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Crows champion enters exclusive territory

HE played a club-record 340 games for Adelaide, won Norm Smith medals as best-on-ground in the 1997 and 1998 grand final wins, and is now a Hall of Famer.

But Andrew McLeod should never have played a game for the Crows.

Fremantle had access to the talented young Territorian under special draft concessions, but inaugural coach Gerard Neesham said he couldn't see much of a future for McLeod (pictured), opting to trade the 18-year-old before he had even been to a training session, for Crows centre-half-forward Chris Groom.

History shows the call was a shocker, Groom managing just five games in Freo's first season in the competition (1995), before being sent to North Melbourne where he squeezed in another seven games over two seasons.

Speaking at his induction, McLeod, who stands alongside players like Maurice Rioli, Nathan

Buckley, Michael McLean and Michael Long as the greatest players the Northern Territory has produced, explained how the game seemed to come so easily to him.

"There was certain periods," he said, "where everything was in slow motion. I felt like I was one step ahead all the time.

"I could read the play and I knew where the ball was going to go. In those moments where it did happen you almost felt like you were unstoppable."

McLeod joined Anthony Koutoufides (Carlton), Brad Johnson (Western Bulldogs), Matthew Richardson

(Richmond), Warren Tredrea (Port Adelaide) and Ern Renfry (Perth, Carlton) as the latest Hall of Fame inductees.


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