I just read that article, and my first impression was how footy journalism has changed and indeed how footy has changed.
Firstly, what paper today would print an article that long?
What reader would read it, given that it was more than one paragraph long?
What prize winning pre-eminent Football writer, would actually write so well about the personalities of the game, about the events on the field ?
Footy then was "whatever it takes" You dished it out, then you copped it back.. On the field.
Today the war is waged between the powerhouses of mainstream ( accredited) media aligned with the AFL itself and the social media which is slowly driving the newspapers out of business.
On the field, it is a more sanitised competition, with never an elbow raised, and a distinct distaste by those running the game for the spilling of blood, or the sight of anything red except on the Sydney swans strip.
The game today is cleaner, and the passion of players is more controlled, but one day, in the future, a grand final will be played and the passion will spill over. More than likely, that Grand Final would need to be between Essendon and Hawthorn.