 2. Kane Cornes 3. Mummy


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COLOUR ME IN NOW OUT IN PAPERBACK

Jackson’s Footy is the story of a young boy who loves his footy so much he takes it wherever he can. He even sleeps with it under his doona. You can imagine hopping ppg and his surprise then when he is out shopping and store notices his footy in the local sportstsstore kidsinin window. Jackson even sees the biggkids the park playing with it!  Written by former AFL player and television and radio personality Dwayne ne Russell and illustrated by Donna Gynell, ell, Jackson’s Footy is out now in paperback ck from all good bookstores. Visit footybookclub.com

Take the time to colour in Jackson and his friends. Spot the difference

FIVE TO FIND

THIS WEEK’S ANSWERS

Scrambled Sc S crra am mb blleed Footballer: Fo F oot otb ba all ller er: Cryptic Cr C ryyp pti tiicc Footballers: Fo F oo ottb ba alllleerrss:: BI B IG MOUTH: MO M OU UT TH H:: BIG

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Swan Ted Richards’ undershorts changed to purple; player in background’s feet removed; Paul Bevan’s mouth guard changed to green; tape on Bevan’s wrist removed; white on sign in background at right removed.

74 AFLL AFL ARECORD AF FELC RECORD RECOR RE R ECO CO vvi vis iflsit irecord.com.au teec aflrecord.com.au record.com visit afl record.com.au 74 RFL RE CO COR OR OE RC RD DORvisit viDis vvis isit itafl ais afl rre ord.com.au


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Impressive debut for Bomber Dyson Heppell slipped through to pick No. 8 because of unfounded groin problems. LUKE HOLMESBY

F

or a large part of 2010, Dyson Heppell was considered a near certainty to be drafted in the top fi ve. The poised half-back had put in such an impressive season with Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup he was considered one of the best available draft prospects. But in the last few days before the draft, word began to emerge that Heppell had been suffering groin problems he couldn’t shake. Worried about taking on damaged goods, clubs passed on the talented teen and he slipped through to pick No. 8, with Essendon waiting to pounce. The Bombers did their homework, visiting Heppell and his family in a Gold Coast caravan park the night before the draft to check on the rumours. Heppell assured them they had nothing to worry about. “The groin is not a problem at all. I haven’t felt it at all. That was completely out of proportion,” Heppell said this week. And anyone who saw him play in last week’s win against the Western Bulldogs would not have reason to doubt him. Heppell gathered 20 touches and impressed everyone who saw him make his debut. The performance had him ranked among the best in Essendon’s side and earned him the honour as the season’s fi rst NAB AFL Rising Star nominee. Although most debutants are usually given time to find their feet at AFL level, Heppell adjusted to the tempo

FLYING START:

Bomber youngster Dyson Heppell dispelled injury concerns with a polished debut against the Western Bulldogs.

2011 NAB AFL RISING STAR NOMINEES Round 1 DYSON HEPPELL (ESS)

THREE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW

1 2 3

almost instantly, which he said was due to getting plenty of game-time in the Bombers’ pre-season. “The NAB Cup did help, especially the Grand Final. I guess it took a little bit to settle in, but once the game got underway, it wasn’t too bad,” he said.

“A few of the boys shared the experiences of their fi rst games. That definitely helped. So did speaking to players like Dustin Fletcher and Jason Winderlich.” Heppell knows he is fortunate to be able to stay in his home state. In fact, he is the only one of the top 10 players drafted last year who did not have to cross a state

Heppell played at Gippsland Power with fellow Bomber Michael Ross. He was the joint Morrish medallist as the TAC Cup best and fairest in 2010 with Sandringham’s Jackson Sketcher. He barracked for Essendon growing up.

border to kick off his AFL career. “It’s been a dream come true for me to end up at the Bombers. Anywhere would have been nice, but it definitely helps to stay in your home state and not be too far away from home,” he said. While the fi rst nominee of the season naturally becomes a strong favourite to take out the award, Heppell said there were plenty ahead of him who would be in contention for the honour. “There are a lot of fantastic young players in the system now. It would be a pretty tough gig to take that out but you never know,” he said. “I suppose David Swallow and a lot of Gold Coast boys would be up there. Dion Prestia is a fantastic player. Tom Liberatore as well. There are a lot of young boys out there who would be deserving winners.”

