Would a fireside chat help Dustin Martin turn Bachar Houli into Norm Smith?


“I am so glad he has won two,” Houli said.

Houli laughed when Snap Shot asked him if he had broached the subject with Martin as to how he might have denied him a couple of Norms.

Close ties: Bachar Houli and Dustin Martin.Credit:Getty Images

“I’m too scared to bring it up. He sometimes can be a blunt individual but I get along with Dusty really well. I have taken him camping and I will continue to take him camping,” Houli said.

“Maybe over a nice camp fire I will bring it up just for a laugh and I will say ‘Mate, seriously, you have won two, any chance of handing one out to me brother?'”

Good luck with that, Bachar, although with a Brownlow, two best and fairests, two Norm Smith Medals, All-Australians and an MVP, perhaps one Norm wouldn’t be missed. Perhaps.

Flying high (or flying solo)

While the COVID-19 protocols have created headlines relating to sex, surf and sand wedges, there was one item that even the AFL deemed too hot to handle.

They deferred to club CEOs the decision on what section of the chartered plane each team grabs when they share transport while moving between states during the pandemic.

The protocols state that “each club to be allocated half of the plane each as agreed between each CEO, which may either be one team at the back and one at the front, or one on each side of the plane, noting social distancing must be implemented to the extent possible”.

The new normal? A masked Nat Fyfe at Perth airport in March.

The new normal? A masked Nat Fyfe at Perth airport in March.Credit:Getty Images

Now, we know some readers will be thinking ‘Surely they can’t be serious’ but after enquiring, Snap Shot discovered that although airlines prefer to place teams on either side of the plane, clubs prefer to sit at opposite end of the jumbo or “bird”, the description former AFL coach Ross Lyon was fond of using when referring to planes.

There is a reason, as coaches don’t want opposition potentially peeping over their shoulder while they go through vision.

Snap Shot hears the issues came to a head one year when Hawthorn were sharing a plane with the opposition to play a game in Launceston and the airline seated Alastair Clarkson next to an opposition coach.

The sound of indignation and displeasure was apparently heard above the roar as the plane took off, much to the joy of other Hawks on the plane.

Our mail – and we are serious – is that most clubs will have a gentlemen’s agreement that one team will have the front of the plane on the way there, and the back of the plane on the way back, and vice versa.

As for the players flying solo during this phase of the return to play, St Kilda’s Jack Billings has admitted his housemate Ben Paton has been asking a few questions about the clause that recommends players be cautious about who they hook up with.

“My housemate is single so he is a bit unsure what the next few weeks and months might look like,” Billings told SEN.

10 years since that tackle

Speaking of players who have been a two-time runner-up in Norm Smith Medals, it was 10 years on Saturday since Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell ran down Richmond’s Travis Tuck at the MCG with a tackle that helped the Hawks turn around an early season slump and perhaps save Alastair Clarkson as Hawthorn coach.

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The winless Tigers, in their first season under Damien Hardwick, nearly shocked the Hawks who were trying to avoid their seventh straight defeat in the first eight rounds.

Hawthorn hung on by three points to finally snap that run of poor form that had seen them win just 10 of 29 matches played since the 2008 flag.

Eleven Hawks in the team that day would play in their 2013 flag with the Hawks winning 70 games and losing 20 in the time between the win over Richmond and the grand final victory over the Dockers.

Richmond had five players in that team who went on to be premiership players in 2017, including Martin who to that point had played in seven matches without tasting victory.

Mitchell was runner-up in Norm Smith Medal voting in 2014 and 2015.

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