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Working class mullet

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Michael Gleeson

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The Mullet's magic revives Richmond

Our footy experts review Richmond's win over Port Adelaide and assess the form of the undefeated West Coast Eagles.

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THE Mullet didn't need to touch the ball. He didn't need to take a mark or knock someone over. All the Mullet needed to do to be taken to the bosom of the braying voices of the Punt Road end was to run out onto the ground and shake his lustrous half-mane.

The Mullet is a cult hero. More than that, he is a Richmond cult hero. There might be no bigger thing in football. To date he has been a silent action hero. Talking is for others.

Fortunately, there are plenty of others happy to do the talking. The Mullet's mullet has its own Facebook page, ''Ivan Maric's Mullet''. There are web talkfests on it ''The Ivan Maric Mullet Appreciation Thread'' - just Google, and you'll find it - and the poser: ''Does Ivan Maric have the best mullet in Australian sport?'' (at the moment, yes). He and it have drawn favourable comment from rival players: Ricky Petterd tweeted his respect; ''loving Ivan Maric's mullet''. Doubtless Lynden Dunn's moustache would also approve.

The Mullet: Ivan Maric and his hairstyle are loved by crowds, coaches and players alike.

The Mullet: Ivan Maric and his hairstyle are loved by crowds, coaches and players alike. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Maric opened the door to cult-hero status at Richmond for these reasons, but it was the fact he could get his hand to the ball, knock people over and take a mark that brought him such rapid affection in the stands and the coach's box.

The Mullet had never been a star at Adelaide and is unlikely to be at Richmond, but he is an honest competitor. Which was what Richmond wanted. They knew he was shorter than most modern rucks and would lose many hitouts but they also knew he would knock in and create a contest, that he was big- bodied and aggressive in his approach.

''I love playing aggressive,'' Maric told Inside Football when he left Adelaide last year. ''They want me to be physical and block for the smaller guys, and I love doing that.''

Tiger fans love him and his hair - why spoil it all by saying anything? Richmond recruit Ivan Maric. Click for more photos

Footy mavericks

Footballers who went their own way. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

They love him doing it, too. Damien Hardwick's blueprint is to bring in good people and competitors. They got what they sought in Maric. It was apparent as early as a pre-season game when there was a boundary throw-in on the wing and a ruck push-and-shove. Maric not only kept his feet but pushed the other ruck backwards, then sat a midfielder on his backside. The coaches above in the stand looked at one another with a ''so that is what it is like having a ruckman'' sort of smile. Having laboured with raw young rucks for several years the Tigers had almost forgotten what it was to have a player physically take it to the opposition.

Last week, against the AFL's two best rucks, Dean Cox and Nicholas Naitanui, Maric was good. Naitanui had two superb moments when he force-fed midfielders at the centre bounce in the second quarter and they scored, but Maric does not stand condemned for that, for he is not alone in being jumped over by Naitanui. But Richmond is not being monstered in the ruck now.

Interestingly, Richmond insiders say, the cause and effect of Maric's arrival is that Angus Graham and Andrew Browne have significantly improved. Graham, maybe because a place in the senior team is harder to come by, is now said to be dominating VFL games in a way he had never done before.

''Ivan coming in had the potential to be a bad thing for Angus, but he is playing much better footy this year than he ever has, but he obviously isn't able to get in the senior team yet. That is a good thing. They keep pushing each other,'' a coach said.

Ruck coach Brendon Lade said: ''We think Angus Graham and Andrew Browne have potential but while they are a bit young and developing Ivan is a good, aggressive ruckman.

''At Adelaide he had a good relationship with Scott Thompson and he has not yet got that single relationship or understanding with one of our midfielders but he is getting there. We have gone from last in hitouts last year to top eight this year.

''He has been solid at helping out the backs and marking the ball around the ground. We would probably like him to go forward more and kick a few more goals now.''

Ivan Maric is a quiet man and his own man. Players knew, or were warned, even before he arrived that he pronounced his name EEE-varn not EYE-van. A few new teammates tried him out calling him EYE-van. He didn't speak, just fixed them - only half in jest - with the cool stare. They stopped.

His quiet self-confidence - as evidenced by his choice of hairstyle - generates respect reflected in the fact he was in Adelaide's leadership group and will likely soon be in Richmond's, for when he speaks others listen.

He arrived at Richmond and quietly went about his business then, in a pre-season training session, suddenly let loose.

A teammate had cut the cones in a running session, an offence for which the player had previously been singled out by the coaching staff, so when the player did it again it was not the coaches tackling him but big Ivan.

Short cuts - perhaps save for those on the side of the head - were not to be tolerated and he let the players know it. The coaches swooned.

''The boys love him. He doesn't say a lot, but when he does they listen,'' Lade said.

Maybe it's the allure of the mullet.

WE COULD BE (CULT) HEROES ... FOOTBALLERS WHO WENT THEIR OWN WAY

PAUL BULLUSS Tiger fans loved him. Understood to have once turned to a teammate after Francis Bourke (not then coach) came into the rooms for a word at half-time. Bourke left and Bulluss turned to a teammate and asked “who was that old ----?"

STUART DEW Ex-Port premiership player who came back after a solid donut diet and won a premiership with Hawthorn.

