Football fans want the ‘Colosseum’, Lions legend Jonathan Brown says

Brown said these confrontations and physical clashes were “extremely attractive to the majority and that’s why the game is so big”.

Brown acknowledged that there were moments in his career when he crossed the line from “calculated gambles” in risking his body to “reckless” moments when he put himself in harm’s way unnecessarily.

“It’s a hard one. Of course, there’s decisions you make when you go ‘that was reckless, I was never going to make the contest’,” he said.

Courage: David Teague spoils Lions champion Jonathan Brown in 2005.Credit:Wayne Taylor

Brown’s great contemporary, fellow centre half-forward and Fox commentator Nick Riewoldt said the diagnosis of Graham “Polly” Farmer with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) had made him consider his own future, though he did not harbour “grave concerns.”

Riewoldt said he had “probably 10” concussions in his playing days.

“In a moment when you hear something like that (Farmer’s CTE), you question your own future for anyone that had any sort of issue, whether it’s one concussion or 10…what the fallout might be,” he said at the launch, which opened – fittingly – with footage of Brown and then Riewoldt taking iconic marks running head-first with the flight of the ball back in the 2000s.

“And I don’t have any grave concerns about my future, but like anyone who’s played the game, it resonates.”

Nick Riewoldt in action for St Kilda in 2014.

Nick Riewoldt in action for St Kilda in 2014.Credit:Pat Scala

Riewoldt also wondered whether, as a result of the concussion and head injury discussion, whether players would be coached differently in future and if “drastic measures” such as “completely eliminating the bump” would be on the table in future.

Riewoldt said, depending on the volume and harmful nature of incidents, the bump could be considered for removal, but that it should only be removed based on evidence and this required “due diligence” before the AFL moved.

Nick Riewoldt announcing his retirement.

Nick Riewoldt announcing his retirement.Credit:Simon Schluter

“I think depending on the severity and how prolific these type of scenarios are going to become, well then all things need to considered, yeah,” he said.

“Probably the due diligence would need to be done as to whether that would make a real difference or not. I’d not do it on a whim.”

Riewoldt said the AFL needed an audit of “what does the damage” to players in head injuries.

“There’s no real clear answers.”

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