Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Australian FootBall (AFL)

While on the field, just in one agonizing moment half of the crowd is sent into despair and the remaining half into ecstasy. The fans may belong to different backgrounds, but for more than 100 years now, they have been bonded together by the fortunes of their teams.

The passion for Australian football, over the past 120 years, has bred a national obsession. It has made some men heroes, some villains and some both. Probably no game in Australian can cram into the short space of 2 hours more thrills and yells, than a well-contested final of AFL.

Of all the gladiators in more than 100 years of Australian League Football, probably the most notorious has been Jack Dyer. The mere mention of his name sends shivers down the spine. Dyer carved his legend alongside Don Bradman through years of commentary and coaching of hungry young boys, who in turn have seized their place in AFL's history.

The Grand Final is Australian Football's ultimate day. This is the time when brave deeds become epics. It's a never-to-surrender moment till the premiership is won.

The game that has produced so many champions was first played in the 1850s, and by 1896 eight prosperous clubs had chosen to take part in the first ever AFL. And since then, the game has bonded the nation through depressions, recessions and everything in between. The club's anthem has even been played at the funeral of a few legends of the game.

John Coleman was Australian football's shooting star. With 10 goals in his first game and 100 in his first season, he became a magnet for the crowd. For those who were lucky enough to be Coleman's teammates, none ever equalled Coleman.

Lou Richards (Collingwood - 1941-55) recalls John Coleman saying "If he (John Coleman) had played at any other position, he would (still) have been a star".

Of all the wild men and personalities in AFL, only one man made it to the big-screen as a real bush-ranger. Carlton Captain Bob Chitty needed no coaching to play the roles of wild-men in movies. Chitty had horrified in foes in the football's most notorious game. He was one amongst the nine men involved in the infamous bloodbath of AFL in 1945. Two years later, Carlton won a less spiteful final.

Football today is tough as ever, but is less violent than it was at any time in the last 120 years. In these years, fans have loved and witnessed feats of bravery and acts of lunacy. And of all the controversies, few have inspired as much folklore as the Hudson-Leon clash in the 1971 final between Hawthorn and St Kilda.

The umpires never had it easy on the ground and to have peace with the wildmen on the field was hard. The biggest change came in the 1980s when football authorities responded to community attitude by getting tougher on violence. The most dramatic penalties was handed to one of the game's greatest - Leigh Mathews, for his on-field blow to an opponent. He was charged in a civil court and convicted of assault.

Of all the news surrounding the Australian Football, the one that rocked Melbourne most was on a Friday night in 1965. Norman Smith who had coached Melbourne to six premierships in eleven years, received a note saying that he is fired. In those days Norm Smith was the super coach. And even though he was re-instated, he was never the same. Melbourne Football Club's performance also saw a dramatic fall.

The first ever live telecast of the Australian league final was in 1977 and the results were very positive. The grand final was a draw and had to be replayed a week later.

No comments:

Post a Comment