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Lloyd inducted as AFL life member

RECENTLY retired Essendon champ Matthew Lloyd is one of four new life members of the AFL to be inducted in next month's annual general meeting.

The Bomber spearhead, who qualified automatically when he played his 300th career match last season, will be joined by Ray Allsopp, Neil Balme and Laurie Dwyer.

Lloyd won three Coleman Medals in his stellar career, which also included the 2000 premiership and 11 leading goalkicker awards for Essendon. His career goal tally of 926 places him at seventh on the all-time list.

Balme has had a distinguished career as player, coach and administrator. He starred for Richmond's back-to-back premiership sides in 1973 and 1974 after coming to Victoria from Subiaco in Perth. He coached Norwood to two SANFL flags before taking the reins at Woodville-West Torrens. He coached Melbourne from 1993 to 1997, and then went to a football operations role at Collingwood.

Currently, Balme is head of football operations at current premier Geelong.

Dwyer played 201 games for North Melbourne between 1956 and 1970 and was the winner of two best and fairest awards. Since retiring, he served variously for North Melbourne and the Sydney Swans as a team runner, club director, assistant secretary, development manager, assistant football manager, reserves coach and recruiting officer.

Allsopp has been involved in football for more than 50 years and was the central force in the development of the Victorian primary schools clinic scheme, which grew into VicKick and was the precursor to the AFL Auskick program. In 2009, more than 160,000 children across Australia were part of a NAB AFL Auskick program.

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said life membership was the ultimate acknowledgement of each of the men's careers and contributions to Australian Rules football.

"The AFL has been privileged to watch a great career in Matthew Lloyd, that finished at the end of the 2009 season," Demetriou said.

"Matthew was a person who pulled people to our game with his skill and he will be missed by Essendon supporters and his achievements are recognised by all football fans.

"Ray Allsopp, Neil Balme and Laurie Dwyer have served our game for more than 140 years between them, and each has done much to make our game stronger, either by bringing children to our game like Ray, working to strengthen our game in all our states such as Neil, and working to build a club's success as Laurie has done."

AFL Northern Territory chairman Bob Elix has also been recognised with the Jack Titus Service Award for conspicuous service to the game. Elix has worked in football in the Territory for four decades.