Each week throughout the home and away season, a panel of judges will select the nominee for the 2011 NAB AFL Rising Star. At the completion of the season, one outstanding player will be chosen as the 2011 NAB AFL Rising Star winner. He will receive an investment folio, a dedicated personal banker, a financial planner and the Ron Evans Medal, all courtesy of the NAB. The NAB Rising Star award is the final stage of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulfi l their dream of playing in the AFL.

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Applying data laterally to analyse and understand the modern game.

Exclusion zones the solution to flooding

I

am amazed at how the game’s lawmakers might have overlooked an obvious way to alleviate thee ultra-flooding and congestion wee have witnessed in recent years. Changes have been made but, frankly, the game is too chaotic and the players and coaches far too smart at outwitting officialdom for any of the recent micro-measures (emphasising umpires’ interpretations, implementing a deliberate behind rule, moving to a substitute system, etc) to have the desired effect. Hence, the best option for the Laws of the Game Committee might be to strike by implementing something with a proven track record: exclusion zones. As I’ve argued before, I reckon three players from both teams inside the arcs at midfi eld stoppages could do the trick and is worth a trial during next year’s pre-season competition or in second-tier competitions. Of course, exclusion zones and similar devices are an accepted part of other sports, implemented to enhance the way they are played (and their appeal to fans). Some forms of cricket, for example, have fi elding restriction zones; basketball gives attacking players only three seconds inside the key under the basket, and netball allows only two nominated players to shoot for goal. In our game, it happened with the adoption of the centre diamond in 1973. That zone

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ZONE-BREAKER: Carlton coach Ron Barassi laid the foundation for the Blues’ 1970 premiership triumph when he told his side to handball at all costs in a match against Hawthorn shortly before the finals series. XXXXXXX: XXXXXX XXXXX

was changed in 1975 to a centre square, which has become an effective and indispensable part of the game. Before that, fans were regularly confronted by the spectacle of a throng of players crammed close in around centre bounces and midfi eld stoppages. The introduction of the square fixed the problem. It ought to be named the ‘Peter Hudson Exclusion Zone’ because it was introduced to combat the influence of Hawthorn’s goalkicking legend and the system moulded around his freakish ability to win one-onone contests. The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers describes the Hawthorn system devised by legendary premiership coach John Kennedy as the “pattern of leaving a third of the ground open for Hudson to be pitted one-out against a full-back.”

The spectacle of duels between full-forward and full-back was compelling, but also meant Hawthorn enjoyed the luxury of its forward pockets, flankers and midfielders sitting back and forming a densely packed defensive zone instantly recognisable today as a early version of Collingwood’s fabulous forward zone press. Kennedy told me this week the system was “based on the simple principle that it is better to outnumber the opposition at the ball, and get it into the forward line as quickly as possible for Hudson to do the rest.” Little wonder it was pretty effective, when the coach could call on the likes of Leigh Matthews and Peter Crimmins to patrol the defensive wall. Hudson certainly appreciated the value of Matthews and others because “if I didn’t win it the fi rst time, it

Three players from both teams inside the arcs at midfi eld stoppages could do the trick

wou would always come back to me quickly for a second bite.” W While the success of the Ha Hawthorn system sparked ad decisive response from officialdom, it also forced op opposition coaches to put th their thinking caps on. H How to beat the system w was as topical then as to today’s quest by opponents tto either copy or d dismantle Collingwood’s fforward press. Among the fi rst counter-measures to Hawthorn’s approach occurred at Kardinia Park, in round roun 17 of 1968. Geelong coach Peter Pianto stationed tall marking specialist Bill Ryan as an extra player across half-back, blocking a path to Hudson’s space (although ‘Huddo’ still kicked four of his team’s seven goals). Ryan took 22 marks and the Cats won by 16 points. As it was then, bolstering the half-back line is a possible means of preventing today’s version of a forward press before it happens. A more celebrated counter-measure was enacted at the small Glenferrie Oval in round 20 of 1970. Carlton coach Ron Barassi instructed his players to “handball at all costs” in order to break up Hawthorn’s congested zoning, which is how coaches and players of today often attempt to escape the clutches of a forward press. The Blues won by 30 points and Barassi acknowledges that success laid the seed for his famous instructions to Carlton players at half-time during the 1970 Grand Final when they trailed Collingwood by 44 points and recovered to win by 10 points: “Handball! Handball! Handball!” TED HOPKINS IS A CARLTON PREMIERSHIP PLAYER AND FOUNDER OF CHAMPION DATA. HIS BOOK THE STATS REVOLUTION (SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP) WILL BE RELEASED SOON.


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AFL Record, Round 2, 2011  

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