You beauty! Jezza's leap is Legendary

ALEX Jesaulenko last night was awarded Legend status in the Australian football Hall of Fame, becoming the first man born outside Australia to join football's most esteemed pantheon.

Born in Austria to a Ukrainian father and Russian mother, Jesaulenko went on to become a wizard on the football field. The Carlton champion left an indelible mark on the game after taking a soaring mark in the 1970 grand final that inspired commentary that lives on today. The commentator, Mike Williamson, was at last night's ceremony and Jesaulenko told the crowd: "He still says if he hadn't said those words, I would have been an unknown little wog."

Kevin Sheedy was one of eight inductees into the Hall of Fame last night, awarded the honour as soon as he was eligible following his epic coaching career at Essendon. Des Tuddenham, Noel Teasdale, Geof Motley, Gavin Brown, Garry Hocking and Glen Jakovich were also admitted, along with long-serving Queensland umpire Tom McArthur.

But another of the game's all-time greats, Wayne Carey, was overlooked by the selectors, who clearly referred to the selection criteria relating to the integrity and character of potential candidates and decided the former North Melbourne captain was not yet worthy of qualification.

Carey faces charges in both Melbourne and the US for allegedly assaulting police and resisting arrest, and has also recently admitted to battling drug use. The admission of Gary Ablett snr into the Hall of Fame was delayed for four years after the drug-related problems he had in retirement.

Former Magpie great Tuddenham was granted entry after being overlooked for 12 years. A Collingwood captain for five seasons and of Essendon for four in the 1960s and '70s, he was convicted of handling stolen goods in 1980 and, in 2004, received a suspended jail term and lost his driver's licence for 2½ years after pleading guilty to four charges that included driving under the influence and failing to identify himself at the scene of an accident. He played 251 games and won the Magpies' best-and-fairest in 1963.

The inductees were announced at a function at Crown Casino. While it was optional this year for the selection committee, chaired by AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, to induct another legend, it's believed that in the 150th-year celebration, it was decided a further addition would be timely.

Three former Carlton greats, Jesaulenko, Ron Barassi (whose career also encompassed Melbourne, North Melbourne and Sydney) and John Nicholls, are now among the game's 22 official legends.


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