Mr Football’s final lap
There was barely a dry eye in the stadium on June 17, 1995 when gravely ill VFL legend EJ ‘Ted’ Whitten farewelled football in what was to be his last lap of the MCG.
“Mr Football”, as the 321-game Footscray great and Victoria chairman of selectors was known, and his son, Ted Junior, did a lap around the boundary line by car before his beloved Big V took on South Australia in a State of Origin clash in front of 64,186 fans.
Whitten, partially blind and his body weakened by his battle with prostate cancer, found strength to stir the crowd with his famous fist in the air salute. The strains of Mariah Carey’s Hero provided an emotional backdrop to what, for many, is still a cherished moment in the ground’s long history.
EJ’s Big V did not let him down that day, trouncing South Australia by 63 points. EJ died exactly two months later on August 17, 1995 – his legend grows stronger by the year.