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coaching brothers – scotts, smiths, roses

THE OFFICIAL L MAGAZINE MAG MA GA GAZ A AZ ZIIN INE NE N E OF OF THE TH T HE AFL AF FL L GAME GA GAM GA AM ME


round 7, may 6-9, 2011

features 57 Dustin Martin

The young Tiger is quiet off the field but he’s making a noise on it as CALLUM TWOMEY discovers.

62 Brotherly battle

Long before Brad and Chris Scott became rival coaches, Norm Smith tried to outsmart his young brother Len. BEN COLLINS reports.

regulars

10

BACK ON DECK

Kevin Sheedy returns to the MCG with Kurt Aylett and his young GWS Giants.

4 7 25 53 70 74 76

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

West Coast’s Jack Darling.

78 Talking Point

Ted Hopkins might have discovered the stat of the future.

THIS WEEK’S COVERS National cover: Richmond’s Dustin Martin. There is also a cover for the Gold Coast-Brisbane Lions game. NATIONAL COVER PHOTO: MICHAEL WILLSON

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Your say on the world of football

EDITOR’S LETTER

Battlelines drawn in new rivalry

Stumped by stats

My grandson and I were watching the football over the weekend, and he asked me how the AFL recorded all its statistics and how it does it so quickly? His question stumped me. Is there a team of people at each game writing down each player’s kicks, marks and handballs?

» New club Gold Coast and

TOUGH ASK: A reader is finding it difficult

to buy the Swans’ red numbers.

CLANCY DOWLING, VIA EMAIL

Editor’s response: Champion

Data, the AFL’s official statistical supplier, employs a group of experts at each game to ‘call’ each stat live as it happens. The statisticians usually sit in the press box or a designated area nearby, with the called stats fed into a computer system that supplies the data in real time to coaches and those covering the game. These statistics are also instantly updated on afl.com.au, the AFL’s official website.

Seeing red over numbers

The Sydney Swans last year adopted a clash jumper that has a plain white back with red numbers. My two children received these clash jumpers for Christmas, but when I attempted to buy red numbers to place on the back of these jumpers, none were available. I have checked with the Sydney Swans, who advised they have received a large number of inquiries from supporters trying to obtain red numbers, but they cannot assist.

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

I have contacted AFL Stores, other leading sports stores and even Burley Sekem and they all advise that red numbers are not available. As kids wish to replicate the gear their AFL champions wear, surely when the AFL approves these changes to club strips, it should ensure the various merchandise is readily available for supporters to purchase? KEN HILTON, BEAUMARIS, VIC.

Response from AFL licensing department: Our supplier

(Burley Sekem) doesn’t produce red numbers, as the demand

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

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hasn’t been substantial enough to warrant production. We have, however, brought this matter to their attention and, hopefully in the near future, they will produce red numbers.

HAVE YOUR SAY

The best letter each round nd 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

the Brisbane Lions meet this weekend in the first ‘Q Clash’, the name for matches between Queensland’s two AFL clubs. Marketing types will be banking on the title given the game’s newest regional rivalry becoming as familiar to football people as ‘Showdown’ (for AdelaidePort Adelaide matches) and ‘Derby’ (West CoastFremantle games). Veteran Lion Simon Black did his bit, describing former Lions Michael Rischitelli and Jared Brennan, now with the Suns, as “mercenaries”. “I’m sure they’ll cop a bit more niggle on Saturday night,” he said. “It’s big brother, little brother syndrome, and being the big brother you want the authority still.” Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna, naturally, defended his players and also added: “It’s about being able to have bragging rights and that’s what brings out the best and the nastiness in both sides.” The clubs understand their roles in building interest in Suns-Lions matches both locally and across the b ccountry, and we suspect tthere was an element of ttheatre in the statements. Whatever it was, we’ll be W watching with interest. w PETER DI SISTO

PRINTED BY PMP Print ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO The Editor, AFL Record, Ground Floor, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Victoria, 3008. T: (03) 9627 2600 F: (03) 9627 2650 E: peterd@slatterymedia.com AFL RECORD, VOL. 100, ROUND 7, 2011 Copyright. ACN No. 004 155 211. ISSN 1444-2973, Print Post approved PP320258/00109


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9

HISTORY-MAKING

10

The Scott twins coach against each other for the first time.

INSIDE THE GIANTS

12

Th AFL Record spends a day on The the bench with Kevin Sheedy.

BATTLE LINES

The Lions and the Suns start their rivalry.

20

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

Geelong defies the equalisation cycle.

Bounce views

news

first person

facts

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culture

THE

FIRST-CLASS FACILITY: An artist’s impression of how the redeveloped Adelaide Oval will look when used for football.

Adelaide Oval decision ‘monumental’ for SA football K ATR INA GIL L

T

he immediate response to the announcement South Australian Cricket Association members had voted in favour of a change in their constitution, paving the way for the $535 million Adelaide Oval redevelopment to go ahead, was one of disbelief. Across the border, the proposal to unite football and cricket and play AFL games at a revamped inner-city venue was viewed as a no-brainer, but in South Australia, Adelaide

Oval had become the subject of rigorous political and sentimental debate, with views the proposal would not be approved. In the days and weeks leading up to the ballot, Adelaide, Port Adelaide, the AFL and SANFL had joined the SACA in spruiking the ‘Yes’ vote, amid growing concern the proposal wouldn’t obtain the 75 per cent majority vote necessary to effect the constitutional change. According to media reports, the result of the proxy votes

indicated the proposal, which had taken nearly 18 months to prepare, was dead in the water and, even as the votes were being counted last Monday night, the heavyweights of South Australian football sat anxiously – almost downcast – preparing for news they didn’t want to hear. However, their fears proved unfounded when the results unexpectedly revealed 80 per cent of the 12,500 voting SACA members had voted overwhelmingly in

favour of the constitutional change and, in turn, the redevelopment. The excitement and relief was written all over the faces of SANFL bosses John Olsen and Leigh Whicker, Power president Brett Duncanson and CEO Mark Haysman, as well as Crows CEO Steven Trigg. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou was quick to offer the AFL’s congratulations, describing the decision as “monumental”. “It’s a decision, from a historical perspective, AFL RECORD

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7


St Kilda defender Zac Dawson suspended one week for striking Adelaide’s Chris Knights.

that will transform South “It’s very exciting for our Australia,” Demetriou said. supporters and members and “This is a significant is just a great day for football announcement with $535 in South Australia and, in million provided by the State particular, Port Adelaide Government to transform Football Club.” Adelaide Oval into one of The Crows have had a tougher the most iconic stadiums in time convincing some of their this country. supporters that relocating to “On behalf of the AFL, I Adelaide Oval was in the best want to thank Premier Mike interest of the club, but Trigg Rann, former Treasurer Kevin said the result of the vote was a Foley, Pat Conlon – the Minister “great outcome”. for Infrastructure – and all “Playing in a vibrant members of the government for redeveloped precinct in the CBD their absolute commitment to is not only very appealing, but this project.” represents The Crows growth for our and Power are business in both expected an otherwise to be $3.5 shrinking million a year business and better off when I know that the move to our supporters Adelaide Oval increasingly takes place are BRETT DUNCANSON in 2014. understanding Port that,” Trigg Adelaide’s said. financial “We know struggles have been well the challenges football has and documented, and Duncanson this (development) represents said the move to Adelaide a great opportunity for football Oval would “add to” the club’s and for our club.” financial security. The relevant parties will “We always knew Port meet the South Australian Adelaide was secure, whether Government in coming days to this vote got up or not,” plot the next step. Duncanson said. The AFL has also “To see the (financial) committed to contributing to injection both clubs will have, the project, but won’t disclose what it allows us to do is close an amount until final costings the gap on some of these other for the redevelopment have clubs around Australia. been totalled.

It’s very exciting for our supporters and members

SCOTT TWINS A FIRST

Different paths, identical objectives BEN COL LINS

I

t’s a history-making event that many footy heads immediately circled when the AFL fixture was released more than six months ago. This weekend’s clash between Geelong and North Melbourne at Skilled Stadium will showcase the first instance of twins coaching against each other in an AFL/VFL match. It’s been a long time coming for the Scott siblings – North’s Brad and Geelong’s Chris – especially as they faced off at the same venue in the modified opening round of the NAB Cup in February, but nothing will detract from the fact it is a momentous occasion. They will become just the third set of brothers to coach against each other, behind the famous Smiths and Roses, the most recent being when Bob (Footscray) and Kevin Rose (Fitzroy) clashed in June 1975, almost a year before the Scotts were born (see page 62). The Scotts turned 35 this week (on May 3), but don’t expect many pleasantries to

have passed between the pair other than the obligatory “Happy birthday” and perhaps an insincere “good luck”. Incidentally, it will be the second Cats-Kangaroos match at Geelong to hold special significance in recent times. Their clash in round five, 2007, supplied a shock North win that many believed could have resulted in the sacking of then Geelong coach Mark Thompson, whose tenure had been heavily scrutinised just months earlier during a highly publicised internal review. Of course, that loss sparked the Cats to invincibility.

When they’re not playing PLAYER

8

Coach’s favourite saying:

Whose autograph did you get as a kid?

If you weren’t a footballer, what would you be?

First job held:

Nathan Lovett-Murray Essendon

“Footy is a simple game”

Wayne Carey arey

A rapper

Mowing lawns

Jackson Trengove Port Adelaide

“I would have thought so”

rd James Hird

U UF UFC fighter

Paper boy

Brandon Matera Gold Coast

“Train hard, play easy”

James Hird rd

Jockey JJo

In an ice factory ctory

Brendon Goddard St Kilda

“It’s critical”

Anthony Koutoufi des and Koutoufides outoufides Greg Norman

Professional golfer

AFL playerr

AFL RECORD

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Sydney Swan Nick Malceski training again after second LARS surgery on his right knee.

GOOD LUCK: Brad (left) and

Chris Scott meet earlier in the week at an AFL press conference at Etihad Stadium.

