Simon Black is a former Australian rules football player and current assistant coach, who played his whole career with the Brisbane Lions in the Australian Football League. Black was a midfielder with a reputation for hard skill, he had the ability to get under the pack to retrieve the ball as well as deliver it with precision to teammates. He was drafted by the Brisbane Lions in 1997 from the East Fremantle Football Club, he debuted in the first game of the 1998 season and became one of Brisbane's best players, he won the 2002 Brownlow Medal, the 2003 Norm Smith Medal and the 2001, 2002, 2006 Merrett-Murray Medals awarded to the best and fairest player with the Brisbane Lions and three premiership medallions he received as a part of the Lions' hat-trick of premierships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Black and fellow Brisbane midfielders Michael Voss, Nigel Lappin and Jason Akermanis became one of the most well regarded midfield combinations in the league during that time, were known as the'Fab Four'.
Black is serving as the Contest Skills and Midfield Coach at the Brisbane Lions. Born in Mount Isa, Queensland, he relocated to Western Australia with his family at a young age, where he attended school at Corpus Christi College in Bateman, he was a standout junior 800m and 1500m runner as a junior. At age 15 he suffered a back injury, he joined East Fremantle Football Club and represented Western Australia in the 1997 edition of the AFL Under 18 Championships where he earned All-Australian honours. He was a member of East Fremantle's losing 1997 WAFL Grand Final team. Black was drafted by the Brisbane Lions with the 31st selection in the 1997 National Draft. Black was impressive during the 1998 pre-season and earned his senior debut in Round 1 against the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba, he played nine senior matches and averaged over 12 disposals during his debut season and took out the Club’s Best First Year Player award. In 1999, he consolidated himself as an automatic senior selection and built a reputation for winning the ball in contested situations.
He collected 20 possessions and kicked two goals against Geelong in Round 9 which earned him an AFL Rising Star Nomination. He played 22 matches for the season and averaged close to 19 disposals and won the Lions' Rookie of the Year award for the second consecutive season. In 2000, he averaged 23.9 disposals per game, led the competition in centre clearances on a per game basis and finished second behind Geelong’s Garry Hocking in hard-ball gets. Black became one of the league's elite midfielders from 2001. Over the following four years and the Lions contested four Grand Finals, winning the premiership in 2001, 2002 and 2003, finishing runner-up in 2004. During that time, Black was part of a Brisbane midfield combination, considered to be one of the best in the league's history: Black, Michael Voss, Jason Akermanis and Nigel Lappin, who became known collectively as the "Fab Four". In 2001, Black played every match for the season, led the AFL in tackles and averaged a team-high 24.6 possessions.
He was joint Club Champion with Captain Michael Voss, was named as the starting ruck-rover in the All-Australian team, finished 5th in the AFLPA's Most Valuable Player award, won the Herald Sun Player of the Year award. He represented Australia for the first and only time of his career in the 2001 International Rules Series against Ireland. In 2002, Black won the Brownlow Medal, polling 25 votes to beat second placed Josh Francou by four votes and comparisons were made between him and dual Brownlow Medallist Greg Williams because of his outstanding peripheral vision and ability to get the contested ball, he earned All-Australian selection and won the Merrett-Murray Medal for the second consecutive season. He was strong again in 2003, won the Norm Smith Medal as best on ground in the Grand Final with a career-best 39 possessions – the most recorded by any player in a Grand Final. In 2004, Black became a vice-captain of the Lions, he won All-Australian selection for the third time in his career.
At the end of the season, Black had played a sequence of 107 consecutive matches for Brisbane, before a suspension in the violent 2004 AFL Grand Final ended the sequence. Black's 2005 season was interrupted by injury, but in 2006 he played every match, won the third Merrett-Murray Medal of his career. At the beginning of 2007, Black was named as named one of the four Lions co-captains, replacing the retiring captain Michael Voss. In 2007 and 2008, Black continued to be Brisbane's premier midfielder, he finished second in the Brownlow Medal in both seasons, he earned Brisbane Lions Life Membership at the end of his tenth season of service. He was the Courier Mail Player of the Year in 2008, was runner-up in the 2008 Merrett-Murray medal. In 2009, new coach Michael Voss named Jonathan Brown as the sole captain of the club, Black remained in the leadership group, he had another consistent season in 2010. In 2012, Black played his 300th AFL game, becoming the first player in league history to win a Brownlow Medal, a Norm Smith Medal, a Premiership Medal and play 300 games.
