Since I could kick a ball in Auskick, I’ve always been the smallest in my team. Not by a mile, but nonetheless I’ve always held a distinct height and weight disadvantage over my fellow teammates. I like to think that I’ve never let that trouble me. In what I lose in marking ability and hitouts, I gain with my speed and tackling.
And that is why I love Australian Rules so much. Unlike Basketball or Rugby, footy has a unique ability to be able to include all types of players. From all backgrounds, all shapes and sizes are welcomed, and every skill can add value to the team.
Brent Harvey proved that fact right on the weekend. Standing at a towering 167cm (5.4 ft in old language), he became the first ever Roo to reach 350 games.
Back in the 1995 draft, he was picked at number 47. Since then, he has seen the team officially change names in 1999 to the ‘Kangaroos‘, and then back again to ‘North Melbourne’ in 2008. At 35 this year, his career has stretched 16 years and 267 days. A stellar job that features 188 winning games (2nd to Fletcher on 218 currently) 414 goals, 18 finals games and he’s kicked the ball 4618 times! (The most of any other player in the AFL currently)
In other news…
Collingwood have produced a comprehensive victory last Friday as they tore apart Brisbane Lions at the Gabba. The Magpies ran out 49 point victors in their 6th win for the season. It was Collingwood’s 1st win interstate after losing the previous 3, even though the Pies have actually won 16 of their last 20 matches interstate. But since 1986, it is only the 6th time they’ve won at the venue in 17 games.
On the other side, the defeat was the Lion’s 4th loss at home this year from 5 games. Their 7.9.51 was their equal lowest score ever of 40 meetings with Collingwood. On a lighter note, in this game, the Lions kicked their scored their 57,000th point during this match (they have conceded 59,887 points total during this time) and the 26,626 that attended the Brisbane Cricket Ground notched the total attendance at this venue to 6,001,092 in 251 games.
The win for Collingwood meant they now sit 8th on the 2013 ladder. As Eddie McGuire pointed out on the Fox Footy telecast, it becomes the first time since round 19, 2001 where the ‘Big 4′ Victorian teams are all within the top 8 of the competition.
Just in case you happened to have the sensory abilities of Helen Keller, last round, Geelong’s Skilled Stadium had it’ 1st ever game for premiership points under lights. It was the 624th game ever at the venue. Until the last quarter, Gold Coast were looking like they could’ve taken the upset of the year. The scores were drawn at 9.10.64 at three quarter time, until the cats kicked 9 goals in the last term to win by 52 points.
Geelong coach, Chris Scott qualified for his AFL Life Membership when he participated in his 300th match. He was a Geelong coach 70 games and as a Brisbane player for 228. He also played 2 international games.
The home victory was the Cat’s 8th consecutive win at Kardinia Park, and their 37th win from the last 38 matches (average margin 58 points). It became the biggest winning margin in a match where scores were even at 1/4 and 3/4 time. The losing margin of 52 points was the largest for the Gold Coast this year. The crowd of 30,082 was the highest at Kardinia Park since they played Essendon in round 21, 1993 (32,808).
Carlton took on GWS at the Docklands in what was expected to be an easy win for the Bluebaggers. This proved to be true as Carlton easily accounted for the Giants, defeating them by a margin of 94 points.
This year’s number 1 draft pick, Lachie Whitfield, received this round’s Rising Star nomination after his 21 disposal, 5 tackle game. It was the Giants’ 4th consecutive defeat by 80 points or more, and it was also their 4th match (2 this year, 2 last year) where they’ve lost each quarter by 15 points or more.
As Footystats have pointed out, Kevin Sheedy has coached against Mick Malthouse for the 47th time in their coaching careers. This now equals the record of games coached currently held by Tom Hafey and Ron Barassi from 1986 (R1 – Carlton v Richmond) to 1985 (R18 – Geelong v Melbourne). During this long run, Sheedy (Essendon 1981-2007 and GWS 2012-current) and Malthouse (Footscray 1984-1989, West Coast 1990-1999, Collingwood 2000-2011, and Carlton 2013-current) have seen 7 premierships combined. Sheedy is currently winning the head to head battle with 27 wins to 20.
But the round belonged to our beloved Boomer. Much has been published before about the increasing size of footballers in recent years, but in this week’s graph, I thought I’d aresearch into the great small players of recent times. And I ended up with some interesting figures…
Jim “Nipper” Bradford who played 7 games with Collingwood in 1943 and 9 with North Melbourne in 1949 measured up as the shortest player to ever in the VFL/AFL standing at 152cm.
Footscray great, Tony Liberatore is the smallest ever player to win the Brownlow Medal. In 1990, he stood at 163cms.
According to the AFL Record Season Guide, the average height of every current AFL player is 188cm and weighs 87kg.
But according to old records I’ve found, Brent Harvey was 172cm in 2007, and 167cm in 2013. Either someone’s measuring tape has grown or Boomer has actually lost 5cm in 6 years!
Anyways, here’s a look at how past greats have stacked up for size…
EDIT: Peter Bell’s ‘Rising Star Winner 1996’ should say ‘Rising Star Nomination’
Don’t let em keep you down,