Geelong, under C. Scott’s direction, appears to have regained some of the aura that made it one of the most dominant teams of all time. The new Cat coach has certainly landed on his feet. Entering round seven, he is yet to lose a game, sitting 5-0 to be one of only two undefeated teams (with reigning premier Collingwood). Meanwhile, his brother – who, in his second season is the relative old hand among them when it comes to the coaching caper – is at the other end of the spectrum, and the ladder. Since Chris was appointed Geelong coach last October, fans have joked about whether the identical twins could switch teams without anyone noticing. The latest version of that gag has Brad begging his brother to make the swap, but Chris refusing to budge for obvious reasons. Despite the fact the Scotts emerged from the same womb just moments apart, and spent much of their playing careers working together in the same area of the field as part of the successful Brisbane Lions environment, it’s worth retracing their steps because they have trod vastly different paths as players and coaches. Courage is in their DNA. Their father Colin was a Vietnam War hero, receiving a Distinguished Flying Cross after going behind

enemy lines to rescue American soldiers while under heavy fire. Scott senior died from severe asthma when the twins (the third and fourth-born of five Scott children) were just eight. They played for Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup under-18 competition. Chris, who was more advanced, was drafted as a 17-year-old at pick 12 by the then Brisbane Bears in the 1993 National AFL Draft. Brad had to wait another year before being taken by Hawthorn at No. 60, by which stage Chris

Their merciless on-field personas were at odds with their off-field demeanour had already played a full season for the ‘bad news Bears’ and won the AFL Rising Star award from a quality field that included Corey McKernan, Chris Johnson and Sean Wellman. Brad was restricted by illness early and was delisted by Hawthorn before he had even played a game, but after winning the reserves best and fairest as a supplementary list player in

1996, the Hawks redrafted him, at pick 85. Brad finally made his AFL debut in 1997, playing every game and finishing ninth in the best and fairest. Brad was reunited with his brother in 1998 when he was traded to the Brisbane Lions in exchange for John Barker and Nathan Chapman. Chris (182cm/90kg) made his name in defence, playing tall and small on a variety of players, while his similarly proportioned brother (181cm/87kg) eventually found his niche as a run-with player on superstars such as James Hird, Nathan Buckley and Shane Crawford. The Scotts were better skilled than many gave them credit for. They had to be, to counter the champions they opposed each week. And they won plenty of their own ball – a must in any side coached by Leigh Matthews. They were two of the toughest hombres in a tough side, and were utterly ruthless and intimidating yet their merciless on-field personas were totally at odds with their off-field demeanour. As they have shown in their brief coaching careers, they are honest, forthright and don’t suffer fools, yet are always polite and approachable. Although Chris showed the way as a player, Brad made the first inroads as a coach (albeit, by virtue of retiring a year earlier), spending three seasons as an assistant at Collingwood before landing the top job at North. Chris also did a three-year apprenticeship, at Fremantle, before being appointed Geelong coach. He had big shoes to fill, those of dual premiership coach Thompson, and also lost Gary Ablett to the Gold Coast Suns, but has tweaked the game-plan, given youngsters more of a go, and reinvigorated the club’s more experienced players. As a player, Chris didn’t let an opponent stand in his way, and that will not change this weekend, even when that opponent is his under-siege brother.

AFL apology over Swans interchange error » The AFL has apologised to the Sydney Swans for an incorrect decision that cost them a goal at a crucial juncture of their clash with Carlton at the SCG last week. With the Blues leading by a point late in the third quarter, an AFL interchange steward penalised the Swans for an interchange infringement, believing Dan Hannebery had briefly become their illegal 19th man on the field. The ball was about to be bounced in the centre after Eddie Betts had put Carlton in front, so the resultant free kick and 50m penalty gave big man Setanta O’hAilpin a regulation shot at goal, which he duly converted for the Blues’ fourth successive major. Compounding the Swans’ frustration, Carlton went on to record its first win in Sydney since 1993. In a statement released last Monday, the AFL said the umpiring department had deemed the decision a mistake after reviewing down-the-ground footage. “The (Swans) had three players leave the field as Carlton’s Eddie Betts was preparing to kick for goal, of which two were replaced by the time he had kicked for goal,” the AFL stated. “The Swans still had five players off the ground at the time Betts kicked the goal and therefore player Dan Hannebery was entitled to come on the ground at the time he did. “The umpiring department contacted Swans coach John Longmire and football manager Dean Moore this morning, Monday, May 2, to inform them of the outcome and incorrect decision and to apologise for the error.” The interchange steward has been stood down this round. AFL RECORD

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9


Adelaide defender Phil Davis set to have surgery on his right shoulder. Adel

Sheedy primed for learning phase SOUND ADVICE: Greater Western

The AFL Record spent a day with GWS Giants coach Kevin Sheedy, with his team taking baby steps as part of its journey to the AFL in 2012. PAU L DA FFEY

Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy passes on some tips to youngster Sam Darley.

» After losing its pre-season

games against AFL rivals by big margins, Greater Western Sydney got on the winners’ list in its opening two games in the North East Australian Football League. The beaten rivals were Ainslie and Tuggeranong, both from Canberra. Given those wins, the Giants went into the opening round of the Foxtel Cup with optimism. Their rival in a match of four 20-minute quarters at the MCG was the Northern Bullants, runner-up in the VFL the past two seasons. The Giants’ optimism lasted barely beyond the opening bounce. The Bullants kicked three goals in the opening five minutes and eight for the quarter. They added four more to none in the second quarter. The Giants were missing some of their best teenage prospects because they were playing for the AIS-AFL Academy squad against the Bendigo Bombers, but still they were reeling after the Bullants’ early blitz. Their team had only four who had played on the MCG: Curtly Hampton, Lonnie Hampton, Jake Neade and Damian Williams, all from the Northern Territory. Most of the Giants players were 18 or 19. Two 23-year-olds, Jonathan Giles and Steve Clifton, were the team’s oldest.

10

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The score at half-time was 12.4 On the bench, Craig Lambert, (76) to 0.3 (3). the former Richmond and Kevin Sheedy is the Giants Brisbane Lions player, delivered coach, with Port Adelaide’s 2004 the rotation instructions with premiership coach Mark Williams rat-a-tat precision, often with his deputy. The AFL Record spent an encouraging word as players the game on the Giants’ bench, came off the ground. The observing the coaching and machinations medical staff of the coach on the bench and his staff. worked steadily Sheedy while raising spent the first one eyebrow half in silence at the growing just in front margin. of the bench, Sheedy KEVIN SHEEDY near the spoke to only interchange one player in gates. Mostly, the first half, he stood with one arm folded telling key forward Ben Casley to and a hand over his mouth, as have a shot rather than pass the though in contemplation, while ball if he was within range. Casley Williams coached the team from noticeably lost confidence as the coach’s box. the game wore on. He was by no

You don’t play footy any more. It’s your career

means on his own. Williams spoke first to the players at half-time. He was forceful, gesticulatory, berating the players for their effort while encouraging them to pick themselves up. “Toughen up,” was his final instruction. Sheedy spoke calmly, with short bursts in which he raised his voice for effect. “You don’t PLAY FOOTY any more. It’s YOUR CAREER.” He told the players the first half was like their 15th birthday. “It’s gone.” You could almost hear the players and staff add to those words in their own minds: “Not by much.” During the second half, Sheedy stepped in and spoke to many players as they came on and off the bench. He had both hands in front of him, fingers stretched out in the marking position, when making his point. To a ruckman: “Never let that happen again. Go hard!” To a small forward who was sent on to curtail a playmaker: “Give him nothing!” To midfielders too intent on bringing the ball through the corridor: “If you have to go down the sides, go down the sides.” There was a mixture of joy and relief when the Giants scored their first goal. It came 10 minutes into the third quarter when Casley snapped truly from a scrimmage. Sheedy smiled and took a few quiet steps, his hands clasped behind his back.


Melbourne’s Luke Tapscott ineligible for NAB Rising Star award after accepting reprimand for engaging in rough conduct against West Coast’s Mark Nicoski.

Cats streaking towards record The Giants then kicked three more goals to see out the third quarter in style. “We’re trying to put up a creditable performance,” Sheedy said after the match. “And for a quarter they did. (We) won the third quarter.” The Bullants resumed their dominance in the last quarter, kicking five goals to one to win by 89 points, 19.9 (123) to 5.4 (34). The main thing to emerge from a Giants point of view was the strong performance of Jack Hombsch, an 18-year-old who was moved from the back pocket to centre half-forward in the second half. Hombsch led hard and straight and exerted his presence on the match. Sheedy made a big deal of him. “Clearly our best player,” he said. The player most scrutinised, of course, was Israel Folau, whose performance again was underwhelming. His opponent for much of the match was Carlton’s Bret Thornton, who kicked six goals. Folau had two kicks and two handballs. One of his kicks was a long drive out off defence straight to a Bullants player ayer on his own on the 50m arc. The ball went straight raight back to where it had come me from. The Giants’ performance in the face of strong opposition should ld se have been a cause for concern. Instead, ead, the mood in the rooms after the match was buoyant. ant. When Williamss was asked about working with such ch a young squad, he said: “It’s uplifting.”

Of the arrangement in which he speaks to the players first and then Sheedy follows: “We complement each other.” Sheedy said there was no point flogging the players after the big loss. “They’re in a learning phase and I don’t think a coach, especially a coach with my experience, should come in over the top.” He said he felt for the players because they were expected to perform against senior opposition when most had just come out of under-age competitions. “When I started out in the VFA, I was 16, 17, 18, playing against men who’d played 100 VFL games,” he said. “These kids have had trips to Africa and Europe as part of their development, but I was a mile ahead of where they are.” Throughout the day, Sheedy nursed the wrist he had broken during a bike ride in Sydney. “I was getting fit to coach,” he said, smiling broadly.

PROGRESSING: Curtly

Hampton is one of many young GWS players learning the ropes in the NEAFL.

ON A ROLL: Josh

Hunt (left) and Paul Chapman celebrate another win at home.

»

Geelong G l will ill break b ka record that has stood for more than 70 years if it defeats North Melbourne at Skilled Stadium in this round. The Cats are aiming for their 25th successive win at their home ground and, if successful, would eclipse the previous mark of 24 successive victories at one venue. From round 11, 1932, to round four, 1935, Richmond enjoyed a run of 24 successive wins at its original home ground, Punt Road Oval. The sequence ended when the Tigers lost to South Melbourne in round seven, 1935. South Melbourne also went on a run of 24 wins at Lake Oval from round eight, 1934, to round 17, 1936, before Collingwood ended the streak in round two, 1937.

GEELONG’S RUN AT SKILLED STADIUM

Wins: 24 Last loss: Round 21, 2007 v Port Adelaide (lost by 5 points) Streak started: Round 3, 2008 v Melbourne (won by 30 points)

A Average winning i i margin: i 55 points Biggest margin: 108 points v Richmond, round 6, 2010 Smallest margin: 2 points v Adelaide, round 18, 2009 Points for: 2885 Points against: 1559 Opponents: Port Adelaide (4 times), Melbourne (3), Sydney Swans (3), Brisbane Lions (3), North Melbourne (3), Fremantle (2), West Coast (2), Richmond (2), Western Bulldogs (1), Adelaide (1) Played in every win: Darren Milburn (24)* * Jimmy Bartel, Paul Chapman, Corey Enright, Cameron Mooney and Joel Selwood have played in 23 of the 24 victories.

OTHER BIG STREAKS

24 Richmond (1932-35) at Punt Rd South Melbourne (193436) at Lake Oval 22 Geelong (1954-56) at Kardinia Park 21 Carlton (1993-96) at Princes Park 20 Collingwood (1969-71) at Victoria Park West Coast (2004-05) at Subiaco MICHAEL LOVETT

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11


Melbourne signs sponsorship agreement with energy supplier Metro Solar.

NORTHERN RIVALRY

Clash of old and new as Queensland comes of age

MILESTONES ROUND 7

DRESS REHEARSAL:

Suns defender Jarrod Harbrow eludes the Lions’ Cheynee Stiller in their NAB Challenge clash at Southport.

