Today’s standard of AFL is “terrible, defensive and rubbish football” according to South Australian sporting icon Neil Kerley OAM.
“It’s a typical keepings off game, players running around like cattle, short little kicks like rugby,” the 83-year-old SA great who coached his state to the only win over Victoria prior to State of Origin contests.
“Coaches today don’t want big scores kicked against them, rather than trying to outscore the opposition. On the odd occasion you get a good game. The full-forward wants the ball coming down one-on-one. You won’t see 100 goals from a full-forward again with this congested style of play. But crowds like it and are still going.”
Kerley said one person can change today’s style which was also criticised recently at ClubMulwala by retired Essendon legend Dustin Fletcher.
“Only one person in each club can change that style of running around in circles, kicking backwards - the coach,” he said.
Kerley was in town last week to visit good friend, ClubMulwala CEO Alan Rowe. The pair played nine holes at Black Bull Golf Course.
“Black Bull is a magnificent course. You wouldn’t get better fairways anywhere in the world,” former eight-handicapper Kerley said. “James and the whole McCully family are fantastic running the club.”
The CEO eagled the second hole, a Par 5 then “it went to his head” according to his playing partner. “But he did manage four pars,” Kerls admitted.
Back to footy. “If I had to pick someone to play for my life it would have been E.J. (Ted Whitten) but Barrie Robran was right up there,” Kerls said.
“One day against Carlton he dodged one bloke, then Nicholls came at him and he dodged him then Jesaulenko came at him and he just side-stepped him and Jesaulenko immediately applauded him.”
He predicts next season’s top four will be Crows, Geelong, Sydney and Richmond, but found fault with Adelaide’s captain Tex Walker.
“Unfortunately he’s not a Hodge, Selwood, Riewoldt or Cotchin. A true leader has to go and get the hard ball.”
Kerls loved being back in Yarrawonga/Mulwala following his special guest appearance at ClubMulwala’s 30-year membership recognition cocktail party in November 2016.
He praised the club and its “obvious outstanding leadership” in clearing substantial debt.