THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE AFL GAME
ROUND 12, 2009 JUNE 12-21 $4 (INC. GST)
The continuing g rise of the Swans ruckman
Football espionage An audience with the ‘most despised’ club spy in the game
Tadhg Kennelly The lure of home
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Mick Malthouse will reach a major milestone when Collingwood plays Sydney in the second part of the split round.
ROUND 12, JUNE 12-21, 2009 F E AT U R E S
The popular Roo reaches 300 games.
Why Sydney’s big man is rejuvenated.
An intriguing man
David Dunbar is footy’s most talked about spy. REGULARS
Have your say about the football world.
Views, news, ﬁrst person, facts, data, culture.
Stats, history and line-ups.
Advice from Mr Fantasy, our Dream Team expert.
56 74 76 78
AFL Army award Answer Man NAB AFL Rising Star Talking Point
An umpire’s perspective. THIS WEEK’S COVERS Adam Simpson, who plays his 300th game, was photographed by Lachlan Cunningham, while Darren Jolly, photographed by Mike Bowers, features on editions for the second part of the round. Go to aﬂphotos.com.au to order prints.
BOOK NOW FOR YOUR TEAM’S BIG AWAY GAMES! Check out the ﬁxture in the match day section to see when your team is playing their next interstate game! To follow your team around the country visit jetstar.com now.
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backchat HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE FOOTBALL WORLD
Thrill of a lifetime Last round my daughter played in a NAB AFL Auskick half-time match. It was the highlight of her football career to date. She kicked three goals for her team, and was thrilled that more than 30,000 people were there watching. We are most grateful that she was given this amazing experience. She practises religiously, walks, talks and bounces, plays footy at recess and lunchtime at school, and constantly strives to improve her skills. She aspires to play the game at the highest possible level. We have three of our children enrolled in Auskick, which has given them all remarkable opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills of football. Of all the extra-curricular sports and activities that our children have enrolled in, it is by far the best value. Apart from the sports bag full of goodies, the program itself, and the free tickets to the footy, it has rekindled a great family day out. It had been years since my wife and I had been to the footy, but this program has brought us back, and we look forward to many more great family days out at the footy. It is truly a highlight for the kids. PAUL, MOOROODUC VIC, VIA EMAIL
AFL CHIEF BROADCASTING & COMMERCIAL OFFICER Gillon McLachlan AFL CONSUMER PRODUCTS MANAGER Scott Munn AFL RECORD MANAGING EDITOR Geoﬀ Slattery AFL RECORD EDITOR Peter Di Sisto
AWESOME AUSKICK: A reader says Auskick has rekindled his family’s day out at the football.
A true champion Congratulations to Adelaide’s Tyson Edwards on a marvellous 300th AFL game for the Crows last week. He once again proved what a durable champion he is. TRENT, GLENELG, SA, VIA EMAIL
PRODUCTION EDITOR Michael Lovett WRITERS Nick Bowen, Ben Collins, Jim Main, Peter Ryan, Callum Twomey, Andrew Wallace SUB-EDITORS Gary Hancock, Howard Kotton STATISTICIAN Cameron Sinclair CREATIVE DIRECTOR Andrew Hutchison DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Sam Russell
HAVE YOUR SAY Send us your feedback on n the Record and matters relating to the game, the clubs and the players. The best letter each round will receive a copyy of the AFL Record Season n Guide 2009. Email aﬂrecordeditor@ slatterymedia.com or write to AFL Record, Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, VIC, 3008.
DESIGNERS Jarrod Witcombe, Alison Wright PHOTO EDITORS Natalie Boccassini, Melanie Tanusetiawan PRODUCTION MANAGER Troy Davis PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Stephen Lording DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Adele Morton COMMERCIAL MANAGER Alison Hurbert-Burns
NATIONAL SALES MANAGER Nathan Hill AFL CLUB ACCOUNT MANAGER Anthony Palmer ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Deanne Horkings Advertising (03) 9627 2600 PHOTOGRAPHY Sean Garnsworthy, Michael Willson, Lachlan Cunningham AFL Photos (03) 9627 2600 aﬂphotos.com.au
EDITOR’S LET TER
A timely breather The split round provides welcome respite for all in the industry, but especially clubs and their players, administrators, those who cover the game and, of course, supporters. The six-month playing season is primarily what we focus on, but today there’s very little discernable down time in a football year. Consider that as soon as the Grand Final is over, we start to focus on playing lists and drafts, and the start of pre-season training. It seemingly never ends. Players will especially appreciate some time away for the game is still physically demanding, despite what some say. The recent reintroduction of the split round has been welcomed, and it ought to be a consideration when ﬁxtures for a 17- and 18-team competition are structured. * Those who appreciate history and detail will welcome the recent release of the eighth edition of The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers, by AFL Record writer Jim Main and Russell Holmesby. First published in 1992 and featuring a short biography of every League player since 1897, it’s an excellent companion to the AFL Record Season Guide, which this year features more than 900 pages of historical data. PETER DI SISTO
PRINTED BY PMP Print ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO The Editor, AFL Record, Ground Floor, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Victoria, 3008. P: (03) 9627 2600 F: (03) 9627 2650 E: email@example.com AFL RECORD, VOL. 98, ROUND 12, 2009 Copyright. ACN No. 004 155 211. ISSN 1444-2973, Print Post approved PP320258/00109
4 AFL RECORD visit aﬂrecord.com.au
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the bounce VIEWS NEWS FIRST PERSON FACTS DATA CULTURE
MY BALL: Carlton’s
Marc Murphy will be hoping to win his share of contests against St Kilda’s Leigh Montagna – and stop the Saints’ recent dominance against the Blues.
Match-ups marked by recent dominance Most round 12 matches appear forgone conclusions if recent history is any guide. A NDR EW WA L L ACE
he AFL ﬁxture features several themed weekends each season – we’ve already had Anzac, indigenous and women’s rounds this year – but it seems an unintended theme has emerged in round 12. Interestingly, in an era highlighted by the evenness of the competition, seven of the eight games to be played over the split round feature teams that have clear recent advantages over their rivals. The action kicks off with St Kilda looking to extend its dominance over Carlton to 12
consecutive wins, its 11 on end already a club record. It is a satisfying payback period for the Saints, who had won only 35 of 193 contests between the clubs before their winning run started in 2002. Adelaide also has had a recent stranglehold over North Melbourne, with the Crows undefeated against the Roos since Neil Craig became senior coach in the second half of the 2004 season. While Geelong’s ﬁve-game streak over Fremantle isn’t a huge revelation, considering the Cats have won 53 of their past 56 games, perhaps the most
‘NEMESIS’ ROUND Match-up Carl-StK WB-Port Rich-WCE Haw-BL Adel-NM Syd-Coll Frem-Geel
The dominator St Kilda Western Bulldogs West Coast Eagles Hawthorn Adelaide Collingwood Geelong
surprising imbalance is in recent match-ups between the Sydney Swans and Collingwood. The Swans have not missed the ﬁnals since 2002, and in that time have claimed a premiership and come within a point of
Winning run 11 straight 3 of past 4 7 of past 8 3 straight 7 straight 6 straight 5 straight
Last loss Rd 20, 2001 Rd 19, 2006 Rd 15, 2008 Rd 1, 2007 Rd 1, 2004 Rd 13, 2005 Rd 10, 2005
another, but inexplicably have faltered against the Pies. Paul Roos’ men last defeated the Magpies – by a point – in round 13, 2005, and have tasted six straight losses since, by an average 28 points. AFL RECORD visit aﬂ .com.au 7
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Hawks’ makeshift defence NICK BOW EN
njury has decimated Hawthorn’s backline this year but those defenders left standing have adapted well to different roles to keep the Hawks in touch with the top four. Take last round’s game against the Sydney Swans, for example. With Campbell Brown a late withdrawal, the Hawks started the match without four of their best defenders – Brown, Trent Croad, Stephen Gilham and Rick Ladson. Last year, in the Hawks’ premiership season, Croad (190cm) and Gilham (192cm) primarily marked the opposition’s power forwards, while Brown, nominally a small defender at 177cm, could also play key defensive roles. Their absence left the Hawks vulnerable against a Swans forward line that boasted Barry Hall (194cm) and Michael O’Loughlin (189cm), with Adam Goodes (194cm) also regularly drifting down from the midﬁeld. It meant Hawthorn was forced to set its defenders some tough tasks. As has increasingly been his lot this season, ruckman Robert Campbell was asked to play as a key defender on Hall. While Luke Hodge (184cm), who was playing his ﬁrst game since round seven, played mainly on Goodes, Brent Guerra (182cm) and Stuart Dew (183cm) also took turns at marking him when he went forward. All three conceded at least 10 centimetres in height. Guerra and Dew both also spent time on O’Loughlin, again conceding signiﬁcant height. Adding to the Hawks’ challenge, Swans ruckman Darren Jolly (200cm) also NEWS TRACKER
pushed forward at times, forcing Grant Birchall (193cm) to go to him. Somehow, Hawthorn’s defence restricted Sydney to just 11 goals – Hall (two), O’Loughlin (one) and Goodes (three) – as it hung on for an 11-point win, its sixth of the season. After the match, Guerra said the Hawks’ ability to adapt to the Swans’ tall forward line had been vital to their victory. “We had to play tall at stages, ‘Dewy’ and I, and even Grant Birchall,” he said. “It’s certainly a challenge – I think Goodes has got ‘two feet’ on me – but if we all stick together we can have wins like this.” Fortunately, Guerra said the Hawks might soon regain Gilham and Ladson from injury, with both regaining ﬁtness with the Box Hill Hawks.
STANDING TALL: Hawthorn’s
defenders, including Brent Guerra, had to concede height to the Swans.
Rawlings happy to grab his chance
“I’m very humbled and extremely excited,” Rawlings said of his appointment. He said he would aim to have the Tigers playing “a style that we think is sustainable for the future … a sustainable brand that’s going to stack up in the ﬁnals for whoever takes over, whatever happens in the future”.
PETER DI SISTO
ade Rawlings (pictured) understands what it means to be given an opportunity. Rawlings, appointed caretaker coach of Richmond after Terry Wallace’s departure, was one of the last players picked in the 1994 draft (at No. 94, by Hawthorn), and it took him several years to ﬁnd a permanent spot in the Hawks team. For a short period, he was a genuine asset in an emerging Hawthorn team, playing in key positions at either end of the ground, with his strong marking probably the best part of his game. He was third in the best and fairest in 2003, but was already feeling the effects of a knee problem. He left the Hawks at the end of that year, but never quite settled at the Western Bulldogs (he had wanted to be traded to North Melbourne to play with his brother Brady) and when he eventually did get to the Roos in 2006, managed only three games, ending his career with 148 and 96 goals. Rawlings was a tremendous clubman and is a genuine, friendly man who simply loves the game. Several of his exteammates have said they long knew he would end up coaching, such was his interest in football’s technical/strategic aspects. At just 31, he gets his chance at the elite level now, for at least 11 matches, having built a solid reputation for his development work with young Tiger players and as coach of the Coburg Tigers, Richmond’s VFL afﬁliate club.
