In 1981, to celebrate 25 years of broadcasting VFL football, Channel Seven selected a team of the quarter century. Responsibility for selecting the team fell to a panel of World of Sort regulars that included Lou Richards, Neil Roberts, Alan Ruthven, Peter McKenna and Sam Newman. Once agreed upon it was announced to the world during a live two hour television special at the end of March.
Covering one of football’s golden era’s it was an unquestionably difficult task made all the more difficult with the panel given just five days to agree on their team. Public interest in the broadcast was piqued by a competition which saw $50,000 and a car on offer for anybody who could successfully nominate the same team as the selection panel.
The night would also see the release of the new ‘football anthem’ for the 1981 season. Just two years after he penned the iconic ‘Up There Cazaly’ for Channel Seven, and only months after releasing the anthemic ‘One Day in September’ for the 1980 finals, Mike Brady was again given the task. With all due respect to the footy anthem maker, there is a reason why his effort on this occasion – ‘There is a Little Bit of Cazaly in Us All’, is not as revered as his earlier efforts.
CHANNEL SEVEN HALL OF FAME TEAM
|FB||John Beckwith (Melbourne)||Geoff Southby (Carlton)||John Nicholls (Carlton)|
|HB||Bruce Doull (Carlton)||Peter Knights (Hawthorn)||Kevin Murray (Fitzroy)|
|C||Keith Greig (North Melb)||Ian Stewart (StK/Rich)||Robert Flower (Melbourne)|
|HF||Darrel Baldock (St Kilda)||Ted Whitten (Footscray)||Alex Jesaulenko (Carlton)|
|FF||Leigh Matthews (Hawthorn)||Peter Hudson (Hawthorn)||Roy Wright (Richmond)|
|FOLL||Polly Farmer (Geelong)||Ron Barassi (Melb/Carl)||Bob Skilton (South Melb)|
|INT||Royce Hart (Richmond)||Doug Wade (Gee/NM)|
|COACH||Norm Smith (Melbourne)|
Not surprising, given an undertaking of this size, there were plenty of opinions about the selected team. Collingwood fans and officials, like they would be 15 years later after the announcement of the AFL Team of the Century, were incensed that no Magpies had been selected. It must have been even more bewildering to them when they learned that four former Magpie Greats- Lou Richards, Peter McKenna, Bruce Andrew & Kevin Coughlan – had been on the selection panel.
There were no Bombers in the team either, but the most contentious selection was that of Robbie Flower over Francis Bourke. While it did mean we were all treated with the majesty of Flower in his silver suit in the team photo, not everyone was pleased with the selection. Mike Sheehan quoted that one unnamed official was so incensed afterwards, that they likened a best ever team without Bourke was like the ‘last supper without christ’.