AFL Life Membership (300 games)

MICH A EL W HITING

W

hen the Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast Suns meet at the Gabba in the first ‘Q Clash’ on Saturday night, it not only signals the start of the code’s newest rivalry, but marks the next step in Queensland’s growth as an Australian Football state. They might be 16th and 17th on the ladder, but ask anyone who has followed the game in Queensland over the past three decades and they will say it is nothing short of remarkable there are two teams playing north of the Tweed River. Marcus Ashcroft started with the Brisbane Bears in 1989 and went on to play 318 games, including three premierships with the Brisbane Lions. He has just about seen it all. He started with the Bears playing out of Carrara on the Gold Coast at a time when Queensland was considered little more than a footy backwater, despite the code having a history stretching back to the 1860s. “It’s chalk and cheese from when I started,” Ashcroft said. “I played my first game in 1989 and you look at the crowds and we didn’t have that many hard-core supporters. “Most of the people who came along were ex-pat Victorians and they tended to support the opposition. “I really think the success of the Brisbane Lions drew a lot of people in. Everyone likes to be associated with successful teams and that really helped stamp us. “In 2001, ’02 and ’03, having that ultimate success (premierships) really meant that south-east Queensland took us on board. It was fantastic to have that real passion and to know your supporters really cared for you.” 12

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Michael Vozzo Umpire

AFL 200 Club

AFL Queensland CEO Richard Griffiths said, while the code was not recognised nationally in Queensland until the Bears entered the VFL in 1987, it had been played in Brisbane for more than a century. However, he said the biggest kick along came in 1999 when the AFL Commission reviewed the game in the sunshine state. The review resulted in a huge investment in development in Queensland that has totalled $60 million since 2000. “And that coincided with the Lions winning the three premierships, so that combination of the investment from the AFL and the premierships gave us a great fillip to take the game forward,” Griffiths said. Queensland responded with Auskick numbers growing from 5000 to 28,000 and overall participation jumping from 23,000 to 112,000 in the past decade. Saturday night pits proven champions, including Simon Black and Luke Power, against the stars of tomorrow, including David Swallow and Brandon Matera. Griffiths said the introduction of an academy program two years ago that zoned youngsters to either Gold Coast or the Lions was also a huge step in retaining the best young talent in the game. Ashcroft has had a medal struck in his name to be

presented to the best player on the ground in Lions-Suns matches and, despite his long association with the Lions, he said Saturday night was a no-brainer for him. “I’m a Suns man. The Brisbane Lions have been a big part of my life, but I’m a one-eyed Suns man and looking forward to them being successful,” he said. “People are passionate about the rivalry it presents going forward. It will be great for Queensland to have that emotion and passion for a club, which is what the traditional football states like Victoria and South Australia and Western Australia have. “We want to get to the stage where the rivalry between the Suns and Lions is like the State of Origin in rugby league, which is the most passionate and emotional Queenslanders get in sport. There will be that divide between clubs, that real passion.” Griffiths said key administrators, including Ken Murphy, Andrew Ireland, Peter Cummiskey and Alan ‘Doc’ McKenzie, would look on with a sense of pride. “To think 10 to 15 years ago that there would be a second team in Queensland, you wouldn’t have believed it,” he said. “It’s an enormous step forward for the growth and development and interest levels of the game.”

David Wojcinski Geelong Michael Gardiner St Kilda

150 games

Sam Fisher St Kilda

100 games

Jordan Russell Carlton Shannon Byrnes Geelong Mark Blake Geelong Hamish McIntosh North Melbourne

50 games

Shaun Grigg Richmond Matthew Leuenberger Brisbane Lions The list includes those not necessarily selected but on the verge of milestones.


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Sydney Swans extend long-standing partnership with QBE Insurance.

ESSENDON’S DAY OUT

ANOTHER ONE: Kyle Reimers after

slotting through one of his eight goals against the Suns last Sunday.

Records tumble in Bomber blitz C A L LU M T WOMEY

E

ssendon’s first quarter against the Gold Coast Suns last week at Etihad Stadium was one of the most dominant performances in the club’s history. The Bombers were too good for the Suns, too strong at the clearances and too quick in space. James Hird’s team had 13 individual goalkickers. Some of the notable statistics to come out of the day included: • Essendon’s first quarter score of 15.4 (94) was the highest opening quarter in League history, beating the 13.3 (81) kicked by North Melbourne in 1990 against Richmond, and Hawthorn in 1982 against North Melbourne. • It also was Essendon’s biggest quarter, beating the 13.4 (82) against North Melbourne in 1979 and Footscray in 1982.

• It was the second-highest score in any quarter in history, behind South Melbourne’s 17.4 (106) against St Kilda in round 12, 1919. • The 93-point margin at quarter-time time was the highest quarter-time lead in history, surpassing Melbourne’s 71-point lead over North Melbourne in 1972.

Bedford joins elite as a Bloods Legend » Peter Bedford, one of the last

men to successfully combine first-class cricket with League football, has been paid the ultimate accolade by the Sydney Swans. Last Saturday, Bedford was elevated to ‘Bloods Legend’ status in the Swans’ Hall of Fame, joining former greats Bob Pratt, Bob Skilton and Paul Kelly, who were named Bloods Legends in the inaugural Hall of Fame in 2009. A brilliant centreman, Bedford played 178 games for the Swans from 1968-76,

captained the club from 1973-76, was a five-time best and fairest and won the 1970 Brownlow Medal. He also played 39 first-class games for Victoria, averaging 28 with the bat and 33 with his leg-spinners and was close to making an Australian B team

Essendon’s first quarter score was the greatest in League history

• It was the highest score in a quarter at Etihad Stadium, passing St Kilda’s 12.1 (73) in 2004 against Carlton, and North Melbourne’s 11.7 (73) against Melbourne in 2000. • Essendon’s final score of 31.11 (197) is the second-highest score at Etihad Stadium, behind Geelong’s 35.12 (222) against Richmond in 2007. It is also the Bombers’ highest score at the ground, passing the 26.15 (171) against St Kilda in 2002. • The final margin of 139 points is the equal second highest margin at Etihad Stadium, behind the Cats’ 157-point win over Richmond in 2007. • It was Essendon’s highest score in a match since the 2000 qualifying final, when it kicked 31.12 (198) against North Melbourne. • Kyle Reimers’ bag of eight goals was the best in a game for an Essendon team not including Matthew Lloyd or Scott Lucas since Scott Cummings kicked eight goals against the Western Bulldogs in round eight, 1996. STATISTICS SUPPLIED BY CAMERON SINCLAIR, AFL

tour of New Zealand but he injured his hamstring. Bedford, who grew up in Port Melbourne barracking for South Melbourne, said he was moved to receive the honour. “I didn’t play my first League game until I was 21 (he crossed from VFA club Port Melbourne without a clearance) but I had so many good people around to guide me,” he said. “Whenever I went out to play I took the attitude that I wanted to help make my teammates the best players on the ground.” A total of 27 former champion players and coaches, selected from the past 137 years of Swans’ history, joined the

23 former players who were named in the Hall of Fame two years ago.

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

» Sonny Elms, Bill Windley,

Bill Thomas, Len Mortimer, Charlie Ricketts, Ted Johnson, Len Thomas, Bill Faul, Jim Cleary, Jack Graham, Bill Gunn, John Heriot, Graeme John, Rick Quade, Graham Teasdale, Tony Morwood, Stephen Wright, Rod Carter, Warwick Capper, David Murphy, Mark Bayes, Andrew Dunkley, Leo Barry, Michael O’Loughlin, Paul Roos, Stuart Maxfield, Brett Kirk.

BLOODS LEGEND

» Peter Bedford.

MICHAEL LOVETT

14

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Adelaide’s Richard Tambling accepts one-game ban for striking St Kilda’s Adam Schneider.

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

Bulldogs bulldozing their debt NICK BOW EN

O

ver the past few seasons, a number of AFL clubs have declared war on debt. Melbourne blazed the debt-reduction trail when president Jim Stynes launched its ‘Debt Demolition’ campaign in 2008. Little more than two years later, the Demons’ $5 million debt had been eradicated. This year, Richmond and Port Adelaide, labouring under debts of $5 million and $3 million respectively, have followed Melbourne’s lead. The Tigers launched the ‘Fighting Tiger’ fund and raised $2.3 million on its opening night in March, while the Power’s ‘Back in Black’ drive raised $1 million at its April launch. The Western Bulldogs launched a similar campaign

last November. Under the path we’re on and where catchcry ‘Bulldoze the Debt’, we’re heading.” the Bulldogs aimed to wipe Garlick said before launching out their debt that included a the campaign, the club had commercial component focused on ensuring of $5 million. the three core areas Last Saturday of its business – its night, the Bulldogs’ football department, campaign received financial position a significant boost and facilities – were at Red, White & Blue on a sound footing. Ribbon, an invitation“From that only event at Whitten perspective, we feel we’re Oval involving current on the right path,” he said. and past Bulldogs captains, “For want of a better term, players, coaches and officials, this (campaign) is probably the and 150 final piece of supporters. the puzzle Through the for us.” donations of Garlick those guests, said one of the Bulldogs the driving raised $1.125 factors behind million, a result Bulldoze the CEO Simon Debt had been Garlick was the club’s overjoyed with. desire to invest “It was more heavily SIMON GARLICK an amazing in its football night,” Garlick department. told the AFL “Last year, Record. “The generosity and we spent just under $15 million enthusiasm of people blew me on our footy department, but away, which probably indicates the non-player spend of that that there’s a real belief in the was the lowest in the

The generosity and enthusiasm of people blew me away

competition and that’s something we really need to increase,” he said. “We’ve probably bucked the trend to a degree in terms of money spent per win. We’ve been pretty competitive without spending a lot, but we don’t think that’s overly sustainable.” The Bulldogs’ campaign will continue on Saturday, June 18, when the club holds Superstars of Whitten Oval at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium. The event will count down some of the biggest moments at the Bulldogs’ home ground and feature some of the club’s biggest names. It is open to all supporters, with tickets costing $165 a person and available from the club. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Bulldogs announced they were working with Victoria Police in relation to an alleged fraud at the club that had been discovered at the end of 2010. In a media statement, the club said all monies related to the alleged fraud had been recovered.

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AFL, clubs and AFLPA start negotiations on new collective bargaining agreement to start in 2012.