In 2013, Black equalled Marcus Ashcroft's record for the most games played for the Brisbane Bears/Lions playing his 318th game. On 18 October 2013, Black announced his retirement from the AFL. Shortly after announcing his retirement from the AFL, Black signed on as an assistant coach at the Lions for two years, his main focus is coaching the team's forward attacking systems. In 2016, Black founded the Simon Black Australian Rules Academy, a full time sport and educational progra
Essendon Football Club
The Essendon Football Club, nicknamed the Bombers, is a professional Australian rules football club that plays in the Australian Football League, the sport's premier competition. Thought to have formed in 1872, the club played its first recorded game on 7 June 1873 against a Carlton Second 20, winning 1 goal to nil; the club played a senior club in the Victorian Football Association in 1878, one year after the VFA formed. It is associated with Essendon, a suburb in the north-west of Melbourne, Victoria. Since 2013, the club has been headquartered at The Hangar, Melbourne Airport, plays its home games at either Docklands Stadium or the Melbourne Cricket Ground. While it stopped playing games at the ground thereafter, Windy Hill remained its training and administration base until the end of 2013. Dyson Heppell is the current team captain. A founding member club of both the Victorian Football Association, in 1877, the Victorian Football League, in 1896, Essendon is one of Australia's best-known football clubs.
Essendon has won 16 VFL/AFL premierships, along with Carlton, is the most of any club in the competition. The club won four consecutive VFA premierships between 1891 and 1894, a feat unmatched in VFA/VFL history; the club was founded by members of the Royal Agricultural Society, the Melbourne Hunt Club and the Victorian Woolbrokers. The Essendon Football Club is thought to have formed in 1872 at a meeting it the home of a well-known brewery family, the McCrackens, whose Ascot Vale property hosted a team of local junior players. Robert McCracken, the owner of several city hotels, was the founder and first president of the Essendon Football club and his son, its first secretary. Alex became president of the newly formed VFL. Alex's cousin, Collier McCracken, who had played with Melbourne, was the team's first captain; the club played its first recorded match against the Carlton second twenty on 7 June 1873, with Essendon winning by one goal. Essendon played 13 matches in its first season, losing two.
The club was one of the inaugural junior members of the Victorian Football Association in 1877, began competing as a senior club from the 1878 season. During its early years in the Association, Essendon played its home matches at Flemington Hill, but moved to the East Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1881. In 1878, Essendon played in the first match on what would be considered by modern standards to be a full-sized field at Flemington Hill. In 1879 Essendon played Melbourne in one of the earliest night matches recorded when the ball was painted white. In 1883 the team played four matches in eight days in Adelaide: losing to Norwood, defeating Port Adelaide, a combined South Australian team, South Adelaide. In 1891 Essendon won their first VFA premiership, which they repeated in 1892, 1893 and 1894. One of the club's greatest players, Albert Thurgood played for the club during this period, making his debut in 1892. Essendon was undefeated in the 1893 season. At the end of the 1896 season Essendon along with seven other clubs formed the Victorian Football League.
Essendon's first VFL game was in 1897 was against Geelong at Corio Oval in Geelong. Essendon won its first VFL premiership by winning the 1897 VFL finals series. Essendon again won the premiership in 1901; the club won successive premierships in 1911 and 1912 over Collingwood and South Melbourne respectively. The club is recorded as having played at Glass' Paddock and Flemington Hill, it is that these are three different names for the one ground, given that McCracken's Paddock was a parcel of land that sat within the larger Glass's Paddock which in turn was situated in an area known at the time as Flemington Hill. In 1882 the club moved home games to the East Melbourne Cricket Ground, after an application to play on the Essendon Cricket Ground was voted down by Lord Mayor James Taylor on the basis that City of Essendon the mayor considered the Essendon Cricket Ground "to be suitable only for the gentleman's game of cricket",The club became known by the nickname "the Same Old Essendon", from the title and hook of the principal song performed by a band of supporters which occupied a section of the grandstand at the club's games.
