Modern footy vs 86 GF

JD888

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I watched the 86 Grand Final this morning and wanted to share three observations. Two that didn't suprise me and one that did. Two disclaimers are that this is a sample of one match and secondly it has been a long time since I've watched any old footage.

The three things that stood out were:
  • Skills by foot and hand were inferior to the modern game. So many mungrel punts from both set shots and on the run. Many kicks failed to find their target. I have often read on this forum people lamenting the inability of modern players to kick well off both feet however the execution in the modern game seems of a much higher standard.
  • System - or lack thereof. Maybe it was just this match but the vast majority of the gameplay seemed to be eyes down kicks that were bombed forward to no apparent target. Ultimately the fitter and harder team won.
  • Which brings me to the last point which was suprising to me. We often wax lyrical about the hard men of old however I wonder if this is just because they were able to get away with more and often went the biff. I think our modern generation are harder at the ball within the confines of today's rules. The players in the 86 GF seemed tentative in comparison but maybe thats because they were slower and less fit?
I believe in 86 the players were all fulltime paid professionals however I understand that they didn't have the range of high performance specialty coaching that we have today.

Anyway as I said earlier this is only one match and maybe not a good one to go by?
 

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JD888

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I must add that I was 17 when I first watched this match. Both teams had all the stars that we revere today and I thought that it was an amazing match particularly given the outcome. However rewatching it now, it certainly seemed less inspiring from a skill level. Anyway flame away!
 

Guido

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I believe in 86 the players were all fulltime paid professionals however I understand that they didn't have the range of high performance specialty coaching that we have today.
I think Terry Wallace mentioned (not sure if it was the Front Bar or Open Mike) that he was one of the first players to go full time after he left Hawthorn (late 80s?), so I doubt many, if any of those players in the 86 GF didn't also have full time jobs.

Luke Beveridge has said that he was one of the last ever part time players (with a full time job outside of footy), and that was retiring in the late 90s.
 

raymond35

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Todays Suns would beat 86 hawks
Hawthorn would win by 10 goals in a canter. Todays Suns would probably beat 1986 Collingwood though.
Also, the players definitely still had real jobs at that point.
I was at that grand final and haven't seen it since, but remember it as being pretty lacklustre by gf standards due to Hawthorn being far too good.
 

MC Extra Dollop

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I was wondering about the whole "When was the first year that every listed player in the AFL was fully professional?"

Going through my Dad's 1980s footy records and the player profiles, I remember even the likes of Gary Ablett generally had something like 'labourer' as their occupation. I think Diesel was the only one I saw that had 'professional footballer' as his occupation. I always assumed it was around the 1994-96 era that it became fully professional, but don't really know.
 

btdg

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I remember that by the late 90s it was becoming rarer that players worked.

Andrew McKay was a vet and that was a big deal - most other players were basically full time footy players but a lot had side gigs. Quite a few tradies, quite a few teachers (pe teachers or just doing crt) etc.

Back to the OP, Gold Coast of 2019 would smash Hawthorn of 1986 in a one-off time machine game. Even just the rolling zones would totally shut down those old teams who wouldn’t have a clue how to beat it. Bring ‘86 Hawthorn to 2019, and give them 6 months to train with modern methods and watch tape, and I think the 86 Hawks could be competitive enough. Physically and aptitude for the contest they would be fine. Skills would struggle a bit though.

I’ve always wondered how far back you could go before 2019 Carlton (I’ve excluded GC and Melbourne cos they weren’t properly stocked ‘teams’) could beat the premiers.

Would 2019 Carlton with modern zones etc beat, say 2009 Geelong (a great team, but no knowledge of rolling zones)? Probably not. What about 1999 North? I think it’s close but North scrape home. Probably the first premier that any fully fledged 2019 team beats is 1993 Essendon imo.
 

Kram

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On Suns v old Hawks it imo would depend on what rules and umpiring we went on. Modern interpretations the Suns would win but if you could just go around shirt-fronting ball winners with their head down and belting blokes behind the play with relative impunity 80s style then the Hawks would flog them.
 