STUDYING THE FIXTURE

Suns and the bye add to luck of the draw PETER RYA N

T

he fixture, in a competition that does not have each team meeting each other twice, has always played an important part in where teams finish after the home and away matches each season, but the 2011 model has extra twists with the addition of the Gold Coast Suns and the bye. In four out of their five games, the Suns have been easily beaten, with the average margin in their losses being 122.5 points, and an average points against of 150 – or 25 goals. Essendon added 26.7 to its percentage on Sunday in thumping the Suns. The Bombers now have the second-highest percentage in the competition. Melbourne had its biggest win since round six of 2005 when it defeated the Suns in round four by 90 points and added 28.45 to its percentage. Right now, that percentage booster puts the Demons in the eight ahead of the Swans. Playing the Suns early in the season shapes as an advantage, as does playing them late when their youngsters will likely be tired. But playing them twice is likely to be the biggest bonus of all, with the possibility of not only adding wins but percentage, too. Some will argue such an assessment is unfair to the Suns, particularly when you consider Richmond was in a similar position at round six last season (with no wins and a percentage of 49.14). The Tigers ended the season with six wins; the Suns already have one win. There is no doubt, it is presumptuous. However, it’s still worth contemplating which teams will benefit most if the Suns’ form against finals contenders continues along the 18

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BIG BOOST: Essendon increased its percentage by a massive 26.7 with a crushing win over Gold Coast last week.

same path for the remainder of the season. (They have one win and a percentage of 44.53.) The genuine finals contenders facing the Suns twice in 2011 – Geelong, Hawthorn, Adelaide, Melbourne and the Bulldogs – have, on paper at least, a significant advantage over other contenders such as Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle and Carlton (which play the team only once) when the all-important starting positions for the finals are put in place. The winless Brisbane Lions are the other team playing the Suns twice. Before you start raging about Geelong playing the Suns twice,

the Cats also play Collingwood, St Kilda, Hawthorn, Adelaide and the Swans twice, so if they are in contention at season’s end, they will have earned it. As many have noted, Adelaide has two games against the Suns as well as two against the so-far winless Lions. That can, at this stage, be regarded as an advantage. Melbourne plays the Suns, Richmond and Port Adelaide twice. That is a handy draw that gives it a chance (on its opponents’ current form) to make a big run at the top eight late in the season. It is also one for the Melbourne observers to contemplate as

The fixture is like the Stawell Gift, with one team having a head start

the pressure builds on coach Dean Bailey after just one below-par result. The Bulldogs know it is a long season so are not panicking but, with the Hawks, Essendon and Fremantle, as well as the Eagles, Swans and Suns on their fixture twice, they have a middling draw ahead and will need to play well to qualify high. Hawthorn plays the Suns in round 24. Imagine the intensity of that game from the Hawks’ perspective if percentage is an issue for them. Hawthorn faces Geelong, Melbourne, Fremantle, the Bulldogs and Port Adelaide twice as well as the Suns (also round 13) again so they have a solid rather than favourable draw. If the Hawks get an ascendancy over the Suns when they meet them, they will not want to slacken off, as percentage is likely to be crucial. Percentage is often critical. In 2009, 0.31 per cent separated the third-placed Bulldogs from the fourth-placed Collingwood. In 2008, 0.82 per cent separated fourth-placed St Kilda and fifth-placed Adelaide. In 2007, 1.81 per cent was enough to give second-placed Port Adelaide a home final against the third-placed Eagles. Of course, Port had played three of the top eight teams twice that season, as opposed to the Eagles just two, so earned its higher ranking. The fixture is a lot like the Stawell Gift, with one team having a head start because of the imbalance in games scheduled against teams that are lower on the list. Last season, Carlton (eighth) and North Melbourne (ninth) finished with 11 wins each, but the Blues qualified for the finals on percentage. Carlton played other top-eight teams 10 times during 22 rounds and won just twice. It also lost to the Kangaroos. North Melbourne played the seven top-eight teams other than Carlton 11 times, also winning just twice. The Blues proved their credentials by defeating Geelong and St Kilda but caught lowly Richmond twice at good times to win by 56 and 89 points respectively. The Kangaroos played the Tigers only once, winning by 50 points.


In round six, Darren Wilson became just the seventh boundary umpire to oďŹƒciate in 300 matches..

In 2009, Collingwood defeated Adelaide in a seasondeďŹ ning game in round 19 and ďŹ nished top four. That season, it played other teams from the top eight 10 times and won ďŹ ve. The Crows played other top-eight teams that season 10 times and won three games. Unfortunately for Adelaide, four of those games against top-eight teams were against the dominant St Kilda and Geelong whereas Collingwood played those two teams only once. The Magpies were one game ahead of Adelaide at the start of the ďŹ nals (and defeated the Crows in a heart-stopping semi-ďŹ nal at the MCG). Of course, one team having a better run than another is nothing new. Since 16 teams were part of a 22-game ďŹ xture, you can have bad luck one season and good luck another. What supporters need to assess most is how their teams perform against clubs that notionally have a similar ranking because form patterns aren’t as random as our footy tipping efforts might suggest. In reality, the competition shakes itself out to A-grade

UPSET: Port Adelaide ran all over Adelaide in round four but its past two performances have been disappointing.

teams, B-grade teams and C- and D-grade teams as the season unfolds. Although upsets happen among teams graded differently, they’re not that common. I’d argue only two games this season have been genuine upsets: Port Adelaide (C-grade) beating Adelaide (B-grade) in round four and the Suns (D-grade) beating Port Adelaide in round ďŹ ve.

That does not mean you can accurately tip the winner of all games, just that games between clubs in different grades generally produce results as one would expect, home-ground advantage notwithstanding. Games between clubs in the same grade (such as Geelong-Collingwood next weekend) are always hard to predict, and often come down to available personnel.

So, what does this mean for tipsters, either professional, or in the ofďŹ ce competition? Keep an eye on the way clubs move between grades, noting form and the availability of top-ďŹ ve players as assessable variables. Such variables do change things quickly and the Suns will be hoping to turn around their form and move up a “gradeâ€? as key players return from suspension, teammates become more familiar with each other and they start to play at home at Metricon Stadium at Carrara. And the last word is kept for Essendon, whose performance last week prompted these ponderings. With the bye in round 24, the Bombers will – if in top-four contention late into the season – be wondering whether the ďŹ nals series could head down the same path as 1990 when they had an unforeseen extra week’s rest due to a draw. At least this time they can plan for the break.

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19


Brisbane Lions ruckman Matthew Leuenberger indicates he will stay with the club.

Richmond and Fremantle the period, fewer than the Brisbane most obvious examples – spent Lions and West Coast with three most of the past 21 seasons each and equal with Essendon, closer to the foot of the ladder Collingwood, North Melbourne, than the top. They have received Hawthorn and Adelaide. their fair share of attention for Carter’s comments to doing so, too. interviewer Damian Barrett That’s why we took note when were made to highlight the new Geelong president Colin challenge facing all clubs: Carter, a key supporter of the staying at or near the top, equalisation policy during his while working within policies years as an AFL Commissioner, designed to create a yo-yo effect. began detailing last week on “I’m dealing here with a really Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy successful organisation,” Carter Show how the Cats had defied said. “Our main mission is the cycle since 1990, when the to try to understand why it competition has been was re-branded successful and as the AFL keep it and the that way.” equalisation Strong clubs policies began point to culture to kick in. and succession The Cats plans and have won the stability in most games, administration COLIN CARTER appeared in and decisionthe most Grand making as Finals, kicked critical planks the most points, had the to building respect and the best percentage – and capacity to have sustained achieved it all with the least success. They make innovative bottom-four finishes. decisions based on the Of course, in the bottom line long term as much as the category – premierships – the short term, and base their Cats sit with the pack, having calls on evidence rather achieved two flags in that than emotion, development

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

Geelong defies the equalisation cycle PETER RYA N

T

here is a certain rhythm to the football cycle. Equalisation policies such as the salary cap and the national draft are designed to create that rhythm. Make the right decisions, be patient and your turn will come. To a certain extent, the policy has worked exactly as it’s designed to: every team has played in a preliminary final since 1990. Eleven clubs have shared the 21 premierships decided since. This achievement is given context when you realise just five clubs – Carlton, Richmond, Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Essendon – won flags from 1968-89. Most clubs go up then down then up again. Some clubs – with

as much as early draft picks. That’s OK in general terms, but Carter will be focusing on the detail that leads to those outcomes. The criteria used for appointing coach Chris Scott is one example, based as it was on recent research about what makes an effective coach, with 25 per cent of the weighting attached to cultural and leadership development. In draft terms, the earliest draft pick the Cats have had since Stephen Hooper was the No. 1 selection in 1990, is No. 7 (three times). That’s why positive off-field changes at clubs such as Richmond are more critical to their future success than early draft picks. With a start to the season that again suggests Geelong might be ready to defy the cycle, something many commentators consider inevitable, it only serves to reinforce the notion that intellectual property, management, continuity of administration and a team-first ethic play as big a role in quests for success as high draft picks.

Our mission is to understand why it has been successful

CLUBS BY THE NUMBERS SINCE 1990 HOME AND AWAY Posn

Club

Played

Wins

Losses

Ties

Points for

FINALS Points against

%

win/ Finals Finals loss ratio

GF

Premierships

Bottom four

Coaches

1

Geelong

460

278

178

4

48,009

41,820

114.8

35

54.3%

6

2

0

3

2

West Coast Eagles

460

257

199

4

43,728

41,047

106.5

37

45.9%

5

3

4

3

3

Essendon

460

254

199

7

46,943

44,426

105.7

29

62.5%

4

2

4

2

4

Nth Melbourne

460

252

205

3

46,958

45,458

103.3

27

55.5%

3

2

4

5

5

Collingwood

460

235

221

4

44,938

42,725

105.2

25

52.0%

5*

2

5

3

6

Western Bulldogs

460

237

215

8

45,445

44,976

101.0

24

29.2%

0

0

4

5

7

St Kilda

460

235

219

6

44,099

43,388

101.6

24

41.7%

4*

0

6

6

8

Hawthorn

460

231

226

3

43,852

42,982

102.0

19

52.6%

2

2

5

7

9

Adelaide

438

231

206

1

41,488

39,381

105.3

26

50.0%

2

2

1

5

10

Carlton

460

219

238

3

44,613

45,320

98.4

21

42.8%

3

1

5

5

11

Sydney

460

213

241

6

43,792

44,201

99.1

24

50.0%

3

1

5

6

12

Melbourne

460

198

259

3

42,452

45,904

92.0

19

52.6%

1

0

7

6

13

Richmond

460

182

274

4

41,495

47,686

87.0

6

33.3%

0

0

11

9

Port Adelaide

308

167

137

4

29,144

28,489

102.3

17

47.0%

2

1

2

5

Brisbane Lions

308

163

139

6

30,677

28,352

108.2

21

71.4%

4

3

3

4

Fremantle

352

142

210

0

31,231

34,578

90.3

6

33.3%

0

0

8

5

*includes draw **Brisbane Lions & Port Adelaide since 1997 , Fremantle since 1995, Adelaide since 1991 ***Coach numbers include interim coaches

Figures do not include 2011 results 20

AFL RECORD

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Carlton to wear predominantly sky blue clash jumper on Monday night against St Kilda.

AFL 2010 INJURY REPORT

Hamstrings still No. 1 concern MICH A EL LOV ET T

I

njury rates have increased gradually over the past few seasons, according to the 2010 AFL Injury Report. The 19th annual report, released this week by the AFL Medical Officers’ Association, reveals that eight players will be missing through injury on any given week from an average AFL list of 46 players. This figure has increased from six in 2003-05 and seven in 2006-08. There was a higher injury incidence (new injuries per club per season) and prevalence (missed games per club per season) in 2010, continuing a gradual upward trend in both categories since 2003. The No. 1 injury remains the hamstring strain and, while the 2010 figures were slightly down from 2009, they were consistent with the report’s long-term averages. However, the recurrence rate of 13 per cent for hamstring strains in 2010 was the lowest recorded. The most severe of the common injuries is still the torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), but again there were slightly lower rates in 2010. In 2010, four players elected to have LARS surgery where an artificial graft is used to repair the damaged knee. The AFLMO

says it will continue to monitor the use of LARS. “It is still too early to determine whether these grafts will have a good success rate in the longer term, but for circumstances where a quick return is paramount (eg, older players), then LARS grafts appear to offer an alternative management which allows quicker return to play,” the report said. “Further surveillance and research is required before they can be recommended as a long-term alternative for younger players.” The instances of PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) injuries have fallen dramatically with none in 2010 and just four in total since 2005 when the centre circle was introduced. From 2001-04, there were 14 instances of PCL injuries. The report said concussion rates had been “low and steady” over the past decade and the 2010 figures support that claim. This year, the AFL introduced stricter guidelines to promote a more conservative approach to managing concussed players. There had also been a decreasing trend with head and neck injuries over the past decade but shoulder injuries had increased slightly as tackling pressure becomes a greater feature of the game. “It is possible that the increased number and ferocity of tackles during this period contributed to the increased risk of shoulder injury,” the report said. The 2010 AFL Injury Report can be downloaded in full from afl.com.au.

