Last year, I noted that The Age has been making a list of the 50 greatest footy players of all time, based upon the opinions of Bob Davis, Ron Carter, Ron Barassi, Ken Hands and Tom Hafey. Because I love lists of any sort, I have been really curious about this one, because like the list of John Woodcock in the 1998 Wisden, it shattered preconceived notions I had possessed.
Today, searching for comments on that list (I am wont to see what people think about every list that seriously garners my attention), I found this list by longtime footy commentator Mike Sheahan. The surprising thing is that with three exceptions it is the same as the Top 50 of the others. The three players Sheahan included that were omitted later were:
- Len Thompson
- Syd Coventry
- Albert Collier
- Robert Harvey
Three of these were Collingwood players, which leads one to think there might have been bias detected in Sheahan's list by Davis, Carter, Barassi, Hands or Hafey. The players omitted were:
- Horrie Clover
- Reg Hickey
- Allan La Fontaine
- Dave McNamara
This suggests that the judges realised Sheahan's older players were too focused on Collingwood, so that some correction had to be made. Neither Len Thompson nor Albert Collier were even listed as "Near Misses" in the later Top 50, though a few readers thought "Big Len" deserved inclusion with one saying he was the best player from 1971 to 1975.