D E PA R T E D
Knee forces Johnson to retire NICK BOW EN
inally bowing to a knee injury that had kept him from the ﬁeld all season, former Richmond captain Kane Johnson has announced his retirement after 220 games. Johnson, who stepped down as Tigers skipper at the end of last season, will stay with the club as a development coach for at least the rest of the season, stepping into the role vacated by Craig McRae. McRae has taken over as Coburg Tigers coach following Jade Rawlings’ appointment as Richmond caretaker coach. Johnson said he had intended to retire at the end of the season, but his knee troubles and the club’s need to blood young players inﬂuenced him to leave the game earlier. “It is the start of a new era at the club and, as I had no intention of playing on next year, the timing was right to step aside and (let the club) play some of the new generation of players,” he said. After joining Richmond from Adelaide at the start of the 2003 season, Johnson played 116 games for the Tigers, 77 of them as captain (2005-08). He won the Jack Dyer Medal as the club’s best and fairest player in 2006, and ﬁnished runner-up in 2003 and 2004.
St Kilda ruckman Steven King accepted a four-match penalty for rough conduct against North Melbourne’s Sam Power in round 11.
8 AFL RECORD visit aﬂ .com.au
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NO MORE ROAR: Kane Johnson has
called it a day after 220 AFL games.
At the Crows, Johnson played 104 games from 1996-2002 and was a key member of the 1997 and 1998 premiership sides. Against St Kilda in the 1997 Grand Final, Johnson did an
outstanding tagging job, limiting the inﬂuence of newly crowned Brownlow medallist Robert Harvey. Then in the 1998 Grand Final against North Melbourne, he was one of Adelaide’s best in a more attacking midﬁeld role, racking up 24 possessions, nine marks and a goal. Johnson thanked both of his former clubs for the opportunities they had given him. “I have met some outstanding people over the journey and really appreciate the terriﬁc support they have shown me,” he said. “Kane has been a great leader at our club and although we will miss his presence on the ﬁeld, it will be exciting he is still at the club in an off ﬁeld capacity,” Matthew Richardson said. “Kane has been a fantastic servant of this club and I have valued his support and friendship,” captain Chris Newman said. Richmond president Gary March said he was hopeful Johnson would remain at the club in a coaching capacity next year. “We see him as a senior coach in the making … and we are delighted he is staying to guide our younger players,” he said.
Crows ﬁnd new ﬁnisher
regular berth over the previous four seasons. With an average of almost 20 possessions a game and a left foot that can cover well over 60 metres, he is an invaluable asset. It’s no coincidence that his ﬁve goals CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE
SH A NE McNA L LY
ebate continues over whether Adelaide is playing a new attacking brand of football, or simply ﬁnishing off more effectively playing as it has been for several years. Regardless of the answer, there’s no denying the Crows have discovered a new way to goal, via Chris Knights. The 22-year-old midﬁelder has recently found a new home closer to goals – and sometimes not so close – as a running, long-kicking scoring option. He has been a revelation up forward, kicking 14 goals in his past three games, against Essendon, Hawthorn and Carlton. Not bad for a player who was in the SANFL just six weeks ago after recovering from a fractured eye socket. Knights has kicked 20 goals in seven matches this season after managing just 10 in 50 games while striving to claim a
ATTACKING: Chris Knights has given
the Crows another goalkicking option.
GR AND MILES TONE
Malthouse third to reach 600 Two AFL coaches will reach signiﬁcant milestones during this round. Collingwood’s Mick Malthouse will coach his 600th game and Richmond’s Jade Rawlings will be in charge of his ﬁrst. The contrast could not be starker and it puts Malthouse’s achievement into context. He will become only the third person to coach at least 600 games when the Magpies play the Sydney Swans in the second part of the split round. Assuming he is still coaching next season, Malthouse will be close to overhauling Kevin Sheedy in second place on the all-time games coached list.
If he coached into 2010, he would ﬁnish next season with 632 games – and that does not allow for possible ﬁnals this year and next. Malthouse’s combined tally as a player and coach is also tracking close to the best in the business. He sits on 773, trailing Leigh Matthews (793), Jock McHale (878) and Kevin Sheedy (886). Just how far Malthouse extends his coaching record will depend on whether Collingwood reappoints him at the end of this season when he comes out of contract. He has indicated he is keen to continue coaching beyond 2009. MICHAEL LOVETT
COACHES: 500-PLUS GAMES 714
Jock McHale (Coll)
Kevin Sheedy (Ess)
Mick Malthouse (Foots, WCE, Coll)
Allan Jeans (StK, Haw, Rich)
CURRENT COACHES: 200-PLUS GAMES
Tom Hafey (Rich, Coll, Geel, Syd)
Rodney Eade (Syd, WB)
Mark Williams (PA)
David Parkin (Haw, Carl, Fitz)
Mark Thompson (Geel)
Ron Barassi (Carl, NM, Melb, Syd)
*Terry Wallace resigned after round 11, having coached the Western Bulldogs and Richmond for 247 games.
Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli and Brisbane Lions defender Josh Drummond to miss their teams’ round 12 clash due to injury. AFL RECORD visit aﬂ .com.au 9
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VIEWS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE
against Essendon in round 11 helped Adelaide to its highest score of the season (130 points), and his three-week onslaught has coincided with three 100 point-plus scores after the team couldn’t post more than 86 in its previous ﬁve games. Knights joins Jason Porplyzia as a forward option with precise skills, their accuracy turning the sometimes-inaccurate Crows into a side that is damaging when it goes inside 50. Knights has booted 20.3 this season while Porplyzia has kicked 23.5 after not missing for the ﬁrst six weeks. From Vermont in Melbourne’s outer east, Knights said he felt “very comfortable” up forward kicking goals and enjoyed the opportunity to ﬁnish off others’ good work further aﬁeld. “‘Craigy’ (Adelaide coach Neil Craig) assured me if I kept working hard, it would pay off,” he says. “I enjoy being able to ﬁnish off a play because it makes all the hard work of the midﬁelders pay off. “I work hard on my ﬁeld kicking and goalkicking and it’s nice to get the rewards.” Adelaide’s forward line coach David Noble said it was good to see Knights rewarded for the work he has done on his goalkicking. He said he had long wanted Knights in the forward line because he had the disposal skills to be effective. “If we keep him close to goals, he’s hard to mark up on,” Noble said. “He’s shown he can be dangerous and kick goals.”
A F L PA N E W S
Past players urged to commit NICK BOW EN
he AFL Players’ Association is urging all past League players to become members and take advantage
of a range of beneﬁts that includes health and medical cover, insurance and ﬁnancial advice. Several years ago, the AFLPA introduced a past player membership category designed to support former footballers with their health and wellbeing. But former Essendon champion and AFLPA past player representative Simon Madden (pictured) says there remains about 5000 ex-players who are yet to sign up as AFLPA members. To encourage them to do so, the AFLPA is launching a campaign called ‘Missing’ that aims to raise past player awareness of the beneﬁts available to them. Madden says the campaign runs until June 19 and the AFLPA hopes it will reach a wide cross-section of past players, if not directly then through their families, friends and neighbours. “The AFLPA introduced its past player membership to try and make sure players who have put a lot into the game – making it what it is today – are looked after in an appropriate manner,” Madden says. “One of the great things about football is that it brings people from all walks of life and all different backgrounds together, but that also means when they ﬁnish playing many go back to their normal lives and don’t necessarily maintain a great link with their club, the AFL or the AFLPA. “This campaign is a way to reach those players.” The beneﬁts available to past players as AFLPA members include access to health cover in which the AFLPA will cover any excess payment (up to $500) incurred during a hospital stay or procedure; treatment for football-related injuries (bulk-billed); psychology consultants; insurance; and ﬁnancial and investment advice.
A N A LY S I S
THE GODFATHER OF STATS Ted Hopkins Founder of Champion Data and Carlton premiership player
Kick the bloody thing The Godfather’s favourite footy motto is ‘kick the bloody thing’. The familiar yell from the outer makes perfect scientiﬁc sense. The Godfather has crunched the numbers for 1568 premiership season games played since 2000 and discovered that the team with the most eﬀective ﬁeld kicks in a game has a better than 75 per cent chance of winning. The analysis excludes scoring kicks, kick-ins and boundary line kicks. Ensuring a better than 75 per cent chance of winning by outpointing the opposition in ﬁeld kicking is remarkably good percentage play. Hence The Godfather has drilled deep to reveal the elite kicks this season. He looks at it from two perspectives. MOST VALUABLE BACKLINE KICK A kick starting behind the back centre-square line is intended to gain distance away from an opponent’s goal and also retain possession. A player about to kick in the backline has the advantage of a wide ﬁeld in which to land the ball. But if they stuﬀ up close to an opponent’s goal, the punishment factor is high. With these parameters in mind, The Godfather has set the bar high for backline kicks, with a minimum of 70 kicks and a retention rate of 80 per cent. Melbourne’s Aaron Davey’s 89 per cent retention rate from 74 kicks is the benchmark. But Geelong’s Matthew Scarlett gets the overall Godfather gong for most valuable backline kick, with 98 kicks at a retention rate of 88 per cent.
MOST VALUABLE CENTRE-FORWARD KICK Any kick originating forward of the back centre-square line is intended to get closer to goal, while retaining possession. The landing zone options become more diﬃcult as the playing ﬁeld narrows with defences geared to zoning or manning up. Consequently, the average retention rate for the elite centre-forward candidates drops to 67 per cent, compared to the elite backline kick average of 83 per cent. The Godfather’s bar for centre-forward kicks is a minimum of 90 and a retention rate of 64 per cent. Seven candidates belong to this group. Aaron Davey is exceptional, with 91 kicks at a retention rate of 75 per cent. St Kilda’s Nick Dal Santo has the most – 115 at an impressive 64 per cent. Scanning both tables, The Godfather’s choice for best overall kick this season is Davey, who has the highest retention rate of any player for both backline and centre-forward kicks. MOST VALUABLE BACKLINE KICKS Kicks Retention % Aaron Davey
MOST VALUABLE CENTRE-FORWARD KICKS Kicks Retention % Aaron Davey
North Melbourne youngster Robbie Tarrant will miss the rest of the season with a serious shoulder injury, his third in three years.
10 AFL RECORD visit aﬂ .com.au
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We’ve kicked a few goals over the years JELD-WEN is the name behind the St Kilda Football Club. And we’re also the name behind iconic brands like Stegbar and Corinthian – leaders in door, window and showerscreen manufacture, supply and installation. Great club, great brands. jeld-wen.com.au
M A J O R PA R T N E R
VIEWS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE
T R AC K I N G A P O T E N T I A L D R A F T E E
Loving his chance to play the game The AFL Record is following Jonno Nash this year as he works towards being drafted by an AFL club. Leigh Matthews once noted there were those who simply played football, and others who loved it. Jonno Nash belongs to the second group. Nash plays for the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup competition and has had a healthy passion for the game from an early age, despite injuries denting his enthusiasm at times. “When I started, I’d get really excited the night before a game, but I guess I lost a bit of that because of injury,” Nash says, referring to several serious knee injuries. “At the moment, there’s such a focus on having to play well that there can be a loss of enjoyment. “But it’s footy, and I just want to play. When you lose those inhibitions and that strong emphasis on playing well and getting drafted, you put yourself in the best position to achieve all those things,” he says. Nash is certainly putting himself in the best position. After ﬁve rounds, the Dragons were at the bottom of the ladder. They struggled again in round six, losing to North Ballarat by 98 points – Nash was named his team’s best player with 22 possessions and a goal – and they had a bye in round seven. It came at a good time.
