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Working class mullet


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.


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 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122 vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
Sydney Swans 9 7 2 0 134.49 28
West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
View all
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