Ah, the roller coaster ride that is being an AFL tragic. This time last week, I was not happy. At all! A combination of wayward kicking from my team, some equally wayward (bordering on bewildering!) umpiring decisions and a few fantasy footy disasters conspired to completely screw up my ability to enjoy the footy on display. To the point where I couldn’t even bring myself to tweet and/or blog about how pissed off I felt. All I wanted was for Shane Mumford to sling tackle me into the ground so I would wake up three days later and forget everything that happened in round 13.
This week? Well, still not happy…especially on the Essendon front. Which is a shame because there are a lot of good things going on in AFL right now. Maybe I am just experiencing a Bombers-style mid-season slump of my own. Just need to work through it I guess. That is what Hirdy will be telling his boys. Will it work? Probably not next week…they play Geelong, after all.
Honestly…who in their wildest dreams would have predicted that after losing their premiership winning coach and best individual player in a matter of weeks last September, Geelong would remain undefeated after 14 rounds? Only person I can think of is Billy Brownless on a beer bender (he calls them ‘weekends’). The Cats cruised yesterday against the Adelaide Crows after taking care of St Kilda the week before. And they are resting guys left and right. Officially scared!
But it hasn’t been all peaches and gravy for the Cats with Jimmy Bartel suffering a nasty concussion against the Saints when his head came into contact with a teammates flying arse! This also proved to be the breaking point for me and football in round 13. Having endured a frustrating Saturday afternoon at the footy (Essendon v North), plus a terrible start to my AFL Dream Team on Friday night (Boyd as captain+ Chris Knights =FAIL!), my faint hopes of staying alive in the Eliminator were knocked senseless along with Bartel. Damn stupid first-world problems…
Hawthorn might have been whacked a few times with the injury stick but it doesn’t appear to be halting their progress at this stage. They keep on winning games despite consistently losing players along the way…including Lance Franklin to yet another high bump suspension. He only missed one week this time but it was his favourite week of the year – the annual Essendon goalfest! Never fear – his teammates made up for it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
Buddy had a few law-breaking mates join him on the sidelines too. The crime? Tackling! Now it seems that any tackle resulting in any sort of head injury will result in a suspension. Not sure exactly when this rule came into vogue but if we start suspending players for all tackles that cause head injuries…we might see a shit-tonne of suspensions before the year is out! That won’t be controversial…
And why would we want to vent all of our collective spleens about the incompetency of the tribunal and/or match review panel when we can all recoil in horror as an AFL coach leaves his vantage point in the coaches box two minutes before the end of a match? Sacrilege! Lucky Ross Lyon had two full weeks to ruminate over this gross error in judgement…or just not give a shit and enjoy his weekend off! I suspect he did the latter.
Collingwood’s bye week, like all things they are involved with, proved to be highly eventful. A group of injured players made the sojourn to the high-altitude haven of Arizona for some form of rehabilitation…only for Nathan Brown to bust his kneecap in a hiking incident! Now his season is over…for a second time. At least they weren’t harassed by pesky drug testers…
No wait – they WERE harassed by pesky drug testers! Dane Swan, in particular, was none too impressed and took to Twitter to express his dislike for early morning wee analysis. It wasn’t received very well. Swan quickly found out that the league and drug testers don’t really have a sense of humour about these matters. Or anything else really. Hence the stock-standard ‘whoopsie’ statement…
Not saying that the drug testing agency are into stereotyping but if you were a drug tester and you saw footage of a heavily tattooed footballer in ugg boots and trackie daks boarding a plane mid-season for some ‘rehab’, fair to say you might be targeted for some testing in the near future. It’s a wonder they didn’t hit up Swan for urine on the flight home!
While Swan learned that jokes about drug testing are frowned upon by those in power, the Fremantle Dockers also learned a valuable lesson. Unfortunately, it was the hard way. And that is…massive bloke with foot problem should not be rushed back into the team. Aaron Sandilands came back a touch earlier than expected from a toe injury and, yep, he broke down again so his season might be done. Hope they felt the risk of playing him in a home game against a bottom club was worth it!
But forget Sandilands…well, we have no choice anyway…his season is probably done. But Nic Naitanui – and the West Coast Eagles – is where it’s at! The Eagles announced themselves as definite finalists by winning in Melbourne…against a team that is good and everything!
