Mullets, moustaches and short shorts by ABC News Digital Storytelling team

Today’s AFL grand final players are the product of sports scientists on the quest for the perfect competitor.

The average grand finalist has certainly changed a lot over the years. ‘Mullets, moustaches and short shorts’ takes a light-hearted look at these changes in a fun, interactive and accessible way. We’ve created a set of average ‘every-players’ from the 50’s to now highlighting changes to height, weight, muscle-tone and perhaps most importantly, shorts-length and hairstyle. For a bit of fun, we’ve also illustrated the average weather on grand final days during that decade.

The artwork is clean and bright and functions not only as an attractive feature illustration but also as an interactive graphic supporting the data used to tell the story in the subsequent article.

Simple, unobtrusive animations provide atmosphere without muddying the function of the artwork as a comparative graphic.

Putting the needs of our digital audience first, the presentation works beautifully on all device types including on mobiles. The artwork provided great material for social media at a time when the 2015 finals were about to start and interest was strong.

Players of Australia’s favourite game these days are taller, fitter and more likely to be from an Indigenous background than ever before. Thankfully we’ve moved on from the mullets of the 80’s but the question remains; are hipster beards really any better?

About the Team
The ABC News Digital Storytelling team uses the skills of journalists, developers and designers to tell stories that matter in ways that help people understand the news.

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