In round eight, Nash was again named the best for his team, this time in a 43-point victory over the Western Jets. The Dragons backed up their opening win with another in round nine, by eight points over Bendigo away from home. Nash had 36 touches and kicked three goals. His good recent form follows earlier solid eﬀorts – and he acknowledges it’s all starting to come together for the team. “We changed a few things around the club and I think that’s showing. Getting the last couple of wins has everyone feeling more united,” Nash says. Nash, 19 this month, is an over-age player and wasn’t eligible for the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, but he doesn’t think missing the carnival will hinder his draft chances. It’s in his nature to see each match he plays for Sandringham as an opportunity. Aﬀable and friendly, Nash speaks intensely about football but never takes himself too seriously. It’s a trait he has learned to take into match-day, too.
“Oﬀ the ﬁeld, I’m pretty relaxed and calm. Even in the preparation of a game, I’ve become more relaxed,” he says. “I’m not someone who sits in the corner and won’t talk to anyone.
“I’ll be cracking a joke right up until the ball is about to be bounced. It makes you more relaxed, and I guess that is a conﬁdence thing.” At the mid-point of the season, Nash says it’s becoming hard to ignore the draft, especially with the increasing media interest in emerging juniors and competitions such as the TAC Cup. “It’s always there. Every time there’s a training session, someone will mention the draft,” Nash says. “But (I think) if you become a team-orientated person, then I think you’ll be giving yourself the best chance.” A West Coast supporter, Nash has been inspired by Daniel Kerr’s aggression, “particularly with the way he stands up for his teammates”. Nash admits he’s not a naturally aggressive person, but says a harder approach is something he could add to his game. It’s another example of him constantly looking for elements he can improve on, always watching, thinking and talking about the game. That’s what happens when you love football. CALLUM TWOMEY
GOING WELL: Jonno
Nash has been in form for the Sandringham Dragons.
12 AFL RECORD visit aﬂ .com.au
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VIEWS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE
Coaches to grow as game does JON PIER IK
anny Frawley made his name ﬁrst as a champion St Kilda full-back and later as Richmond coach. Frawley has always embraced a challenge, and he faces another – trying to raise the proﬁle of the AFL Coaches’ Association (AFLCA) in his role as CEO. Having succeeded Neale Daniher in charge of the group formed in 2002, Frawley has introduced major initiatives aimed at helping AFL head and assistant coaches and enhancing coaching development at an amateur level. Frawley says he has been encouraged by coaches emerging at all levels who hadn’t played at the highest level. “(Adelaide coach) Neil Craig has proven you don’t have to play League football to be a great AFL coach. I think that glass ceiling has been broken by Neil,” Frawley said. (Craig played 319 games for Sturt, Norwood and North Adelaide in the SANFL.) Frawley, a 240-game player for the Saints and the club’s
COACHES’ VOICE: (back row, from left) Mark Harvey (Fremantle), Rodney Eade (Western Bulldogs), Brett Ratten (Carlton),
Terry Wallace (Richmond*), Mark Williams (Port Adelaide), Michael Voss (Brisbane Lions), Dean Bailey (Melbourne), Ross Lyon (St Kilda), Brad Scott (Collingwood assistant), Dean Laidley (North Melbourne). (Front row) John Worsfold (West Coast Eagles), Mark Thompson (Geelong), Alastair Clarkson (Hawthorn), Neil Craig (Adelaide) and Matthew Knights (Essendon). NOTE: Sydney Swans coach Paul Roos and Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse were absent. *Wallace resigned on June 1.
longest-serving captain, is also buoyed by having 120 coaches in the association, although he would like more. This increasing muscle encouraged the AFL to pour in $1.5 million over three years as recognition of the coaches’ value to the game and to improve support systems for assistant coaches. “What we have been able to do is come up with an agreement with the AFL to grow the game,” Frawley said.
The money will also help the AFLCA soon launch a diploma in high-performance management for assistant coaches, helping them prepare for life after football. The association has also helped broker an arrangement that gives coaches one day off a week, and recently launched its Next Goal program. North Melbourne veteran and prospective coach Adam Simpson is the ﬁrst player undertaking what is essentially a coaching internship, aside from
his playing duties (see Simpson story on page 57). While Frawley is delighted the AFLCA has linked with the Victorian Government in the Your Move/Championship Moves campaign to stop street violence, a helping hand for AFL coaches (such as Terry Wallace, who recently left the Tigers) will always be at the core of his to-do list. “It’s not a great time for club, or coach, or the family, but as an association we have really started to grow some legs in showing Terry some support,” he said.
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AFL RECORD visit aﬂ .com.au 15
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10/6/09 5:23:27 PM
VIEWS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE
Smarter training a key to limiting OP injury DR JODI R ICH A R DSON
steitis pubis, or ‘OP’ as it is often referred to, can be a terrible diagnosis for an AFL player. At best, it can mean weeks of recovery; at worst it can spell the end of a career. What exactly is it? Why can it keep a player off the ﬁeld for so long? And how can it be prevented? Osteitis pubis is a painful condition that results in inﬂammation of the pubic bones and surrounding areas. In biology, ‘oste’ means bone, and ‘itis’ means inﬂammation. Dr John Orchard, a sports physician and co-author of the annual AFL Injury Report, says osteitis pubis is an overuse chronic groin injury. He describes it as a condition similar to tendinitis where typically, one or more of the tendons attaching the muscles of the inner thigh to the pubic bone become inﬂamed. However, unlike ordinary tendinitis, Dr Orchard says osteitis pubis affects the bone as well and can cause extra ﬂuid to accumulate around the pubic bones and the joint between them. It can also lead to degeneration of the bone and the formation of bone cysts. Muscles attach to bones via tendons and it’s the pulling of muscles on bones that causes movement. A number of muscles including those of the inner thigh (adductors), front of the hip and abdomen, attach to the pelvis on and around the pubic bones. For AFL players, the volume of training and NEWS TRACKER
match play – incorporating high running loads, rapid changes of direction and kicking – means that high forces are transmitted through these muscles to the bone. Over time, this can result in overload of the pelvic region, leading to tendon and bone damage. Dr Orchard says the main symptom of osteitis pubis is pain, but in the early stages, pain may not be felt all the time. “Initially, a player may feel ﬁne in a game but will be sore the next day. Early pain is often felt lifting a leg as the player gets out of bed or out of their car,” he says. “As the condition progresses, pain is felt at all times and eventually the player will begin to lose speed, kicking power and the ability to change direction quickly.” Quite often, he says, players are more than willing to continue playing in pain, but are rested more when their condition begins to impact their performance.
END OF THE ROAD: Adrian
Hickmott was forced to retire from AFL football due to osteitis pubis.
Treatment for osteitis pubis is mainly load modiﬁcation to reduce the stresses on the damaged tendons and bone, says Dr Orchard. He explains that the tendon and bone can’t take more than a certain load so, where possible, that load has to be reduced. He says that it is much easier to modify training loads by decreasing the amount of running and kicking required of the injured player, as match modiﬁcation, aside from reducing game-time, is much harder to achieve. Former Geelong and Carlton player and now-Essendon assistant coach Adrian Hickmott was forced to retire from the Blues in 2003 (at 31 after 182 matches) because of the injury, just nine weeks after noticing the ﬁrst symptom. Hickmott – who also missed all of 1998 with a knee injury – says he endured weeks of pain with osteitis pubis, but did not rest. An extremely hard trainer, he kept running but started experiencing groin tightness the day after any running. It was his ﬁrst indication of a problem. Hickmott then started feeling tightness in his lower back, but kept pushing through. After this came a small adductor muscle strain. “I didn’t take much notice. I told the physio, missed one week but then came back and it got much worse, but I thought it was just tightness,” Hickmott says. “I felt really good when I had warmed up and stretched, and running felt great. Over time, the pain gradually came up to the top of the pubic bone, but I just kept pushing through.” Hickmott said when he would ﬁrst lift his leg to run, he would feel a jolt of pain through the pubic bone and the condition reduced his speed and kicking power. “It didn’t feel like a strain or a ‘corky’, but the pain was there all the time like an ache, even when just lying in bed.” On reflection, he realises he should have rested but points out awareness of the injury back then was relatively low.
It didn’t feel like a strain or a ‘corky’, but the pain was there all the time like an ache, even when just lying in bed ADRIAN HICKMOTT
He suggests players with soreness or tightness around the groin should speak out immediately, and ﬁtness staff and coaches ought to hold them out of normal training. Swimming, cycling or boxing should be done instead to maintain ﬁtness levels. Dr Orchard recommends players avoid overtraining, optimise core stability and report symptoms early. Not surprisingly, the AFL Research Board has made the issue of osteitis pubis a priority. A study funded by the board found that the key to the prevention and management of osteitis pubis is the management of exercise load, pelvic integrity and the early identiﬁcation of warning signs. Other AFL-funded research concluded that an elite junior footballer who sustains a hip or groin injury is almost twice as likely to sustain a similar injury when playing at AFL level. Therefore, one of the keys to reducing these injuries in the AFL is prevention at the elite junior level. To help with this, other researchers are developing a screening protocol that can be used to identify elite juniors at risk of hip or groin injuries. In addition, the AFL Sports Science Advisory Board is running a study across all AFL clubs investigating the training and playing loads for ﬁrst-year AFL players. The study is being conducted in an effort to increase player longevity at AFL level by improving the developmental transition from elite junior to elite senior competition. Dr Jodi Richardson completed her PhD at Monash University, investigating hamstring muscle training and its application to hamstring injury prevention in Australian Football. She specialises in communicating the science of sport.
Fremantle has placed Ryan Crowley on the long-term injury list and upgraded Clancee Pearce from the rookie list.
16 AFL RECORD visit aﬂ .com.au
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10/6/09 5:23:44 PM
S TAT I S T I C S
MILES TONES – ROUND 12
Neat day in front of the sticks
The respective goalkicking coaches at Essendon and Adelaide had good reason to be smiling after the round 11 clash at Docklands. The ﬁnal scoreline – the Crows kicked 21.4 (130) to the Bombers’ 18.6 (114) – produced the highest goals-to-behinds ratio for a game with a combined total of 39 goals or more. There have been several instances of total behinds ranging from six to nine in one game, but none when so many goals have been kicked. The fewest total behinds kicked in a match is six, on three occasions – in 1899 (South Melbourne 5.5 to Geelong 3.1), in 1900 (Essendon 9.5 to South Melbourne 3.1) and in 1953 (Footscray 10.6 to Fitzroy 1.0). It’s a fair bet those games were played in vastly diﬀerent conditions to the EssendonAdelaide match, which was played with the Docklands roof open in the ﬁrst half and closed for the second.
C A N A DA C A L L S
Pyke spikes Swans’ support
600 games coached Mick Malthouse Collingwood
300 games Adam Simpson North Melbourne
J IM M A IN
T ON TARGET: Kurt Tippett
kicked 7.1 for the Crows.
The most behinds in an AFL match is 51, with Richmond kicking 23.24 (162) to defeat South Melbourne 17.27 (129) in round 21, 1974, at the MCG. MICHAEL LOVETT
Goals-to-behinds ratio Match
Essendon v Adelaide (Rd 11, 2009)
Essendon v Melbourne (Rd 4, 1986)
Melbourne v Adelaide (Rd 21, 1995)
West Coast v St Kilda in (Rd 12, 1996)
he emergence of Canadian Mike Pyke with the Sydney Swans has lifted support for the red and white. The 25-year-old former rugby union international was so impressive in pre-season trial matches with the Swans that he was placed on the rookie list and has already played two senior games. His extraordinary achievement prompted the Canadian Club of Australia, with hundreds of members, to strengthen already existing links with the Swans. A large group from the club, which promotes the interests of Canada and the Canadian community in Australia, watched Sydney against Hawthorn at the MCG in round 11, most wearing the red and white of the Swans – the same colours as the Canadian ﬂag. Sydney’s Melbourne manager Tony Morwood ﬁrst encouraged links with Canada in 2005 when he met national AFL coach
250 games Simon Goodwin (Adelaide)
100 games Matt Maguire St Kilda Rick Ladson Hawthorn
50 games Richard Douglas Adelaide Sam Gilbert St Kilda
Greg Everitt in Vancouver. By coincidence, Everitt’s grandfather had been a Swans vice-president in the 1950s. Canadian players Scott Fleming and George Dimacakos trained with the Swans in 2006 when the club visited Los Angeles. The Swans, since Morwood’s visit, have provided eight Canadian clubs with guernseys, footballs and general support.
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AFL RECORD visit aﬂ .com.au 17
AR12 p07-20 TheBounce.indd 17
10/6/09 5:24:17 PM
VIEWS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE
Lucas beneďŹ ts from VFL stint VA NESSA SK ENDA R IS
especially with Essendon preferring a quicker line-up complemented by younger key-position players given an opportunity partly because of injury. But it seems from his performance against the Crows that the decision to send him to Bendigo might have been the correct one. Lucas played a variety of roles â€“ up forward, in defence and in the ruck. He had 18 disposals, took seven marks, laid ďŹ ve tackles and had seven hit-outs on top of the four goals. Lucas declined an interview request after the match, but Essendon coach Matthew Knights said he could not have asked for more from the 31-year-old, 263-game veteran.
eeing four goals next to Scott Lucasâ€™ name after Essendonâ€™s round 11 effort against Adelaide would have been satisfying, for both the club and player. Although Lucas still has plenty of improvement left in him, the veteran forward showed enough to suggest his early-season struggles could be behind him. After managing only four goals in the ďŹ rst six games of the year, Lucas was demoted to the Bendigo Bombers, Essendonâ€™s VFL club, playing four matches there in an effort to ďŹ nd form. His demotion had some GOOD SIGN: Scott suggesting&2 3PORTSENTRALPDF 0he would struggle Lucas made a ďŹ ne return for the Bombers. to get back into the team,
Heâ€™s been through a tough period over the last month. Heâ€™s handled it well and full credit to him MATTHEW KNIGHTS
â€œIt was very pleasing from my perspective to see Scott come back and have an impact,â€? Knights said. â€œHeâ€™s been through a tough period over the last month. Heâ€™s handled it well and full credit to him.â€? Knights said he was expecting Lucas and other veterans, including captain Matthew Lloyd, to continue making an impact on the ďŹ eld, as well as playing key mentoring roles for the Bombersâ€™ young players. He believes Lucas will have no trouble fulďŹ lling this task. â€œA lot of these young boys have done a power of work in the ďŹ rst half of
Dogs all over posts As Channel Seven commentator Dennis Cometti quipped during the telecast of last roundâ€™s Western Bulldogs-Richmond clash at Docklands, â€œdogs like postsâ€?. Cometti was referring to the fact the Bulldogs have scored 22 â€œpostersâ€? this season, more than any other club. Geelong is next with 19, followed by the West Coast Eagles with 18. The Bulldogs are averaging exactly two a game, maintaining that mark against the Tigers. JIM MAIN
the season and those senior boys are going to have to help carry some load,â€? Knights said. â€œIâ€™ve got no doubt heâ€™ll be able to make an impact for us in the second half of the year.â€?
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10/6/09 5:29:13 PM
VIEWS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE H I S T O RY
C O AC H I N G T R E E
Gourlay the latest added to fallen list
Eade the last of Jeans’ Hawk coaches ASHLEY BROW NE
uring his more frazzled moments as coach of Hawthorn, Allan Jeans used to look towards the heavens and hope for the day he could watch his players turn their hands towards the coaching caper. Many of them did, so much so that eight of his players from the all-conquering 1983 premiership team – Leigh Matthews, Gary Ayres, Terry Wallace, Rodney Eade, Peter Schwab, Gary Buckenara, Peter Knights and Ken Judge – moved to the coach’s box when their playing days were done. Pretty much from the time Matthews took over at Collingwood in 1986, the AFL coaching scene has featured at least one of Jeans’ former Hawthorn players and for the last few weeks of 2001, seven of the 16 League coaches (Ayres, Matthews, Wallace, Eade, Judge, Schwab and stand-in Fremantle coach Ben Allan) had all played under Jeans at the Hawks. Matthews, with his droughtbreaking ﬂag at Collingwood in 1990 and hat-trick with the Brisbane Lions from
SURVIVOR: Rodney Eade is the last in the line of 1983 premiership stars who played under Allan Jeans at Hawthorn to be still coaching an AFL side.
2001-03, was clearly the dux of the Jeans school, but following the resignation of Wallace from Richmond earlier this month, Eade is now the only Jeans protégé from his Hawthorn days still coaching at AFL level. And, while football has changed immensely since Jeans ﬁnished at the Hawks in 1990, Eade says he still draws on the lessons imparted by his former coach. “His basic message was to ‘win the ball’ and that still holds true, even though it’s a different game now,” says Eade, who is in his ﬁfth season as coach of the Western Bulldogs. “Get the ball and do something with it.” Eade still talks to his former coach occasionally and invited him to the Whitten Oval last year to address the Bulldogs.
“‘Yabby’ was a big inﬂuence on my career and really helped shape my philosophy on footy,” Eade says. There are two other Jeans protégés serving as AFL coaches. Collingwood’s Mick Malthouse played under Jeans at St Kilda from 1972-76, while Essendon’s Matthew Knights was at Richmond in 1992, during Jeans’ one season at Punt Road. Indeed, there are only two clubs – North Melbourne and Port Adelaide – who have never employed a senior coach who played under Jeans. Richmond’s 1973-74 premiership teams had seven players who later coached – Kevin Sheedy, Kevin Bartlett, Royce Hart, Ian Stewart, Barry Richardson, Neil Balme and Paul Sproule.
Football historians continue to search for fallen heroes, with Stephen Rodgers recently conﬁrming details of the 152nd League player known to have died in war service. Albert John Gourlay, who played three games with Melbourne in 1903 (after being recruited from West Melbourne) and three with Carlton the following season, died of wounds in World War I. The 37-year-old was serving with the New Zealand Army when wounded and died on November 1, 1918, just 10 days before Armistice. Gourlay was born in Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) on July 31, 1881, but inexplicably, his records with the Wellington Infantry Regiment list him as being 44 when he died. Gourlay, for some reason, added seven years to his age when he migrated to New Zealand as his wedding certiﬁcate of 1909 also stated he was seven years older than his real age. He was repatriated to England after being wounded, but died in hospital. He is buried at the Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. JIM MAIN
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the interview BROADER VIEW: Former Sydney Swans defender Tadhg Kennelly is still undecided on the next phase of his professional life.
Former Swans defender Tadhg Kennelly returned to Ireland this year, but we might not have seen the last of him. BEN COL LINS TA D H G K E N N E L LY
s much as he tries to play it down, at some stage in the next 18 months, Tadhg Kennelly faces another agonising, life-altering decision. Does he continue his Gaelic football career with his beloved Irish county Kerry, or resume his AFL odyssey with the Sydney Swans? But don’t fret for Kennelly – he has vast experience at solving such dilemmas. After all, this was the plucky lad who, in 1999, left Ireland at 18 to chase what appeared an AFL pipe dream; and who, in January, as a worldly 27-year-old, announced his retirement from the Swans to pursue the Gaelic career he had always yearned for. In doing so, Kennelly relinquished a lucrative contract and a house in plush North Bondi to play the round-ball code for the love of the Kerry jumper alone, moving back into the family home with his mother (Nuala) and younger sister (Joanne) and working a Monday-to-Friday job as a development ofﬁcer promoting Gaelic football. He says some thought he was mad, considering people are leaving Ireland in droves to escape its recession. Kennelly gains great comfort from the knowledge he’ll make
the right decision when the time arrives. But now, more than ever, there is more than just him to consider. The future of his relationship with long-time girlfriend, Nicole Noonan, whom he met in Sydney, looms large. “I’ve thought about my longterm future with Nicole, but not with my career,” Kennelly said. “Our families live on different sides of the world, and there have been times when it’s been hard for both of us. But it doesn’t matter where we are, as long as we’re together.” The couple is together now. Noonan is in the second week of a two-month stay with Kennelly. “When she arrived last week,” Kennelly says, “we were in the middle of an Irish heatwave – about 25ºC. She’s a beach girl and we’re on the coast in Kerry, but she won’t be getting out in her bikini because it’s a lot colder now.” As much as he insists he is solely focused on representing Kerry, the Swans are never far from Kennelly’s thoughts. “They’ve been my family for 10 years – I love them dearly – and I’ll never drop that,” he says. “I keep close tabs on their games, and I love when they win and I hate when they lose. And I’m hoping my old mate, the big bad man (Barry Hall) can calm down a bit! “All I’ll say is the opportunity
is still there (to play AFL). I believe I could go back and play for another four or ﬁve years if I wanted, but I honestly haven’t thought about it.” Kennelly dismisses the perception he returned to Ireland simply to win an All-Ireland ﬁnal, to emulate his late father, Kerry great Tim (who won it ﬁve times), and older brother Noel (twice). “First and foremost, I just
wanted to play for Kerry,” he says. “I’m not hung up on winning. If it happens, it happens, but I’ll just be satisﬁed that I’ve had a crack at it, like Dad and Noel. “And if I win one (All-Ireland), I might want to win another one. I can’t predict how I’d feel.” Kennelly is getting closer to that All-Ireland glory. Kerry is the favourite, although little separates it from Cork and Tyrone. Nothing separated Kerry from
22 AFL RECORD visit aﬂrecord.com.au
AR12 p22-23 Tadhg Kennelly.indd 22
10/6/09 5:08:26 PM
I’m not hung up on winning. If it happens, it happens, but I’ll just be satisﬁed that I’ve had a crack at it
PHOTO: MICHAEL WILLSON/AFL PHOTOS, TAKEN AT BALLYBUNION BEACH, COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND, ON JUNE 9
TADHG KENNELLY ON PLAYING IN IRELAND
Cork last week in the Munster semi-ﬁnal at Killarney. The bitter enemies fought out a tie – the ﬁrst Kennelly had been involved in since his childhood. The replay was scheduled for Saturday, June 13. Kennelly says the build-up reminded him of AFL Grand Final week, but admits he had never been as emotional or nervous before a game of any code. He was almost overwhelmed
by the memory of his father, who died two months after the Swans won the 2005 ﬂag, combined with his eagerness to represent Kerry in a big match. He received numerous messages from well-wishers and played the game over in his mind several times before he took the ﬁeld. As a result, he was “knackered” after 10 minutes. But he regained composure. “The only reason I was able to
manage my nerves and emotions was because I had big-game experience as a professional AFL player,” he says. “Dad taught us as kids: ‘Don’t let the occasion pass you by’. I just reminded myself of his words.” Kennelly changed the course of the match with a ball-bursting kick for a point. It quietened critics of his evolving kicking technique, which he practises
religiously against a wall at home to again master the required across-the-body style. Kennelly also plays with his brother for their local team, the Listowel Emmets. “The understanding we had as kids has come back so quickly,” he says. “It’s like I never left. It’s a sixth sense. I play midﬁeld and Noel plays full-forward, and we know exactly what the other will do.” AFL RECORD visit aﬂrecord.com.au 23
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A DA M S I M P S O N
You could excusee Adam Simpson a little self seelf indulgence in the lead-up to his 300-game milestone this t round. After en plenty to look back on in i a celebrated all, there has been career. But that’ss not the modest Simpson’ss way – it is all rward. NICK BOWEN about looking forward.