West Coast’s win served warning that you need your big guys firing to be any shot in this comp. Melbourne have strung some wins together with Jack Watts impressing. North Melbourne have also powered along in the past month thanks in no small part to Drew Petrie. Whereas Richmond seem to announce themselves one week as a club going places only to fall flat the very next week. Jack Riewoldt hasn’t reached the heights of 2010 just yet…maybe they need this guy below!
With ten rounds to go, we are just entering the home stretch now and it looks like we will have some intense competition for finals places. So it’s time to shake off those midseason blues and get on board for a big second half of the year. Time to embrace our great game and all the good it brings to it’s many fans and…aw shit! Justin Sherman?!?!?! Couldn’t you have waited until I finished my inspirational pump-up speech before being a dickhead?
Damnit! Shane Mumford…tackle me now!
It has been a massive fortnight for birthdays…for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It started back in Round 11 with my two young nephews, leading to me spending last weekend attending a superhero themed kiddies party in the depths of Aussie Rules’ newest frontier – Greater Western Sydney. Now if your beloved AFL team ever suffers a horrifying loss on a Friday night (like mine did) and you are looking for an escape (like I was) then I highly recommend spending the few subsequent days after said disaster in the western suburbs of Sydney. It was like that game, along with the rest of the round, didn’t even happen…brilliant! However, it also meant no blog last week.
And this week, thanks to the public holiday in celebration of Queen
Helen Mirren’s Padme Abidala’s Latifah’s Elizabeth’s birthday, football fans enjoyed the benefits of a three-day weekend and I managed to sit down and blog over the past two weeks of footy action. It is so much easier to write when there are no distractions…as I felt no need to celebrate Lizzie’s birthday (so I didn’t) plus the traditional Collingwood-Melbourne clash was never going to be that riveting (and it wasn’t).
Yep, the Magpies keep powering on as they made mincemeat out of Melbourne, leaving Eddie McGuire with a lil’ something to celebrate on what must always a challenging day for him…this holiday must stick in the craw of all those monarchy-frowning republicans!
On the Melbourne side of things, it was another case of taking a large step back after the scenes of hoopla and euphoria we all witnessed one week earlier…when they won a game. Last week, coach Dean Bailey was punching inanimate objects after a win. Now he should be punching some living, breathing, human targets after his side was comprehensively overwhelmed yesterday. Is he? Not exactly. Violent in victory, demure in defeat…what a complex character!
Whilst the Melbourne coach confuses us all, most of the AFL landscape remains pretty clear. Geelong keep winning, Carlton keep winning. Adelaide keep not-winning, the Bulldogs keep not-winning. Gold Coast keep finding talented rookies but losing games. And the advantage rule that doesn’t work continues to not-work. Bruce McAvaney blurted that the rule has to change after this two-step shuffle from Daniel Cross ended up in play-on. Hmmm…should we change it back to the rule that didn’t work last year? Or another rule that also won’t work? Decisions, decisions!
Also true to form is the traditional “controversial umpiring decision” that may have cost some poor team the game. This week it was Hawthorn’s turn as they fell just short of ending Geelong’s unbeaten start to the season after Lance Franklin hit the deck on the Hawks’ last effort to pinch the lead. Was it a free kick? Was Hawthorn robbed? Buddy may have showed a side to himself more akin with the round ball game; that flop to the ground at the final marking contest more reminiscent of Real Madrid footy-hunk Cristiano Ronaldo’s finest work.
Though, to be fair, Buddy didn’t engage in any theatrical “where was the free?” histrionics following the no-call – Ronaldo would still be throwing his hands in the air in disgust right now…a full four days later!
While the four points went south for Hawthorn the moment Buddy’s legs gave way, any realistic shot at a flag went minutes earlier when Jarryd Roughead suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Just a note to those boundary rider/sideline commentators out there (no need to name names or networks…ok, Mark Howard, Channel Ten) – there is no such thing as a suspected rupture of an Achilles tendon. If the guy (like Roughead or Anthony Rocca a few years back) or girl (like netballer Sharelle McMahon a few months back) immediately stops in their tracks, looks back over their shoulder like somebody yanked every leg hair out of their calf in one go and then falls to the ground clutching the place where their Achilles used to be attached…no need to ‘suspect’ what it might be. It can be nothing else but a ruptured Achilles!
The injury to Brent Guerra’s head? That’s when you reach for a ‘suspected’…because we didn’t even see what happened. All we knew at the time is that Guerra had a sore head and he was pissed at Joel Selwood. Now we know that Selwood did…something…and has been suspended for four matches?! With injury to Dane Swan, injury and team struggles for Jobe Watson and now Selwood ineligible, Chris Judd may have just landed his third Brownlow Medal already. The guy will need a bigger sock drawer to store all his medals. I’m sure he could get an interior designer to construct a stylish sock/medal drawer for him…with a mezzanine level perhaps?
