Footy news week – 02

Well some people said this day would never come, much like they said Moises Henriques would never play Test cricket for Australia, it’s the day of the second instalment of Footy news week. