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Carey tipped to miss out on Hall of Fame

By Roger Vaughan 20/05/2009 10:45:14 PM Comments (0)

The Hall of Fame is one of the AFL's most important honours, to the point that it can generate controversy well before the annual selections are known.

Arguably the game's greatest modern player has generated plenty of fierce discussion in the lead-up to Thursday night's black-tie induction dinner, as has one of football's most loved personalities.

It appears likely that two-time North Melbourne premiership captain Wayne Carey will miss out on induction into the Hall Of Fame for the second-successive year.

Also, a big push to have ailing Collingwood player and media commentator Lou Richards elevated to official legend status has failed.

On football achievements alone, Carey would be a Hall member already and well on the way to becoming an official legend.

But just as Gary Ablett Snr had to wait a few years before his 2005 induction, Carey's well-documented troubles away from the game have counted against him.

The most controversial feature of the Hall's selection process is that candidates are judged on their character, as well as their achievements in the game.

Late last month, Kangaroos chairman James Brayshaw and coach Dean Laidley, a former team-mate of Carey's, called on the AFL to induct the club great.

"He's the greatest player the game's seen and I have not one skerrick of doubt he should be inducted," Brayshaw said.

"It would be a disgrace if he isn't."

The talk has been just as passionate about Richards, who was one of the original inductees in 1996.

Richards is 86 and Melbourne media outlets have made a big push in the last few months for him to become a Legend before he dies.

After his 250-game at Collingwood in the 1940s and `50s, Richards made a much bigger contribution to the game through his work as a football commentator and columnist.

"Louie The Lip" is one of the game's most loved characters.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Victorian Premier John Brumby have joined in, supporting the push to further honour Richards.

The campaign took another twist on Monday when the league revealed that Richards had knocked back the offer of a special lifetime achievement award, which would have been presented at Thursday's dinner.

"The AFL Commission wished to apologise if any offence had been caused to Lou or his family," the league said in a statement.

The status of legend is only supposed to go to people based on their playing and/or coaching achievements - not in areas such as the media.

The AFL has revealed that the commission proposed a change to the criteria so Richards could be elevated, but the Hall's selection committee knocked back the idea and the commission agreed.

"The Hall of Fame criteria for legend Status is extremely strict, based only around playing and/or coaching record," said AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou.

"But the AFL wishes to state for the record that the contribution of Lou Richards to the media coverage and promotion of our game over the last 50 years is matched by few people in the history of our sport."

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