The instances of PCL injuries have fallen dramatically

INJURY INCIDENCE (NEW INJURIES PER CLUB PER SEASON) BODY ARE A

Head/ neck

Shoulder/ arm/ elbow

Forearm/ wrist/ hand

Trunk/ back

Hip/ groin/ thigh

Knee

Shin/ ankle/ foot

Medical

IN JURY T YPE

2006

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2009

2010

0.3

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.5

Facial fractures

0.3

0.4

0.2

0.5

0.5

Neck sprains

0.3

0.1

0.2

0.1

0.1

Other head/neck injuries

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.2

Shoulder sprains and dislocations

1.6

1.0

1.8

1.3

1.6 0.8

A/C joint injuries

1.2

0.8

0.7

0.5

Fractured clavicles

0.3

0.3

0.1

0.2

0.2

Elbow sprains or joint injuries

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.2

Other shoulder/ arm/elbow injuries

0.3

0.2

0.3

0.1

0.3

Forearm/wrist/hand fractures

1.1

0.9

1.2

1.1

1.2

Other hand/wrist/ forearm injuries

0.3

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.3

Rib and chest wall injuries

1.0

0.4

0.7

0.3

0.6

Lumbar and thoracic spine injuries

1.5

1.3

1.5

1.4

1.7

Other buttock/back/ trunk injuries

0.6

0.5

0.7

0.5

0.4

Groin strains/osteitis pubis

3.3

4.1

3.2

3.3

4.1

Hamstring strains

6.4

6.7

6.6

7.1

6.0

Quadriceps strains

1.7

1.8

1.8

2.1

1.7

Thigh and hip haematomas

1.1

0.6

0.5

1.0

1.1

Other hip/groin/thigh injuries, including hip joint

0.3

0.8

0.8

1.0

0.7

Knee ACL

0.9

0.6

0.9

0.7

0.6

Knee MCL

0.8

1.4

1.3

0.7

0.8

Knee PCL

0.3

0.2

0.3

0.3

0.4

Knee cartilage

1.0

1.2

1.6

2.0

1.7

Patella injuries

0.3

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.5

Knee tendon injuries

0.4

0.3

0.3

0.5

0.4

Other knee injuries

0.2

0.8

1.0

1.0

0.4

Ankle joint sprains, including syndesmosis sprains

2.1

2.2

2.5

2.6

3.3

Calf strains

1.6

1.2

2.0

1.3

1.7

Achilles tendon injuries

0.3

0.4

0.6

0.6

0.4

Leg and foot fractures

0.7

0.5

0.5

1.0

0.9

Leg and foot stress fractures

1.1

1.1

0.9

0.9

1.2

Other leg/foot/ankle injuries

1.5

1.3

1.1

1.5

1.7

Medical illnesses

0.7

1.9

2.1

2.9

2.1

Non-football injuries, including pre-existing

0.2

0.2

0.3

0.2

0.5

NEW INJURIES / CLUB / SEASON

34.0

34.7

36.9

37.8

38.6

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AFL RECORD

2008

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dus t i n

m a rt i n

ess a ru t h l

Quiet and reserved teenager belies his extrovert image.

I

C A L LU M T WOMEY

n the past two weeks, we have seen Dustin Martin, in his inimitable way, dominate games of football like few players are capable of doing. But for all the acclaim – he seems to be everyone’s new favourite player – Martin doesn’t care for the attention. “I don’t really care about what other people think,” he said last week when we met at Richmond’s ME Bank Centre. “It’s not something I think about too much.” It’s an attitude reflected in his football. He isn’t intimidated by anyone, nor easily flustered or concerned by how he’s viewed. Martin’s football features some of the best elements of the Australian game – aggression, skill, strength and class – flowing

nd hun

gry

through it, but his style is inconsistent with his personality. The sharp haircut – it’s shaved at the front and sides and spiked at the back – and the numerous tattoos, particularly the two on his neck, would give one the impression of Martin being an extrovert. As would the way he has come into an AFL club, finishing fourth in Richmond’s best and fairest in his first season, and quickly becoming one of the Tigers’ most important players. However, the 19-year-old is a series of contradictions rolled into one brilliant, bustling and damaging footballer: a walking, barely-talking, ‘don’t-arguing’ star of the competition, who is as reserved off the field as he is assertive on it. When the AFL Record met Martin, wearing a Tigers training singlet, striped tracksuit pants and a pair of thongs, he was the man of the moment. The football world was abuzz with Martin after his 33-possession and four-goal game against North Melbourne.

UNCOMPROMISING AND INSTINCTIVE: At just 19

and in only his second season with the Tigers, Dustin Martin is already an intimidating force with his mix of aggression, skill, strength and class. AFL RECORD

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57


dustin martin – ruthless and hungry (He followed up with 35 touches and one goal against the Brisbane Lions last week, giving him consecutive 10/10 votes in the AFL Coaches’ Association’s Champion Player award.) Martin hardly seems interested in all the fuss, economical in his words as he plays down the hype. He gives a typical teenager’s shrug of the shoulders, and half-smile when the fanfare is brought up. It’s not something that worries Martin. Not much does. In football terms, he’s also something of a new-age sensation. In the modern game of athleticism, Martin is a pure footballer, who has played his fi rst 27 games mostly on instinct. His enthusiasm for the game has been integral. “I’ve always loved footy,” Martin says. “I started playing when I was six or seven and I was always out in the ard d kicking ki ki the h footy. f backyard oveed it. I just loved artted playing under-10s “I started w about that age when I was hey wouldn’t let me and they eca ause I was too young. play because s out a year, but I had to sit wa ays enjoyed playing.” I’ve always n’s progression p to Martin’s

emerging AFL star has not been “I went away from footy a without hurdles. little bit up there. I was playing, After dropping out of but it wasn’t as serious,” he Castlemaine High School says from the comforts of the as a 15-year-old in year nine Richmond media manager’s – a decision he office in the now regrets – club’s recently Martin moved renovated to Sydney where Punt Road his dad, Shane, headquarters. and Shane’s “I was up girlfriend, were there working living. Dustin 12-hour shifts was given a in a boring job, job working so it definitely at Shane’s made me CASTLEMAINE COACH JAMIE ELLIOTT transport realise that I business, should give it loading trucks and working a real crack at making it to the in the administration side AFL,” he recalls. of the business. His return to Castlemaine – the While in Sydney, Martin central Victorian town about a played football for Campbelltown two-hour drive from Melbourne – under-18s, having started with kick-started that ambition. the club’s under-16s. In 2008, he played for Martin tossed up the idea Castlemaine’s senior side as of following his father and a 16-year-old. When he fi first rst trying i rugby b league l arrived i d at the h club, club l b senior i coach h – Shane, a Maori who Jamie Elliott, who played 58 arrived in Australia games for Fitzroy, Richmond when he was 21, was and St Kilda in the 1990s, a winger for his local couldn’t get around him in rugby league team in one-on-one drills. New Zealand – but The way Martin moved pulled out of a game at his hips, the way he stood the last-minute. over the ball, in control,

Footy came naturally for him ... he didn’t realise how good he was

with balance and time and strength, was something Elliott hadn’t witnessed before. But, for Martin, it was just something he did without too much thought. “Footy came naturally for him,” Elliott suggests, “but he didn’t really know it.” His form in the Castlemaine seniors was outstanding, but his footy was played with intuition, not necessarily deliberation. He knew he was good, but he didn’t really know how to get better, how to take his game to a standard befitting a potential draftee. In one game, Martin ran down the wing, moved up to half-forward and tried to kick a boomerang goal from outside 50. Predictably, the shot missed. At quarter-time, Elliott pulled Martin aside. “You’ve got people here looking at you,” he told Martin. “In that situation, why don’t you use your left foot?” h next time, time i f h same sam s The from the position on the ground, he kicked a goal on his left foot. foott. “He “H didn’t realise how good he w was was,” Elliott says. Despite his form for Castlemaine, Martin was st ill still being overlooked by local TAC TA AC Cup team, the Bendigo Pion nee Pioneers.


Elliott would pick him up from Bendigo for training, where Martin was doing a personal training course, and all Martin would talk about was football. How he could get better. How the side was going. What extra work he could be doing. The next phase of his development was swift, though not quite as quick as Martin describes it – “I got a few games in the TAC Cup at the end of 2008, had a full pre-season, a good year in 2009, then was lucky enough to get drafted” – but that’s the general gist. Four games at the end of 2008 for the Pioneers gave him a taste for what was required. A full pre-season with the club helped him refine his game and, going into 2009, he really started to think about how to play, and what was required to take it to the next level. It quickly became his life, absorbing his every thought and every action. He would approach Pioneers coach Mark Ellis after games looking for feedback, and was just as comfortable taking in positives as negatives. The structure of the TAC Cup system gave him an insight into being a professional footballer.

FACT FILE

Dustin Martin

4

Born: June 26, 1991 Recruited from: Castlemaine/Bendigo U18 Debut: Round 1, 2010 v Carlton Height: 187cm Weight: 86kg Games: 27 Goals: 21 Player honours: NAB AFL Rising Star nominee 2010 Brownlow Medal: career votes 6

through football. That year, after a stunning season with the Pioneers (he was rewarded with Vic Country and All-Australian under-18 selection), Martin joined the Tigers when the club selected him with pick No. 3 in the NAB AFL Draft.

BRUTE STRENGTH:

Martin has become a master of the fend-off, as Carlton’s Dennis Armfield can attest.