One unique aspect to round 12 involved three teams that travelled interstate to play Sunday games…they couldn’t get home! Each team lost as well…what a sucky day! But between thick bouts of fog and Chilean volcanic ash, catching a plane in the past couple of days has been a tough assignment. The Brisbane Lions found themselves stuck in Melbourne while Richmond ended up riding buses from Sydney back to Melbourne…no doubt including a stop in Gundagai. The dog on the tuckerbox…has to be done!
The other team left stranded (both literally and in football terms) was Essendon, who were unable to fly out of Western Australia after their match with Fremantle on Sunday. If you consider the below-par performance against the Dockers and their horrendous interstate record, maybe the extra time away from the comforts of Melbourne might do the Bombers some good. Will they ever crack it for a win interstate?
Maybe the next time they head to South Australia…both Adelaide teams appear to be cactus! Despite a fast start, the Crows were quickly reeled in by the resurgent West Coast Eagles and crashed to yet another loss. Cue the public backing of a lame duck coach! The Power scored the bye this round…meaning they didn’t get beaten or lose more money by hosting a game. When that is the best news your club has received in ages, you know you’re in strife!
Hey…at least alcohol can make any terrible season seem that little bit more bearable. Or it can cost you thousands of dollars for a moment of madness you won’t even remember the next day!
Some of the things going on in footy right now defy logic. Normally, this feeling is restricted purely to umpiring decisions but everywhere you turned last weekend, something you never quite expected seemed to eventuate.
Honestly, why bother having Jason Akermanis invent some lame-arse controversy then bombard us poor AFL media consumers with countless messages that his schtick is ‘explosive’ ,’news’, ‘newsworthy’ or ‘must-watch’? We have plenty of naturally occurring, interesting and relevant things to take in, thank you very much. Look at the following statements – all of these would have been pure fantasy not that long ago…
“Former teammates, now opponents…Gary Ablett and Cam Mooney embrace following the first meeting between Geelong and the Gold Coast Suns”
Remember the early talk about players being poached by the new franchise on the Gold Coast? Who was one of the first big names mentioned? It wasn’t little Gazza…it was actually the Big Hairy Cat! However, and you will hardly believe this, the speculation was more of a media construct than actual legitimate story. The Suns weren’t that interested and eventually got their Cat…and on 2011 form, clearly made the right call!
“Karmichael Hunt’s first goal for the Gold Coast Suns would give his team a half time lead over the only undefeated team left in the comp”
And if I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I still wouldn’t have believed it happened! What a fantastic moment that was, one that truly announced to the convert-skeptics that the man known as ‘K’ is making a genuine fist at his new code. Shame that his progression has been halted temporarily by the Match Review Panel but then again, who’d have thought that in Hunt’s list of AFL career achievements, kicking a goal would happen first…before being suspended?
“In 2011, Melbourne’s two bravest performers during the Friday night home match against Carlton will be Jim Stynes and Russell Robertson”
Sad but true. The Demons would have struggled to beat Carlton even if they were at full strength. And playing well. And with the best coach in the comp. They are/have none of those things. And it shows.
What they do have is the most inspirational man doing his best to lead his club out of the doldrums. And he’s up there performing with Olivia Newton John, for goodness sake, along with former teammate and bogan karaoke king Russell Robertson. When is somebody else at that club going to step up? And by ‘step up’, I mean on field…not as a support act for the Kings Of Leon’s next tour.
“Dale Thomas will be described as one of best players in the league”
I’m assuming that St Kilda coach Ross Lyon is playing some sort of evil mind game leading into the Grand Final replay/rematch/remix/redux. And, in reality, he’s no better than third in his own team; let alone tops in the entire competition. But you can’t deny that Dale Thomas is playing spectacular footy right now. Don’t think that Collingwood will be crying poor this year come All-Australian team announcement night…this guy will be there for sure.
“Fremantle look poised to continue their strong play in 2011 and, for the first time in their history, be a feared opponent for two seasons in a row”
Nope…they remain inconsistent, entirely unpredictable and destined to screw me over tips-wise every damn weekend for eternity! Injury has hit them hard, no doubt, but when the tallest, heaviest, most influential players in your team has a rarely heard-of foot injury (in AFL circles anyway)…and you suck without him? Not good. Falling in a massive hole in a home game against a not-quite-themselves St Kilda, who had their own injury dramas…that’s not good either.
