AFL News: Collingwood calls for AFL to introduce premiership rings, Prestia eyes return for Tigers


Following in the lead of competitions like the NRL, NFL and NBA, the Australian Football League is considering introducing a radical plan to present premiership rings to every player who plays a senior men’s or women’s game in a flag-winning season.

Such a proposal to introduce rings – worth more than $50,000 each – has reportedly been in discussion throughout the summer, with four separate businesses pitching to partner with the AFL on delivering the luxury items.

While the AFL is set to officially commit to a plan, they have maintained that the time-honoured premiership medallion for the 23 premiership players will remain. AFL spokesperson Jay Allen confirmed the organisation has been approached.

“Every day we get pitched by companies with new concepts,” said Allen on Tuesday.

“We can confirm we have been approached by multiple businesses pitching premiership rings, however, no further conversations have been progressed.

“For clarity, the AFL premiership medal is one of the most iconic and treasured medals in Australian sport.

“It has been handed out for decades and will continue to be for decades to come. There is no desire or plan to change that.”

Several key figures across the AFL landscape, including Eddie McGuire, are optimistic the plan will get the go-ahead – with Collingwood CEO Craig Kelly throwing his public support behind the idea.

The Magpies, as current flag holders, are particularly hopeful that the idea will get over the line, and that their 2023 flag will be the first counted under the rings system – with 37 players having played for the club throughout the season.

“There is an opportunity here for the AFL industry to copy something from the American sports model that is actually special and works. I don’t think we should copy everything, mind you,” Kelly told Nine News Melbourne.

“It’s separate to the medals and the player and the coach. It needs to be licensed by the AFL. A version of it should be available for members and collectors.”

Darcy Moore celebrates Collingwood’ 2023 premiership win. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Kelly also advocated that a system for the support staff should also be incorporated, a model currently implemented by the NBA.

“The ability to recognise all staff and make them feel special for all the hard work and to have something on their shelf is a good thing,” he said.

“It works wonderfully across men’s and women’s. Ideally I’d love our staff and players to receive something from last year and to line up with the AFLW season and Grand Final this season.”

Season over for Lions duo as Richmond guns eye return

Brisbane’s players will take inspiration from the stoicism of Lincoln McCarthy and Darcy Gardiner as they faced their season-ending knee injuries.

The Lions confirmed on Tuesday the experienced duo face a year on the sidelines – each tore an anterior cruciate ligament in a knee during last week’s win against Gold Coast.

McCarthy and Gardiner join Keidean Coleman and recruit Tom Doedee in becoming ACL victims this season.

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“It is tough to try and put your emotions to the side, particularly when we’re such a close group and we’ve been through it so many times,” midfielder Hugh McCluggage told reporters on Tuesday.

“There’s definitely a part of you that is really disappointed for them but you just have to keep going out there and get your job done.

“The boys that actually got injured were remarkable, how stoic they were … if you look at Linc and Darcy, they put on a brave face and got around all the boys.

“I think Linc was at the huddle straight after he hurt himself, helping the younger boys – that just shows how good a people they are really.”

Defenders Noah Answerth (concussion) and Brandon Starcevich (calf, four-five weeks) are also sidelined.

Meanwhile, Richmond’s influential midfielder Dion Prestia could return for his first AFL match since round one after overcoming a hamstring tear.

(Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

And utility Noah Balta is also in the selection frame for Saturday night’s MCG match against the Western Bulldogs.

Balta hasn’t featured since round three when damaging the medial collateral ligament in a knee and, like Prestia, will face a fitness test later this week.

Veteran midfielder Jack Graham (hamstring) and Jacob Bauer (hamstring) are chances after missing the nine-goal loss to Fremantle, as Richmond’s lengthy injury list slightly eases.

The Tigers, languishing in 17th spot with just one win, still expect to be without on-baller Jacob Hopper – another hamstring victim – for another fortnight.

And club champion Tim Taranto (wrist) was listed on Tuesday as being another four to six weeks from a comeback, with key forward Tom Lynch (hamstring) six to eight weeks away.

Richmond have also lost Josh Gibcus and Judson Clarke to knee injuries for the season.

with AAP

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