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Vassp

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No contest, these TEAMS of today would cream the stacked star teams of yesteryear.
It’s laughable when someone says the good old days of footy when players were more skill full.
It’s an insult to all the great players that are playing today.

P.s It’s easy to show skills when you have more time on the ball.
 

Damon_3388

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I watched the 86 Grand Final this morning and wanted to share three observations. Two that didn't suprise me and one that did. Two disclaimers are that this is a sample of one match and secondly it has been a long time since I've watched any old footage.

The three things that stood out were:
  • Skills by foot and hand were inferior to the modern game. So many mungrel punts from both set shots and on the run. Many kicks failed to find their target. I have often read on this forum people lamenting the inability of modern players to kick well off both feet however the execution in the modern game seems of a much higher standard.
  • System - or lack thereof. Maybe it was just this match but the vast majority of the gameplay seemed to be eyes down kicks that were bombed forward to no apparent target. Ultimately the fitter and harder team won.
  • Which brings me to the last point which was suprising to me. We often wax lyrical about the hard men of old however I wonder if this is just because they were able to get away with more and often went the biff. I think our modern generation are harder at the ball within the confines of today's rules. The players in the 86 GF seemed tentative in comparison but maybe thats because they were slower and less fit?
I believe in 86 the players were all fulltime paid professionals however I understand that they didn't have the range of high performance specialty coaching that we have today.

Anyway as I said earlier this is only one match and maybe not a good one to go by?
I encourage any whingers about the modern game to undertake a similar practice.

Footy of past eras is remembered with a very romantic view that doesn't really hold up when scrutinized.
 

Damon_3388

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I was wondering about the whole "When was the first year that every listed player in the AFL was fully professional?"

Going through my Dad's 1980s footy records and the player profiles, I remember even the likes of Gary Ablett generally had something like 'labourer' as their occupation. I think Diesel was the only one I saw that had 'professional footballer' as his occupation. I always assumed it was around the 1994-96 era that it became fully professional, but don't really know.
There would have been a lot of bullshit "sales rep" side jobs with club sponsors back then, kind of like that era's version of ambassador payments.
 

Magpie03

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I remember that by the late 90s it was becoming rarer that players worked.

Andrew McKay was a vet and that was a big deal - most other players were basically full time footy players but a lot had side gigs. Quite a few tradies, quite a few teachers (pe teachers or just doing crt) etc.

Back to the OP, Gold Coast of 2019 would smash Hawthorn of 1986 in a one-off time machine game. Even just the rolling zones would totally shut down those old teams who wouldn’t have a clue how to beat it. Bring ‘86 Hawthorn to 2019, and give them 6 months to train with modern methods and watch tape, and I think the 86 Hawks could be competitive enough. Physically and aptitude for the contest they would be fine. Skills would struggle a bit though.

I’ve always wondered how far back you could go before 2019 Carlton (I’ve excluded GC and Melbourne cos they weren’t properly stocked ‘teams’) could beat the premiers.

Would 2019 Carlton with modern zones etc beat, say 2009 Geelong (a great team, but no knowledge of rolling zones)? Probably not. What about 1999 North? I think it’s close but North scrape home. Probably the first premier that any fully fledged 2019 team beats is 1993 Essendon imo.
Andy Mckay was a big deal not because of work but because he moved to QLD to study with Parkos blessing in 96 and trained outside the club and commuted for games from QLD - he payed about 70% of games that year. Parko was ahead of his time when he ensured players planned for life away from footy, whether it was a trade or white collar career.
 

Magpie03

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I encourage any whingers about the modern game to undertake a similar practice.

Footy of past eras is remembered with a very romantic view that doesn't really hold up when scrutinized.
Players back in the 70s and 80s had better skills - they were footballers first not athletes. Peter Mckenna was one of the best kicks for goal you would ever see - now you may as well toss a coin when they have a shot at goal yet unlike when Boof played they conditions are pristine, no mud, surfaces like bowling greens and barely a gust of wind and dont forget they are far better conditioned physically and have the luxury of being full time.

