AFL 2022: Debate rages over North Melbourne honor guard for Geelong’s Mitch Duncan after 250-game milestone

Debate is raging in AFL circles as to whether North Melbourne’s act was sporty for an opposition player or a step too far.

To give or not to give a guard of honour.

AFL pundits debated that question after Kane lashed out at North Melbourne for an act of sportsmanship he called “ridiculous”.

The Kangaroos are at their lowest point after suffering the club’s worst loss to Geelong in 41 years on Saturday night in a 112-point mauling.

Cornes gave a scathing review of the moment they put on a stylish guard of honor for Cats star Mitch Duncan – who played his 250th game – off the ground presided over by teammates Tom Hawkins and Joel Selwood and cheered on by the rest of the squad.

Watch every blockbuster AFL game Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo this weekend. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

While Geelong players stood behind Duncan to be the first to carry him off the ground, North Melbourne players lined up and applauded the 31-year-old.

“Why would North Melbourne be lining up for 250? They’ve just had one of the worst losses in club history, they’ve had 25 in the 50s, it’s 250,” Cornes said on the club’s website. Sunday Footy Show

“He’s not retiring, it’s not 300, it’s 250 and they’ve stayed on the floor to line up for a player they’ve just been crushed by.

“That’s ridiculous. Get off the ground and start thinking about how to get better.

“I couldn’t believe that.”

Cornes’ comments sparked a debate between Essendon legend Tim Watson and Melbourne luminary Garry Lyon over whether Duncan’s guard of honor from the kangaroos was needed.

“I think that was just a great display of sportsmanship on their behalf, respect for a fellow player in the league who has just played his 250th game,” Watson told SEN.

“I don’t know how anyone can find anything negative in what they (North Melbourne) did.

“How can you find anything negative about people who show respect and sportsmanship on the battlefield?”

Lyon replied: “I wonder where the line is for the lineup (guard of honour). On which stage are you in line and on which stage are you not?”

Watson: “It’s where you want it to be to show respect to a fellow player. If you think someone has been a great, consistent player in over 250 games and is worthy of a lineup, so be it.

Lyon: “I think we agree there to disagree. I think Mitch Duncan is a superstar. When did it come into vogue for us to line up for 250 games?

“The way Kane pointed it out is really strong and I have absolutely no problem with what he said. Absolutely, go and show your respect to Mitch Duncan. I don’t even think every player needs to shake every player’s hand. I know not when that came into vogue.

“But in this case, a 250-year-old gamer, I’d do my best to shake hands with Mitch Duncan and show him respect. I don’t think I have to line up my team to give him a guard of honour.

“If it was just a normal game, I’d shake hands with the guy I played on, maybe one or two others who are around me, especially after a fight, and then I’d get out.”

Watson: “It’s no disrespect not to stand in line.”

Lyon: “Well, it is.”

Playing devil’s advocate, Lyon pointed out that Sydney’s Essendon did not give Luke Parker a guard of honor after his 250th game over the weekend.

“So Essendon clearly had no respect for Parker,” he said.

“Essendon football club says, ‘No, Luke Parker is a good 250 player, but we’re not queuing for him’.”

Watson: “Their lineup could be 300 games. They may not have a line.”

Lyon: “That’s my point. I’m in Essendon’s camp. I don’t think so (negative). 250 games – well done, great job, shaking hands, let’s get off the ground.”

Watson: “But is there anything wrong if you do (give a guard of honour)?”

Lyon: “No. It depends on your football club and where you are I guess. You don’t want to be seen as serving and just fall at the feet of the opposition.”

Watson: “I’ve never seen anyone do it, I don’t even know if it’s necessary. But I think we have to do our very best to applaud all the signs of respect and sportsmanship shown. I just think that’s a great thing.

“I don’t see anything negative. If you decide you want it, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

North’s loss to the Geelong was the club’s 11th consecutive defeat by 47 points or more.

No other club in league history has lost more than seven games in a row by 47 or more points – even the GWS Giants when the club first entered the league.

Their loss at Geelong comes after a week in which reports suggested the club is at a breaking point and that coach David Noble is expected to be sacked after the club’s football department’s quick assessment.

And the AFL is reportedly investigating a “full intervention” in North Melbourne amid the club’s struggles, said veteran journalist Caroline Wilson.

Read related topics:Melbourne

Leave a Comment