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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Richmond’s decision to award life membership to all premiership players slammed by former Hawks

TRIPLE premiership Hawk Brian Lake says he would’ve “cheated” his way to Hawthorn life membership if it had been offered to him just for being a premiership player, cheekily comparing the hypothetical rushed process to dating app Tinder.

The comments come after Richmond altered its constitution to allow every premiership-winning Tiger to become eligible for life membership of the club. Previously, only Tigers with one flag and 100 games, or multiple premierships, to their name were eligible to be life members, before a vote at Richmond’s AGM on Monday night altered the rule.
That means five-gamer Jack Graham, who was Richmond’s youngest premiership player earlier this year, could soon be in line to be a life member of the Tigers.
Lake is a life member of the Western Bulldogs but not of Hawthorn, despite winning three flags and a Norm Smith medal with the Hawks. To be considered for life membership at Hawthorn, a player must have played at least 150 games or given the club at least 10 years of service.
And Lake has no issue with that criteria, saying players should be rewarded for long-term service to the club.
“I’d be reasonably embarrassed walking into a life membership function and saying, ‘yeah I’ve won three flags’,” he told SEN Breakfast.
“I’m a life member of the Bulldogs. I was there for 10 years and I played 197 games there. I rode the waves of a lot of things at that football club … you feel like you earn that a lot more.
“Whereas you look at myself at the Hawks, I was just at the right place at the right time. You still worked hard for it, but … I’d feel like I cheated my way to be a life member of the Hawthorn footy club.
Lake had a cheeky comparison for the Tigers’ recent decision.
“I look at it and you could relate it to Tinder these days. That is just your easy way of getting to you-know-what,” Lake laughed.
“How much more do you enjoy it when you’ve had to go to the pub, you’ve had to have a few beers, you get the courage to go up and speak to her, and you have to do the hard work?
“You enjoy that more, don’t you, than just cheating your way to the final prize.
“I still feel part of the Hawthorn footy club. I am a premiership player, yes, but I don’t categorise myself as a life member because I didn’t go through the heartache of what they’ve had to experience.”
Premiership Hawk Campbell Brown, who is a life member at the Hawks, also disagreed with the Tigers’ constitutional change, claiming it “really diminishes the significance of what a life membership is to the players who already have it”.
“Life membership is earned by a significant contribution over a long period of time.
“You go back to Bill James in 1920, who played one game of football for Richmond, is now a life member, the same as Francis Bourke who played 300 games and won multiple premierships. It doesn’t sit well with me.
“I’m not having any go at the guys who are now inducted, but think Jack Graham or Jacob Townsend, who are in the infancy of their careers, are now going to be life members.
Brown also pointed out former long-serving Tigers like Kane Johnson and Chris Naish as non-life members despite giving their all to the club.
“Could you imagine contributing to a footy club for 30 to 40 to 50 years and a guy who has played one game for Richmond being put on par as the same contribution?” Brown said.