The nickname first appeared in print in the local North Melbourne Advertiser in 1889, ended up gaining wide use as the diminutive "Same Olds". This move away from Essendon, at a time when fans would walk to their local ground, didn't go down too well with many Essendon people, it was known firstly as Essendon Town and, after 1905, as Essendon. After the 1921 season, the East Melbourne Cricket Ground was closed and demolished to expand the Flinders Street Railyard. Having played at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground from 1882 to 1921, having won four VFA premierships and four VFL premierships whilst there, Essendon was looking for a new home, was offered grounds at the current Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, at Victoria Park, at Arden St, North Melbourne, the Essendon Cricket Ground; the Essendon City Council offered the team the Essendon Cricket Ground, announcing that it would be pre
Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is the pre-eminent professional competition of Australian rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL serves as the sport's governing body, is responsible for controlling the laws of the game; the league was founded as the Victorian Football League as a breakaway from the previous Victorian Football Association, with its inaugural season commencing in 1897. Comprising only teams based in the Australian state of Victoria, the competition's name was changed to the Australian Football League for the 1990 season, after expanding to other states throughout the 1980s; the league consists of 18 teams spread over five of Australia's six states. Matches have been played in all states and mainland territories of Australia, as well as in New Zealand and China to promote the sport abroad; the AFL season consists of a pre-season competition, followed by a 23-round regular season, which runs during the Australian winter. The team with the best record after the home-and-away series is awarded the "minor premiership."
The top eight teams play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFL Grand Final, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground each year. The grand final winner is termed the "premiers", is awarded the premiership cup; the current premiers are the West Coast Eagles. The Victorian Football Association was established in 1877 and went on to become Victoria's major Australian rules football competition. During the 1890s, an off-field power struggle occurred between the VFA's stronger and weaker clubs, the former seeking greater administrative control commensurate with their relative financial contribution to the game; this came to a head in 1896 when it was proposed that gate profits, which were always lower in matches involving the weaker clubs, be shared amongst all teams in the VFA. After it was intimated that the proposal would be put to a vote, six of the strongest clubs—Collingwood, Fitzroy, Geelong and South Melbourne—seceded from the VFA, invited Carlton and St Kilda to join them in founding a new competition, the Victorian Football League.
The remaining VFA clubs—Footscray, North Melbourne, Port Melbourne and Williamstown—were given the opportunity to compete as a junior sides at a level beneath the VFL, but rejected the offer and remained for the 1897 VFA season. The VFL's inaugural season occurred in 1897, it made several innovations early on to entice the public's interest, including an annual finals tournament, rather than awarding the premiership to the team with the best record through the season. Although the VFL and the VFA continued to compete for spectator interest for many years, the VFL established itself as the premier competition in Victoria. In 1908, the league expanded to ten teams, with Richmond crossing from the VFA and University Football Club from the Metropolitan Football Association. University, after three promising seasons, finished last each year from 1911 until 1914, including losing 51 matches in a row; as a result, the club withdrew from the VFL at the end of 1914. Beginning sporadically during the late 1890s and from 1907 until World War I, the VFL premier and the premier of the South Australian Football League met in a playoff match for the Championship of Australia.
South Australia's Port Adelaide was the most successful club of the competition winning three titles during the period along with an earlier victory. In 1925, the VFL expanded from nine teams to twelve, with Footscray and North Melbourne each crossing from the VFA. North Melbourne and Hawthorn remained weak in the VFL for a long period. Although North Melbourne would become the first of the 1925 expansion sides to reach a Grand Final in 1950 it was Footscray that adapted to the VFL with the most ease of the three clubs, by 1928 were well off the bottom of the ladder. Between the years of 1927 and 1930, Collingwood became the first, only VFL team, to win four successive Premierships. In 1952, the VFL hosted ` National Day'. Matches were played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Brisbane Exhibition Ground, North Hobart Oval, Albury Sports Ground and Victorian country towns Yallourn and Euroa. Footscray became the first of the 1925 expansion teams to win the premiership in 1954. Melbourne became a powerhouse during the 1950s and early 1960s under coach Norm Smith and star player Ron Barassi.
