Almanac Footy: My 2020 epiphany


We welcome Micky McTigger as a new Almanac member:




I meant to write this some time ago.


It was in the early morning before the Richmond v Geelong 2020 Grand Final, I had a craving to flick onto Youtube and watch a replay of the previous Richmond v Geelong grand final played in 1967. You know the game – Farmer v Patterson (Neville Crowe suspended), Bourke v Polinelli, Swift v Wade, Marshall v Northey, Bartlett v Goggin, Hart’s mark over Walker, Swift’s mark on the goal line in a crucial last quarter, etc. Lots of highlights!


Now, in 1967, footy was a lot different. There was only a small centre circle, the smaller goal squares, and no “out-on-the full” rule, just a throw-in. The ground had no larger centre square, no 50 metre arcs, there was no interchange bench, just two reserves, no enlarged kick-out area, and there was only one field umpire. Also, if you watch the start of the game closely, the first three centre bounces by the field umpire go at right angles and it’s play-on, not a call-back to re-bounce.


Guess what? The final score of the 1967 grand final was Richmond 16.18 (114) to Geelong 15.15 (105); as compared with 2020, Richmond 12.9 (81) to Geelong 7.8 (50). (Even then, a young hard-running, high-pressure team beat an older open-running, low-pressure opposition.)


I suggest, the League get rid of every rule change or addition that has occurred since 1967, maybe even out-on-the-full, and we’ll end up with a better, higher-scoring game. Further, we should get rid of the rule-change committee and ban it from ever existing in the future. Of course, turning back the clock won’t happen, but it was something magical that was lost.



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It was 25 years ago that I began developing a model for analysing footy squad lists for the purpose of improving those lists into a premiership window. Since then, the model has been used to successfully predict premiership clubs and to improve either lop-sided or underdeveloped lists into premiership lists. Indeed, the model was used for an article that I had published as a double page spread in The Age 2005 Pre-Season magazine. Over the 25 years, I have analysed the annual lists of one particular club but have used it for other clubs upon request. It has always been on my bucket list to display the lists of all the clubs, using the model, which I've done since 2021 on my website -


  1. Trevor Watson says

    Not too many would disagree with this observation today!

  2. I wrote this piece back in 2022. Since then, I would add that in 1967 there was a clear holding the man, holding the ball rule. If you are tackled with the ball in your hands, “Ball!”, and if the ball is not in your hands, “Holding” (the man).
    Of course, in around 1969, the then VFL took its first step in manipulating the rules to kerb the brilliance of a young Tiger midfielder – Kevin Bartlett.
    Oh, how the AFL shenanigans have continued since then.

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