Bombers to honour Lloyd and Lucas
Back in familiar territory: Former Essendon spearheads Scott Lucas and Matthew Lloyd at Etihad Stadium on Monday. Photo: Penny Stephens
THEY met at the first-ever draft camp, and were chosen by the same side. They shared a forward line, a premiership and retired many years later on the same number of senior games. For 15 years, Matthew Lloyd and Scott Lucas sat in the same meetings, spent most days together and helped each other become better players. It seems right that they will share an ''afterlife'' honour, too.
Essendon has been distracted, in the past two weeks, and will be for a while yet. But the Bombers will start their season by glancing to a less-complicated past, with Lloyd and Lucas among seven men to be inducted into the club's Hall of Fame at a function next month.
Lloyd's achievements make for a long list: he has kicked more goals than any other Essendon player, won three Coleman Medals, multiple All-Australian spots and a string of other awards. He'll go straight into the Hall of Fame as a legend. Lucas matched his 270 games, played with him in the 2000 premiership side and won two club champion awards, the one prize his good friend missed out on.
Others to be recognised will be former premiership players Roy McConnell, Fred Baring and Daryl Gerlach, along with Bill Brew, a committeeman for almost 40 years from 1930 and last year's No. 1 ticket holder, Bruce Heymanson, a huge supporter of generations of players.
When he played with Lucas, Lloyd knew everything about him - which way he would turn, and in which moment. He knew how he thought, and the same applied in reverse. They were as competitive as they were close, with Lloyd getting the first taste of senior football as a 17-year-old, Lucas getting the next chance and the one trailing the other always doing their best to catch up.
''I think we both had a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to go about it, but good players drive each other and make each other better and keep each other on track,'' Lucas said. ''We spent so much time together over the years, we worked in the same part of the ground so the relationship kept growing and we were always talking about it: how do we get better, how do we help our team?''
They have used each other since stopping, Lucas at the end of 2009 and Lloyd, the team's captain, one year later.
Lucas has moved mostly into player management, with some media work on the side; he understands the game as intricately as anyone Lloyd knows, so he's one of the first people he likes to run his ideas by as part of his own post-football career talking about the game they both played so well.
''I think we're pretty similar. Our lives have changed … but neither of us has changed too much … we've always seen the game in the same way,'' Lloyd said.