Thursday, August 11, 2016

History Lesson

So Mason Cox was back in the lineup for Collingwood. He managed to kick a couple of goals but his shoulder was wrapped pretty well and it was plain to see it was bothering him. The up and down season of the Pies continues with a 15-point loss to the Richmond Tigers, who are struggling this season. Last year Richmond had a big streak to close out the season, winning like their last nine to qualify for the postseason. They're not having similar fortune this season.

My other match of the week was the Western Bulldogs qualifying for the eight with a win over North Melbourne. The Kangaroos can still make it, but Western sealed their trip to the postseason. It's pretty remarkable work by the Bulldogs since they've lost a lot of players to injury this season, including their captain Robert Murphy very early in the season.

Last week I wrote about Matthew Pavlich and Brent Harvey, and I saw some St Kilda highlights the other day and another player was wearing the old #7 jumper that Lenny Hayes wore before retiring in 2014. Those things made me think about how AFL teams honor their great players of the past, because Hayes was prominent on those two hard-luck Saints teams in 2009-10 and it didn't take long for someone else to put on his old guernsey.

I get it that there are only so many to go around and that you can't retire everyone's number, hang them from the rafters, put them on the ring of honor or whatever. There are 18 AFL teams and many teams share different venues such as Etihad or the MCG. That makes it tough honor past players in any of those ways.

Geography plays a role, since in the area of Melbourne, Victoria, you have the teams Carlton, Richmond, Collingwood, Essendon, Melbourne, Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs, and North Melbourne all within a very close proximity of one another. That's almost half of the 18 teams in the competition. A park for each of those sides isn't practical. In fact, I find it amazing that there's such strong fan support for teams that are so close geographically.

Stateside the situation is different. Teams don't share a venue unless it's a situation like the Seattle Seahawks/Sounders. In a league of X number of teams, there are X stadiums nationwide, so honoring past players by putting their names/numbers on display is easier. Each team gets to do their own thing.

I have noticed that individual AFL teams each do a great job of preserving histories on their own websites. There are a lot of 'teams of the century' from the older clubs, as well as naming of all players to wear a specific guernsey number, premiership seasons, and such. So it's nice to see these things told, retold, and preserved.

On tap for this week-- three weeks left in the 2016 home and away season. Geelong at Richmond, and North Melbourne at Hawthorn. The Hawks dropped one to Melbourne last week and are now just one game clear of four other sides at the top of the ladder. I saw one prediction list them as falling to fifth by the end of the season. Their percentage isn't as good as the teams below them, and they've got questions regarding injury and suspension. Should be fun.

Play on!

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