This week in the AFL we have a number of milestone games. The most prominent is Brent Harvey who breaks Michael Tuck’s games record of 426. Not trying to take anything away from Harvey, but it has to be remembered that Tuck also played around 100 reserves games and was ultimately forced into retirement by Hawthorn. Based on his on-field persona, I didn’t have much time for him in the past but having heard him on the radio this year I have moderated my views and he seems like a thoroughly decent human being. The second in line is Matthew Pavlich bringing up his 350th game for Fremantle which in some ways may be a more significant milestone than Harvey’s. Putting Pavlich’s longevity into perspective, he has played 60 mores games than Dean Cox (290), the nearest Western Australian based player since the start of the national competition. In reality, that is at least three more seasons of football. Remarkable! Then we have the Geelong pair of Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel, with the Geelong games record and 300 games respectively. I think it is not only a testament to the dedication of these players, but also a testament to the advancement in sports science that allows players to play for much longer at the highest level.
I didn’t watch the Mike Sheahan interview with Mark Jackson the other night, but I did read and hear exerpts from it and I must agree with Tim Watson who described it as a bit of self promotion for Jackson. Jackson makes his money on the speaking circuit in Australia and perhaps his engagements had been dwindling and he needed to ramp up his exposure, but what a performance! I have been critical of a number of football journalists this year who have conducted their own level of self promotion, but I do not think that Mike Sheahan falls into that category and he did not deserve the tirade directed at him. Mike Sheahan was an old fashioned journalist who checked his facts and didn’t go off on flights of fancy visited by the likes of Caroline Wilson, Mark Robinson and Damien Barrett.
I went to the book launch by Mark “Bomber” Thompson last night in Geelong and he had some interesting things to say. He didn’t want to make it all about Essendon and the supplements saga, but he did appear to place a lot of the blame with the Paul Hamilton who was the football manager at the time. He wouldn’t come out and say who his favourite Geelong player was, but it was pretty clear that Matthew Scarlett was right up there. Maybe that is linked to Scarlett growing up an Essendon supporter! However, he did have a few disparaging things to say about Essendon as has been reported in the media. I don’t know if I am all that happy with that as those things should be kept in house. Maybe I’ll read the book.
Have a great weekend!