We in the process of creating a section devoted to the great games of Australian football, from the first recorded game in 1858 between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College, to the outstanding games of the current season. This section will be sourced initially from the ‘Full Points Footy’ archive, but increasingly, as time goes on, from the historic match reports as recorded in the newspapers of the day (as transcribed via the Trove Project).
What occurs on the field of play (and the audience to that) is the core of Australian football, notwithstanding the interest in matters peripheral. In the introduction below, John Devaney reminds us that at the end of the day, it’s all about the game (and the games), not the pap that often passes for footy news.
Although, increasingly, it is all too easy to lose sight of the fact, Australian football, when stripped of all its attendant personality fixations, parochialism, and obsession with sponsorship deals, financial viability and 'the corporate dollar', remains essentially a game. Its key historical benchmarks are neither accountants' reports nor tales of the sexual proclivities of its players, but the results of significant matches. While no one could realistically deny that a sound economic underpinning is essential to football's well being, it should not be forgotten that the essence of a good underpinning lies in its invisibility. Similarly, while the individual passions and personalities of the players who comprise a football team undeniably have a bearing on the nature of that team's performances, it is hard to accept that Player A's preference for seafood over steak, or love of golf, or admiration for Michael Jordan, are in any sense relevant to an assessment of his value as a footballer.
Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps in years to come Geelong champion Gary Hocking will be remembered less for his 4 club best and fairest awards and more for the Day He Became Whiskers. If so, I would contend that football as we know it today will have ceased to exist. Before that happens, and lest we forget, this section highlights some of the many memorable games which illuminate and to a large extent comprise the history of what, at least for a short time longer, remains the finest form of athletic endeavour so far devised by man, Wayne Carey's shoe size or East Fremantle's latest balance sheet notwithstanding.