The West

Vics play favourites as Peake on bench
Vics play favourites as Peake on bench

WA football historian Brian Atkinson has hit out at the AFL Hall of Fame for "incredible" pro-Victorian bias over the past decade after WA champion Brian Peake was snubbed again at Thursday night's function.

As Peake accepted his omission from this year's list of inductees philosophically, Atkinson, who quit the selection committee in disgust two years ago after speaking publicly of its rejection of Peake, Stan Heal and the refusal to elevate Barry Cable to legend status, likened getting WA champions inducted to "trying to draw teeth".

Should Brian Peake be in the AFL Hall of Fame? Have your say below.

Heal was inducted the following year, but Peake, a 400-game player, dual All-Australian captain, Tassie and Sandover medallist, and arguably the greatest State of Origin player WA produced, is still to be recognised.

"I resigned after one real shemozzle," Atkinson said. "Brian Peake obviously should be in.

"About four years ago I had a very strong case, as you could imagine. It speaks for itself.

"If they had have picked three more, he would have got in. At that stage, they were putting in eight not six. You would have thought he would have been an absolute certainty the next year. I made the point the next year that Brian Peake was in the top three that didn't get in last year and I would imagine he would be a logical choice.

"Well, he went backwards (in the voting). How could you go backwards in the vote? It wasn't as if James Hird had become eligible that year. Dark horses were coming in from nowhere."

Atkinson got a dressing down from AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick when he quit for speaking publicly, but he said Fitzpatrick had also acknowledged that there was a problem with the committee.

The committee has since been reduced and modified and includes commentator Dennis Cometti as a WA representative.

"The structure of the committee is a bit better now but the Victorian bias over the last 10 years has been just incredible," Atkinson said.

"I could tell you some bloody stories about trying to get Barry Cable in as a legend. Popsy Heal - trying to get him in was like trying to draw teeth."

Peake said it was pointless losing sleep over it. "I live in WA, we are 4000km away and they don't care about us," Peake said. "I have done what I have and if that's not good enough to get an entry then I can't do anything about it.

"I am not going to belittle anyone else who is in it. My record speaks for itself.

"That is the record I have got and if that is not good enough for the Victorians to put my name up well, cheers.

"I get asked every year how come I am not in it and I say I don't select it. I don't know what I have done to the Victorians and I don't understand, quite honestly, what their selection criteria is.

"I am pretty proud of what I have done for Western Australia. I couldn't have done anything more."

The West Australian

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