“After a lifetime of confusion, now everybody will be able to tell the Scott twins apart”
It’s pretty simple nowadays…the Scott twin who loses most weeks, usually in gut-wrenching circumstances, and hates umpires? That’s Brad. The one that has never lost a game as coach and his biggest problem is Tom Hawkins? That’s Chris…though, believe it or not, he’s not entirely happy either! What do you have to do to raise a smile out of one of these guys?
“Common sense needs to be applied by betting agencies, broadcasters etc… so that promotion of gambling doesn’t destroy the AFL”
Time for a crackdown! Let’s give companies and media groups (you know, the ones reaping the fat-cashy benefits of sports betting) 12 months to tone things down a little before we legislate? Yeah, that’ll work! What they should legislate on IMMEDIATELY is fat blokes in skimpy jocks, coated in body paint, dancing on television. Come on guys…think of the children!
“Ninth-placed Richmond blew a golden opportunity to climb into the top eight by crashing to a surprise loss to the bottom club.”
Wait…that’s not a surprise statement at all! Sounds more like a script…
“In 2011, football programs will consist of two men called Hamish and Ryan and they will be making bruschetta.”
Sorry to all five of my loyal readers…it has been a bit of a hectic week or two with little time to wax lyrical on footy. Between having a birthday, buying my first home, entertaining a few interstate visitors and that temporary paralysis you suffer when you inhale a monster chicken parmigiana, the blog has been horribly neglected since the end of round seven.
So…what the hell has happened in the past two rounds? Looks like Collingwood is not the only team that can win the competition! Most of us kinda thought (or secretly wished) that anyway but the fact that the Pies won’t be completing ‘the perfect season’ on the way to the flag at least keeps some of those AFL Media World nutters at bay.
You know…the ones who every year declare that one team is unbeatable, the rest are playing for second place, hand them the flag now, etc…after barely two rounds of footy! And, every year, they get it wrong…so much for learning from past mistakes and all that.
Now, how did this unbeaten quest come undone? Geelong, that’s how! The Cats held on to win the battle of the unbeatens in round eight and then backed up with another nailbiter against Carlton on Friday night. No Ablett…no Thompson…no worries! Not yet anyway…
However, you could barely say that the Pies are in trouble. Even when they were behind at three-quarter time on Sunday against Adelaide, you suspected they would find a way to win. A few screamers and eleven fourth-quarter goals later…yep, that’ll usually do it.
Carlton and Hawthorn appear to have emerged as genuine challengers with their strong performances during the past two weeks. Having said that, the Blues actually went ‘Bye’ and ‘Loss’ during that time…but they did come within one concussed ruckman of inflicting Geelong’s first loss for the year so that’s gotta count for something, right?
Will these sides establish themselves as the best four in the comp or can somebody else push up into that Hawks/Blues category? Essendon are still in fourth spot but have only beaten one team in the top eight so far, with three of their victims in the bottom five on the ladder. Finalists? Probably. Top four? Meh…too soon.
Or maybe another challenger will emerge from the west. The Eagles have looked very impressive at times, especially last Sunday afternoon as they whooped the Dogs. Fremantle are backing up well from last year’s successful season but have an injury list longer than Aaron Sandilands’ arm…and that was before Sandilands got hurt as well!
Two teams that seemed certain to challenge for the flag this season, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, are light-years away from challenger status right now! The Saints have only won twice, just climbing above the Gold Coast Suns on the ladder, while the Doggies just got thumped by 20 goals, forcing president David Smorgon to declare Rodney Eade’s job as safe…which is code for ‘Rocket is screwed’!
The Demons? Eeewwww! Port Adelaide? Eeeeeekk! North Melbourne? I think that their own coach, one of those Scott twins, summed it up best when he said “F@#$en’ s@#$ a@#$ s@#$…S@#$-F@#$”!
And what would any self-respecting AFL blog be without a good, ol’ fashioned whinge at the state of umpiring? ‘Less predictable’ is probably the answer to that…
It doesn’t take a late potential match winning goal being cancelled out by an umpire to show how dumb the advantage rule is…but it helps! And the call that cost Scott Pendlebury a vital six-pointer? Wrong. Sure enough, that was during Thanks Umpy round!