The club contested seven consecutive grand finals from 1954 to 1960, winning five premierships, including three in a row from 1955 to 1957. Television coverage began with direct telecasts of the final quarter permitted. At first, several channels competed through broadcasting different games. However, when the VFL found that television was reducing crowds, it decided that no coverage was to be allowed for 1960. In 1961, replays were introduced although direct telecasts were permitted in Melbourne. In 1959, the VFL planned the first purpose built mega-stadium, VFL Park, to give it some independence from the Melbourne Crick
Adelaide Football Club
The Adelaide Football Club, nicknamed the Crows, is a professional Australian rules football club that competes in the Australian Football League. The club is based in Adelaide, South Australia, playing its home matches at Adelaide Oval; the club has its training and administration base at Football Park in West Lakes, where it played home matches between 1991 and 2013. The club song is "The Pride of South Australia", to the tune of the Marines' Hymn; the Crows were formed in 1990 to be the'state team' to represent South Australia in the AFL. They were owned by the South Australian National Football League, before gaining independence, they played their first season in 1991. They won both the 1997 and 1998 Grand Finals, have appeared in 15 finals series in their 28-year history; the club is co-captained by Taylor Walker and Rory Sloane and coached by Don Pyke. Walker was appointed captain prior to the 2015 season, While Sloane joined Walker as co-captains at the beginning of the 2019 season while Pyke permanently succeeded the late Phil Walsh as head coach in October 2015.
After the VFL was renamed the AFL for the 1990 season, the SANFL clubs unanimously resolved, in May 1990, that a team would not be entered into the AFL until season 1993. The AFL refused to accept this, revised negotiations with individual clubs Port Adelaide and Norwood. Two months the Port Adelaide Football Club reached terms of agreement with the AFL to enter a team into its competition in season 1991; the other nine SANFL clubs reacted and entered into litigation in an endeavour to halt Port's bid. As the terms offered were more favourable than offered, talks were resumed. On 19 September 1990, the AFL approved the bid for a new South Australian club to enter to the league, rather than a single existing SANFL club; the Adelaide Crows played their first season in the AFL in 1991. Inaugural coach Graham Cornes and captain Chris McDermott led Adelaide to a respectable ninth place out of 15 in the league, with 10 wins and 12 losses and a percentage of 89.44. Adelaide's first AFL game was against Hawthorn on Friday 22 March at their home ground, Football Park.
The Crows defeated the eventual premiers by a hefty 86-point margin, winning 24.11 to 9.15. The club reached its first finals series in the 1993 AFL season losing to Essendon in the preliminary final; the year 1997 marked the entry of Port Adelaide. The Crows finished fourth to qualify for its first finals series since 1993, hosted fifth-placed West Coast in the First Elimination Final. In the first final to be played at Football Park, the Crows won 14.15 to 9.12. The next week, Adelaide benefited from the finals system in use at the time and hosted the higher ranked Geelong, who had finished two places above the Crows but were forced to play away due to losing the previous week to North Melbourne; the Crows won narrowly in a controversial match, where a clear forward 50 mark to Geelong's Leigh Colbert during a critical stage of the third quarter was not awarded by field umpire Grant Vernon. Final scores: Adelaide 11.10 to Geelong 9.14. This set up an away Preliminary Final against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG.
Despite losing Coleman Medallist Tony Modra, who had kicked 84 goals for the season, to an ACL injury in the first quarter and trailing by 31 points at half time, the Crows kicked four unanswered goals in the last quarter to record a two-point victory, 12.21 to 13.13, with Darren Jarman kicking a goal to put Adelaide in front with less than two minutes remaining. This allowed the Crows to qualify for their first AFL Grand Final, to be played against St Kilda at the MCG a week later. St Kilda, chasing just their second premiership in VFL/AFL history, were warm favourites to win the Grand Final, having come first in the minor round and won both of their finals by margins of 46 and 31 points, against an Adelaide side without Tony Modra, Mark Ricciuto and goalsneak Peter Vardy due to injury. However, the Crows again overcame a half-time deficit, kicking 14 second-half goals to win by 31 points, 19.11 to 13.16. Darren Jarman kicked six goals, five of which came in the last quarter, whilst utility Shane Ellen kicked a career-best five and Troy Bond kicked four.
Andrew McLeod, who gathered 31 possessions across half-back and in the midfield, won the Norm Smith Medal for the best player on-field in the Grand Final. The win is arguably one of the finest moments in South Australian sporting history. Few expected the Crows to defend their premiership the following year. Adelaide struggled in close matches during the 1998 AFL season; the Crows were well beaten by Melbourne in the qualifying final at the MCG by 48 points, at the time, looked far from a premiership threat. Since season 2000, a loss in the finals by a team outside the top four would result in instant elimination, but the Crows benefited from a quirk in the McIntyre finals system, in use during the 90's and still progressed to the second week, drawn to play a semi final against the Sydney Swans at the SCG; the Crows bounced back from their disappointing first finals loss and recorded a comprehensive upset 27 point win against the Swans in the wet, which set up a Preliminary Final rematch against the Western Bulldogs.