M

“It’s a good system. Obviously, you’re not training every day, but we went interstate a couple of times and you prepare similar to the way you do in the AFL, so it was a really good learning

experience for me,” he says. His 2009 season was a culmination of several years of focusing on the game. Once he dropped out of school, Martin knew he could make a life

artin’s football is full of bold statements of intent, dominant bursts of precise skill and powerful acts of muscle, all with destructive levels of effectiveness. He’s creative, he brings others into the game when he wants to and takes the initiative when needed. Last year, he played 21 games, averaged 20 disposals and kicked 11 goals. Statistics alone suggest it was an impressive debut year, but his influence was less about numbers and more about impact. Martin’s uncompromising approach at the ball and contest may have cost him a chance of winning the NAB AFL Rising Star award – he received a reprimand for making front-on contact with Sydney’s Josh Kennedy – but it endeared him to a legion of Richmond fans starved of success.


dustin martin – ruthless and hungry “It was amazing, it was so exciting,” he says of his first year. “I was confident I could play a lot of games, but I just kept playing my role and I was lucky enough to get a full year pretty much.” Asked what surprised him in his first season of elite football, Martin says: “Just everything,” before adding, “All aspects of the game surprised me. You’ve got to be so fit, and I am feeling a lot fitter now than last year after having a full pre-season. Your body just cops it every week so you’ve really got to be good with your recovery. “Fitness is a massive one, though. If you’re confident you have the ability, you’ve just got to be fit to use it. You have to keep working on your skills, your kicking, handballing, ground balls, tackling and every part of your game.” His ability to win clearances is a result of his teammates’ input – “Nathan Foley really encourages us to do as many drills as possible to improve that area” – and he deflects talk about his strength as a decision-maker, saying having a team structure in place makes it easy to do the “right” thing. Clearly, Martin doesn’t need the adulation to thrive. “Our game-plan is very predictable, so, when I’ve got the ball in my hands, we know what we’re going to do. It makes it a lot easier to make the right decision when we know the game-plan well,” he says. Despite his capacity to make an instant impact, Martin struggled with aspects of the game. One of his specialties is clearance work at stoppages, but early on he was often found flat-footed. Towards the end of the year, he improved, but on a couple of occasions early last year, during games, Martin would ask veteran ruckman Troy Simmonds which way Richmond was kicking. Simmonds would tell him, then help the first-year player learn the team ‘structures’ by pointing to which side of the contest he should be standing, be it a ball-up or throw-in, and get Martin to position himself properly. Then Martin would go in, win the ball and kick it to a teammate’s advantage. “That’s him,” Simmonds says. “Tell him to do it, and he’ll do it.” 60

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HAVING AN IMPACT:

Martin has worked hard to improve his clearance work, leaving Magpies Dayne Beams and Luke Bull in his wake in this contest in round four.

We all believe we’re going in the right direction. It’s very exciting DUSTIN MARTIN

Martin credits his stunning early-season form in 2011 to improved fitness, another chink in his old-fashioned game that has improved in an elite environment. Coach Damien Hardwick gave him a spray for returning to training unfit, but it gave Martin an understanding that footy was an all-year profession. He enjoys a feed – he’s still bugging Richmond’s former media manager Jude Donnelly for a meal she owes him – but he knows he can’t let himself go. “It worked as a bit of a driver for me and I was able to go out and show my coaches and teammates that I didn’t want to go into the season unfit. It made me train a lot harder,” he says. “I also changed my eating habits – not eating as much, to try to keep the weight off. I’ve just been trying to stick to a reasonable weight as it really helps on game-day.”

T

he way Martin approaches and plays his football, as well as the way he presents himself, might make you think he’s an individual in a team framework. That view might be enhanced when watching him at a typical training session, how he’s the last to a group, how he stands at the back, how he barely speaks to anyone and while the rest of the squad grabs a drink, he goes to the fence and wipes his face with a towel he has left there. But it’s just how he is. Focused, intense and, all the while, almost silent. It’s easy to see why Tigers assistant coach Justin Leppitsch isn’t worried about Martin getting “carried away with much” after his recent good form. Nevertheless, people are expecting big things of Martin. Along with Trent Cotchin,

Jack Riewoldt and Brett Deledio, Martin represents the new generation of Tiger: ruthless and hungry. When he hears Richmond CEO Brendon Gale speak of success at the club, and how important this group of players is to bringing glory back to Punt Road, Martin listens and reflects on Gale’s words. “He works so hard, as does everyone else in the footy club, to point us in the right direction,” Martin says. He sees Matthew Richardson, who played 282 games for the club but only three finals. Martin isn’t fussed by much; coaches tell him to “not put my head down and worry about it if I make a mistake”, but the suggestion he would want more success than Richardson tasted is met with obvious appeal. An appeal – and quiet ambition – which drives his football. “That’s what we play footy for, to win premierships, so we definitely want to play in and win as many finals as we can,” he says. “We all believe we’re going in the right direction. It’s very exciting.”


new The picture ty he foo ok in t ’s bo kson Jac ries se

Jackson’s back! And this time he’s made the local footy team Written by Dwayne Russell, former AFL star and radio and TV personality Available now from all ll good book stores Visit jacksonlovesfooty.com m for more info information


“You’re better off having a chat with Lenny – he’s the smart one, and he’s a better thinker than I am.” NORM SMITH

62

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FIERCE RIVALS : Norm Smith (left)

and his brother Len are all smiles here but the gloves were off when they faced each other as coaches.

COACHING BROTHERS

No charity in this

Smith Family Their teams were mismatched talent-wise but the legendary Smith brothers, Norm and Len, enjoyed a fierce rivalry as coaches from 1958-65. BEN COL LINS

W

ith the Scott brothers this weekend coaching against each other for the first time in an AFL premiership match, many old-timers have been reminded of a celebrated coaching rivalry between legendary siblings of winters past – AFL Team of the Century coach Norm Smith and his elder brother Len, hailed by many as ‘the father of modern football’. The Smiths’ rivalry, though never bitter, was nothing short of remarkable – especially where the underdog, Len, was concerned. Melbourne coach Norm had the better teams – as his six premierships from 1955-64 attest – while Fitzroy and Richmond mentor Len was forced to confront the Demon juggernaut with undersized, underskilled combinations. However, this glaring discrepancy wasn’t revealed in their head-to-head record. In fact, after 10 clashes in seven

seasons, Norm just managed to eclipse his brother. It just goes to show that some teams – and, in this case, some coaches – simply match-up well on others. It was giant-killing efforts like these that confirmed the genius of Len Smith. Some have suggested he was an even greater coach than Norm. It’s a massive call given Len never took a team to a Grand Final, but even his fiercely proud brother admitted as much, declaring Len was denied a premiership only because “he didn’t have the players. He got Fitzroy into the finals … with practically nothing”. Ron Barassi, a close friend of the redheaded brothers (having played under, and lived with, Norm, and worked with Len) suggests Norm was a better coach of better players because he was hardest on his best players, while Len was a better coach of lesser players because of his more gentle, nurturing nature. Significantly, when St Kilda progressed to the 1965 Grand

Final and the Saints’ young coach Allan Jeans asked Norm for advice, he was told, “You’re better off having a chat with Lenny – he’s the smart one, and he’s a better thinker than I am.” Such a revelation appeared to be borne out during their tactical warfare. Considerable hype surrounded the first ‘Battle of the Brothers’ in 1958. There had been a long build-up to that point to bring 42-year-old Norm, the No. 1 coach in the game, into direct competition with his 46-year-old brother, then a rookie senior coach. Born in Northcote, in Melbourne’s north, around the outbreak of World War I, they had both started at Melbourne during the tough Depression years of the early 1930s, with Norm becoming a champion full-forward, and a four-time premiership player, while Len finally became a solid centre half-back for Fitzroy. They actually began their coaching journeys together. At the end of

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63


coaching brothers

SIBLING RIVALRY: Although polar

opposites in many ways, Norm (left) and Len Smith (right), pictured with their mother, Ethel, shared many common principles in football and life, including honesty and hard work.

1948, when Norm missed out on the Melbourne coaching job, he was appointed coach of Fitzroy, and persuaded Len to coach the club’s thirds (under-19s). Three years later, when Norm returned to Melbourne as coach, Len remained as thirds coach. In 1955, they became the first brothers to lead VFL teams to flags in the same season. At the end of 1957, Len took over the Lions’ senior job. One of the first people to congratulate him was his brother (who had just led Melbourne to a hat-trick of premierships, a feat cheered on by Len). Norm joked he wouldn’t “lay down” for Len when their teams met. Fitzroy hadn’t made the finals for five years and, under Bill Stephen, the previous season had finished 11th (second bottom). Len lifted the Lions to fourth in 1958. The football world was astounded, but shouldn’t have been, as Len had an intimate knowledge of his players after coaching many of them in the thirds, and they in turn knew exactly what the coach expected. The Smiths shared many principles in football and life – among them, honesty and hard work – and had enormous respect and affection for each other (Len continued to call Norm his childhood nickname, ‘Fatty’), but they were polar opposites in many ways.

64

AFL RECORD

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Norm drank and didn’t smoke; was going on half the time,” Len smoked and didn’t drink. Norm lamented. Norm was loud and fiery; Len Len also devised set-plays, was quietly spoken and more including ‘The Brunswick considered – traits that extended Plan’, which involved up to four into their coaching styles. Norm players simultaneously, and ruled with an iron fist and regularly, rotating through berated players into action; Len attack and the midfield, which showed compassion and coaxed often created a loose man within the best from his men. scoring range. Driven by necessity as It all added up to Len’s standing much as philosophy, they also as the man who ‘created’ play-on implemented contrasting football, which became more playing styles. prevalent in the Norm’s 1970s. proven method The Demons was, in some certainly ways, similar couldn’t to Mick keep up with Malthouse’s at the Lions Collingwood: at Fitzroy’s build a Brunswick machineStreet Oval in NORM SMITH like defence, round 11, 1958. take the ball In the wide along changerooms the flanks and wings before pre-match, the teams were funnelling it separated by only a temporary back into the corridor around partition and, as Norm roared half-forward. at his team, Len mischievously Meanwhile, Len lacked smiled and almost whispered to key-position players, so he his own players, “How would you encouraged fast-moving, like to be coached like that?” possession football with Len smiled more broadly a shorter kicks to advantage few hours later when his side and quick chains of handballs, completed a 41-point boilover making particular use of the – Melbourne’s heaviest defeat then legal, but controversial, since the 1954 Grand Final. open-handed ‘flick pass’, which Two key match-ups told the Norm believed was a throw. story. Len switched centre “(Len) had the flick down half-forward Keith Bromage to such a fine art that I’m sure and half-forward flanker Owen some umpires didn’t know what Abrahams, with Bromage

I knew he would cook up something against us

taking Melbourne champion Don Williams to the boundary line and Abrahams proving too nimble for big man John Lord. Norm’s explanation for not countering this move was that Lord “will be playing at centre half-back on Grand Final day, and a bit of bleeding wasn’t going to hurt”. At the time, though, Norm told a post-match gathering, “I’ve always had great respect and admiration for (my) brother ... I knew he would cook something up for us.” Len believed he had received a bad omen before the next brother battle – in round three, 1959 – when their younger sister Marj showed him her new pet budgerigar, which she had taught to say, “Come on the Demons!” However, Melbourne fans had little to cheer about with Fitzroy recording a similarly comprehensive victory at the same venue. In between times, the Demons had suffered a shock Grand Final loss to Collingwood, denying them a record-equalling fourth flag, and they were desperate to redeem themselves. But the Lions embarrassed them for three quarters, storming to a 50-point lead, before Melbourne reduced the final margin to 13 points. It mattered for nought in the scheme of things, with Melbourne winning another premiership and Fitzroy


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coaching brothers narrowly missing the four. Whenever her sons opposed each other, Ethel Smith diplomatically prayed for a draw. And she got her wish – twice. Their first draw was in round 14, 1959, at Melbourne’s MCG fortress. Remarkably, Norm was still winless against his brother after three attempts. Their second draw was also at the MCG, in round 12, 1961. Lou Richards had been so confident of a Melbourne win that he wrote in The Sun: “In the interest of the game, what about introducing the handicap system – either start the Demons off seven goals behind scratch or make them wear boxing gloves and divers’ boots.” Of course, he was way off the mark. The defining contest between the Smith brothers was the 1960 second semifinal at the MCG – the only instance of brothers coaching against each other in a final. Three months earlier, Norm’s Demons had finally defeated his brother’s Lions (by seven goals at Fitzroy), but had since dropped away a little, losing their past three games while Fitzroy had posted nine consecutive wins to be the form side of the competition. Len told Truth: “Every Fitzroy supporter will get top value from the team we send out to represent us.”

