Thursday, 3 July 2008

50 greatest footy players

Recent issues of The Age have contained details of who Bob Davis, Ron Carter, Ron Barassi, Ken Hands and Tom Hafey consider to be the 50 greatest players in the history of football.

II have had a long history of trying to dispute with my brother the effectiveness of "scientific" (ie. statistics-based) methods of determining who the best player in the league. Although I have given this up with old county cricket because I know that almost all the old English spin bowlers who made county cricket attractive were utterly hopeless on Australian pitches where they could get no spin, I have not ever tried to look at it seriously with footy - less so than with rugby actually.

Having once been bought a book Knights in Muddy Armour by my mother and actually seen Peter Knights at his peak in the 1970s, he is one player who was surprisingly omitted. Gary Ayres, who won two Norm Smith Medals at a time when I was a Hawthorn fan before finding that their success was due to a zoning system that essentially constituted a gerrymander, is another example from the same period, as is Paul Roos. My father recalls admiring Geelong's Bill Goggin, whom he thought one of the best players in football. Amongst older players, Melbourne's Ivor-Warne Smith, perhaps the predecessor to Knights and Roos, and Footscary centreman Allan Hopkins, are also missing, as is Norm Smith, whom it is thought would have won a Brownlow in 1943.

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