BRUCE DOULL The Blues' flying doormat. Headband but balding. Huge talent, understated. Barely uttered a word.

PETER "SPIDER" EVERITT Former St Kilda and Hawthorn favourite, it was surely the dreadlocks and the spider legs.

MARK "JACKO" JACKSON Melbourne, Geelong and St Kilda's showman forward. He did handstands on the ground, he pranced like a peacock, he hit people. He had a face like Dunlop volleys left out in the sun. He did an Energiser ad and recorded a song. Then did a TV series.

ALLAN JAKOVICH Crazily talented, enigmatic. Had a thick 1980s mullet. Didn't get along with a number of teammates for reasons best left unsaid.

PETER "CRACKERS" KEENAN The name said it really. Brought his peculiar brand of madness to Melbourne, North Melbourne and Essendon.

JAMES MANSON Wild-eyed Collingwood and Fitzroy player with an unorthodox but effective style. Played in a rock band.

AUSTIN McCRABB Geelong coach Malcolm Blight stood him away from the huddle at Waverley one day in frustration. He used to just take off on his pushbike in the off-season, sleeping rough and turning up in all manner of places.

MICK NOLAN North Melbourne's "galloping gasomoter". Had the physique of a wood chopper.

LUKE (RHINO) O'SULLIVAN Took 10 years to play 50 games, and finally did so wearing the duck-egg blue m&m jumper. A social convenor at Carlton who turned up at the airport for a footy trip dressed as Batman.

VAL PEROVIC The original woofa; there was a plaque erected in The Whale's Flinder's Street pub for his exploits.

MATTHEW RICHARDSON Emotional, spectacular. Son of the Bull. Everything emotionally recklessly endearing about Richmond. Famed for doing the outrageous and missing the easy.

DANNY SOUTHERN Western Bulldog who kept snakes. Had a mullet. Partially furnished mouth. An atypical player.

JOSH THURGOOD Short lived but loved at Hawthorn. Like Everitt, had the Sideshow Bob hair and stick-insect limbs.

DARREN "DOC" WHIELDON Kicked seven in his third game. Seven tribunal appearances for Fitzroy in three years, including one for post-shaking. Famously Kevin Sheedy's worst draft gamble.

Related Coverage

AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.15)vs RIC ($1.70) 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.35) 13:45MCG
WBU ($1.73)vs PTA ($2.10) 14:10ES
BRI ($2.45)vs GCF ($1.55) 16:35G
GEE ($2.15)vs SYD ($1.70) 19:20SS
WCE ($2.20)vs HAW ($1.67) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL ($3.80)vs NTH ($1.27) 13:10MCG
GWS ($1.33)vs ESS ($3.35) 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK ($3.70)vs FRE ($1.28) 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.25)vs COL ($3.70) 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS ($2.50)vs ADE ($1.50) 13:45ES
NTH ($1.28)vs STK ($3.50) 14:10BA
PTA ($1.25)vs GWS ($3.70) 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE ($4.30)vs HAW ($1.20) 19:20MCG
BRI ($1.70)vs CAR ($2.10) 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC ($1.15)vs GCF ($5.00) 13:10MCG
WBU ($1.33)vs MEL ($3.15) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.87)vs WCE ($1.87) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW ($1.18)vs PTA ($4.60) 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL ($2.35)vs RIC ($1.55) 13:45MCG
GWS ($3.50)vs SYD ($1.28) 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF ($1.40)vs ESS ($2.95) 16:35MS
STK ($2.80)vs GEE ($1.40) 19:20ES
ADE ($1.08)vs BRI ($6.75) 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH ($2.00)vs FRE ($1.75) 13:10ES
CAR ($2.25)vs MEL ($1.60) 15:20MCG
WCE ($1.18)vs WBU ($4.60) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE ($1.50)vs COL ($2.50) 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($3.70) 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($13.00) 14:10AS
NTH ($1.70)vs WBU ($2.10) 16:35ES
ESS ($5.00)vs RIC ($1.15) 19:20MCG
GCF ($2.50)vs PTA ($1.50) 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.95)vs WCE ($1.38) 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK ($3.80)vs SYD ($1.25) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.07)vs MEL ($7.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL ($1.50)vs ESS ($2.50) 00:00MCG
RIC ($1.70)vs NTH ($2.10) 00:00ES
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($13.00) 00:00MCG
GEE ($1.50)vs ADE ($2.50) 00:00SS
SYD ($1.05)vs GCF ($8.00) 00:00SCG
MEL ($1.87)vs GWS ($1.87) 00:00ES
BRI ($3.05)vs WBU ($1.35) 00:00G
PTA ($2.15)vs FRE ($1.65) 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE ($1.06)vs STK ($8.00) 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 17 15 2 0 127.06 60
West Coast Eagles 17 13 3 1 154.43 54
Hawthorn 17 12 5 0 164.23 48
Sydney Swans 17 12 5 0 115.86 48
Western Bulldogs 17 11 6 0 113.12 44
Richmond 17 11 6 0 112.43 44
North Melbourne 17 10 7 0 107.19 40
Geelong Cats 16 9 7 0 102.42 38
View all
 

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