I grew up watching footy in the 70's and love the modern game. I dont have a romantic view but one that is objective when reflecting on the continual evolution of the game
 

Kappa

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Hawthorn would win by 10 goals in a canter. Todays Suns would probably beat 1986 Collingwood though.
Also, the players definitely still had real jobs at that point.
I was at that grand final and haven't seen it since, but remember it as being pretty lacklustre by gf standards due to Hawthorn being far too good.
The sun's would destroy them by at least 100 points. The 86 team would be completely bamboozled by a modern zone, and be completely unable the get the ball out of their defensive 50, add to that the sun's of today are taller, faster, stronger and much much fitter... Not to mention better skills. After half time the 86 hawks would be out of gas while the sun's can keep running. It would be a slaughter, sorry to burst your bubble.
 

Pessimistic

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The sun's would destroy them by at least 100 points. The 86 team would be completely bamboozled by a modern zone, and be completely unable the get the ball out of their defensive 50, add to that the sun's of today are taller, faster, stronger and much much fitter... Not to mention better skills. After half time the 86 hawks would be out of gas while the sun's can keep running. It would be a slaughter, sorry to burst your bubble.
So, do you think the suns could time travel back to 1983 and then go on to play in seven grand finals straight?

Hawks smashed GWS twice last year but finished 9th and GWS played off in the grand final
 

Pessimistic

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Lets look at it another way.

Hawthorns most ‘fringe’ players in 2012-15 would be Hill, Smith, Shiels, Puopolo

How do they compare with ‘fringe’ stars of 1986-89: Morrisey, Pritchard, Dear, Hall

Theres a clear athleticism v footy skill narrative there. Dear would be the closest to an overtly physical player
 
Last edited:

Gavin Excell

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I watched the 86 Grand Final this morning and wanted to share three observations. Two that didn't suprise me and one that did. Two disclaimers are that this is a sample of one match and secondly it has been a long time since I've watched any old footage.

The three things that stood out were:
  • Skills by foot and hand were inferior to the modern game. So many mungrel punts from both set shots and on the run. Many kicks failed to find their target. I have often read on this forum people lamenting the inability of modern players to kick well off both feet however the execution in the modern game seems of a much higher standard.
  • System - or lack thereof. Maybe it was just this match but the vast majority of the gameplay seemed to be eyes down kicks that were bombed forward to no apparent target. Ultimately the fitter and harder team won.
  • Which brings me to the last point which was suprising to me. We often wax lyrical about the hard men of old however I wonder if this is just because they were able to get away with more and often went the biff. I think our modern generation are harder at the ball within the confines of today's rules. The players in the 86 GF seemed tentative in comparison but maybe thats because they were slower and less fit?
I believe in 86 the players were all fulltime paid professionals however I understand that they didn't have the range of high performance specialty coaching that we have today.

Anyway as I said earlier this is only one match and maybe not a good one to go by?
Interesting last point about players being harder now by not shirking contest v thuggery.
There's far more pressure on the ball carrier these days as well

The most noticeable change when I watch a game from the 80s is the forward leading into space to mark and goal.
 

Pessimistic

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Interesting last point about players being harder now by not shirking contest v thuggery.
There's far more pressure on the ball carrier these days as well

The most noticeable change when I watch a game from the 80s is the forward leading into space to mark and goal.
The CHF was king. All the best teams had a very good one. Now to quote paul roos that play is seen as risky.
These days the escape kick or leading forward is more likely one whos run all day and made space
 

harrythetiger

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So, do you think the suns could time travel back to 1983 and then go on to play in seven grand finals straight?

Hawks smashed GWS twice last year but finished 9th and GWS played off in the grand final
Absolutely. It would be child’s play for them.
Current state league teams have players dedicating similar time to 80s VFL players, but they’ve got better quality training plans and superior game plans. Current state league teams would generally beat 80s VFL teams.

But no state league team would get within 10 goals of any AFL team.

That takes absolutely nothing away from sides of that era as they were putting out the absolute best that was possible at the time, as AFL teams are now, but now the absolute best is light years ahead.
 

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