30/05/2024

Jason Akermanis during his time at the Western Bulldogs. Picture: westernbulldogs.com.au

In part four of our five-part series, Jason Akermanis reflects on his time at the Western Bulldogs, including his infamous handstand.

Read Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 of our series here.

At the end of 2006, Akermanis’ time with the Brisbane Lions had come to an end unbefitting of the champion.

Just 12 months after winning the Lions’ best and fairest, Akermanis was on the move, and he had three clubs after him.

“I spoke to Bomber Thompson at Geelong, they didn’t have quite enough cash and it would’ve been a good fit, I would’ve won another three flags,” he told The Inner Sanctum.

“I was at the end of my career, so I need a good team to do that.

“Essendon was the other team, they had Kevin Sheedy and I thought they may get rid of ‘Sheeds’.

“The three-year deal I did with the Bulldogs was about $50,000 more than the Essendon deal, it was about $400,000 a year, and the Bulldogs’ was $450,000 a year,”

“The Bombers had a two-year deal and the Dogs had three-year deal; it was a better deal.

“I think we played in three prelims in four years and they were the team to go to no doubt.

“We just couldn’t get there…Rodney (Eade) was a lunatic, and the group couldn’t quite get there.”

Despite another tough end to his time at another team, this time at the Bulldogs, Akermanis said his time at the club was “mostly pretty good”.

“It was mostly pretty good, it was only the end,” he said.

“There’s a lot of blokes that would have a lot to say about it but don’t because they knew they probably did the wrong thing.

“A lot of blokes just cracked the sads, they had to gang up on guys like me who were not into things they liked off field.

“If it made it better to get rid of me, and they did not go on to do much anyway, their reasons for getting rid of me were pretty average.

“It was a sad end, I never got a lap of honour, a last game which I probably deserved, but it happens,”

Throughout his time at the Bulldogs, Akermanis’ famous handstand celebration was a regular talking point.

“A few of the boys in the group in the leadership group said it was ‘too individual’, well f*** boys, we’re all individuals who play a team sport who work together,” he said.

“How about you have some empathy and acceptance of others?

“There is not one person in that group who could say now they did the right thing, because people I’ve been around and lived a long time, they know acceptance is wrong.

“What are you doing wrong? You’re winning and celebrating with a handstand.

“I accepted it as you need to be a team player and they were pretty nervous about having blokes like me who had success, and they didn’t like to be told anything, they thought they knew everything and clearly they didn’t.

“The decision was made, I cut it, no problem.

“I don’t know how many people came up to me, probably hundreds, and said what the Bulldogs did there, ‘are they kidding?’.

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