It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow. Like many my age, I’ve never known AFL football without Kevin Sheedy.

If I was to write down the achievements and contribution Kevin Sheedy has made to the greatest game on Earth, I’d probably exceed the bandwidth on the Bound For Glory News website. So instead, I just have to say this.

Kevin, thank you.

Football will have exposed you to all kinds of people from all kinds of life. From the people who you’ve met and from the people, like me, who you haven’t, thank you. From three football clubs. Two proud and one fledgling, thank you. Like a candle in the wind, you depart us with controlled arrogance, a wicked sense of humour, a near unprecedented record, a marvellous football brain and a figure of responsibility to so many people. Tomorrow’s match will not be remembered for it’s on-field occasion. But it will be remember for one man. Kevin, thank you and goodbye.

RICK & THE BANNISTERS

This is a story from many months ago, but deserves to be brought to light again. Rick Bannister’s accident has affected many people and sentiments remain true: live life every day like it is your last.

Rick lived and breathed that mantra, which makes the fact he will never walk again all the more affecting on friends and family.

On the day of Rick’s accident the Bannister gathered to hear the life-changing news. For the whole week, brothers Corey and Jordan (former Carlton and Essendon player and current AFL umpiring) never left Rick’s side. At their brother’s insistence, both reluctantly left his bedside on Saturday afternoon to play for Therry Penola Football Club against South Melbourne.

Seven days and cumulative seven hours sleep between the pair. Sleep deprived, physically and emotionally drained – many would’ve thrown the towel in.

Therry Penola kicked 16 goals to defeat South Melbourne by over 10 goals. Jordan kicked four of them, Corey 10 of them.

Life is bigger than football, but it is stories like these that remind us that our great game can bring communities, football clubs and families together.

REPPING REP FOOTY

It’s back on the table: representative football. I want it, you want it, the players want it and it appears it is coming back to stay. After last week’s strategic planning of the future of VFL fixturing, here are some further ideas for the AFL to consider:

  • Reduce home-and-away games from 23 to 17
  • Play three State of Origin games, with six states in three weeks
  • During these weeks the State games are stand-alone matches, all clubs have a bye (three for the year)
  • Players selected in the state sides are rested the previous week

The Lodgebook is of course happy to cop all criticism to the above dot points and cannot wait to hear the feedback.

HEAD COUNT SEES FRANKSTON LOSE THEIR HEADS

It can still happen at any level. A headcount early in the third quarter revealed the Frankston had 19 players on the field in the VFL Round 19 match against Werribee. Under league rules, their score to that point was reduced to zero in the aftermath. Michael Lourey, the Dolphins’ leading goal kicker for the season needed seven goals to clinch a maiden ‘Frosty’ Miller Medal. A teammate’s premature entrance onto the ground without anyone coming off was picked up quickly by Werribee officials, with Lourey stuck on 54 goals, five goals behind eventual winner, Port Melbourne’s Dean Galea.

IT’S OVER…

You all know exactly what I’m talking about. And okay, it’s not QUITE over. But let’s just all take a deep breath and just bring on the finals and Tim Rogers’ ads already.

WHAT THEY SAID

Mike Fitzpatrick: “No single club or individual is above our great game.” You busy Septmber 7, Fitz?

Andrew Demetriou showing genuine leadership: “If Stephen Dank wants to put his case forward to the AFL Commission, he’s more than welcome to. Because he’s got a lot to answer for.”

Dane Swan with accompanying photo of a dejected looking Brodie Grundy: “Poor old Brodie Grundy is feeling a little bit upset cause there was only one reporter at his Rising Star presser.”

Basil Zempalis finally demonstrating he’s picked up something from the great man Denis Cometti, during the St. Kilda/Fremantle game as Tom Hickey fumbled the footy: “Hard to explain what happened there with Hickey. Then again, it is always hard to explain a hickey.”

I bagged Caroline Wilson a few weeks ago, but she hit the nail on the head on Monday night’s Footy Classified: “Essendon has got to cut James Hird loose for the good of the game.”

Unlike Caro, Mark Thompson missed the nail and jammed his finger with the hammer: “If he (Hird) were to lose 12 months…that would be disastrous.”

Kevin Bartlett on Tuesday’s SEN: Morning Glory: “The AFL needs to stop negotiating administrating.”

Adam Cooney on Twitter turns journalist: “BREAKING: Wind on my couch.”

Credit to him, he broke the story that had caused us so much pain. Even if he did get a little too into it early in the monring. On Twitter over three separate tweets: “Movement…”, then, “Wait…”, THEN, “Nuh…nothing…” Thanks Robbo.

In light of Kade Simpson’s decision to shave his infamous beards. Credit to Luca Gonano on the Carlton Football Club Twitter account: STATEMENT: Rumours of a rift between Mick Malthouse’s moustache and Kade Simpson’s Beard have been fabricated by certain members of the media.”

TEAM OF THE WEEK

Kade Simpson’s Beard. Getting shaved off when he reaches $10,000 dollars. Please donate to this great cause here.

Rick Bannister. Another chance to assist in the rehabilitation and recovery of. A chance to raise funds on November 15. For more details, click here.

Essendon. May things be put to bed for the time being, while we suffer through a potential eight-year ASADA case.

Peter German. The Willliamstown coach reaches game number 100 on the weekend.

Stephen Milne/Justin Kositchzke/Jason Blake. It was hard not to have a smile on your face as each St Kilda club champion said goodbye in their own way. The scenes of each member being mobbed by teammates speaks volumes of how much of a role football can play.

Ross Lyon. Mostly for the true companionship shown by the Fremantle coach to each retiring Saints player. But also for the absolute debacle he turned up with twelve ‘restings’ in his match-day 22.

Brisbane Lions. Angus Johnston and company were almost a non-paid free kick away from playing finals, despite sacking coach Michael Voss. Were totally admirable in their final game of the year down at Simonds Stadium – this journalist looks forward to their future.

Guy who checks the clash in guernseys. You’re more daft than we all thought.

All retirees. Thank you.

Andrew Dillon. The AFL Integrity Officer – thank you more.