Despite going into the match as underdogs, the Crows played some of their best football of the year to soundly beat the Dogs by 68 points - 24.17 to 13.15. It was a complete contrast to the thriller that took place the previous year, with Matthew Robran kicking six goals an
AFL Grand Final
The AFL Grand Final is an annual Australian rules football match, traditionally held on the final Saturday in September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia, to determine the Australian Football League premiers for that year. The game has become significant to Australian culture, spawning a number of traditions and surrounding activities which have grown in popularity since the interstate expansion of the Victorian Football League in the 1980s and the subsequent creation of the national AFL competition in the 1990s; the 2006 Sweeney Sports Report concluded that the AFL Grand Final has become Australia's most important sporting event, with the largest attendance, metropolitan television audience and overall interest of any annual Australian sporting event. The winning club of the grand final receives the premiership flag. All players in the winning team receive a gold premiership medallion; every club has played in the grand final, with the exception of the two recent expansion clubs, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney, two former clubs, the short-lived University and Brisbane Bears.
The concept of a "grand" final evolved from experimentation by the Victorian Football League in the initial years of competition following its inception in 1897. During the 19th century, Australian football competition adopted the approach that the team on top of the ladder at the end of the home-and-away series was declared the premiers. However, the fledgling VFL decided that a finals series played between the top four teams at the end of the season would generate more interest and gate money. For 1897, the VFL scheduled a round robin tournament whereby the top four played each other once and the team that won the most matches was declared the winner. However, this method had flaws, so the VFL continued to experiment, playing "section" matches after the regular season and a finals series where first on the ladder played the third team and second met fourth; the winners of these "semi" finals met in a final to decide the premiership. The first such final was contested in 1898 between the Essendon Football Club and Fitzroy Football Club at the St Kilda Cricket Ground, which Fitzroy won scoring 5.8 to Essendon's 3.5.
The second finals format was discarded by the VFL after the unsatisfactory conclusion to the 1900 VFL season, where Melbourne won the premiership after having finished sixth out of the eight teams after the home-and-away season with a record of 6-8. The new finals system caused problems in 1901 when Geelong finished on top of the ladder but was eliminated when defeated in the semi final. A "right of challenge" was introduced, giving the team that finished on top at the end of the regular season the right to challenge if they lost the semi final or the final; this challenge match came to be called the "grand final". The first four grand finals were scattered around various Melbourne venues: one at Albert Park, two at St Kilda's Junction Oval and one at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground; the selection of the venue could depend on the portion of the gate demanded by the ground's landlords. The public remained ambivalent to the concept of finals football until the VFL pulled off a coup in 1902; the MCG was unavailable to football in the early spring months as it was being prepared for the coming cricket season.
The VFL convinced the Melbourne Cricket Club to rent the ground for the finals series and the first grand final at what is today considered the home of the game attracted more than 35,000 people to watch Collingwood down Essendon. The success of the finals at the MCG was proven with big attendances every year, soon all the major competitions around Australia were employing what was known as the "amended Argus system" of finals; the "original Argus system" had been instituted by the VFL in 1901, the amended system was instituted by the VFL in 1902. By 1908, a new record attendance of 50,261 was set, on a day when the crowd was so huge that it broke through the fence and filed onto the ground, sitting around the boundary line to watch the action; this figure was beaten in the 1912 Grand Final. The big finals crowds prompted the MCC to cut down the eleven fifty-year-old elm trees inside the ground and turn the stadium into a concrete bowl, complete with extra stands and standing room; the record fell again in the last grand final before World War I, when the excitement of St Kilda's first premiership attempt drew 59,479 spectators.
