Remember Hall for his ability not his anger
Barry Hall was never going to last much longer at Sydney. You had the feeling the Swans hierarchy had exhausted all measures to control the volatile forward and, in the end, something had to give.
But does Hall’s latest run of indiscretions tarnish what has been a wonderful career?
Hall played 250 games – 88 with St Kilda and 162 for Sydney – and notched 611 goals. They are super numbers.
But will he be remembered for the biff rather than his aptitude in front of the sticks?
Hall’s recent brain explosions are something only he can explain. This is the core reason why he has left the Swans – no one could find an answer to quell his fire.
But, in reality, Hall has committed just one serious offence in a long career – a vicious hit on West Coast’s Brent Staker in Round Four last season.
Plenty have made more errors of judgement.
The AFL is not a place for choir boys, and while the incident with Staker was ugly, and Hall received his right whack, the others have been minor.
His strike on Ben Rutten in Round Thirteen was assessed as “low impact” by the tribunal. And last year, after serving eight weeks for his hit on Staker, Hall was given a week for attempting to strike Collingwood’s Shane Wakelin.
Undisciplined? Yes. Should he be criticised by all and sundry? No.
Those who label Hall a ‘thug’ should take a close look at history and the behind-the-play incidents that took place in the old days. Hall’s indiscretions pale into insignificance compared to some which occurred 30 years ago.
Thankfully, with countless cameras, those days are over.
It is also worth noting the view of former St.Kilda coach Grant Thomas, who questions where Hall, a champion junior boxer, would be without a career in AFL.
Sydney, though, could no longer tolerate Hall. He was a liability who was affecting his team’s chances of achieving its objectives.
But Hall is a premiership captain, a three-time All-Australian and a best-and-fairest winner.
We all make mistakes in life and it is vital that the public recognise Hall’s achievements rather than lambast him for one serious mistake.
The future for Hall remains uncertain. A move into the boxing ring appears likely, but Hall may attract overtures from opposition clubs.
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