dam Simpson sits playing with a matchbox-size toy car. Gripping it in his ﬁngers, he pushes it back and forth along a table, like someone doodling on a notepad. Simpson is seated in a meeting room at North Melbourne’s Arden Street headquarters, dressed in clubissue training singlet and shorts. The club’s $16 million development is proceeding apace outside but he is in the last vestiges of ‘old’ Arden Street, the run-down facilities North Melbourne has long called home. It is Tuesday morning and North Melbourne has just held its weekly open media
AR12 p57-60 Adam Simpson.indd 57
conference; Josh Gibson spoke about the club’s coming match that weekend, before vicecaptain Drew Petrie handled the tough questions about the Roos’ controversial stadium deal at Docklands. Simpson has come from another interview and we have just sat down to discuss – among other things – his 300th game. The car in Simpson’s hands is emblazoned with the logo of the club’s major sponsor and is closer in colour to the sky blue stripes of the Roos’ new away strip than their traditional royal blue stripes. As Simpson ‘takes it for a spin’, he is not distracted. Relaxed and friendly, he is attentive and expansive. But the constant whirring of the car’s wheels reminds me of
10/6/09 5:05:22 PM
Adam Simpson with wife Nicky and children (from left) Allie, Owen and Milla.
PHOTO: LACHLAN CUNNINGHAM/AFL PHOTOS
went wrong earlier this season, his standing outside Arden Street has always been low proﬁle. That’s partly because he doesn’t play for one of Victoria’s ‘big-four’ clubs. But it’s also because he’s an effective rather than glamorous player. His kicking can sometimes let him down, too. Simpson says criticism of his kicking used to hurt. “There was deﬁnitely a point where you worry about what people think and about what they say about you,” he says. “You can question your worth in the team and in the broader football community.” He has since moved on. “I’m the ﬁrst to take the mickey out of myself with my kicking,” he says. “If people start bagging me about it, I just go, ‘I’ve already made that joke’.” Simpson’s sense of humour – quick and dry – is another side of him that remains inside the Arden Street change rooms, according to Archer. “He’s one of the funniest blokes I’ve ever met,” he said. “When I did some stuff with Channel Nine, they’d talk about different guests for The Footy Show and I’d say, if you could get ‘Simmo’ on the panel and get him to be the way I see him, he would be absolutely sensational. But he shied away from that sort of thing.” Simpson concedes he is one of the best sledgers around the club but says that is mainly because the team’s youngsters – and Archer before them – “don’t have the faintest idea how to do it”. But Simpson’s humour is not his only defence to criticism of his kicking. He modestly refers to the “different assets” he brings to the team.
His ability to win the ball is chief among them. He has been one of the club’s main clearance winners since he established himself in the midﬁeld in the late 1990s. This year, at 33, he leads his team’s possession count with 288, a staggering 73 ahead of the next best (Leigh Harding). He also plays ‘taller’ than you’d expect of someone who is 185cm. He’s a strong overhead mark. (This year,
I’m the ﬁrst to take the mickey out of myself with my kicking. If people start bagging me about it, I just go, ‘I’ve already made that joke’ ADAM SIMPSON
he ranks equal ﬁfth at the Roos for contested marks, behind talls Hamish McIntosh, David Hale and Drew Petrie and forward Aaron Edwards). And he’s long been renowned for ﬂying as a ‘third man’ at around-the-
ground ruck contests, where he wins the tap with surprising regularity against the two contesting ruckmen. It is these assets that have made Simpson such an important player for the Roos.
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He has been a model of consistency over his career, averaging nearly 21 disposals and three tackles a game. His best season was 2002 when he won the best and fairest and was selected in the All-Australian team. He was second in the best and fairest in 2007 and third in 2001, 2003 and 2004, a member of the 1996 and ’99 premiership sides and represented Australia in the 2002 and 2003 International Rules Series. While Simpson may have handed the captaincy baton to Brent Harvey late last year, he has not relinquished the care and responsibility that come with the role. During our interview, North Melbourne’s media manager comes in. Simpson asks how that morning’s press conference had gone. Told that Petrie had ﬁelded questions on the club’s recent ﬁnancial losses under its
Docklands Stadium deal, Simpson nods his approval. The door to the meeting room has remained open during the interview and Simpson has been copping a ribbing as his teammates ﬁle past. Just after the media manager leaves, Simpson engages in some lighthearted byplay with someone outside. “That was ‘Boomer’ (Harvey),” he explains, laughing. Simpson clearly still relishes being around his footy club and the camaraderie of his teammates. His wife, Nicky, though, is not a big football fan but Simpson says she has made an effort to bring their three children (Milla, 6, Allie, 5, and Owen, 2) to every match this year, knowing he does not have much longer in the game. Simpson says how much he and Nicky have enjoyed having children and asks whether I have any. We swap notes on the differences between girls and
Even in the trying times of the past four or ﬁve years, he’s been the glue that’s held the place together DENIS PAGAN
boys – “girls are so much easier” – and the ‘joys’ of toilet training. When I ask if his kids know what dad does, Simpson says Milla and Allie do now, adding how “lucky” he is that all three were too young to understand the controversy earlier in the season. Simpson says one of the proudest moments of his 300th game will be running through the banner with them. At about that point, he inadvertently lets go of the toy car. One of those cars with wind-up wheels, it takes off, runs the length of the table, then plunges over the edge. But Simpson is not sure when he will take the plunge into retirement. While he sometimes thinks this year could be his last, he says if North wants him, at
this stage, he’ll play on next year. But with Simpson believing the club’s future is looking as assured as it has in recent memory, and with a new leadership group in place and an exciting batch of young players emerging, he says he can focus on “enjoying playing and seeing the kids coming through”. All the while, though, his mind will be ticking over, plotting ways to somehow lift the Roos into this year’s ﬁnals – “that was the aim at the start of the season and it’s still the aim”. And, while that may look a long shot, it’s a far safer bet Simpson will be snapped up as an assistant in the coming seasons. That’s one goal his mind is set on.
W H AT O T H E R S S AY A B O U T A DA M S I M P S O N
Denis Pagan, Simpson’s coach at North Melbourne from 1994-2002.
Matthew Lloyd, in his Su Sunday Age column, on colu being made be Es Essendon captain in 2006. cap
“You compare some of the great people who have captained the club – Wayne Carey, Wayne Schimmelbusch, Barry Davis, Allen Aylett, John Dugdale, Les Foote, Noel Teasdale, Keith Greig and Anthony Stevens – whoever’s the best, Adam’s always been up there. Even in the trying times of the past four or ﬁve years, he’s been the glue that’s held the place together.”
“The best advice I received … was from Adam Simpson Simps … (who) eﬀectively said to me that we had been given give our roles based on our footb football ability and character, so nothing should change in terms of the way we prepar prepared and went football.” about our fo
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Garry Lyon on coaching Simpson in the 2002 International Rules Series in Ireland. “One game we played in wet conditions and I was watching on, thinking, ‘Geez, we’re going to need a sweeper’ because the (round) ball skids and before you even thought about who it should be, you looked up and there he was playing that role. He realised where the most dangerous spot was for us, and just assumed that role himself. He saved our backside that many times and you just sat there thinking, ‘Smart bloke, good leader, gets the job done’.”
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something Simpson’s former teammate Glenn Archer had told me over the phone the day before. “‘Simmo’ is always thinking, his mind is always going a million miles an hour, it drives me nuts,” Archer said. Thinking about ways to improve the Kangaroos’ side. “He would ring you a million times when we were playing with different ideas – ‘I reckon we should do this, this would help so and so’,” Archer said. “He would often bring his laptop to training and give Powerpoint presentations on centre bounces and stoppages.” Thinking about business schemes. Archer said Simpson once owned and operated two vending machines, had dabbled in property development and was now running a dog wash business with Petrie. Thinking about how he could improve his home. “He thinks he’s Mr Fix-it,” Archer said. “He’ll look at a wall and think, ‘I might knock that down and put a door over there’. Nothing gets ﬁnished though; every time he’s got to get the pros in to ﬁnish the job.” And, lately, thinking about life after football. “He’s made up his mind he wants to coach and, coming to the end of his career, he’s got coach written all over him,” Archer said. When I ask Simpson about Archer’s observations, he laughs but, while he concedes many of his ideas have been bad ones, he says he always follows through on them. “If I get an idea, I’ll explore it and quite often fail,” Simpson says. “But you learn from it every time and, if I didn’t act on them, they’re just thoughts.”
He’s made up his mind he wants to coach and, coming to the end of his career, he’s got coach written all over him GLENN ARCHER
On this front, Simpson disputes Archer’s take on his home renovation track record. “Maybe I used to start things and not ﬁnish them but, as I’ve got older, I love little projects around the house and I love going to Bunnings with the kids – I sound like such a bogan,” he says with a laugh. But in recent seasons, Simpson’s ever-spinning mind has been increasingly consumed by game strategies, player management and teaching. For the past ﬁve seasons, he has assisted North Melbourne’s midﬁeld coach (currently Anthony Rock), primarily working with fellow midﬁelders on clearances and stoppages. While at pains to stress he remains a player “ﬁrst and foremost”, the former skipper admits he is drawn to coaching. “I love the tactics of football, but also people management and teaching, which is also an important part of the game and where it’s headed,” Simpson says. Nothing unusual here. Many players coming towards the end of their careers start to think about coaching as a way to stay involved in the game. But Simpson’s preparation for that likely transition sets him apart. Not wanting to rely on his playing record and work with North’s midﬁeld when he
eventually interviews for a job, Simpson put his mind to work. Aside from taking some training sessions with TAC Cup team the Western Jets this year, how else could he start preparing for coaching while still playing? Again, he acted on his thoughts, approaching AFL Coaches’ Association CEO Danny Frawley about developing a program in which players could meet with coaches, list managers, development coaches, recruiters and even statisticians in preparation for a coaching career. Simpson’s approach was timely. Frawley had been thinking about launching a similar program as part of the AFL Players’ Association’s Next Goal initiative. Simpson helped make that a reality and is now the new program’s “guinea pig”, meeting regularly with Geelong game development coach David Wheadon to discuss coaching philosophies, while he also recently met Gold Coast’s Scott Clayton to discuss recruitment. “Coaching has become such a technical ﬁeld and there’s so many different aspects you’ve got to be across,” Simpson says. “By no means is this (program) going to answer all the questions I’ve got, but I reckon I’ll be better prepared than any other player coming out of the game.” Always thinking. Always looking ahead. Always looking for ways to better his team and himself. It’s a side of Simpson many outside North Melbourne don’t see. Despite captaining the Roos in 110 games from 2004-08, with the obvious exception of a much-publicised video prank that
FAC T F I L E
Adam Simpson Born: February 16, 1976 Recruited from: Eltham/Northern U18 Debut: Round 18, 1995 Height: 188cm Weight: 90kg Games: 299 Goals: 82 Player honours: best and fairest 2002; All-Australian 2002; 200 0 2;; premiership premie pre emiersh rship hip sides sidees 1996, 1996 1199 6, 1999; 9 ; captain p i 2004-08 0 4 8 Brownlow r n w Medal: M a career a e votes o s 65 5
Despite being the veteran of the side, Adam Simpson is the Roos’ leading possession winner in 2009.
