E. J. Whitten Legends Game

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E. J. Whitten Legends Game
Sport Australian rules football
Founded 1995
Inaugural season 1996
No. of teams 2
Country  Australia
Continent Oceania
Most recent
Victoria (11th title)
Most titles Victoria (11 titles)
All Stars (10 titles)
TV partner(s) Seven Network
Sponsor(s) TradingPost.com
Official website E. J. Whitten Legends Game

The E. J. Whitten Legends Game is an annual charity Australian rules football All-star game, where retired star players are reunited, along with selected non-footballing celebrities, in a State of Origin interstate game, between Victoria and the All Stars (representing the rest of Australia).


E. J. "Ted" Whitten, a former Footscray Football Club player who died of prostate cancer in 1995, was regarded as one of the greatest ever players of the game. He was also passionate about State of Origin football. With his enthusiasm and ability to keep in the media spotlight, Ted had kept State of Origin going for many years, and his emotional farewell at the Victoria vs South Australia game at the MCG in 1995 will long be remembered as a symbol of State of Origin passion. Shortly after his death, the concept was brought into question and the last such game was played in 1999.

When he died, his son, Ted Jnr, launched a foundation for research into prostate cancer, and the Legends Game raises money for the foundation. So far, more than $750,000 has been raised for the E. J. Whitten Foundation.

The first ever Legends Match was played at the Western Oval, home of the Footscray/Western Bulldogs, EJ Whitten's club. Most of the games have been televised free-to-air in Victoria and South Australia. Due to popularity of the event, later games were moved to bigger venues. And since 2003 the game has been held at Etihad Stadium (formerly known as Telstra Dome).

In February 2016 it was announced that the Seven Network had secured the rights to televise this match for the next five years; in addition, the match was moved to the football-free weekend between the final round of the premiership season and the first week of the finals series.[1][2]


Match results[edit]

Year Venue Scores Attendance
Victoria All-Stars Winner Margin (points)
1996 Western Oval, Footscray 10.13 (73) 13.9 (87) All-Stars 14
1997 Whitten Oval, Footscray 10.11 (71) 7.10 (52) Victoria 19
1998 Whitten Oval, Footscray 8.6 (54) 7.10 (52) Victoria 2
1999 Adelaide Oval, Adelaide 7.12 (54) 8.8 (56) All-Stars 2
2000 Shell Stadium, Geelong 6.2 (38) 5.8 (38) Draw 0
2001 Optus Oval, Melbourne 6.11 (47) 7.5 (47) Draw - All-Stars 0, won by goal kickoff
2002 Optus Oval, Melbourne 10.3 (63) 10.8 (68) All-Stars 5
2003 Telstra Dome, Melbourne 1.10.7 (76) 3.6.12 (75) Victoria 1 18,611
2004 Telstra Dome, Melbourne 3.7.7 (76) 1.12.4 (85) All-Stars 9 18,301
2005 Telstra Dome, Melbourne 3.9.6 (87) 0.10.9 (69) Victoria 18 13,000 (approx.)
2006 Telstra Dome, Melbourne 1.12.7 (88) 5.5.13 (88) Draw - Victoria 0, won by goal kickoff (0.3.1 to 0.2.2) 13,000 (approx.)
2007 Telstra Dome, Melbourne 1.9.7 (70) 0.13.7 (85) All-Stars 15 12,897[3]
2008 Telstra Dome, Melbourne 1.10.9 (78) 0.12.8 (80) All-Stars 2 24,452[4]
2009 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 0.13.9 (87) 0.11.6 (72) Victoria 15 20,883
2010 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 0.12.12 (84) 2.11.7 (91) All Stars 7 25,347
2011 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 4.12.3 (111) 2.13.7 (109) All Stars 2 25,086
2012[5] Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 1.15.3 (102) 2.12.6 (96) Victoria 6 26,221
2013 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 1.11.10 (85) 0.12.7 (79) Victoria 6 24,087
2014 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 0.15.6 (96) 2.10.10 (88) Victoria 8 27,800
2015 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 0.11.5 (71) 2.11.11 (95) All Stars 24 26,309
2016 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 0.21.9 (135) 2.17.15 (135) Draw - Victoria 0, won by goal kickoff (3.0 to 1.1) (1.2.0 to 0.1.1) 18,074
2017 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 4.19.6 (156) 0.24.11 (155) Win- Victoria 1 13,106

