E. J. Whitten Legends Game
|Sport||Australian rules football|
|No. of teams||2|
|Victoria (11th title)|
|Most titles||Victoria (11 titles)
All Stars (10 titles)
|TV partner(s)||Seven Network|
|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.
|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|
|2008||Telstra Dome, Melbourne||1.10.9 (78)||0.12.8 (80)||All-Stars||2||24,452|
|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||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
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.
A male streaker was arrested by security guards in the third quarter.
The shootout at the end only featured 4 kickers per side, unlike the 5 stated by commentators.
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. 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|
|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|
|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|
|Australian television broadcaster:||Nine Network|
|The All Stars team|
|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|
|Coach:||Neil Balme (Assistant coaches: Terry Daniher, Mark Kleiman)|
|Runners:||Nathan Brown, Russell Gilbert|
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.
|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|
|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.
The game was also noted as not featuring any celebrities, just former players.
- Guthrie, Ben (16 February 2016). "Channel Seven, AFL unite to broadcast EJ Whitten Legends Game". Australian Football League. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- X, Mr (31 August 2016). "EJ Whitten Legends Game teams announced" (PDF). Australian Football League. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- EJ Whitten Legends Game : EJ Whittens Legend Game
- Record Breaking Crowd at the Ray White EJ Whitten Legends Game
- Fevola lights up Legends game | AFL | Fox Sports
- Hamish and Andy seek survival for E.J. Whitten Game
- de Kretser, Chris; Timms, Daryl (30 June 2009), "The legend lives on", Herald Sun, p. 65
- "Player List 2015" | Retrieved on 13 July 2015
- "All the big moments from the EJ Whitten Legends Match, with Jonathan Brown kicking the matchwinner". Fox Sports. 1 September 2017.