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DA R R E N J O L LY
The switch to Sydney ﬁve seasons ago was the perfect tonic for Darren Jolly. As well as playing a key role in the 2005 premiership, the versatile ruckman has progressively improved his game to such a level that he is now widely regarded as one of the pre-eminent big men in the competition. NICK BOW EN
ydney Swans ruckman Darren Jolly sits slumped against a wall. Seemingly in a daze, he stares str raight ahea straight ahead, his f ac ce expressionless. expressio ace An hour ea earlier he had been inv volved in a ﬁerce collision involved wi ith Hawthorn’s Hawtho with Ryan Sc choenmaker on the members’ Schoenmakers wi ing at the M wing MCG, taking a he eavy knock to his ribs. heavy playe took time to get Both players to their feet a and, when Jolly did d, he came straight from the did, gr ound, spen ground, spending the next 10 mi inutes gath minutes gathering himself on th interchan bench. thee interchange But that doesn’t explain his state – Jolly later says the co collision had only winded him. It’s
the 11-point loss the Swans have just had to Hawthorn that’s largely to blame. What could have been makes the defeat smart even more. If Barry Hall hadn’t, in an extraordinary last-quarter lapse of discipline, given away three consecutive 50-metre penalties that took Jarryd Roughead from the Hawks’ defensive 50 to their goal line for a certain goal. If Jolly and Adam Goodes hadn’t missed set shots for goal in the game’s dying minutes. A losing team’s changeroom is never the happiest place. But players such as Ted Richards and Jarrad McVeigh happily pose for photos and coach Paul Roos manages a smile talking to a young fan, while other players mix with family and friends.
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Jolly, though, one of the Swans’ best players with 17 disposals, 35 hit-outs and a goal, remains lost in his own world. It has been a bad end to an even worse week. His aunt, Lisa, had earlier passed away after a battle with cancer. Unable to get to her funeral in Brisbane two days before the game, Jolly had worn a black armband in her memory, kissing it after kicking a goal at the start of the ﬁnal quarter. As Jolly and the rest of the players gradually shufﬂe out for ice baths and showers, the changeroom matches the feeling of the club – empty. All that remains is the discarded tape that held ankles and shoulders together during the game, empty blue paper cups and the team sponsor banners that line the walls. About 30 minutes later, the players begin to emerge from the showers and head for a club function. Jolly, however, returns to the changeroom for our pre-arranged interview. Dressed in club polo shirt and dark slacks, Jolly sits on a chair that rests in about the same spot he was slumped in earlier. Checking his watch, he says we should have plenty of time. That despite the fact he has to be on a bus to the airport in half an hour. Having emerged from the fog that engulfed him in the immediate aftermath of
the defeat, Jolly is relaxed and forthcoming. At 27, and in his ninth AFL season, he has started 2009 well as the Swans’ No. 1 ruckman. Having continued his impressive progression of recent seasons, he now looms as one of the biggest challengers to All-Australian ruck incumbents, West Coast’s Dean Cox and Fremantle’s Aaron Sandilands. A proliﬁc tap ruckman since joining Sydney in 2005 – this year he is ranked second in the League for hit-outs (averaging nearly 30 a game) behind Sandilands – Jolly has become a more complete player around the ground in the past two seasons. Although he kicked just 11 goals in 48 games with Melbourne from 2001-04, he has already kicked 12 this year – more than Cox (eight) and Sandilands (seven). He has also become a higher possession winner. Last year, he racked up 20 touches in a game for the ﬁrst time and he has already had two 19-possession games this season. His 2009 average of more than 12 possessions a game is a fair way behind that of Cox (23) and Sandilands (16.4), but he applies more defensive pressure – he has laid 33 tackles compared to Sandilands’ 22 and Cox’s 19. Jolly says there has been no one secret to his 2009 form. “Just being in the game the amount of time I have, I’ve
Just being in the game the amount of time I have, I’ve ﬁgured out where to run, when to run, and I’ve had the licence to push forward DARREN JOLLY ON HIS IMPROVED RUCK PLAY
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ﬁnally ﬁgured out where to run, when to run, and I’ve had the licence to push forward and kick some goals,” he says. Jolly says Cox and Sandilands remain his most formidable opponents. Playing on Cox, he says, is like playing on a “midﬁelder” such is his athleticism and stamina, while at 200cm and 105kg, he concedes 13cm and 18kg – and most ruck contests –to Sandilands. “Sandilands is just a mountain,” Jolly says. “When we play Freo, we go in knowing he is going to win all the hit-outs and we’ve just got to try to combat where he’s hitting them.” That Jolly is being mentioned in the same breath as Cox and Sandilands makes his last season at Melbourne, 2004, seem a lifetime ago. Then, he played just seven games, in a team effectively using Jeff White as its sole ruckman. FAC T F I L E
Darren Jolly Born: November 6, 1981 Recruited from: North Ballarat/Melbourne Debut: Round 2, 2001 Height: 200cm Weight: 105kg Games: 155 Goals: 66 Player honours: Sydney premiership side 2005 Brownlow medal: career votes 7
Jolly says that season was frustrating but pays tribute to Melbourne for agreeing to trade him. Since joining the Swans, he has scarcely put a foot wrong, playing 106 of a possible 108 games. His move to the Harbour City paid immediate dividends, for him and the club, when in 2005 he was part of the Swans’ ﬁrst premiership in 72 years. Jolly was a solid contributor in the four-point Grand Final victory over the Eagles with 10 disposals, 12 hit-outs and a vital goal in a low-scoring match. “I still to this day can’t describe the feeling,” he says of the Grand Final’s immediate aftermath and the week-long celebrations that followed. “It was one of the best moments of my life.” The following year’s Grand Final was memorable for different reasons. This time, the Swans came agonisingly close to back-to-back premierships, losing to the Eagles by one point. And in the lead-up to the game, Jolly’s wife, Deanne, went into early labour – she was not due for another two weeks – and gave birth to their ﬁrst child, Scarlett, at 2am on the day before the Grand Final. Much was made of Jolly’s disrupted preparation to the year’s biggest game, even more so after he had just ﬁve disposals and seven hit-outs.
If I’m having a bad day, I can come home and see my daughters smile at me and it puts everything into perspective DARREN JOLLY, THE FAMILY MAN
But he says Scarlett’s early arrival had no bearing on his performance. “I don’t really talk about that much any more because that was just blown way out of proportion at the time,” he says. “I suppose it was a distraction but, to this day, I still haven’t watched that game. I have well and truly moved on.”
The Jollys have since had another daughter, Lily, eight months ago. Like any parent whose family grows from one child to two, Jolly has found there is not much time for anything else in his life apart from work (football) and the family. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. “If I’m having a bad day, I can come home and see my daughters smile at me and it puts everything in perspective,” he says. Ever since the Swans’ defeat in the 2006 Grand Final, many commentators have been expecting them to slide down the ladder, as many of their premiership players edge closer to retirement. But they continue to defy the critics and have played in every ﬁnals series since 2003. Jolly is conﬁdent Sydney can continue this run in 2009 and beyond – and hopes to play a key role. Born and raised in Lexton in western Victoria – “a one-shop, one-pub town near Ballarat” – he brieﬂy ﬂirted with returning home at the end of 2007, but he is contracted to the Swans until the end of 2011 and wants to stay there for the rest his career. “I’ve been so lucky to come to the Swans. My wife and I made the decision back in 2007 that my football future was here,” Jolly says. “We made the right decision.”
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2009 AFL STARS FIGURINES SINGLES (COLOUR & GOLD) Each player has 2 versions: Colour Figurines and Gold Figurines. Gold Figurines are limited edition of 800 each. PLAYERS COLOUR GOLD Scott Thompson $8 $16 Jason Porplyzia $8 $16 Ben Rutten $8 $16 Daniel Bradshaw $8 $16 Jamie Charman $8 $16 Luke Power $8 $16 Bryce Gibbs $12 $25 Matthew Kreuzer $12 $25 Nick Stevens $11 $22 Paul Medhurst $12 $25 Scott Pendlebury $15 $30 Travis Cloke $12 $22 Mark McVeigh $12 $22 Jobe Watson $11 $22 David Hille $12 $22 Rhys Palmer $8 $16 Byron Schammer $8 $16 Aaron Sandilands $8 $16 Joel Selwood $15 $30 Tom Harley $11 $22 Joel Corey $11 $22 Jarryd Roughead $12 $25 Cyril Rioli $15 $30 Campbell Brown $10 $18 Brent Harvey $12 $25 David Hale $8 $16 Drew Petrie $10 $18 Brad Miller $8 $16 Cameron Bruce $8 $16 Brad Green $8 $16 Kane Cornes $8 $16 Shaun Burgoyne $8 $16 Daniel Motlop $9 $18 Ben Cousins $15 $30 Trent Cotchin $14 $28 Chris Newman $10 $18 Lenny Hayes $10 $18 Stephen Milne $9 $16 Brendon Goddard $10 $18 Ryan O’Keefe $8 $16 Jarrad McVeigh $8 $16 Michael O’Loughlin $8 $16 Matthew Priddis $8 $16 David Wirrpanda $8 $16 Ben McKinley $8 $16 Jason Akermanis $12 $25 Ryan Griffen $10 $18 Daniel Cross $9 $18
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ILLUSTRATION: GUY SHIELD/SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP
Espionage The football spy they love to hate David Dunbar has built a reputation as one of the AFL’s most cunning club spies, a group that does “whatever it takes” to discover information about the opposition. BEN COL LINS
e has been forcibly removed from training venues, publicly condemned by clubs for his methods, and has even been threatened with violence, but it will take a lot more than that to deter the AFL’s most audacious spy, David Dunbar. In just his second season working for Melbourne, Dunbar has made quite an impact with
his intrepid approach. In fact, he has become a subject of near obsession for opposition clubs desperate to protect sensitive information relating to game-plans, tactics, team structures, injuries, etc. The ﬁxation has also extended to media outlets just as desperate to pin down the man described as the “most despised” spy in AFL circles. In turn, Dunbar has become increasingly protective of his
own identity and methods. In fact, until a week ago, he (and the Demons) had ﬂatly rejected all media requests for interviews. Particularly after tales of his run-ins with Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs (to name but two) became news items. But for someone who has become a media recluse, Dunbar has had his share of exposure. He coached VFL club Port Melbourne from 2000-03, guiding the Borough to a Grand Final and preliminary ﬁnal, and in a particularly hectic 12-month period, was drawn into three media circuses. He coached both Tony Lockett
and Jason McCartney as they made their respective comebacks to the AFL through the VFL, and his skipper and assistant coach Peter Filandia was suspended for 10 matches for biting. (Lockett made a short-lived AFL comeback via the VFL when the Sydney Swans had an alignment with Port; McCartney was returning via Port after suffering life-threatening burns in the Bali terrorist attacks of 2002.) Of the Filandia experience, Dunbar says: “The media was hovering. We had to shut people out, and we lied to the media about training times to keep things under wraps.” Ironic that, AFL RECORD visit aﬂrecord.com.au 69
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insidetheclubs considering what some clubs do now to keep Dunbar out. More recently, Dunbar also coached WAFL club East Fremantle and had 14 youngsters drafted or rookie-listed in his three years (2005-07), among them Paddy Ryder, Rhys Palmer, Harry Taylor and Mitch Clark. Dunbar is full of surprises. The ﬁrst was that he actually agreed to meet the AFL Record for a light-hearted interrogation; and, over the course of a two-hour interview (another surprise), he continued to shock, and amuse, with his frank insights into the little-known world of club reconnaissance work. Think ‘Spy vs Spy’, or Catch Me If You Can, or even Inspector Clouseau. Footy spies employ a range of methods, including donning disguises and staking out training venues, while the more adventurous have been known to bribe gate attendants to access closed training sessions, climb trees and occupy building sites next to training venues. Some of the better-resourced clubs are known to apply extreme methods, using sophisticated audio-visual technology, including hidden cameras and super-sensitive listening devices. But, ultimately, footy spies are all driven by the same goal: to gain important information that helps their clubs win. And they’ll do it any way they can. This is an insight into their unique world.
t’s a fresh afternoon when the AFL Record meets Dunbar at the Junction Oval (the inner-city headquarters of Melbourne’s football department). He is happy to advertise his loyalties today, warding off the cold in a Demons tracksuit. Now middle-aged, he sounds like – and perhaps even resembles – Australian actor Steve Bisley. At Dunbar’s suggestion, we wander through parkland towards a café in nearby Fitzroy Street. As we stroll, it’s obvious his injury-plagued playing days are catching up with him. Dunbar played 100 VFA
I’m just trying to do my job to the best of my ability, and that’s gather information for Melbourne. My loyalty lies solely with them DAVID DUNBAR ON WHAT OTHERS THINK
games for Frankston and Port Melbourne from 1979-90. A hard-nosed on-baller, he admits he “lacked a yard” and “didn’t hit the honour boards too much”. Thick-boned and strong-bodied, the old warhorse is more like a Clydesdale these days. Also gone is the mullet he once proudly wore like a mane. “She bit the dust a while ago, mate,” he says, equally ﬂattered and embarrassed that someone recalls him in his prime. His preferred café is too busy for his liking, so we move to another quieter establishment a few doors down. Dunbar (‘Dave’ to most who know him) has barely touched his skinny latte when his mobile phone rings. A radio station wants to interview him. (Newspapers and television stations have also been, as he says, “on my case”.) Dunbar hardly speaks, and quickly ends the conversation. He isn’t overly enthusiastic about the reviews he has received in the press, which have served to make him the AFL’s highest-proﬁle undercover snoop. In the absence of ﬁrst-hand accounts from Dunbar himself,
the Herald Sun recently outed him, printing a photograph of him. “Yeah, that worried me a bit,” Dunbar says. But not nearly as much as the accompanying story that described him as “the most despised man in the AFL’s spying game” because he was “the most daring”. Dunbar doesn’t mind the “daring” bit, adding: “Now they could probably use the term ‘the most exposed’ because I obviously need better hiding spots!” However, he contests the use of the word “despised”. Although it’s clearly a back-handed compliment, he explains: “You’d like it phrased a bit better than that. I’m just trying to do my job to the best of my ability, and that’s gather information for Melbourne. My loyalty lies solely with them.” Dunbar’s ofﬁcial title at Melbourne is ‘innovations coach’, which appears a disguise in itself. He can just as easily be termed a forward scout, an opposition analyst – or a spy. “It’s a nice title,” he says with a laugh, before explaining that his job does actually require him to be innovative, and not just with his choice of hiding places. In addition to revealing how to negate opposition strengths and exploit their weaknesses, part of his brief is to keep an eye on the competition in general to identify trends and methods. Although Dunbar expends much time and effort watching other teams train and play, his busiest day is Monday. That’s when he assembles a thick dossier that he circulates among the Demons’ coaches, before translating it into a PowerPoint presentation to show the coaches on Tuesday and the players on Wednesday. He revels in this “coaching element” of the job. Dunbar’s ﬁrst spying assignment was for Hawthorn in 1997 (after four years as Port Melbourne reserves coach). Then, he was merely required to supply a written report on the Monday of each round, with little interaction with coaches and no direct involvement with players. “But,” he says, “it was easier to hide in those days.” Dunbar owes much to Hawthorn. It was there he
met Ken Judge (then Hawks coach who helped him get the East Fremantle job), and then assistant coach Chris Connolly, who became an important ally. In 2004, when Dunbar was between stints in the VFL and WAFL, he did a variety of roles for the Connolly-coached Fremantle. Connolly, now the Demons’ general manager of football, also recommended Dunbar for the innovations coaching job at the end of 2007. Dunbar’s mentor in covert operations is Demons recruiting ofﬁcer Gary Burleigh, who was a scout for Fremantle for seven years. “‘Burls’ had some great tricks,” Dunbar says. “He’s the master, I’m the pupil – and I’m studying harder than I ever did at Bonbeach High (in Melbourne’s peninsula area)!” Dunbar needs to be at his most innovative when inﬁltrating the enemy. “The measures you have to take to stay on top of your job are pretty intense and in-depth,” he explains. Such ‘measures’ have enraged some clubs. Most notably, before last year’s opening-round match against Hawthorn, Dunbar took up an elevated position on a construction site overlooking the Hawks’ training base at Waverley. Wearing construction gear, complete with a hard-hat, he mounted a video-camera on a tripod to make it look like he was using surveying equipment. When the Hawks discovered him, they – particularly coach Alastair Clarkson (himself a former Melbourne player) – were incensed. But he has been back, and makes no apologies. Asked to elaborate on the construction site episode, Dunbar says: “I don’t really need to say anything – it’s out there. Just let it ride, mate.” Dunbar understands Clarkson being so protective because he was working on the ‘cluster’ structure the Hawks used so well last year. But Dunbar jokes: “I think ‘Clarko’ bears a grudge because when I was coaching Port Melbourne and he was coaching Werribee, we beat them by 20 goals.” The Bulldogs found Dunbar a nuisance too when they caught
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insidetheclubs him peering at a closed training session at Whitten Oval while standing on a footbridge on the Gordon Street off-ramp from Geelong Road. Dunbar dismisses a so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that suggests spies must leave closed sessions once discovered. “Clubs have been spying on each other for a hundred years, and everyone’s doing it,” he says. “Until the AFL comes out with a doctrine that says ‘Thou shall not spy,’ it’s open slather. Our theme is: ‘Whatever it takes’.” He ﬁnds it amusing that one club that has publicly complained about him, actually sought his advice on how their spy might conceal himself at a particular lockout session. “If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander,” he says. After all, Dunbar has become such a master of concealment that clubs patrol their perimeters looking speciﬁcally for him, with a mate from a rival club claiming he has circulated photos of Dunbar to such search parties. Some clubs have been known to change their training times and player guernsey numbers to stiﬂe Dunbar’s efforts. Ofﬁcials at one club were so paranoid that they searched a social club luncheon to ensure he wasn’t disguised as a waiter. On another occasion, Dunbar heard club ofﬁcials looking for him as he watched training through a small slit in a cramped, enclosed space. “The sniffer dogs were out for me,” he says jokingly, “but they didn’t pick up my scent.” One spy recently made the mistake of turning up to a
I just scurried oﬀ into the bushes and climbed up another tree undetected and found out (Stephen) Milne wasn’t playing. So it was worth the eﬀort DAVID DUNBAR ON THE HAZARDS OF THE JOB
training session wearing his club’s tracksuit. “At least I’ve never been silly enough to do that!” Dunbar says. That may be so, but rumour has it Dunbar’s wardrobe contains supporter gear of most AFL clubs to help him meld into the background. Dunbar giggles at this suggestion: “Never ruin a good story with the facts.” He could answer many questions exactly the same way, but thankfully doesn’t. “You’ve got to get in amongst it,” he says, “and to do that you’ve got to become one of them, even if it means wearing enemy colours.
“What can I say? I’m a big supporter of the AFL – I’ve got a decent bill for clothing supplies!” He also could have had a decent medical bill. While doing some “reconnaissance work” at one ground last year, he tried to exit through an old turnstile and got stuck. “I was like a rat in a trap,” he says. “I managed to squeeze through the turnstile, but I took half my chest off in the process.” Dunbar hotly disputes a story doing the rounds that he suffered a bruised or broken coccyx after falling ﬁve metres from a tree, after being caught staking out a closed St Kilda training session at Moorabbin before round 10. He is adamant that after initially trying to explain he was merely “looking at birds”, he simply “surfed” a breaking branch “half a metre” to the ground and landed on his feet “like a cat”. He adds: “Then I just scurried off into the bushes and climbed up another tree undetected and found out (Stephen) Milne wasn’t playing. So it was worth the effort.” Another club ejected him from a lockout session and then even tried to manhandle him away from a viewing position on the side of a major road, despite
it being a public place. Dunbar told the club heavy: “You might have kicked me out, but I’ve still managed to get two other blokes in there.” Asked if he was blufﬁng – and if he purposely acts as a decoy while his foot soldiers do his dirty work – Dunbar says: “I can’t say. I don’t want to blow too much cover!” However, he concedes that one of his greatest challenges is doing his job when most clubs know him by sight. “Mate, I just have to live up to the job title a bit more – be more innovative,” he says, chuckling. Another challenge is viewing training through binoculars from long distances, or with only a partial view. “But there are ways around that,” he says. Like what? “Sorry, mate, I’m not prepared to divulge that.” He says one way of alleviating the issue of distance is having an intimate knowledge of every player in the AFL, including “their mannerisms, the way they run and kick”. Some wealthy clubs are believed to have spywear that enables them to do extraordinary investigative work. Dunbar marvels: “Apparently they can listen to a coach talking to a player in the middle of the ground. It sounds far-fetched, but I’d love to be on the cutting edge of that technology.”. He’d also love to play a role in the Demons’ projected rise. “People might say: ‘You’re on the bottom of the ladder; why bother spying?’ Because we go out there 100 per cent to win every week. Melbourne is an exciting place to be – we’re on the rise.”
WATCH BEFORE THE GAME SATURDAY NIGHTS ON TEN
beforethegame.com.au LADDER ANDY LEHMO DAVE SAM MICK STRAUCHANIE
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MICK St Kilda Western Bulldogs Richmond Hawthorn Adelaide Essendon Sydney Swans Geelong Cats
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LEHMO St Kilda Western Bulldogs Richmond Hawthorn Adelaide Essendon Sydney Swans Geelong Cats
DAVE St Kilda Western Bulldogs Richmond Hawthorn Adelaide Essendon Collingwood Geelong Cats
STRAUCHANIE Carlton Port Adelaide Richmond Brisbane Lions North Melbourne Melbourne Sydney Swans Fremantle
SAM St Kilda Western Bulldogs Richmond Hawthorn Adelaide Essendon Sydney Swans Geelong Cats
ANDY Carlton Western Bulldogs Richmond Hawthorn Adelaide Essendon Collingwood Geelong Cats
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JULY 2009 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer by age 85. Hold a match, wear a yellow arm band and donate to Cancer Council to help fight menâ€™s cancers FOUNDING PARTNER
NAB AF RISINGL STAR
AFL history guru Col Hutchinson answers your queries.