The war had a considerable effect on the impact of the grand final and attendances plummeted. One critic called for the Carlton team to receive the Iron Cross after they defeated Collingwood in the thrilling 1915 Grand Final dubbed a "glorious contest" by famous coach Jack Worrall, but many diggers supported the continuance of the game, both the 1918 and 1919 grand finals were notable for the large number of Australian servicemen in attendance, many of whom wore uniform. During the 1920s, the VFL grappled with the problems associated with the "amended Argus system" that a true grand final was not played if the minor premier won both the semi final and the final. Although new attendance records were set in 1920 and 1922, these were for the semi finals, which drew bigger crowds than the grand final. There was no grand final in 1924; the league reverted to the "amended Argus system" for 1925, when t
Australian Football League pre-season competition
The Australian Football League pre-season competition, known during its history by a variety of sponsored names and most as the AFL Pre-season Challenge, was an annual Australian rules football tournament held amongst Australian Football League senior clubs prior to the premiership season between 1988 and 2013. The pre-season competition culminated annually in a Grand pre-season premier. After the 2013 season, the pre-season competition has consisted of a series of matches without an eventual winner; this series is known by the name JLT Community Series. The pre-season competition was established from the Australian Football Championships Night Series in 1988; the Night Series had been a competition featuring VFL, SANFL, WAFL and minor states representative teams, staged in the pre-season and during the premiership season finishing in July. In 1988, the competition was moved into the pre-season, became the VFL Pre-season Cup; the pre-season competition is considered to be of equivalent importance as both the AFC Night Series and the VFL Night Series, records relating to the three competitions are combined.
Between 1988 and 1999, the competition was run as a simple knock-out tournament in which the winning teams moved through to the next round and losing teams were eliminated. Before there were sixteen teams in the AFL, the previous season's top ranked teams were advanced directly to the second round. In 1992, the competition introduced the Michael Tuck Medal for the best player in the grand final. After criticism that the knock-out format limited the preparation of the losing teams, a round-robin format was introduced in 2000; the sixteen teams were split into groups of four, each playing three pool matches with the winner of each group advancing to the knockout semi-final stage. The public reaction to the change was mixed, as the atmosphere at some of the pool games was noticeably flat compared with previous years; the competition reverted to the straight knock-out format in 2003, retained that format until 2010. In 2011, the pre-season competition expanded to eighteen teams with the addition of the Gold Coast Suns and the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
Over the following three years, the first round of the pre-season competition was staged with six pools of three teams, with each group playing a round-robin of half-length lightning matches on the same day at the same venue. The format from that point was: In 2011, the winner of each of the six groups, the two teams with the next-best records, advanced to an eight-team knock-out tournament of full-length games. In 2012 and 2013, all teams played two pre-scheduled full-length games, giving each team a total of four matches; the teams with the best two records over the four matches faced off in the Grand Final. Since 2014, the competitive aspect of the preseason was abandoned altogether, replaced with a series of discrete practice matches spanning a three-to-four week period prior to the home-and-away season; this format features overall winner. It does retain some of the experimental features of the former competition, including the super goal. Since 2017, the series has been known as the JLT Community Series.
Most games during the pre-season competition, including the final, were night. Normal games were played short of full-length, with an extended interchange bench of six or eight players to offer less physically demanding conditions for the pre-season games. Lightning matches, when they were played from 2011 until 2013, were played over two halves of 20 minutes plus time-on. Extra time was played to resolve drawn knock-out games. Since 2003, pre-season matches have featured the super goal as a scoring option; the super goal, which scores nine points, is awarded for a goal kicked from beyond the 50-metre arc. In the 21st century, the pre-season competition was used to trial rule changes before they are introduced into the premiership season. Among the notable rule trials were: 2003Three points for a deliberate rushed behind.2005After a behind is scored, no requirement to wait for the goal umpires to finish waving their flags before kicking out. A larger centre circle. Four field umpires Umpires coming in 10m from the boundary line to throw in the ball.
