Fans Players

Cowa-Bunga for ‘mystery man’ milestone Eagle

2018 premiership captain Shannon Hurn will line up for his 300th game against Collingwood on Saturday afternoon at the MCG. Writing for, fellow Eagles defender Tom Barrass pens a piece on the enigma that is ‘Bunga’.

Words from Tom Barrass

Shannon Hurn is a bit of a mystery man to many, but those who have had the privilege to know him more intimately know that he has a certain polarity about him.

A physical specimen of the highest order, armed with a military-style understanding of the game and the capacity to execute consistently under fatigue and pressure. He is a nightmare to encounter on the field, or at training for that matter.

In the same sentence, the man known as ‘Bunga’ – a generational nickname his grandfather earned for eating a cement-spiked bowl of Weetbix in an eat off – is a sweet, intelligent, and respectful man who enjoys the simple things for what they are.

Wise not only in appearance, Bunga pursues his interests with a ‘Be the best you can be’ attitude and has become a very large, muscly database of specific knowledge.

Bung’s understanding of the physical fundamentals of the game is second to none.

His positioning, timing and strength in the contest is as advanced as I have seen. Bung can read and react to the ever-changing variables of time, opposition, teammates and the Sherrin, whilst making the most probable decision for success.  Bunga has been able to ‘dance the dance’ of positioning with the best players in our game and beat them regularly. 

This mastery extends to his hand and foot skills, which I do not need to elaborate on, for obvious reasons.

This rare combination of strength in attack and defence has also given Bung the opportunity to ration his way through the tactical side of the game. Developing a thorough understanding of the spatial and mental connection of players in team defence and transition play – Bung is a coach’s dream.

Perhaps one of his most valuable characteristic, what dwarfs his knowledge of the game of AFL football, is Bung’s knowledge of himself.

Farm strong in more ways than one, he understands his values and brings a unique discipline to his actions to protect them.

He is content being himself and he loves what he loves; fishing, salt and vinegar chips, the Financial Review, and his mates. He is a poster boy for personal development, and the career he has carved out is nothing short of magnificent.

A true testament to what one can achieve with their nose to the ground.

A teacher to many, a mate to all and a premiership captain to me, congratulations on your 300th game mate. I am very grateful for your knowledge, leadership, and counsel. You and your family should be proud of what you’ve achieved and the integrity that you’ve shown along the way.

Have fun, TB.