The first thing you will think when you look at the title will be “What was the writer on?”
Well I have been thinking of this for a long time. You see many years ago I was awarded dux of my primary school. I was instructed to go and choose a book or two. They were supposed to be educational in some tangible way. So my two books that have been inscribed in the cover were Rolf Goes Bush by Rolf Harris and The complete History of Formula 1. The year was 1976 and the man inscribing the books in beautiful hand writing was Principal Maurie Giel.
There was quite a bit of consternation regarding the book on Formula 1 as to its legitimacy as an appropriate book. At that time acclaimed Rolf Harris’ book brought a large smile to Maurie’s face. It was decided that “Rolf goes Bush” would be the book used for the presentation.
I often think back to Maurie Giel and what he would think today of this choice now. Rolf Harris is behind bars and rightfully so and Formula 1 now has a huge presence in this country with the current Australian champion Daniel Ricciardo being a role model for the sport.
Which brings me back to the premise of this article. Daniel Ricciardo himself and the Formula 1 press refer to him as “The Honey Badger”.
Just ask Sebastian Vettel last year who surely didn’t see it coming, if he even contemplated, that by the end of the year he would be thoroughly beaten by the smiling Honey badger, Daniel Ricciardo? Without trying to liken the two men’s deeds, many Australians would see Sebastian as their form of Rolf Harris as he was admired early for his tenacity and then decried for his treatment of Mark Webber.
This brings me back to the AFL. Who would be thought of as Honey Badgers and who are the fallen Idols? This is all a bit “tongue in cheek” as I’m rather hesitant to compare anyone’s actions to the infractions that lead to Rolf’s downfall. That having been said, who would fit the bill at your club? Some might think in 2015 there are a few fallen idols. What about James Hird? Loved almost universally as a player but now more likely to be talked about as stubborn, wilful and uncaring due to the Essendon injecting furore. Mick Malthouse almost got the Fallen Idol treatment in consecutive weeks, admired for breaking the coaching games record and banished as a coach almost immediately after.
As a Richmond supporter I could quite easily come up with the thought that Terry Wallace fits the bill. Arrived as a saviour and left seemingly without the players support and no tangible improvement. Matty White could be another. He took years to become a regular presence in the team and quickly departed for greener pastures. Brad Ottens from the near past would fit the bill. Even earlier Justin Charles, forever stained my club with the very first ban for performance enhancing steroids.
A few others that come to mind are Wayne Carey banished from his club for an indiscretion of a very intimate kind. Gary Ablett Snr and his involvement in being found at the place where a young girl met her unfortunate death. David Schwartz a loveable kind of character almost obliterated his family in gambling debts before seeing the sense of it all and turning himself around. Then of course there is the Brownlow winning Ben Cousins and his troubles with drugs. Mainwaring isn’t around anymore due to similar issues.
All these characters have some of the once loved syndrome going from loved performer to tarnished ideal in some form or another. Of course it is in the eye of the beholder. It’s also in the eye of the beholder who might be thought of as a Honey Badger. Smiling and unassuming off the field but hard and tough on it.
Again from my club, there is the obvious Alex Rance. Women swoon at his looks yet he is hard as nails. Tyrone Vickery is quiet and considered off the field but on it he almost needs to be aggressive to play well. The recently retired Daniel Jackson is classy and bright off the field but had white line fever on it. Joel Selwood from Geelong, Will Minson from the Dogs and Sam Mitchell from Hawthorn are a few who could easily take the moniker. In fact Hawthorn have quite a few of them.
History is littered with Honey Badgers of a sort, Dermott Brereton was surely one and what about the jokester off the field the great Captain Blood, Jack Dyer.
It could certainly be argued that a few clubs could use the services of a Honey Badger at the moment. Carlton lacks a truly frenzied competitor willing to punch above their weight. The same could be said of Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast. North Melbourne, while classy when up and running probably lack that little bit of mongrel that a Honey Badger could deploy.
It would be interesting to hear opinions from others on the relative players that were thought to have the Fallen Idol syndrome at their club. Also whom they thought could wear the title of the Honey Badger?
All this pondering from 2 books many years ago and their changing status over time.
There could even be Honey Badgers who become Fallen Idols over time. Anyway enough of my musing, over to you for your thoughts.
Mark Vorstenbosch is a passionate Richmond Supporter with a love of Formula 1.
You Can follow Mark on Twitter On @Vosstiger