I suspect many an umpire would receive thanks in the shape of that Magpie supporter in the balaclava following a call like that! But, to be fair, all umpires do the best they can with a job that ranks somewhere in between ‘extremely hard’ to ‘nigh on impossible’ to perform. And some of the rules they are forced to apply are downright dodgy. Exhibit A…the advantage rule!
I harp on every third week about AFL being the worst sport in the history of the world for applying advantage…and that’s only because I need a two-week break afterwards for sanity’s sake. Honestly, it doesn’t matter who decides to play advantage following a free kick (players, umpires, commentators, physios) because players have been told for their entire lives to ‘play to the whistle’. Is it any wonder players stops when the whistle blows as a free kick is awarded?
Advantage works in other sports because you can apply it BEFORE the whistle blows. AFL won’t/can’t do that…therefore, it won’t/can’t work! So the advantage rule will always be inconsistently applied, confusing for all involved and piss me right up the wall! We should be more concerned about missed calls for blatant incorrect disposal…like this one!
Apart from these few gripes…how awesome is footy right now!! Over eighty thousand people attend Pies v Cats on a shitty (weather-wise) Friday night with a live telecast into Victorian homes to boot? Very impressive. Ten goals from Josh Kennedy…nice! Bobby Davis…obviously it is far from awesome that he is gone but the celebration of his life was well deserved.
Taylor Walker’s ‘Beergate’ scandal in Adelaide…fantastic if your livelihood depends on getting worked up over shit that don’t matter! Dreamtime at the ‘G? Looked fantastic from my vantage point…in Melbourne’s CBD, looking down the Yarra. Sure it was even better at the ground…if you were a Tiger fan, of course. And even Israel Folau is kicking goals and loving life in the AFL.
Shame that I’m back in footy mode…and my team has the bye!!
You always seem to get a few little oddities every footy season. What seemed impossible a mere seven weeks ago is now recorded for all to see on the official AFL ladder. And it sure makes for interesting reading…if by ‘interesting’ you mean ‘what the hell happened to the Saints?’
The Bombers could only improve after a paltry 2010…but top four material? St Kilda plummeting like Ricky Nixon’s credibility and/or trousers? The Doggies losing their luster? And what is ‘luster’ anyway?
We all expected a Queensland team to be winless and rooted (literally!) to the foot of the table…but it’s not the Gold Coast? And just what are the Suns doing above the Saints on the ladder? Gold Coast being above St Kilda on the ladder should never have happened at any stage during their first three years in the comp…it’s outrageous!
The footy world has not gone completely topsy-turvy however. The Pies look unstoppable. The Cats are still mighty. And Richmond are in ninth spot…a true indicator that everything is in order.
But the biggest order of business after round seven is…what the hell is a ‘Q Clash’? The League invests a gazillion dollars into a second team in Queensland, creating what promises to be a enduring rivalry between the Lions and Suns, and Q Clash is the best they can come up with? Let’s presume that this appalling name is merely a Venus fly trap designed to entice a Queensland-based company to pay for the right to sponsor the local derby. The XXXX Cup? The Suncorp Shootout? The Big Bundy Rum Bash?
The first ever Q Clash proved to be a fascinating start to the rivalry. Behind the contrived calls of ‘mercenary’ to the ex-Lions who joined the shiny new enemy, Michael Rischitelli (who Brisbane tried to offload to Carlton…Simon Black must have forgot) and Jared Brennan (who turned down massive money from Essendon to stay with Brisbane last time he was out of contract…forgot that too), Gold Coast shocked Brisbane by taking charge early and holding off all challenges to win the historic clash…um, sorry – Q Clash.
Naturally, not everybody was keen to allow the Suns to celebrate the effort for too long – Tony Shaw more concerned with ending rugby convert Karmichael Hunt experiment with AFL. I have been keen for 3AW and Fox Sports to end their experiment of hiring Tony Shaw for media work but, despite my wishes, that doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon. So you can’t always get what you want…
Unfortunately, us free-to-air Victorians missed out on the Q-action, though it did result in good pay-tv ratings. I suspect that this was probably for the best…as Channel Ten would have lumped us with another cringeworthy Malcolm Blight v Robert Walls barrack-fest. Although the potential for an ending like this would have been quite high:
BLIGHT: So Wallsy…what do we make of the Bad News Lions?
So while it was a great result for the new franchise and the birth of something substantial for AFL in Queensland, it was a real kick in the nuts for my quest of one solitary week of footy tip perfection! Sitting on a perfect four from four heading into the match, it became my only blemish for the round. I have now been officially Q-screwed!
