Main content

Three Cats to be awarded AFL life membership

Steve Johnson and Andrew Mackie were amongst the AFL's star studded retiring class of 2017 - Geelong Cats,Andrew Mackie,Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson and Andrew Mackie were amongst the AFL's star studded retiring class of 2017

Cats stars Andrew Mackie and Steve Johnson headline a list of 10 new AFL life members.

Eddie Betts, Jordan Lewis, Kade Simpson and the recently retired Johnson and Mackie automatically qualified for life membership having passed 300 AFL games (including pre-season, State of Origin and International Rules Series games) in 2017, as did umpires Chris Donlon and Shaun Ryan.

The AFL announced on Wednesday it had also conferred life membership for "special service to the game" to former Commission chairman and Carlton premiership captain Mike Fitzpatrick, 1993 Norm Smith medallist Michael Long and dual Richmond premiership player and long-time broadcaster Rex Hunt.

Fitzpatrick served on the AFL Commission from 2003-17, the last 10 years as chairman. He also enjoyed a distinguished on-field career, playing 97 games for Subiaco from 1970-74 and 150 games for Carlton from 1975-83. The ruckman was a key member of the Blues' 1979 and 1981-82 premiership teams, the last two as captain.

Long was a brilliant wingman for Essendon over 190 games from 1989-2001, and the standout player in the Bombers' triumphant 1993 finals campaign. Long has also been a leader in addressing racism in sport and, in retirement, established the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre in Darwin.

Hunt played 202 games for Richmond, Geelong and St Kilda from 1968-78 and was a member of the Tigers' 1969 and 1973 premiership teams. Over the past four decades, Hunt has been a prominent media personality, working primarily as a radio broadcaster. 

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the Commission congratulated each individual on their award and looked forward to thanking each personally again at the season launch in March for their contribution to football.

Adelaide historian John Condon won the Jack Titus Award for outstanding service to football over nearly 60 years at the Prospect, North Adelaide and Crows football clubs.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs