This speaks to the importance of a footballer when Tony Lockett is the person who introduces you to the Hall of Fame.
Lockett, the leading VFL / AFL all-time goalie, had the honor of telling about his great friend Nicki Winmar as a former St. Kilda champion was finally awarded the status of Australian Football Hall of Fame.
WinmarThe indigenous icon, after picking up a sweater in 1993 and pointing to his skin after horrific racial abuse by Collingwood fans, received a stormy reception at Crown on Tuesday night.
“We will always have racism in society, unfortunately, but we will still stand here and always say that we are proud of who we are and what we have done.” Winmar said.
The dynamic presenter retired in 1999 after 251 AFL games and since 2005 has been eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame.
Winmar’s first words on stage – “about time” – summed up the mood of football fans who watched his game between 1987 and 1999.
Winmar and Lockett were a deadly duo for the Saints in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
They may not have won the premiership together, but Winmar and Locket gave St Kilda fans so much joy at Moorabbin.
Lockett remained inconspicuous after retiring, for the second time, in 2002, but was more than happy to praise Winmar for his achievements.
“I was sure that wherever I went, he could put the ball right in front of me,” Lockett said in a pre-recorded video.
“If Nicky had it somewhere in the middle of the earth, you knew you would have a chance.
“He could take screamers, he could walk around guys, beat them, jump and kick 60 meters.
“He has adapted to what he should, could do anything, a complete footballer.
“A great guy, absolutely the best, and we got along like a house on fire, and it probably turned out on earth.
“A lot of the opposition, they might not admit it at the time, but I think they also enjoyed watching him play.”
Winmar was among eight new entrances to the Hall of Fame along with contemporary greats Brent Harvey and Matthew Paulich, and South Australian icon Russell Ebert was elevated to legend status.
- The Story of Oliver Kefry, AAP