Other stuff what happened:
- Carlton-St Kilda…great game to finish off the round last night. Even greater that Andrew Walker’s late winner gave me seven from eight tips for the week. Even greaterer still that The Twerp was again on the losing side! But the Saints should be encouraged by the effort and heart on display…gutted that the tradition of falling short continues.
- Hawthorn escaped Adelaide with victory over Port but honestly, Dean Brogan…why does he bother with that macho, niggly bullshit during those points in the game where it doesn’t matter? He did the whole tough guy think with young Hawk Shane Savage on Friday night, just after he had sealed victory with a late goal. Maybe he could have displayed a little of that aggression and willingness to contest just 30 seconds earlier? You know…when the big, tough 200+cm ruckman stood around and watched as he was outmarked by an 80-kilo shortarse?
- You think that of all the things that piss Rodney Eade right off, and there appears to be many, losing to his former club Sydney is the worst? It sure looked like it after his Dogs failed to fire again but I guess we will find out how pissed off he is this week at the selection table. Should be a strong Williamstown side this week!
- Yes, the Scott twins coached against each other on the weekend. Yes, it’s a little slice of history. Not that super exciting though. Are their teams evenly matched? No. Was there any doubt that Geelong would win? No. Were they going to pick fights with each other for a change? No. So let’s just forget the whole thing happened and move on.
- Oh, by the way, Geelong are unbeaten. So are Collingwood. They play each other on Friday night. Just warning you now.
- Fremantle at the MCG…rarely happens and when it does, it never ends well for them! But the biggest highlight for a red-hot Richmond is the form of their substitute Ben Nason, who added a new dimension to the term ‘super sub’ by kissing each bicep as he took to the field! If we can somehow talk Jake ‘The Push Up’ King into doing the same, that would make pure comedy gold.
- Why are Essendon people so unhappy? They are jeering Brent Stanton. They are booing the umpires. Yet they won and jumped (momentarily) to third spot. Come on guys – you’re in the top-four and it was Mother’s Day…where’s the love?
- Melbourne destroyed the Crows, putting them back on track for Team of the Decade honours, and the local media hacks are devastated…but only briefly as they waddle on over to the Western Bulldogs training facility for a week of jolly good scrutinising. It wasn’t all flowers and rainbows however with bad news for fans of tackling and terrible news for fantasy football players.
- Fantasy Upside: Not completely falling out of contention for overall honours in Dream Team (inside top 300) despite the Jack Grimes-Ed Curnow injury disaster. But this would have affected lotso fantasy coaches…
- Fantasy Downside: All the players I traded in were outscored by the players I dropped. And a massive tumble of 12 thousand spots in Super Coach…only one league win from five.
- Fantasy Brightside: Never thought I’d ever say this but…Collingwood are playing again this week! Swan and Pendlebury – handy ‘ins’!
No matter what happened on the footy field this weekend, it would be pretty hard to overshadow the announcement of the monstrous, multi-year, billion-plus dollar AFL media rights agreement! Round six gave it a good shake though – records broken, rules broken, barriers broken. And I guess what it proved was that life following AFL is never, ever dull…hence the massive moolah.
My expert analysis on the landmark agreement…that’s a buttload of cash to the AFL! On the surface, this appears to be a great deal with a whole lotta Charlie Sheen style winning (without the coke-fuelled parties and violence against women, I hope). If you wish to pay for the privilege, Foxtel will give you every game, every week, live…which is hard to ignore if you are a footy nut. On the down side, you would also have to try and ignore Dwayne Russell as well as player agents being allowed to masquerade as footy commentators! How do they get away with it? Farcical…
If you can’t get past those major obstacles (I don’t have Foxtel and may not get past the player agent/commentator fiasco…), then the much-improved free-to-air broadcast deal is pretty damn good too. Channel Seven have joined the present day and will show games live on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. And you don’t have to be in a traditional Aussie Rules state either! Those weird rugby league states found north of Wodonga will get the games live on 7Mate. Not a bad idea…considering the League have plonked new franchises into these areas to assist them in reaching the magic billion mark.
And if you heard Seven boss David Leckie during the press conference the other day, you just know that he came up with that name for the channel himself: “What shall we call this new digital channel, Mr Leckie?” “Mate…yeah, just call it Mate. Now piss off!”
