Archer wins inaugural Madden Medal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Archer wins inaugural Madden Medal

By Sam Lienert 13/12/2007 05:17:50 PM Comments (0)

Retired Kangaroos great Glenn Archer credited an upbringing in a poor neighbourhood and the desire to help people as contributing to him being named the inaugural Madden Medallist.

The award, created by the AFL players' association (AFLPA) and named after former AFL ruckmen Simon and Justin Madden, recognised the achievements both on and off the field of players whose AFL careers ended this year.

Archer won from a remarkable list of nominees, which also included Adelaide's Mark Ricciuto, Carlton's Anthony Koutoufides, Collingwood's Nathan Buckley, Essendon's James Hird and Western Bulldogs pair Chris Grant and Luke Darcy.

Archer, who has previously said that if not for his football career he could have ended up going down the path of childhood acquaintances who died from drug overdoses or went to jail, said his early experiences inspired him to make use of his profile.

"Obviously I grew up in Noble Park, Dandenong - I'm not saying that I had a real bad upbringing but I just come from a side of the tracks where I never thought I would have got to where I've got today," Archer said in his acceptance speech.

"Obviously the AFL is a very powerful brand and I just knew that once I got a profile I could make a difference in the community, in people's lives, and I've tried to do that all the way through my career."

He listed two of the proudest moments of his off-field endeavours as visiting Africa to help promote charity organisation World Vision and be-friending and assisting cerebral palsy sufferer and `Roos fan Marenepe Wilcox.

Archer worked to have a specially-designed home built for Wilcox after the death of his mother and primary carer.

He said in both cases his prominent position as an AFL player and ability to tap into the media enabled him to provide help where others could not.

The award also recognised Archer's playing career, in which he was six times voted the league's most courageous player, played in two premierships, won a Norm Smith Medal and broke the `Roos' games record.

"I rate it very highly," Archer said.

"It's the first time they've put the award out there, but something that recognises off-field stuff as well, which players don't really get recognised for that much at all, it means a lot to me."

Three other awards were handed out at the ceremony in Melbourne, with Buckley and Hird joint winners of the football achievement award, Collingwood's Paul Licuria recognised for community spirit and Hird taking out the award for personal development.

AFLPA president Brendon Gale said there was a need to recognise players leaving the game, as about 120 retired or were delisted each season - nearly 20 per cent of the total.

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