Why is Diesel never in the G. O. A. T. conversation?

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ferrisb

Brownlow Medallist
May 22, 2011
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He is universally recognised as one of the best midfielders to have ever played the game.

Got the ball as much as any one else in his era, had once-in-a-generation vision and sublime disposal by foot, hand and on both sides.

He won 2 brownlows and could/should have had 3. I think if he'd gotten 3, he'd be 'up on Mount Rushmore'.

He won 2 MVP awards (one not in a Brownlow year?) but only won 2 B&Fs and only got a couple of AAs.

He's on the bench in the AFL/VFL TOTC, which I think is probably fair. Don't forget Gary Ablett Snr only makes the bench. Diesel was one of the very best of all time, but perhaps not quite in the convo of straight out best ever.
 
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agro

Premiership Player
Jun 7, 2003
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Because we won 16 Premierships in the 20th Century and had 6 players names in the AFL/VFL team of the century (if you include Ron Barassi) - the most of any club, the industry got extremely salty and resentful of our success and have attempted to re-write the narrative of our success ever since.

Granted we have really given them nothing much positive to write about in the 21st century, arsewipes like Mark Robinson writing articles removing John Nicholls in the AFL/VFL team of the century to include Simon Madden are a disgrace.

And Greg Williams not being discussed in the GOAT conversation is a function of that and also horrific recency bias as well.
 

Planet14

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Sep 30, 2017
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Williams is not in the conversation with the likes of Ablett, Carey, Lockett, Matthews, who are generally the main names from his era. I rate with or in some cases, above those guys. However, I think he misses out as he is by far the least flashy, he best work was done under packs or in heavy traffic, not leading out in front of a defender or jumping on someone's head.

To people who know the game, Williams is right up there, but to the general football public his style doesn't capture the imagination like Ablett or Carey, hence he is forgotten in those discussion.

My two cents.
 

tarczonandjane

All Australian
Oct 3, 2015
643
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I know I’ll get plenty of disagreement here, but I have him as the best player I’ve seen at Carlton.

I started following the club in 1982. That means I didn’t see big Nick, Jezza, etc. Doull was towards the end of his career.

And if I put him up against SOS, Sticks, Braddles, Kouta, etc. I just think he had a way of commanding the game in a way that others didn’t. I remember when Parko compared him to a quarter back in the way he could influence the game. A magnificent player, and never underestimated in my eyes.
 

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Faz 2000

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May 10, 2007
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Also, given there's been 10s of 1000s of players in the VFL/AFL (I guess), not being universally acclaimed as being in the top 5 is no disgrace. That's the rarest of air up there. Especially given he'd likely be voted by ANY competent judge COMFORTABLY in the top 100 all time.

So it's really splitting hairs from there as to how one ranks 'em. Team of the Century bench says he IS universally regarded as great.

Certainly a remarkable player who had an impact beyond just his era. It's rare players come along that change the expectations for all future players in a particular skill or aspect. Williams' handballs arguably did that, as did the fact he was short, slow and utterly, utterly brilliant.

There's no Sam Mitchell without Greg Williams.
 

TerryWallet

Brownlow Medallist
Jan 27, 2008
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My top 5 players in my time is:

1. Leigh Matthews
2. Wayne Carey
3. Tony Lockett
4. Gary Ablett Snr
5. Greg Williams

After that i have trouble seperating the, guessable by all, next 10 or 15 players. But those 5 are clear cut in my mind.

My biggest footy regret is there was very little vision of Diesel's time at Geelong. Mr Football says the footy that Williams and Ablett Snr put together, in the centre and wing respectively, down there was EASILY the best footy he has ever seen. They were young, uninjured, untagged and playing attacking footy under Hafey. Must have been a sight to see.

Diesel has 2 Brownlows, Umpire robbed him of another, and Healy has said his virtually belongs to Diesel. Made teammates better. Finished it off with 5 goals in a Premiership as a broken down old man. A footy genius and in every decent judge's best team of the past 50 years.

Not the GOAT, but in the convo for most.
 

Jabba73

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 11, 2009
28,112
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My top 5 players in my time is:

1. Leigh Matthews
2. Wayne Carey
3. Tony Lockett
4. Gary Ablett Snr
5. Greg Williams
Every one of them was a campaigner on the field too.

Don’t reckon that they missed 5 chances between them in their entire careers to take out an opposition player when the chance presented itself.

Probably managed to create some fairly big hits from half chances too.
 

TerryWallet

Brownlow Medallist
Jan 27, 2008
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Every one of them was a campaigner on the field too.

Don’t reckon that they missed 5 chances between them in their entire careers to take out an opposition player when the chance presented itself.

Probably managed to create some fairly big hits from half chances too.
Yep, it was as huge a part of the game in their time as defensive running is in today's game.

All brutally hard champion footballers who delivered for coaches, teammates and, equally as important, the fans.
 

Kruezing

Club Legend
Mar 30, 2018
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AFL Club
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I know I’ll get plenty of disagreement here, but I have him as the best player I’ve seen at Carlton.

I started following the club in 1982. That means I didn’t see big Nick, Jezza, etc. Doull was towards the end of his career.

And if I put him up against SOS, Sticks, Braddles, Kouta, etc. I just think he had a way of commanding the game in a way that others didn’t. I remember when Parko compared him to a quarter back in the way he could influence the game. A magnificent player, and never underestimated in my eyes.
Definitely one of the best midfielders I’ve seen ... problem is as far as Carlton is concerned we had so many champion players over a long period of time ... but he’s definitely one of them ...
 

btdg

Premiership Player
Oct 7, 2005
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Greg Williams early career:
1985 (age 21): 22 games, AFLPA MVP
1986 (age 22): 24 games, Brownlow medal
1987 (age 23): 22 games, All Australian

Greg Williams, the ‘lost years’
1988 (age 24): 17 games,
1989 (age 25): 17 games,
1990 (age 26): 11 games
1991 (age 27): 15 games
1992 (age 28): 16 games

Greg Williams second peak
1993 (age 29): 23 games, AA, robbed of Brownlow
1994 (age 30): 22 games, Brownlow
1995: (age 31): 17 games inc finals, Norm Smith medal

Greg Williams late career
1996 (age 32): 16 games
1997 (age 33): 13 games, retired

As a starting point, that’s a bizarre career. To be quite honest, his reputation suffered a lot because his prime years were in Sydney in a very different era, and interspersed with injury. He had some phenomenal games in that time that went unrecognised by both the public and the umpires, missed matches due to suspension and suspension and played for a team that ranged from mediocre to awful.

Align this with controversy. He wasn’t well liked within the footy community, and managed almost the complete set of bad boy behaviour:
- under the table salary cap payments from the Swans (11 match suspension)
- racial vilification
- pushing an umpire (9 week suspension)
- a range of other on field incidents - gouging, kneeing, etc And a reputation for verballing umpires

And add a mercenary air. Geelong took a flyer on Williams, who made a name for himself then bolted for Sydney for more cash. Then left Sydney for Carlton who made him the highest paid player in the league.

So basically, while he’s begrudgingly acknowledged as a phenomenal player, his best years were somewhat wasted, and his career was marred by the perception of him as an awful bloke and a mercenary. So yeah, not the GOAT
 

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