Wins: All Stars 10 Victoria 11 Draws 1 (4) 3 won by kick offs

Biggest Win: All Stars by 24 points in 2015

Highest Score: Victoria (156) in 2017

Lowest Score: All Stars and Victoria 38 in 2000- Draw

Most Man of the Matches: John Platten 2 (All Stars), Matthew Lloyd 2 (Victoria)


2005's game was notable for a sensational goal scored by former Essendon and Sydney star Derek Kickett.

Adding comedy to the event were comedians Peter Rowsthorn and Russell Gilbert, who made regular appearances in games despite their obvious lack of skill.


The 2006 event was held on 14 June at the Telstra Dome. Among the celebrity guests was Tasmanian Todd Russell, one of the miners rescued in the Beaconsfield mine collapse. He did not play in the match though, because he still had injuries from the accident.

The Victorian side was coached by Danny Frawley, whilst the All-Stars were coached by Wayne Carey and guest Todd Russell.

Speckies were taken by Victoria's Dermott Brereton and All-Star Adrian Fletcher.

Dermott Brereton dished out rough play on former Hawthorn teammate John Platten, including an illegal elbow to Platten's head whilst the rover attempted to tackle and an illegal bump behind play.

A male streaker was arrested by security guards in the third quarter.

Guest appearances included comedians Peter Rowsthorn and Russell Gilbert and legendary Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League full-forward Simon Goosey.

The shootout at the end only featured 4 kickers per side, unlike the 5 stated by commentators.


Hamish Blake (centre) and Andy Lee (right) were celebrity players in the 2008 match.

2008's game was held on 1 July 2008 at the Telstra Dome. Celebrity players included radio comedy duo Hamish & Andy, with Hamish playing for the All Stars and Andy playing for Victoria.[6] Andy managed to score 2 goals, while Hamish scored a spectacular goal, shaving the ball off the outside of his boot to trickle in for a goal. Bryan Strauchan made his second appearance for Victoria and kicked 3 goals. Underbelly star Rodger Corser made his debut for Victoria. Chris Connolly coached the Victorian team and Neale Daniher coached of the All Stars.

Darryl White, the former Brisbane defender, won the best on ground award.


Victoria vs The All Stars
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Victoria 0.2.3 (15) 0.4.6 (30) 0.7.7 (49) 0.13.9 (87)
The All Stars 0.3.2 (20) 0.6.4 (40) 0.10.5 (65) 0.11.6 (72)
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Date and time: 30 June 2009 – 7:45 pm AEST
Attendance: 20,888
Umpires: Ray White
Goal scorers: Victoria 3: Strauchan, 2: Martyn, Murphy, Johns. 1: Lee
All Stars 2: Blake, Modra 1: Hudson, Raftery
Best: Victoria Bryan Strauchan, Andy Lee, Stewart Leowe
All Stars Hamish Blake, Phil Matera, Adrian Raftery
Reports: Nil
Injuries: Strauchan (ankle)
Australian television broadcaster: Nine Network

Victorian team[7]
B: Paul Dimattina Mick Martyn Joel Smith
HB: Ang Christou Glenn Archer (c) Michael Braun
C: Damien Peverill Chris Johnson Paul Licuria
HF: Andrew Thompson Stewart Loewe Adam Ramanauskas
F: Austinn Jones Andy Lee Ben Dixon
Foll: John Barnes Anthony Koutoufides Tony Liberatore
Int: Damian Monkhorst Wayne Schwass Mark Mercuri
Anthony Rock Justin Murphy Joe Misiti
Mark Graham Bryan Strauchan Vince Colosimo
Les Hill
Coach: Chris Connolly (Assistant coach: Andrew Bews)
Runners: Joshua Gibson, Dr. Peter Larkins
Noel Moore
The All Stars team[7]
B: Martin Pike Mal Michael Paul Barnard
HB: Craig McRae Shane Wakelin Michael McLean
C: Peter Matera Sam Gibson (c) Mark Ricciuto
HF: Richie Vandenberg Nick Holland Ronnie Burns
F: Phil Matera Tony Modra Troy Luff
Foll: Ben Holland Darryl White Brodie Holland
Int: Richard Champion Damien Oliver Hamish Blake
Paul Hudson Marcus Seecamp Dale Kickett
Shaun Smith Scott Cummings Blair McDonough
Adrian Raftery
Coach: Neil Balme (Assistant coaches: Terry Daniher, Mark Kleiman)
Runners: Nathan Brown, Russell Gilbert
Russell Masterton


