Western Bulldogs premiership heroes Liam Picken, Clay Smith and Ellie Blackburn were among those to be recognised on this year’s AFL Premiership Players Club stamp collection.
Each year the AFL Premiership Club makes a set of stamps featuring premiership players, coaches and grand final umpires.
Those on the stamps are recognised at a function at Windy Hill.
This year had a real Bulldogs theme, with four former Bulldogs among those recognised.
Clay Smith and Liam Picken both played key roles for the Bulldogs in their 2016 premiership.
The two have both since had to retire due to injury.
Smith counts himself lucky to a premiership player.
“I had three acl reconstructions leading up to that,” he said.
“I did my first knee in the second year against Essendon. I come back and played three games and did my second and come back and played four games and did my third.
“I never thought I would play football again. To come back after my third [acl] and played 13 games straight in the premiership year.
“I got to enjoy that finals series and the grand final. I’m eternally grateful.”
Picken grew up around football with his father and brother both playing VFL/AFL. His father played in five grand finals, but never tasted premiership success.
Picken said the premiership was pretty special for the playing group, but also the local Bulldogs supporters.
Both Picken and Smith still live in the western suburbs.
“It’s amazing, especially for the western suburbs,” Picken said.
“There’s a lot of tradition around the western suburbs. For so many years the Bulldogs were struggling to survive, so many supporters out there that never thought that the Bulldogs were going to win.
“Just to be able to be a part of that, it meant so much to so many local supporters around the local suburbs, that makes it feel even more special.”
Blackburn, who captained the Western Bulldogs AFLW premiership in 2018 is the first female player and second female overall to be included on the stamps.
Goal umpire Chelsea Roffey was the first female on the stamps last year.
Blackburn said the Bulldogs had always been really supportive of the women’s program.
“I’ve absolutely loved my time at the dogs and have been there a few years now.
“The CEO at the moment is so supportive of women’s football. At the moment we’ve got Bob Murphy running around with us as our leadership advice person, he’s out there running around on the track with us. I’m really excited.”
Blackburn said getting another premiership was a focus, while making the Bulldogs a place that players want to stay at was another one of her big goals.
Former Footscray captain David Thorpe was also honoured for his premiership with Richmond in 1974.
Thorpe, who played at North Footscray before playing in the then VFL, played 151 for the Bulldogs and 27 for Richmond.
He said it was former Tigers coach Tom Hafey he had to thank for getting him to Richmond.
“I realised I was never going to play in a grand final and I needed to go and play with team that would play in a grand final.
“I had this amazing human being called Tom Hafey. From 1970 onwards, he would knock on my door four times a year asking me to come to Richmond.
“Eventually in 1973 [at the end of the season]… I jumped over and I played in a grand final.”
Others to be recognised on the night included Luke Power, the late Darren Millane, Kevin Gosper, Glenn Hawker, former umpires Kevin Smith and Murray Williams, Merv Keane and Warren Jones.
Kevin Murray became the second non-premiership player to be included on the stamps.