UPDATE: Such was the fervour surrounding the latest outbreak of controversy regarding suspended Essendon coach James Hird that it was perhaps surprising nobody seemed to notice something missing from last Friday night's match rundown.
Since 2008, the Bombers and Kangaroos have played for the Hird-Archer Medal, the latter the official "Shinboner of the Century", the former named Essendon's third-greatest player of all time. But one right now not only on the nose with the public but seemingly at odds with his own club.
The medal was presented with much fanfare initially, but by the last occasion the clubs met late last season, seemed an almost an afterthought, quietly presented to North's Daniel Wells in the rooms after the game.
Essendon captain Jobe Watson would have been a monty for it this time around, but the Kangaroos, as home team last Friday, had decided to scrap the medal.
Glenn Archer revealed he approached Kangaroos officials over summer to quietly do away with the award.
‘‘There is no problem with it. We all agreed there are so many different medals and cups these days, and I don’t really get to games anyway so I can’t present it, so I said to the club before the season anyway that I don’t think you really need it and no-one aspires to win it,’’ Archer said on Monday.
‘‘They don’t really make much of a fuss about it so I am not going to worry about it.’’
Archer said Hird’s involvement in the Bombers’ supplements scandal had not impacted on his decision.
‘‘We didn’t even speak about that. We just thought it was another medal and so many cups teams play for. We thought let it just die a silent death,’’ he said.
With Jon Pierik