The Footygods: Heracles

Heracles was strong, skilled and courageous. He shaved his head. But he had a temper and a woman sent him mad until he did some terrible, terrible things. The gods sent him away to see if he could save himself and he did. He killed the man eating birds and did all that had been asked of him. And then in a time of what should have been his triumph, he did another terrible thing and had to redeem himself all over again.

On Sunday, Barry Hall came back to Sydney.  It was important for both teams and I wanted to see him kick a few goals but see the Dogs lose the game. Which is what happened. But at the end, when he walked off, my son and I went to the edge of the stand and clapped and cheered him off the ground.

Barry was a talented but troubled man. I’ll never forget how he held that silver cup above his head or how he burst into tears at a best and fairest when talking about his family. He will have a lot to remember and regret when he retires at the end of the year. I’m happy that he got another chance at the Dogs so that we could remember him well.

Most cultures have stories of redemption. Heracles was one.  Barry’s is another. Look after yourself, Barry. We’ll remember you well.


Ian Latham



  1. Very fair and generous comments about Barry.
    Love your series drawing the parallels with Greek mythology, Ian. Reminds me that we love sport both for the spectacle (bread and circuses) and the timeless stories they tell us about the nature of life, intrigue, struggle and triumph. As old as time, as new as the latest sacked coach.
    I can see all sorts of possibilities for historical parallels. Murder at the Collingwood Cathedral anyone starring Eddie, Mick and Bucks.
    “In 1162, Henry II, king of England, appointed Thomas Becket, as Archbishop of Canterbury. This was the most important religious position in England. No-one was surprised by Henry’s choice as both he and Thomas were very good friends. They enjoyed hunting, playing jokes and socialising together. Becket was known to be a lover of wine and a good horse rider. Henry II loved to ride as well but his personality was troubled by his fearsome temper. He tried to keep his temper under control by working very hard as it distracted him from things that might sparked off his temper.

    In 1164, the first sign of a split between Henry and Thomas occurred. Henry passed a law which stated that any person found guilty in a Church court would be punished by a royal court. Becket refused to agree to this, and knowing of Henry’s temper, he fled abroad for his own safety.

    It took six years before Becket felt safe enough to return to England. However, they quickly fell out again when Becket asked the pope to excommunicate the Archbishop of York who had taken sides with the king. This was a very serious request and a very serious punishment for someone who could claim that he was only being loyal to the king. Henry was furious when he found out what Becket had done. He is said to have shouted out “Will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest ?”

  2. Neil Belford says

    I cant help thinking we are in for something very Shakesperian from Collingwood this summer. Just cant decide which play it will be yet.

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