I hear you on defensive-minded/hard-hitting players! Some of that era you are referring to that I've seen from youtube is crazy, such a brutally tough game. Not that it has changed much! I love hangers and spekkies and exciting marks but the action on the defence side is pretty amazing too, especially in a close game.The first time I saw the AFL was when the Hawthorn Hawks were tearing it up in like 1989/early 1990's. Very hard-hitting (and some would say thuggery) and tough were the players back then. All of them. I saw the hard hits, the guys just get right back up or absorb them and continue on and take the mark or score a goal. Very impressive. And maybe since the Hawks were successful, they chose to televise those games in the USA for us to get a glimpse of. I lost a lot of sleep watching those games in the middle of the night. haha
I've always loved defensive-minded/hard-hitting players - no matter the sport. They have the grit and determination to be successful in anything they do. Naturally, most of my favorite players are defenders, and not the prolific scorers. Their ability to run at full speed and basically punt a ball in one fluid motion is amazing.
I'm still learning, but at least now I have my husband to explain everything to me - even when I think it doesn't make sense. LOL
You should consider joining the SFA here on Big Footy as well. The computer simulated games are a lot of fun and it's a good way to learn a bit through stats and the breakdown. Good fun. Could you imagine if there were three USA people on one team?