Eddie McGuire calls for radical redesign of AFL cornerstone

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has suggested the iconic Sherrin be redesigned to make it easier to players to grip, particularly in dewy conditions. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Eddie McGuire is never afraid to throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks - but his latest effort is sure to raise a few eyebrows among Aussie rules purists.

The AFL returned from its coronavirus enforced hiatus last week, with Thursday night’s clash between Richmond and Collingwood proving to be a surprisingly anti-climactic, low-scoring slog - much to the surprise of fans.

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While the remaining games across the weekend weren’t nearly as dire a spectacle, that hasn’t stopped the Collingwood president from suggesting the design of the Sherrin was the reason why players had such a hard time of things in the first game back.

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.”

Veteran AFL reporter slams ‘bitter’ Sam Newman

Veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson has called out controversial celebrity Sam Newman for his ‘bitter and divisive’ take on players kneeling before games over the weekend.

Players over the weekend joined forces in taking a knee before the start of matches in a show of solidarity for the fight against racism.

Following their stance, Indigenous and Carlton star Eddie Betts called out racist abuse aimed at him in a vile image on social media.

Now, Wilson has labelled Newman ‘bitter’ after his controversial comments regarding the Black Lives Matter support after the Richmond and Collingwood clash on Thursday.

“Sam Newman said that AFL footballers taking a knee to say that black lives matter were preening and divisive," she said on Footy Classified.

"He said most players didn't understand why they were kneeling and had been intimidated into it.

"For what it's worth, I didn't think it was political, I thought it was social and a united move and it was one that united all the players, black and white, and represented a brotherhood that Newman did not understand and therefore tried to belittle.

"Sam, you've got a terrible history in the area of race relations, and you've done it again, unleashing a series of bitter and divisive rants.”