Players of old would 'thrash' today's teams: Jesaulenko

Carlton legend Alex Jesaulenko shares his thoughts in a chat with DAVID POLKINGHORNE

How do you feel about Greater Western Sydney playing three AFL games in Canberra a year?

It's good for [Canberra] but I would prefer the ACT to have a team in the competition, not GWS. I would prefer a team in the Northern Territory and I would prefer a team in Tasmania, then we'd truly have a national competition but the way it's structured now I don't know how in the hell they can call it a national competition. They're saying the ACT, NT aren't part of this nation. They're saying we'll play a game there to appease them and that's why it's a national competition.

Do you agree with Jason Akermanis playing for Tuggeranong in the NEAFL?

It's a wonder you haven't got [Brendan] Fevola playing up here as well. If he brings in some crowds, whatever, it's only for show. I don't think it does the game any good.

Does it cheapen the league?

It's best for you to ask the club that, what their purpose is. Does it bring more people in? Does it make any money for them? Today the business of football is more important than the game of football, and that bothers me.


Do you think they should bring back State of Origin?

They're talking about getting it back. I would like to see an Aboriginal side play, similar to [NRL All Stars game]. I'd like to see that sort of a game. You can't have Victoria against South Australia, Victoria against Western Australia and play each twice.

What are your thoughts on claims the game is turning into rugby union?

I don't like the way they play today - if you can't run you can't play. Skills are gone and the business of football is more important than the game of football. I think the game will come back but in the meantime I don't understand the game at all today. I don't watch it. I like the game it was, not the game it is.

Does the AFL need to change the rules back to what they were?

What I'd like to see is a line [across the middle of the ground] and 10 or 12 have got to be on one side. All this flooding, you've got 36 coming into an area and when they get possession they wait until they all run down there. They have 17 touches before they get to the 50-metre mark and they reckon it's faster now, bullshit it is, we used to get the ball down there as quickly as possible.

Is the game tougher today?

They're not allowed to tackle too hard. If they tackle too hard they get penalised for a couple of weeks. They're not allowed to give them a shoulder, if you shoulder them today you get six weeks. If today's players played under our rules they wouldn't survive. You pay us the money you pay them today and we'd absolutely thrash them, we'd beat them at marbles. The game we played was made for men to play with skill and courage. The guys today are boys playing with speed and confusion.