When the Western Bulldogs broke a 62-year premiership drought, injury forced club captain and spiritual leader Robert Murphy to watch from the coach’s box.
Amid wild celebrations, and after the 22 competing players received their premiership medallions, Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge took to the podium, ending his speech with a remarkable gesture.
Removing his own premiership medallion, Beveridge invited the wounded skipper to the stage with the words “This is yours mate, you deserve this more than anyone.”
Beveridge’s actions will go into sporting folklore and added a remarkable full stop to an historic day in Australian football.
His actions will be applauded by the who’s who of Australian sport at the 2016 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner in Melbourne next week when Beveridge is awarded the ‘Spirit of Sport’ Award.
Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chairman John Bertrand AO said Beveridge’s actions encapsulated exactly what the award was designed to recognise.
“We all watched it and it captured our hearts,” Bertrand said.
“Luke’s actions exemplify the spirit of sport and truly represent many of the values of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame including modesty, generosity and mateship.”
“It’s a fitting moment to be enshrined in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame via the ‘Spirit of Sport’ Award, which we only award sparingly and in select circumstances – and this is one of those moments,” Bertrand said.
Presented for just the sixth time since its inception in 2005, Beveridge follows in the footsteps of last year’s recipients Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson who’s courage and mateship when faced with a shark at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa was recognised with the award in 2015.
The ‘Spirit of Sport’ Award acknowledges extraordinary sporting achievements and performances that capture the hearts of the nation. When The Sport Australia Hall of Fame introduced the award it was not intended to be given annually but to be granted, at the Board’s discretion, for a performance that is very special and destined to be part of Australian sporting history.