Before that One Day in September, before the face-paint’s applied and the Grand Final Breakfast’s eaten, before the blue carpet and the WAGs and football’s night of nights … is it possible that we need to just take a moment? Because we’re not 100% sure that old Chas Brownlow’s idea of ‘fairest and best’ means exactly the same thing in 2013.
Best on ground is all well and good, but footy used to be more about pep-talks than peptides. What are the real measures of greatness: in the players and the clubs, the coaches and the administrators, the umpires and the fans. If we’re nominating champions across the game, shouldn’t we be factoring in on- and off-field performance in equal measure?
The irrepressible Sam Pang will chair a panel of footy experts including Age journalists Tim Lane and Jake Niall, and star coach Peta Searle.
Jake Niall is a senior sports writer at the Age, specialising in AFL football.
Peta Searle is an Australian Rules football coach. The Port Melbourne assistant coach to Gary Ayers during the team’s 2012 VFL title defence, she was subsequently named head coach for the Western Bulldogs Women’s team.
Sam Pang is a writer, presenter and broadcaster. His television credits include the hugely popular Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever and SBS’s coverage of The Eurovision Song Contest.
Tim Lane has been broadcasting and writing about sport for more than 40 years. He spent three decades with the ABC covering football and international cricket, and worked at five Olympic Games. Today, he writes a weekly column for the Sunday Age and continues to broadcast AFL games and cricket on 3AW.