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Polly Farmer Mourned

Graham Polly Farmer
Graham Farmer
(courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The footy world is mourning the death of perhaps the greatest indigenous player and ruckman of all time, Graham "Polly" Farmer. Farmer, 84, died at his home in West Australia surrounded by family. He had been in poor health for some years and his wife Marlene revealed in 2012 that Farmer was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Farmer revolutionized the role of the ruckman with his sublime skills not only in the air, but at ground level as well. He lacked speed so used the handball as an attacking option when most other sides did not. He honed his handball skills in his native West Australia, where he would handball through a half-open car window. He was also a fitness fanatic, with daily running and weights sessions to, as he put it, "... to suffer the consequences of 100 minutes of football."

Farmer grew up in an orphanage for Aboriginal children in a Perth suburb. He always claimed the upbringing gave him a chance to make something of himself. It was at this orphanage where he received the nickname "Polly" for his talkative nature. Ironically, as a footballer, he was very quiet on the field.

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The Eagles chose to play many of their rookies and players selected in the recent draft while the Magpies went with experience. The result showed on the scoreboard. Experienced Eagle duo Kerr and Cox started on the bench with the Eagle youngsters thrown into the proverbial deep end. The Eagles started well enough with Staker running down Heath Shaw and then being awarded a 50-meter penalty (55 yards) for the opening goal. The Magpies then took control through the midfield and put plenty of pressure on the young Eagles to force turnovers.

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