Man of the match was Sam Newman, who kicked four goals despite playing only for a quarter of the playing time. Bryan Strauchan, Damian Monkhorst, Tony Modra and jockey Craig Newitt also scored well. During the last quarter it was picked up on television Nathan Brown (a runner for the Victorian team) exchanging words to Nathan Thompson and stated that it was a "A legends game, mate. You shouldn't be playing;" however, nothing became of the exchange.


The game ended in controversy after Ryan "Fitzy" Fitzgerald kicked a goal on the siren. However, Garry Lyon, the judge of the final score, deemed that the goal had been kicked after the siren had blown, and therefore was discounted. This decision was made in direct contradiction to the laws of the AFL, which state that the match is over when any of the field umpires hear the siren. There was also much controversy about an All Stars mark directly in the goal-square that was not awarded by the umpire. After original thoughts that the All Stars had won, there was then a claim that there would be a shoot out, before finally it was announced that Victoria had won the match. The All-stars' Brodie Holland, formerly of Fremantle and Collingwood, had won Man of the Match. In the final minutes of the match, Victorian runner Shane Crawford was "substituted" on to the ground, and coach Sam Newman put 24 players on the ground, instead of the legal 18. It is speculated that the All Stars had as many as 22 players on the ground, although there was no coverage of their interchange bench, so this was not confirmed.


Victorian team[8]
B: Campbell Brown Mick Martyn Chris Johnson
HB: Brent Guerra Ang Christou David Wirrpanda
C: Joel Smith Scott West Heath Scotland
HF: David Rodan Jonathan Brown Anthony Rocca
F: Brendan Fevola Matthew Lloyd (c) Sav Rocca
Foll: Damian Monkhorst Tony Liberatore Steven Baker
Int: Brent Moloney Nathan Thompson Damien Peverill
Lance Whitnall Paul Dimattina David Wojcinski
David Mensch Josh Hunt Stephen Gilham
Gary Moorcroft Chris Sharp Dan Reilly
Coach: Sam Kekovich (Assistant coach: Andrew Bews)
Runners: Russell Gilbert, Dr. Peter Larkins
Director of Football : Bob Skilton
The All Stars team[8]
B: Darryl White Richard Champion Michael Osborne
HB: Troy Luff Nathan Bock Nick Daffy
C: Peter Burgoyne Karl Stefanovic Andrew Embley
HF: Nick Holland Michael O'Loughlin Russell Robertson
F: Jeff Farmer Billy Brownless Aaron Davey
Foll: Max Bailey Lenny Hayes Shane Crawford (c)
Int: Shaun Smith Abbey Holmes Troy Cook
Mark Winterbottom Ben Holland Kepler Bradley
Nathan Eagleton Gerrit Wanganeen Tim Gilbert
Quinten Lynch Lewis Roberts-Thomson [Mark Williams]
Coach: Mark Williams (Assistant coaches: Terry Daniher)
Runners: Nathan Brown, Warwick Capper
Director of Football: Neil Kerley


The 2017 E.J. Whitten Legends game would be a record breaking game with a controversial finish, Due to new quarter time formats, scores were higher than past games with the 156-155 result being the highest score by a single team, as well as the biggest match aggregate. With Victoria trailing by 5 points with seconds left, Adam Yze attempted a running banana kick, with his kick going across the face of the goal and being marked by Jonathan Brown as the siren sounded, however Brown's mark clearly came after the siren and was paid by the umpire, Brown would kick a drop punt from the pocket and win the game for Victoria 156-155. Brown was also awarded Man of the Match for his 6-goal and 1 super goal performance.[9]

The game was also noted as not featuring any celebrities, just former players.


External links[edit]