Western Bulldogs AFLW players and staff have been sent into isolation after a member of the program tested positive to COVID-19.
The sacking of Jason Akermanis from the Western Bulldogs is a sad end to a wonderful career. Aker was a rare footballer in today’s modern era.
A man who said what he thought (often with at least a touch of arrogance) and consistently backed up his words with stunning performances on the field.
His media appearances did wonders for promoting AFL in Queensland. He also played a key part in all three of Brisbane’s premierships. His was also one of the best in the losing 2004 side.
Yet despite his undeniable talent, his comments off the field have repeatedly landed him in hot water. Ultimately, it appears there is no room for a player like Akermanis in today’s conservative yet hypocritical football world.
Players are expected to behave like saints (not referring to the team) at all times and are condemned when they step out of line. Yet these same indiscretions are plastered all over the television and newspapers to millions of viewers.
In the case of fights or “all in brawls,” they are used by some programs to actively promote the game whilst being condemned by the AFL itself.
The modern era expects all players to toe the same line and as a result footballers are sounding more and more like politicians. Phrases such as “taking it one game at a time” “Leadership group and values” and “we want to move forward as a club” are becoming all too common.
Players from yesteryear must be shaking their heads in disbelief.
Ultimately, the Bulldogs are not to blame. They had strict conditions when Akermanis came to the Bulldogs, which he has not adhered to.
It is a simple case of a breach of contract.
However, whether you love or hate him, there’s no denying he generated interest in AFL. It is players like him that make Australian Rules football and fans remember many years after they retire.
I fear that in this modern era run by stuffed shirts, players with character and a personality are a dying breed and the game will be poorer as result.