Saturday nights will also be live (most likely on Seven) but the broadcast of Saturday afternoon games will be delayed to allow people the opportunity to participate in local footy…or even just a chance to experience a little daylight outdoors before retreating back inside for the next match. Channel Seven have the option of on-selling the Saturday matches to another network, most likely Ten. If Seven give up the Saturday night game, anybody else sniffing a brand new Better Homes and Gardens verses footy ratings war? Only this time…Saturday night, same timeslot, different networks, head-to-head?
No, I don’t really care either. But there is little doubt that when it comes to TV, like the great song says, the footy wins hands down!
So between the new rights agreement and figuring out how on earth Karl Stefanovic became a finalist in a TV popularity contest (let alone winning it!), you would think that the on-field stuff might take a bit of a back seat? Nuh-uh girlfriend! Check out all this crazy stuff that went on this round:
- The interchange error? Crap timing for Sydney at best. At worst, the decision might have been just plain incorrect! But hey – it’s their fault that we have this rule in the first place! Unfortunate but looks like Sydney have been cracked onto by the Karma-tramp!
- Carlton breaking an 18-year hoodoo in Sydney? Hmmm, it was only an occasional hoodoo really (the Blues barely played the Swans in Sydney every second year on average) so it doesn’t quite stack up. But Chris Judd…say what you like about the guy but there is a reason he picks up Brownlow votes more regularly than Rebecca Gibney gets Logie votes from nannas – the guy is outstanding!
- Ever been to the footy when you look up at the score board early in the second quarter and your team is leading 99-1? Doesn’t happen often, will probably never happen again (until GWS are in the comp next year!) but I’d highly recommend it. The Gold Coast saw their club record winning streak end at the hands of a rampant Essendon…leaving the footy world to wonder just how shit are Port Adelaide?
- Actually, we saw further proof about the shocking state of the Power when North Melbourne ran over the top of them. But forget the game for a sec. Sorry North cheer squad bloke who ‘handled’ Daniel Motlop…even though a lot of footy fans might have secretly liked to do what you did, it’s still not cool!
- That Lachie Hansen head-long dive into the fence was a bit dramatic, hey? Good to hear that he should be ok though. And this was at the same end as the Motlop handling…you can’t say that the Roos cheer squad don’t get value for money!
- Sorry Fev and Ricky but my care factor on any words that fall from your collective mouths stay locked at ZERO, especially during any tabloidy-style Channel Seven “exclusive” that would have been profitable for you both ! And there will be no images from the interviews either. Why? Because I couldn’t even bring myself to record it for screen capture purposes let alone watch for entertainment.
- Did you know that Israel Folau played footy on the MCG this weekend? From all reports, he didn’t know that either! No surprise the guy is struggling…Izzy was always the bigger gamble compared to Karmichael Hunt. But now the big question is – will he stick it out for the full length of his deal?
Ok, this ‘weekend’ of footy has stretched out for so long that I’ve lost touch with reality…I’m not entirely certain it’s over yet. Is there another game scheduled for tonight? Was there a game played at 3am this morning that escaped my attention?
To be honest, I’m not sure whether spreading games over five days is the most awesome way to organise your competition but, when most of the matches are as hotly contested and as gripping as we experienced in round five, you can play them whenever you damn well please!
Anyway, casting my mind back over the past week or so and recalling all that has gone on in round five, I’ve noticed something about myself that is very uncool. Having been travelling most of the time and away from the sanctity of my couch/plasma combo, I’ve noticed that the less footy games I have watched and the more I rely on reading/watching/listening to the footy media to keep up with what’s going on, the less happy I feel.
I shouldn’t be unhappy – great round of matches, my team didn’t win but are consistently competitive again, I’m currently in 248th position overall in the AFL Dream Team competition…a personal best by a loooong way! But the talking heads, self-important media types and professional shit-stirrers are starting to grate on me.
Maybe there is a lesson in there for everyone…apart from avoiding road trips to visit your in-laws…and that is the best way to enjoy your footy is by experiencing as much of the games as you can. You lean too heavily on the skewed, unbalanced views of others, or allow unimportant figures access to your brainspace (yes, you Akermanis!) then the purity and joy you get from the game is greatly compromised.
Fortunately, we barely have any time to wait before the next round begins…so bring on the couch/plasma combo, or better still, get along to see your team play in the flesh and get it all out of your system!
Oh, that’s right, a recap of last round…starting with:
Honestly, Ross Van Winkle and his sleepy Saints football is becoming a real worry for all fans of the game, including their own supporters. Brisbane have struggled this year but pushed the Saints all the way before common sense prevailed. Perhaps when the much-maligned Justin Koschitzke comes back into the St Kilda lineup, things might improve…
…oh wait, Kossie did play didn’t he? Well…this is awkward.