Nothing could have been further from the truth, with the Lions blown away by Melbourne in an awesome display of power football. By the 15-minute mark of the last quarter, the Lions had managed just two goals, and were 70 points down. The only thing Fitzroy won was the freekick count – 31-11, prompting Lou Richards to declare that if umpire Frank Schwab “hadn’t given them such a fair go, the Lions may not have scored!” A shattered Len told The Herald, “I can take a licking but … I am greatly upset that Fitzroy’s showing was so poor that the crowd should walk out on us. But I don’t blame them.” When Len resigned as Fitzroy coach in 1962, his record against his brother was three wins, three losses and two draws. No other club, or coach, enjoyed such success against the all-conquering Demons in the 1958-62 period. With Len out of the way, Melbourne beat Fitzroy in their next seven games by an average of 51 points, as the Lions spent eight consecutive seasons in the bottom three. But that wasn’t the end of the rivalry. After coaching VFA club Coburg in 1963, Len was appointed coach of Richmond. At the MCG in round 10, 1964, Melbourne hammered the Tigers by 113 points – a then record margin between the clubs, and

Len came within one straight kick of squaring the ledger with his brother

66

AFL RECORD

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War of the Rosess » It’s 35 years since brothers

have coached against each other in a League match, and back then it was Collingwood’s famous Rose brothers, Bob and d Kevin, then coaching Footscrayy and Fitzroy respectively. Bob Rose was one of the Pies’ s’ greatest players, and one of the game’s unluckiest coaches, s, having lost three Grand Finals by a total of 15 points. Heartbroken, he coached the Bulldogs from 1972-75. Kevin Rose, 11 years Bob’s junior, had been a member of the Pies’ 1958 premiership team and coached Fitzroy from 1975-77. The brothers opposed each other twice in 1975, with Bob’s Bulldogs prevailing on both occasions. Their first clash – at the Western Oval in round two – was marred by a tragic accident that left the Dogs’ Neil Sachse a quadriplegic. As Kevin told the Herald Sun in November, the brothers had arranged to have a

the biggest win of Norm’s career. In their 10th and final duel – in round one, 1965, the Tigers’ first game as a co-tenant at the MCG – Len came within one straight kick of squaring the ledger with his brother, but had to settle for a final scoreline of: Norm five, Len three, and two draws. A fortnight later, Len suffered his third heart attack and, on doctor’s orders, resigned as coach. He died from further heart problems on July 23, 1967.

PIE FIGHT:

Bob (left) and Kevin Rose were the last brothers to coach against each other in a League match.

drink together after the game, as most coaches routinely did in those days, but it never eventuated because Bob rushed to the Austin Hospital to check on Sachse’s condition. It was particularly traumatic for Bob, whose son Robert jnr, a League footballer and state cricketer, had become a quadriplegic following a car accident the previous year. BEN COLLINS

Little more than a week later, Norm also had heart issues, and stepped down as Melbourne coach at the end of the season. He coached South Melbourne for three seasons before dying from a brain tumour on July 29, 1973. BEN COLLINS IS THE AUTHOR OF THE RED FOX: THE BIOGRAPHY OF NORM SMITH, LEGENDARY MELBOURNE COACH, PUBLISHED BY THE SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP IN 2008.


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BOOK REVIEW

Living life by the numbers

I

GEOFF POU LTER

CARLTON HERO: Ted Hopkins

t is about 41 years since a snowy-haired fresh-faced kid burst on to the MCG like a meteor, demolished Collingwood’s Grand Final hopes in an hour of glory and then disappeared into the ether. Never to be seen again. Or so we thought. Ted Hopkins came back in Mr Hyde guise a couple of decades later to revolutionise Australian Football statistics. But outside those achievements, Hopkins (an AFL Record columnist) has an intriguing story to tell.. There’s a lot more to Hopkinss ple of and his journey than a couple newspaper headlines. ts guru, He’s been labelled a stats nutty professor, the boffin. He even fits the image, with thick ky black spectacles and spiky hair. But it wasn’t until I on: read The Stats Revolution: ssion of The Life, Loves and Passion ublished Football’s Futurist (published by the Slattery Mediaa Group) ittle was that I realised how little publicly known of his life, ements. career and achievements. re than There’s much more flashy goals and footy stats. In a sense, it’s a sad story yet an enthralling one the way it has evolved. It’ss certainly been a bumpy ride. But Hopkins, ll look back with justifiably, will satisfaction on the outcomes and i ns how he fulfilled his ambitions. There are so many ups and downs. Yes, so many setbacks, knock-backs, kick-backs, fall-backs, full-backs. But Hopkins was always up for it. Putting a perfect syndicate in place was difficult. Several mergers, splits and links later, Champion Data was finally established. It seemed from very early on that Hopkins wanted fervently to be a writer/poet. He also had an insatiable thirst for football statistics and how they could be gathered, dissected, studied and distributed. In his words, their meaning and relevance. This was his over-riding passion. 68

AFL RECORD

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in his heyday before he became a leader in the development of football statistics.

H had an insatiable He tthirst for football statistics By the time he had reached his goal through his company, Champion Data, it was at the top of the heap, churning out all the relevant information (and interpretations) of which he had ever dreamed. He’d clinched it. Through the book, we follow Hopkins’s early life in Moe in Victoria’s east, his spectacular success as a champion junior water skier, his luring to the big smoke by Carlton. In September, when the football finals are on, we are often reminded of his stirring 1970 Grand Final success with the Blues – four goals and a poster after he was brought on at the start of the third quarter against Collingwood – as Carlton

turned a 44-point half-time deficit into a 10-point triumph. It’s still the greatest Grand Final comeback in the competition’s 114-year history. Carlton’s 1970 coach Ron Barassi recently revealed the original plan had been to bring Hopkins on 10 minutes into the third quarter. “But as they were heading down the race, I changed my mind. It had to be immediate,” Barassi explained. Once the euphoria of the moment passed, Hopkins lost his interest in and passion for bigtime footy and moved to northeast Victoria. He continued to play the game in the country, but his focus was more on off-field pursuits. He was also experimenting with his poetry.

He moved to Yallourn, just near Moe, where he played a major part in that town’s football and community life before returning to Melbourne. Inside the scoreboard high above the MCG, Hopkins followed playing patterns from his bird’s-eye view, and his yearning for knowledge about tactics, statistics, trends and strategies grew. This he hoped to translate to statistical data as coaching aids and media information. He succeeded on both counts. The game was changing dramatically in the mid-to-late 1960s when Hopkins was starting out. So much so that someone at the time said that, if you had been asleep for 30 years and had awoken, you wouldn’t recognise it. It was to change just as dramatically again about two decades on. These demands did not faze Hopkins and his systems. He adjusted to the changes and adapted his stats accordingly. Throughout his journey, there’s an underlying thread of persistence and perseverance. Alas, the story is not without tragedy. He lost his third wife, Angelika Oehme, to illness four years ago. Before that he seemed feted to survive all slings and arrows. He uses the word serendipity to describe how he usually seems to arrive at the right outcomes. I first met Hopkins in 1995 when I worked as a sports reporter for the Herald Sun newspaper. As a gimmick, the newspaper set up a confrontation. Hopkins would espouse his latest statistical theory and I, as the ‘Devil’s Advocate’, would try to debunk it. It seemed to work well for that entire season, provoking plenty of reader response. Hopkins is easy to like. Sure, he is a bit different but he’s sincere, a rare quality. In a world with its fair share of dummies and phonies, Hopkins is neither. GEOFF POULTER HAS COVERED FOOTBALL FOR 45 YEARS. THE STATS REVOLUTION ($30 RRP) IS AVAILABLE VIA FOOTYBOOKCLUB.COM.


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Our AFL history guru answers your queries.

col hutchinson Genuine senior footballers » We know of three former Geelong players who were born at least nine decades ago who are enjoying the excellent recent form of the Cats. Ced Hovey (born July 18, 1918) played 10 matches in 1945. Bill Icke (born January 11, 1921) gained selection for South Melbourne twice in 1943 before befo be bef b efo fo representing the Cats 14 times time ttim me in 1946. Alec Mathieson, who wh w ho o appeared in seven games during 1944, will celebrate his du dur d urr 90th 90 90t 9 0t birthday on May 11.

GIANT KILLERS:

Jubilant Gold Coast ate Suns players celebrate their upset victory over Port Adelaide ), in round five (above), while Charlie d Clements (right) and ht) Billy McGee (far right) played leading roless in h cellar dweller South Melbourne’s shock win er over reigning premier 3. Collingwood in 1903.

Biggest boilover of them all The Gold Coast Suns’ thrilling victory against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in round five was totally unexpected. What do you regard as the greatest upset result in League history? PAUL BASSETT, WEST TORRENS, SA.

Do D o you have knowledge of other ot oth o th players who are close tto o 90 or older, or who reached such ssu u an age before calling it a day? Contact Col Hutchinson da d on (03) 9643 1929 or o col.hutchinson@afl.com.au cco

CH: Season 1903 saw

d Collingwood win its second Grand Final in a row and South Melbourne reluctantly accept its first wooden spoon. When the clubs met at Victoria Park in round three the following season, South, captained by Billy McGee, shocked the football world with a 26-point win,

en ending nd the Bloods’ sequence of 13 3 consecutive losses and the M a Magpies’ run of 17 successive wi i Charlie Clements, making wins. ju us his second appearance in a just red and white guernsey, inspired his team by booting three goals. WRITE TO ANSWER MAN The Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, 3008 or email michaell@slatterymedia.com

NAME GAME

Shell of a man » Surnames came from a variety of sources and

one such was topography. Topographical names are those which derive from natural features. AFL surnames in this category include Hill, Lake, Wood and Montagna (Italian for mountain). There are not-so-obvious ones such as Cheney (French chêne, oak tree) and the surname of Richmond’s Reece Conca. Conca is the Italian version of the French surname Conche, a topographical name 70

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for someone who lived in or near a hollow. The Old French word conche meant a basin and derived from the Latin conca, a shell. Lovers of literature would recall the English word “conch” which features prominently in William Golding’s 1954 novel Lord Of The Flies, the conch there being a shell used as a horn. Conca’s given name Reece is appropriate for a footballer: it is a variation of the Welsh name Rhys, which derives from the Old Welsh name Rīs meaning “fiery warrior”. KEVAN CARROLL


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rick milne

Ask the expertt about all you your footy ooty memorabilia. e o ab l a. I have a copy of the Herald-Sun Football Today from 1961. It is in good condition for its age and the amount of times it has been read. My name is on the cover, as you can see; otherwise all is in good condition. Could you please give me some indication what it is worth.

