Victor P Taffa
Western Sydney A.F.L. has announced that Kevin Sheedy will be Head Coach for its first season in 2012. In a move that will generate excitement for the code in New South Wales Sheedy brings to Western Sydney experience and enthusiasm for a full frontal assault on the hearts and minds of the football public in one of the most competitive sporting environment on earth.
The appointment of Sheedy has all the similarities of the appointment by the Sydney Swans of Ron Barassi in 1993. Both men are held in high esteem within the code and have a record of success both on and off the field that is the envy of many in the sporting world.
The football career of Kevin Sheedy reads as follows:
- Began life as a tiger debuting with Richmond in Round 3 on 29 April 1967 against Fitzroy.
- Played 251 games, 91 goals for Richmond 1967-79.
- Coached 635 games (386 wins, 242 losses, 7 draws) for Essendon 1981-2007.
- Richmond Premiership Player 1969, 1973, 1974
- Richmond Best & Fairest 1976
- Richmond Captain 1978
- Interstate Games:- 8
- Richmond- Team of The Century
- Richmond- Hall of Fame – inducted 2002
- Essendon Premiership coach 1984, 1985, 1993, 2000
- Australia international rules football team coach 2005,2006
- Australian football hall of fame inductee
In fact many Richmond supporters enjoy telling Essendon supporters that “Richmond taught Kevin Sheedy everything that he knew.”
The football career of Ron Barassi reads as follows:
- Playing Career: 1953-1969, 254 games, 330 goals, six premierships.
- Melbourne – 1953-1964, 204 games, 295 goals.
- Carlton – 1965-1969, 50 games, 35 goals.
- Playing Premierships: Melbourne – 1955, 56, 57, 59, 60, 64.
- Playing Achievements: Melbourne – Captain 1960-64; Best and Fairest 1961, 64;
- All Australian 1956, 58, 61.
- Coaching Career: 515 games, four premierships.
- Carlton – 1965-1971 (147 games).
- North Melbourne – 1973-1980 (198 games).
- Melbourne – 1981-1985 (110 games).
- Sydney – 1993-1995 (59 games).
- Coaching Premierships: Carlton – 1968, 70.
- North Melbourne – 1975, 77.
- Inducted into AFL Hall of Fame as an official Legend in 1996.
Both Sheedy and Barassi won multiple premierships while playing and later coaching.
When Barassi coached North Melbourne to its first premiership in 1975 it signalled the move from a V.F.L. competition to today’s A.F.L. North Melbourne Club President Dr. Allen Aylett went on to become the C.E.O. of the code and along with Barassi long held National dreams for the future of the code.
When Sheedy coached Essendon to Premiership glory in 1984 Sheedy ended a 19 year Premiership drought and launched the Essendon Football Club into an era of unparallel success. Along with Sheedy’s famous scarf waving episode against West Coast Eagles it was his recruitment of talented Indigenous players such as Michael Long and Gavin Wanganeen that laid the platform for the success of the code and launch the A.F.L. into a truly National style.
The parallels between Barassi and Sheedy for the code in New South Wales can only mean success in the years ahead. When Barassi became coach of the Sydney Swans the team required a fresh direction and this ultimately resulted in Premiership glory that ended a 72 year title wait.
With the launch of a second Sydney team the code will face challenges to experience success quickly in what is a very competitive and fickle football environment. The appointment of Sheedy to Western Sydney A.F.L. brings the credibility that is called for and will lay the way forward for the new team.
Ron Barassi and Kevin Sheedy are both trailblazers in A.F.L.
Sydney Swans saw the fruits of Barassi’s labour and no doubt in time Western Sydney A.F.L. will enjoy similar success with Sheedy’s appointment.