AFL Round 7: Nicky Winmar a revolutionary figure?

I remember going out to VFL Park to see Collingwood play West Coast in an Elimination Final in 1990. That day I remember hearing a Collingwood supporter yell out to Eagle Chris Lewis that he was nothing more than a petrol sniffer. There seemed something remarkably ordinary about the comment at the time, even though many around the yeller actually laughed. It brought to mind the old saying “Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes.”

Around that time too, Nicky Winmar made that rather iconic gesture at Victoria Park at the end of the game where he lifted his jumper and proudly pointed to the colour of his skin. Fast forward to 2013 and I’m sure that Nicky Winmar would still have been proud of his actions and indeed might be remembered as a revolutionary figure in the fullness of the AFL community. Coupled with the Monkhorst-Long exchange, these become pivotal in turning the wheels of people’s mindset towards the issue of racism. Having watched Jimmy Krakouer blow a chance to win a Brownlow in 1985, my mind races back to what he may have been taunted with under the banner of “what goes on the field, stays on the field”. For those who don’t recall, Krakouer was actually leading the Brownlow comfortably until he got 6 weeks for belting the suitcases out of his tormentor. Jimmy’s fiery disposition didn’t help him at the best of times.

Our game has evolved in a way that players and crowd members can actually dob in a racist so that they get chucked out of the arena and investigated. Some may still regard that as political correctness gone mad but twice in the past month, North’s Sudanese-born recruit Majak Daw has had opposition spectators hurl something verbal at him and both times these matters have been investigated. Your own opinion of these circumstances ultimately may vary but the times have changed. Our players now come from many and varied backgrounds and it appears that it’s only going to get more diverse as does the broader Australian community. Ironic that the Western Bulldogs supporters that got investigated for hurling the abuse on the weekend might be cheering on the other hand for Lin Jong (number 46) when he dons the Bulldogs colours in his next senior appearance. Do they cheer Lin? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. That transcends all club colours as there’s always the supporters at your club that make you cringe.

As we approach the indigenous round, Nicky Winmar’s actions are the cornerstone of the AFL advertising campaign. The courage he showed that day was as good as many of his passages of play during his stellar career. I wonder if he likes the term ‘revolutionary’?

From the 10min mark of the 2nd qtr until ¾ time, Essendon kicked 1.13 against Geelong on Friday night. The Bombers had led but lived to regret the “bad kicking is bad football” ethos that plagued it. The match of the day status between 2 undefeated teams fell into Geelong’s more accurate scoring. Stevie J inspired the Cats by 28.


Richmond headed to the City of Churches without its captain but intent on unplugging the Power at AAMI. An 8-goal first qtr saw the Tigers live up to that with Jumping Jack leading from the front.  A lethargic Port paid for its slow start and the Tigers 4 qtr effort yielded a solid win. Troy Chaplin held sway down back against his old club.


Into the last qtr at the Gabba, West Coast minds would’ve raced back to 2012 when the Lions won on the last kick of the day. Again, it was within a goal, heading to the final few minutes before the Eagles belted home the last 4 goals for a 26pt win. The NAB Cup polish returned a bit for the Lions  and sacking the coach ain’t the answer.


For three qrtrs, the Spirited Bulldogs kept pace with the Roos aided by the returning experience and class of Gia, Murphy and Griffen. The Roos welcomed back little big chief in Boomer who, with the help of Ziebell and the Majak man’s 6 goals helped North to steer to a 9 goal win. Griffen set the Dogs alight but the Dogs last qtr costly.


The westward migratory flight of the Magpie hit a purple haze in the first half as Freo headed into the main break 6 goals up. Losing another ruckman, Griffin, didn’t help, but somehow the Magpies found a missing cog and claimed the lead early in the last qtr. Michael Walters then led the Freo fightback with the last 4 goals to win by 27pts.


Buddy kicked 3 and Roughy kicked 4 as the Hawks set about following the lead of the Captain Courageous. A win in the Grand Final rematch was of arguably more significance to the Hawks than to the Swans. The lack of urgency by the Swans might be of concern to Coach Horse.  Goodesy might need to relearn the new sliding rule!


The Crows trekked to Sydney’s west. OK, Danger Mouse starred, kicking 4, Kurt Jenkins wears 4 and got 4 (17th game), Sam Kerridge kicked 3 (5th game) and Tom Lynch  kicked 10 in his 15th game. The question: how much confidence/benefit arises from a 135pt win? The Giants cut down better than when Jack axed the beanstalk.


The forecast might have been for late showers at the MCG on Sunday but nobody told the Suns who shone brightly in the face of the 13000 in attendance. The Suns won their first game in Melbourne, led by Gaz Jnr (38 stats), a recalled Campbell Brown (3 goals) and big Zac (3 goals). As for the Demons, the winter of discontent continues.


Western St.Kilda Wanderers hosted the Carlton NavyWhites on Monday Night and really emphasised the value of a good key forward. Riewoldt was his usual gut-running self whereas Jarrad Waite sat in the stands, watching 3 rucks fill his role. Only when Henderson went forward did the Blues look likely. StK home by 9pts.


  1. I love that Winmar photo. I remember being at Victoria Park in the late eighties and hearing someone yell out to Chris Lewis “There’s a bottle of wooblah for you in the goal square ya… (you can fill in the obscenities)”. Me and a mate didn’t say anything, much to my shame, and I can only claim cowardice in the face of Victoria Park Collingwood fans (Substitute WA fans or any club back then, for that matter). The “political correctness” backlash we now have is a result of Howard’s wedge politics and it leaves me cold. Correcting language is only the first step to correcting the wrongs in our society and no matter how much people want the old “simple” ways, it ain’t NEVER going back! Thank the non-exsistent god.

  2. Racism, Xenophobia are blots on our society, but the actions of fellas like Nicky Winmar, and Michael Long have drawn this behaviour to a situation where though it stil occurs, the perpetrators are called to account for their actions. I find it sad, a young player like Majak Daw cops the abuse he has, but it is good to see the offenders are identified, and face reprecussions, unlike the 1970’s and the 1980’s where this behavour was the norm. Like Matty i hope we never return to the ‘halcyon’ period of when racist behaviour was par for the course.


Leave a Comment