FLYING HIGH: Football books such FLY

as Football F Today, produced by the Herald-Sun, were popular with fan in the 1960s. fans

It is i amazing how many pe people swear they have had th them for 50 or 60 years. Ih have a Mobil 1971 footy card (SANFL) of champion ca Malcolm Blight in the M Woodville guernsey. It is W signed but the autograph is si only a print. The front of the o ccard and corners are in very good condition, but the back g of the card has some tape o marks. Just wondered if m tthere is any value for this card or any cards ffrom the SANFL?

DAVE STEVENS, VIA EMAIL

RM: Dave, these were extremely popular, selling in large numbers. This is one off three that were issued during the 1960s. $30 to $40. I have a copy of a book called High Mark. It features such players as Footscray’s Ted Whitten and North Melbourne’s John Dugdale. The dust cover is torn, but the book is in good shape. LEE INKSTER, VIA EMAIL

RM: The book, edited by Jack Pollard, is a classic, and sold very well at the time. However, the damage to the cover reduces the value considerably, Lee. About $30 as is.

72

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RICK’S RARITY

» This great little booklet

cost a mere sixpence (5c) when released just before the 1948 finals. It features photos of the stars of the day, including Richmond’s ‘Captain Blood’, Jack Dyer, plus the four finals sides: Melbourne, the eventual premier, Essendon, Collingwood and Footscray. All photos were taken by the VFL’s (unofficial) official photographer C.E. Boyles of Brunswick. Other photos show Harold Bray of St Kilda and Melbourne’s Don Cordner, among others. For more information, n, go to au u. guruofgarbage.com.au.

BRIAN, VIA EMAIL

I was at a Sunday market last week and saw two mirrors with images of very early Hawthorn and Carlton teams. They were priced at $75 each. I was tempted, but didn’t buy. Did I make a mistake? DES LAIDLAW, VIA EMAIL

RM: No, you did the right thing, Des! These timber-backed mirrors were made in the 1980s and are worth maybe $25 each. They are always in immaculate condition, as you would expect.

RM: Brian, many SANFL

cards are very collectable. Some that spring to mind are those issued by Sweet Nell cigarettes in 1906, EasiOats in the late 1950s and Big Ben Pies in the 1980s. Your Malcolm Blight card is certainly the most valuable of the SA Mobil cards. Malcolm (with hair) is easily worth $75 in nice condition. Yours, as described, maybe $25.

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


PAGE

BRAINS

answers at bottom of page

Find the 7 differences between the two cards

???

AI ?

Use the picto-clues to find out the AFL player’s name!

______ ____

______

B&F

game card

The Demons have won 12 premierships. What year was their most recent premiership win? A. 1964

NEW! Silver

B. 1988

C. 1996

D. 2005

CODE cards

and enter codes to play

Answers: 1. Mohawk, extra fingers, different logo on guernsey, missing logo on leg, missing stripe on spandex, raised leg, extra E in Geelong 2. Brian Lake 3. Boomer 4. A

4

Can you guess this AFL Player’s NICKNAME?

AS SEEN ON TV


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SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

FIVE TO FIND

Take the time to colour in Jackson and his mum, Holly.

Jackson’s on s back Off the back of the success of re book, their first footy picture ne Jackson’s Footy, Dwayne ell Russell and Donna Gynell have released Jackson’s Goal, the second in the series. Jackson’s Goal is kson, who loves Australian about a young boy named Jackson, Football. He practises his skills in the backyard, all day and all night. But how will he go playing his first game with the Bea Bears? THIS WEEK’S ANSWERS

 Jackson’s Goal is out now. Written by former AFL pla player and media personality Dwayne Russell and illustrated ed by Donna Do Gynell. Available from all good bookstores. Visit footybookclub.com

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Ball changed to red; red panel on Sam GIlbert’s guernsey changed to yellow; No. 27 on Jason Blake’s guernsey changed to No. 28; post in background added; bandage on Blake’s right wrist removed.

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 74 AFL L RECORD R EC RECO RE CO COR ORD OR RD visit viis vvis isit it afl afl flrec record.com.au rree ord.com.au


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Versatile forward a factor in West Coast’s improvement. LU LUK E HOLMESBY

A

s one of few West RECOGNITION: ON: Jack Coast draftees who is rrors the Darling mirrors rovement. Eagles’ improvement. a local Perth boy, Jack Darling has taken it upon himself to assimilate his new friends to his home town. Darling, who came through the ranks with WAFL club West Perth, is in the rare position of being a West Coast draftee who did not have to even move house, and said he has gone out of his way to make his fellow draftees feel at home. “Scott Lycett lives just a minute away from me. I hang out with him a bit and take him out and introduce him to a few people,” Darling said. “Andrew Gaff, Blayne Wilson, Jacob Brennan and (rookies) Anton Hamp and Jeremy McGovern – we have a pretty good relationship. It’s like we’ve been mates for a few years.” The group’s relationship has grown almost as rapidly as West Coast’s improvement and Darling’s importance to the side. But Darling said there was The Eagles sit in seventh energy around the club that could position with three wins from take it to September action. five games, with Darling playing “That’s the every match aim now,” he and winning said. If we a NAB AFL keep going Rising Star the way we are nomination for and win his three-goal a few close effort against ones, we’ll Melbourne be pretty last round. JACK DARLING dangerous come The Eagles’ finals time. performances “It’s a good have caught place to be around; there’s lots many off-guard this year, of support so it’s kind of hard as they were widely tipped not to perform well with people to be anchored in the lower like that around me. part of the ladder.

I’m working hard and it’s paying off

2011 NAB AFL RISING STAR NOMINEES Round 1 Dyson Heppell (ESS) Round 2 Luke Shuey (WCE) Round 3 Mitch Duncan (GEEL) Round 4 Jasper Pittard (PA) Round 5 Brandon Matera (GCS) Round 6 Jack Darling (WCE)

THREE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW

1

Was widely considered a potential top-five pick had he been eligible for the 2009 draft but he was too young.

2 3

Barracked for West Coast as a child.

Was given the No. 27 of club legend Glen Jakovich, a player some believe he physically resembles.

We’re working well as a team. Everyone’s on the right page and we’re going well.” Darling played primarily as a floating half-forward against the Demons. It’s a role he might not have considered several years ago, when he was listed as one of the brightest key position prospects in the nation. But after reaching 191cm, Darling stopped growing and finds himself in that mid-range height – just a fraction short of what is expected of key forwards in the modern game. He said his versatility was his strength. “I think I could play

half-forward and key position, as well as midfield,” he said. “Last year, I was a bit heavy. I got up to 95kg, but now I’ve really slimmed down and I’m a bit more athletic. “I’m just going out there and doing what I’m told to do. I’m working hard and it’s paying off.” Darling said he expected several of his teammates to join him as nominees before the season was finished, but admitted he might have a chance of taking the award if his impressive form held up. “If I keep working hard and become a consistent player, I might be up there.”

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

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Applying data laterally to analyse and understand the modern game.

Completing the job is the key to success

GOTCHA: Geelong’s

Joel Selwood applies a strong tackle on Magpie Dane Swan. Increased pressure has seen a rise in the number of ‘incomplete’ disposals.

Y

ou can tell major changes are occurring when players spend more time practising tunnel-balling-style moves than going for contested marks. Significant passages of games feature a series of ‘incomplete’ plays. This is when the player gains possession and nothing happens. Confronted by heavy traffic, the objective is to release the ball or kill it to avoid an infringement. I anticipate the number of levels of congestion and ‘incomplete’ and ‘complete’ plays extreme pressure, placing more and the quality of the disposal emphasis on the difference following a possession might between a ‘complete’ and be the stat of the future. ‘incomplete’ play. While that is so, it is Only recently, the role of important to acknowledge the statistician was to note if the quality of execution under a disposal was ‘effective’, or pressure has always been the ‘ineffective’ or a ‘clanger.’ And if factor that counts the most in it was an effective kick, how far winning games. it travelled – Legendary long or short? St Kilda and Although Hawthorn these premiership categories coach Allan form the Jeans, reflecting foundation of on his coaching stats available philosophy in an today, fresh interview for the perspectives book Champions ALLAN JEANS are needed. of Australian Plainly, not Football (Slattery all Media Group, hard-ball gets are equal in value. 2008), explained: “To be a The game has moved beyond the competent player, you must concept of distance as a measure be able to win the ball under of effectiveness. pressure, select the right option Watching a valiant Essendon and execute it correctly, and on Anzac Day eventually come to apply constant pressure when grief after launching a series of the opposition has the ball.” long ‘live-in-hope’ bombs against Today, players are being the might of the Collingwood exposed to ever-mounting

You must select the right option and execute it correctly

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defence and ultimately failing to ‘complete’ most of these flawed attacks came as no surprise. Nor was I surprised when the Western Bulldogs attempted much the same last weekend and suffered a similar fate. This season, considerable comment has been made about the ‘return’ of long kicking. According to media reports, there has been an increase of 20 long kicks a game compared to last season’s all-time low of 92 a game. However, some perspective is needed before getting excited. Of the extra 20 a game, my estimation is at least half of these can be accounted for as full-back kick-ins (after playing on) and defensive 50m kicks mostly aimed at a spot close to the boundary line, often involving 10-on-10 contests. Another quarter of the 20 extra can be categorised as hopeful long bombs into the team’s forward 50 area. In sum, as little as five of the extra long kicks a game could be deemed to be genuine.

In 2000, there were 172 long kicks a game, so there’s a long way to go before a renaissance can be claimed. Such a small increase this year falls within the range of expected variation; an even more likely explanation might lie in the premiership ‘copycat’ effect. In 2010, Collingwood led team averages for long kicks and kick-to-handball ratios, with other clubs now following the premiership trendsetter. Interestingly, these two benchmarks had not occurred in the same team since Denis Pagan’s North Melbourne won the flag in 1999. Essendon in 2000 had the most long kicks of any team, but was the first to win the flag with a kick-to-handball ratio below the competition average. The Brisbane Lions in their 2002 flag were ranked fourth for long kicks. However, from 2003-10, it is notable that every premiership team had a kick-to-handball ratio below the competition average, which in turn influenced other teams. In 2004, Port Adelaide recorded what was then the lowest kick-to-handball ratio (1.49:1), which was then lowered again in 2006 by West Coast (1.35:1). Spectacularly, Geelong won the flag in 2007 with a ratio of 1.31:1 and, in 2009, became the first premiership team to handball more than it kicked, with a ratio of 0.99:1. Next week’s clash between Geelong and Collingwood is eagerly awaited, with both teams masters at trying to dominate via their playing styles. TED HOPKINS IS A CARLTON PREMIERSHIP PLAYER AND FOUNDER OF CHAMPION DATA. HIS BOOK THE STATS REVOLUTION (SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP) WAS RELEASED THIS WEEK AND IS AVAILABLE VIA FOOTYBOOKCLUB.COM.


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AFL Record, Round 7