'No idea': AFL players react to radical Eddie McGuire call

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Jack Riewoldt and Max Gawn both believe Eddie McGuire's suggestion to modify the Sherrin isn't the solution to cleaner footy. Picture: AFL 360

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s left of field suggestion to re-design the iconic Sherrin has been met with a bemused reaction from two AFL stars.

Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt and Melbourne’s Max Gawn were both cool on McGuire’s idea to add a similar surface to rugby balls to the Sherrin, making it easier for players to grip, thereby helping alleviate congestion when the ball goes to ground and putting more emphasis on skills.

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While both admitted that different grounds and conditions could make the ball easier or more difficult to handle, neither felt changing the design of the ball was the solution.

The Tigers star did point out that having more space taken up on the ball itself by larger advertising logos was adding to the problem.

“I don’t know. It was pretty slippery on Thursday night, and I imagine it was pretty slippery down at Geelong on Friday night,” Riewoldt said on AFL 360.

“Usually you come across those conditions in Queensland a fair bit and the boys up there seem to adapt to it pretty well.

“I know that some stadiums put a spray or something on the surface to eliminate the dew but that’s probably something that needs to be looked into if it continues and the ball does continue to be slippery, just due to the advertising logos on the Sherrins which have obviously become bigger as the game’s developed.”

For his part, Gawn admitted he found the yellow Sherrin used in night games a bit more difficult.

“I personally have genuinely no idea about the footies,” the Demons ruckman said.

“All I do know is red footies I’ve always found easier to mark.”

Eddie McGuire advocates Sherrin re-design

Speaking on Triple M’s breakfast show, McGuire suggested a rugby-style dimpled surface on the ball would prevent is from slipping out of the players’ hands quite so often, bringing skills to light more effectively than the current leather balls.

“I don’t know whether they’ve put another coat of varnish on the footballs, but no-one can seem to grab it,” McGuire said.

“I reckon it’s almost time for us to put a roughcast or even, you know the rugby league balls how they’ve got the rubber knobs on them.

“If there is any sort of dew or bit of wetness … the ball just goes straight through their hands.

“It’s as hard as anything at the ends of the ball, and they’re as slippery as all get out at the moment.

“I reckon it’s stuffing up the game as a spectacle because no-one can control the ball, it’s just going straight through their hands.”