No football on Good Friday again because God says ‘no’…or was directed to say no by Andrew Demetriou when they last spoke. Besides, it’s probably more important that Victorian families gather around the TV on this night with their loved ones, watching a shirtless Carbo from Packed To The Rafters perform one-armed pushups in the name of charity…
Spent that afternoon driving deep into the Western District of Victoria so the radio call of the now-historic Port Adelaide-Gold Coast match proved to be more than adequate. However, I would have loved to watch this match on Fox as it would pretty much be the only time I’d actively want to hear Dwayne Russell call football.
One of my all-time least favourite commentators, the thought of Russell being forced to describe a shambolic Port Adelaide as they coughed up a massive lead to become the first scalp for the AFL new boys would have been amazing. Petty? Immature? Yes, probably is. True? Fun? Also ‘yes’!
Speaking of immature pettiness, if Channel Ten miss out on a slice of the footy broadcasting action, Robert Walls calling Carlton games will be one thing I won’t miss. Luckily, I did manage to miss Walls’ commentary on Saturday night’s narrow win by the Blues over Adelaide but the sprinkling of anti-Walls commentary on Twitter was enough for me to know he was operating as normal.
Walls veers into ‘pantomime villian’ mode far too often to be taken seriously any more. If he is calling a team he hates (Pies, Bombers etc…) then he plays up to the hatred. If Carlton are playing, just forget it! Tired, predictable and, unfortunately, would probably waltz into a job at Fox if Ten are no longer calling footy next year. That won’t see me flock to have pay-tv at my place!
Anyway, enough bile (until Sunday)…well done to the Blues for eeking out a narrow win. Still don’t know what to make of the Crows…
With last-gasp wins to both the Gold Coast and Carlton, you would think that a former AFL player running out for a bush footy team in a one-off appearance should barely raise a ripple in comparison. ‘Should’…unless you work at the Herald Sun, of course… Jason Akermanis appearing anywhere near the front page of the Sunday Herald Sun’s sport section is nothing but a total farce. Obviously he is on the payroll there…because that’s the ONLY reason we are subjected to these regular reports of his post-AFL ‘career’.
But surely at some point, what is actually going on in the sport should take some precedence over commercially manufactured content of little to no relevance. Everybody gets stuck into Channel Seven when they treat footy followers with contempt by refusing to show games live, preferring to maximise their own commercial interests over providing what the fans want…which is footy as it is happening. How is the Herald Sun creating ‘AkerNews’ any different?
What we are more interested in is what current AFL players are doing…preferably on the football field, whilst they are playing football. The rise of the Gold Coast should have been front page, or Jordan Russell kicking the winning goal for Carlton. Or, if the Hun were ahead of the game, they would have featured Richmond young gun Dustin Martin on the front page, touting how good this kid is going to be. He proved it on Sunday night!
Despite the lack of an Essendon victory, thoroughly enjoyed the Anzac Day game from the tranquility of the Flying Horse Brewery in Warrnambool. While the TV coverage always seems to do a decent job at respecting the spirit of the Anzacs, plugs for betting agencies featuring in the telecast seem a little distasteful. But it doesn’t seem like you can draw the line any more…even if you wanted to!
You can argue all day about commemoration verses commercialisation on Anzac Day but they have to co-exist…unless you seriously think the League will pull down all the advertising signs from the stadium for one afternoon? And enough of the annual talk of different teams getting the chance to play on Anzac Day, be it a grand final rematch or some form of qualification or whichever teams Mike Sheahan reckons should play.
Yep, let’s remove the tradition built up since 1995 and make the focus of April 25th more about which teams should be playing rather than why we are playing on April 25th in the first place. That sounds like the exact opposite of what the League wants to achieve with Anzac Day footy.
But then my team plays in it, so what would I know?
I do know that Fremantle might be about to create their own little slice of history…by not sucking for two years in a row. Vital win over the Bulldogs late on Monday night…and by late, I mean the ABC broadcast couldn’t stay on air – they cut to different programming and we missed the final 15 seconds of the call! Well, I assume the Dogs didn’t kick eight points in that final 15 seconds to steal victory…ah no, they didn’t!
Great game. Hawks ok but not standing out as a logical challenger to Collingwood’s current supremacy. Geelong? Still undefeated and still appear relevant. A true ‘blockbuster’ with the Magpies is approaching. Can’t wait!