While Melbourne Cup Day provided Melbourne's masses with a labor-free day last Tuesday, the latest instalments of 'The Bombers: Stories of a Great Club' continued to run down the straight unimpeded.

Although episodes 3 and 4 of the 'Fox Sports' aired docuseries charted the Dons' lean years of the 70s and early-80s, the latest pair were bookended by premiership glory for the famous old club.

Having taken an outsider's view of the sterling stills, snippets and stories of the past fortnight, I've once again poured through the record books and pondered another set of questions that arose across the series' penultimate week.

So, before the final set of chapters are aired and completed next week, here are another 10 queries that cropped up from the recount of Essendon's most recent golden age.

 

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Where would the AFL be today without Michael Long?

Quantifying the contribution Michael Long has made across his 52-years on earth is an impossible feat.

He is a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, a friend, a Bomber and a legend.

According to books written in his honour, Long remains as elusive off the field as he is on it, but this just seems in keeping with a man that exuded a humbleness whilst conversely striking fear into opposition huddles.

While everyone will have different memories of the man, I’ve long seen Long as a symbol of might that was born from decades of carving literal and figurative paths all so it became easier for the next generation to follow suit.

While the sum of the man is an equation that rocket scientists would prove unable to reach, the task of assessing his stamp on Australia’s indigenous game is no smaller challenge.

By simply listing Long’s list of achievements across the course of his 13-seasons in red and black, the lack of effort required just doesn’t seem sufficient.

By describing his style that ranged from languid to lethal, no number of superlatives quite seem to hit the right mark.

As mentioned, Long’s greatest impartment was to provide footsteps worth following. And as one of the first players to make his way from the Top End to the top flight, his posters were sure to have adorned many walls between Tennant Creek and the Tiwi Islands.

To move away from home and hurtle in at the Sherrin in foreign conditions requires more than just a modicum of courage, but to take on the dated landscape of the game and, again, form it for the better, true bravery is required.

While Long rightfully held Collingwood’s Damien Monkhorst accountable after being racially abused on Anzac Day, 1995, his willingness to shake hands in unity following the construction of a code-wide vilification policy was stronger than any hip and shoulder ever dished out.

Add in the fact that the pair reportedly remain close to this day and the character of the man beyond the red sash becomes much clearer.

Long’s efforts to continue pressing for proper reconciliation and education after his boots were hung up remain both the stuff of legend and a beacon of hope amongst some of the rancid politics that are still rife within our country.

And although this may have little to do with his abilities as a footballer, given he was more than able to both dazzle eyes and challenge minds, Long’s legacy as an athlete, and as an Australian, is completely unique and should always be celebrated as such.

 

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