You win some, you lose some ... In the history of the League, who are the 10 players who have played in the most winning games and the 10 who have played in the most losing ones? PETER TONEN, VIA EMAIL CH: Michael Tuck (Hawthorn)
played in 302 winning teams during his 426-match career. He is followed by Kevin Bartlett (Richmond) 260 in 403 appearances, Bruce Doull (Carlton) 238 in 356, Simon Madden (Essendon) 223 in 378, Gordon Coventry (Collingwood) 220 in 306, Leigh Matthews (Hawthorn) 220 in 332, Craig Bradley (Carlton) 220 in 375, Justin Madden (Essendon, Carlton) 211 in 332, Jack Dyer (Richmond) 206 in 312, John Nicholls (Carlton) 205 in 328, and Chris Langford (Hawthorn)
205 in 303. Robert Flower (Melbourne) was a member of 184 losing squads in 272 career games. Others with the most losses have been Bernie Quinlan (Footscray, Fitzroy) 179 in 366, Geoff Cunningham (St Kilda) 170 in 224, John Blakey (Fitzroy, North Melbourne) 169 in 359, Brad Johnson (Western Bulldogs) 168 in 335, Rod Carter (Fitzroy, Sydney) 167 in 293, Trevor Barker (St Kilda) 165 in 230, Chris Grant (Western Bulldogs) 162 in 341, Matthew Knights (Richmond) 161 in 279 and David Neitz (Melbourne) 161 in 301.
From the dark side
HIGHS AND LOWS: Kevin
Bartlett (left) played in 260 wins in his career, while Bernie Quinlan (above) played in 179 losses.
WRITE TO ANSWER MAN The Slattery Media Group 140 Harbour Esplanade Docklands, 3008 or email email@example.com
P L AY E R I N F O R M AT I O N S E A R C H
Are you, or do you know, a descendant of former player Edward Joseph Bowen? Bowen was a versatile performer, equally eﬀective in attack or defence, representing Carlton in 28 games from 1911-12 and St Kilda twice in 1913. Ironically, his ﬁrst appearance for the Saints was against his original
club at Princes Park. He played his early football with Port Melbourne Juniors. A labourer, he died as the result of an accident on December 2, 1933, and is buried in Brighton Cemetery, not far from where he lived. It is believed
he was born in Melbourne in about 1889. Should you have any information regarding Bowen, including his date of birth, height and weight, contact Col Hutchinson on (03) 9643 1929 or col.hutchinson@aﬂ.com.au.
People with the surname Douglas, such as Adelaide’s Richard, are named after towns or villages with that name, mostly the township of Douglas, 32km south of Glasgow, which was the original stronghold of the Douglas family. The name was originally pronounced Doo-glas. The word itself derives from two Gaelic elements dubh (dark, black) and glais (water). Dubh gives us the English surname Duﬀ as well as Dew, the Cornish form of Duﬀ. These names usually indicated a person of dark complexion. A connected name is Dyer. Dyer, if it does not mean a dyer of cloth, is an English variation of the Irish name Dwyer, which, in its Gaelic form, is composed of two parts – dubh and odhar (tawny, yellow). So Jack Dyer’s surname meant black and yellow. Richard Douglas is only the sixth Douglas to play League football, while there have been six Dyers, seven Dwyers and just one Dew. KEVAN CARROLL
NAB AFL Tipping - Win $20,000 The ofﬁcial tipping competition of the AFL The round 11 weekly winner was Craig Leighton of Tasmania. The round 11 celebrity competition winner was Matt Burgan of aﬂ.com.au There are fantastic cash prizes to be won every week – join in the fun now at aﬂ.com.au
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NAB AFL RISING STAR
Pie on the move Collingwood’s Brad Dick is making a mark on the competition and his opposition.
A NDR EW WA L L ACE
he eight-minute mark of the third quarter in Collingwood’s round nine clash against Port Adelaide was signiﬁcant for Magpie Brad Dick in more ways than one. With the Pies six points up and on a roll, Dick marked in front of the Power’s Nathan Krakouer at half-forward, gave his opponent a decisive shove in the chest to create space for himself, and drilled a perfect left-foot pass to teammate Leigh Brown, who duly converted. The passage not only presented commentators and fans with a glimpse of what Collingwood insiders had long known – that he can seriously play – but also gave Dick a one-up on his good mate Krakouer. The indigenous West Australian pair had earlier forged a strong bond back home at the Clontarf Academy, and couldn’t believe their luck to be lining up on each other at football’s Mecca. “Nathan just wanted to chat with me,” Dick said of their AFL encounter. “He was talking and talking, and saying, ‘How good’s this, playing on the MCG?’ “When he got back to Adelaide after the game he rang me and said, ‘What were you trying to do – make me look bad?’ But it was all good fun.” Dick’s breakthrough game at AFL level against Port Adelaide featured 25 possessions and three goals, including a number of assists. Any thoughts that the
NAB AFL Rising Star nominees Round 1 – Daniel Rich (BL) Round 2 – David Zaharakis (Ess) Round 3 – Patrick Dangerﬁeld (Adel) Round 4 – Jaxson Barham (Coll) Round 5 – Garry Moss (Haw) Round 6 – Stephen Hill (Frem) Round 7 – Jack Ziebell (NM) Round 8 – Jarryn Geary (St K) Round 9 – Andy Otten (Adel) Round 10 – Taylor Walker (Adel) Round 11 – Brad Dick (Coll)
As his uncles work in abattoirs, Dick has always wanted to be a butcher. Is intimidated by the sheer 2 size of Melbourne, and even after two-and-a-half years, isn’t familiar with many places outside the football club.
I just try to run faster than the big boys but if a big hit comes, it comes – that’s football BRAD DICK
performance was a one-off were dismissed last week, when the 20-year-old again proved deadly up forward in the wet and dry against Melbourne, ﬁnishing with ﬁve goals from 16 touches to earn a nomination for the 2009 NAB AFL Rising Star award. Dick, who debuted in 2007 but spent the entire 2008 season recovering from a knee reconstruction, has already forged a strong understanding with star Magpie Leon Davis, the player he hero-worshiped as a child.
“I grew up going for Collingwood back in Geraldton, and I wore the No. 1 because Leon was my favourite,” Dick said. “He takes care of me all the time, and he gave me a goal against Port. He said, ‘You’d better give me one back this week (against Melbourne).’ Payback came in the third quarter, when Dick fed Davis an easy goal as the Magpies cruised to their third successive victory. Dick, 73kg, is striving to put on the necessary weight to survive at AFL level, but
When playing in
3 Melbourne, always gets a lift to the ground with captain Nick Maxwell. Likes to listen to country 4 music by artists such as Alan Jackson and John Fogerty before a game. Spent much of his rehabilitation from a knee injury with Magpie defender Simon Prestigiacomo.
has some tricks up his sleeve in the meantime. “I just try to run faster than the big boys,” he joked, “but if a big hit comes, it comes – that’s football.”
Each week throughout the home and away season, a panel of judges will select the nominee for the 2009 NAB AFL Rising Star. At the completion of the season, one outstanding player will be chosen as the 2009 NAB AFL Rising Star winner. He will receive an investment folio, a dedicated personal banker, a ﬁnancial planner and the Ron Evans Medal, all courtesy of the NAB. The NAB Rising Star award is the ﬁnal stage of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulﬁl their dream of playing in the AFL.
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Flying the flag Provided you’ve got a thick skin, goal-umpiring is a rewarding way to contribute to a game you love. R ICH A R D TH WA ITES
’ve had rocks, sticks and chewing gum thrown at me, footballs kicked at me and my eyesight is questioned so regularly I wear contact lenses instead of my usual glasses just to ensure my critics don’t have further ammunition. None of this is pleasant and there are times it upsets me. But then I ask myself, ‘Can any of these people say Ken Fletcher (the former Essendon skipper and father of Bomber great Dustin) helped turn their football career around?’ Wouldn’t have thought so … but I can. At the time, I was a year 10 student at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School in Melbourne’s north-west, a budding forward pocket who alternated between my age group’s ﬁrsts and seconds. Fletcher, a physical education teacher and the school’s senior footy coach, suggested I goal umpire the seniors’ games. My best guess is Fletcher thought this might help me come out of my shell. Initially, I was unsure. Goal-umpiring had not been something I’d considered doing before. Sure, like many watching the footy at home, I’d mimicked the exaggerated way some goal umpires – like a toy soldier, standing rigidly to attention, moving like they could not bend their arms or their legs – used to signal a goal. Still I went along with Fletcher’s suggestion. Later that same year I was approached by ofﬁcials from the Essendon District Football League, who had seen me umpiring school games, to umpire there. That was in 1998 and I’m still goal-umpiring.
SCORE CHECK: One of the most important duties for goals umpires is ensuring the scores are correct.
I’ve also been lucky enough to see players such as Geelong’s Gary Ablett and Jimmy Bartel up close in their junior days in the TAC Cup I now umpire in the VFL, though, where I’ve been since 2001. In that time, I’ve umpired 28 senior VFL games, 65 reserves games and 53 under-18 TAC Cup games. I’ve also been lucky enough to see players such as Geelong’s Gary Ablett and Jimmy Bartel up close in their junior days, when they were playing in the TAC Cup with the Geelong Falcons. I also umpired an EssendonWilliamstown VFL match
at Victoria Park in the 2002 pre-season and saw one of Paul Salmon’s ﬁrst games back from retirement and, less pleasantly, Dean Solomon rupturing the ACL in his knee. Considering my playing career did not extend beyond my school days – my last season was spent playing in the back pocket with the seconds – you could say I made the right choice. But is umpiring worth the grief that inevitably comes my way?
It’s a question I sense every time I tell someone I’m a goal umpire. While most aren’t game to ask it directly, they’ll often have a quizzical look on their face that betrays their thoughts – ‘Why on earth would you do that?’ Well, it’s not for the money or, at least, for me it’s not. VFL umpires get relatively small match payments. As I’ve said, part of the attraction is being up close to some of the game’s rising stars, players who may be running around in the VFL or TAC Cup now, but are likely to be starring in the AFL soon enough. There’s also the camaraderie of the umpiring group. We train every week and, it may surprise you, technical goal umpiring practice has become an increasingly small component of that. Running, including the occasional dreaded four-kilometre time trial, and footy drills make up the bulk of our regime. While, obviously, we don’t need to be as ﬁt as the players, such training is designed to ensure we’re as mentally alert at the 30-minute mark of the last quarter as we are at the opening bounce. As a result, we’re a bit like a footy team ourselves. We see each other put in the hard work during the week and pull for each other to perform well on the weekend. And the satisfaction of getting it right in matches – particularly with tough decisions – comes close, I think, to the feeling a player gets from playing a good game. The only difference is our good form is greeted by silence, not cheers. And that’s just ﬁne by me. Richard Thwaites is a VFL umpire and completed an internship at the AFL Record as part of his journalism studies.
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Published on Jun 11, 2009
The AFL Record is the most loved and read football magazine in the country and for the first time, is now available free to read online each...