Play on if the ball hits the goal post and bounces back into the field of play.2006Play on called for backward kicks, except when that kick takes place within the attacking team's forward 50m.2007Video replay umpire for goals. Ability for goal umpire decisions to be overruled by video umpire. All nine umpires able to pay free kicks Play on called for backward kicks, only in the defensive half of the field. Kick must travel 20m to be paid a mark.2008Eight players on the interchange bench, only 16 interchanges permitted each quarter. 2.5m x 6.5m "no-go" area around the centre bounce, where players are prohibited before and during the bounce until the umpire clears the area. Centre bounces only at the start of a quarter and after goals, ball is thrown up otherwise. 2009If the ball is hand-passed or kicked for a
Edward James Whitten OAM better known as Ted Whitten or E. J. Whitten, was an Australian rules footballer who represented Footscray in the Victorian Football League, Victoria in interstate football. Recognised as one of the game's all-time greatest players, he was one of twelve inaugural "Legends" inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame, in 1996, was voted captain and centre half-back in the AFL's Team of the Century. Nicknamed "Mr. Football", Whitten was a folk hero in Melbourne's working class western suburbs, admired not only for his footballing abilities, but his showmanship and larrikin streak, he played in Footscray's first VFL/AFL premiership in 1954, ended his senior career in 1970 having played 321 games, a VFL/AFL record that remained unbroken for four years. Apart from club-level football, Whitten was a significant exponent and promoter of State of Origin, representing his state in 29 matches. After retiring as a player, Whitten turned to coaching, continued to contribute to the game as a popular commentator and media personality.
Western Oval, the Footscray Football Club's home ground, was renamed Whitten Oval in his honour. His enthusiasm for State of Origin football is marked by the E. J. Whitten Legends Game, a charity match held annually since 1995. Whitten grew up in the western suburbs of Footscray in Melbourne; as a youth he played for Braybrook on Collingwood Amateurs on Sundays. Within 12 months he was playing for the team he had always supported. Whitten made his VFL debut in round 1, 1951, against Richmond at the Punt Road Oval and joined a special group of players by kicking a goal with his first kick. During the match, Don "Mopsy" Fraser, a notoriously volatile defender for Richmond, knocked Whitten out late in the third quarter. Whitten said that Fraser did him a favour that day, hardening his attitude and making him realise that League football was a no-nonsense game that only the toughest could succeed at. In Round 5 against St Kilda at the Western Oval, Whitten kicked two goals in a 28-point win, but suffered a serious injury to his left ankle.
Although his injury responded to treatment, Whitten would not play again until Round 8 against Geelong. He was a key member of Footscray's 1954 VFL Premiership victory, the club's only premiership until 2016. Whitten played his best football as a key position player, either at Centre Half Forward or Centre Half Back. Australian football writers Russell Holmesby and Jim Main described Whitten as a "prodigious kick, a flawless mark" and as having unequalled "ground and hand skills". With superb all-round skills, the extraordinary talent of being able to kick well with his right and left foot. On one occasion, playing against Richmond at Footscray, in the mid-1960s, he broke out of the ruck, to the left, from a centre bounce, ran two paces to balance himself, kicked a left-foot torpedo kick for a goal; the ball was returned to the centre and Whitten burst out of the pack, to the right, ran three paces and kicked a right-foot torpedo kick for a goal. One of the best exponents of the "flick pass", banned, Whitten was one of few football players to have the ability to play any position on the field.
He was regarded by his contemporaries in the 1950s and 1960s as the greatest talented player of his era. When Footscray refused the clearance, Whitten threatened to retire, the matter was only resolved when former teammate Jack Collins took over as club president and convinced Whitten to return and play under his former coach Charlie Sutton. With the demands of coaching and playing beginning to take a toll on his ageing body, Whitten was allowed by the Footscray committee to play four games in 1970 to break Dick Reynolds' longstanding VFL record of 320 games before he retired as a player, his 321st and final game was against Hawthorn at the Western Oval, a game which Footscray won by three points. He continued to coach Footscray until the end of the 1971 season, he coached Williamstown in the 1975 VFA season. As well as being a star player, Whitten was a passionate promoter of the game – in particular the State of Origin competition and captaining "The Big V" on many occasions, he was chairman of selectors for the state team after retiring from playing football.
He was a key promotional tool for the series featured promoting the Victorian team with his saying "Stick it right up'em", had a profound impact on the concept during his time being associated. A notable example of this, was before the 1983 game between Victoria and Western Australia, for the Australian Football Championships, a new format for the competition, in which Victoria had lost to South Australia, was on verge for the first time in history of losing all of its interstate matches in a year. On the bus ride to the ground Whitten sternly walked down the aisle, handed out cards which had the Victorian theme song, which hadn't been sung in at least 10 years, and began to start singing the song, with the players joining in, with soon being sung with feverish enthusiasm, with it being described the players had a tone in there voice of let's get these little bastards. He inspired many players during his time as a selector including Paul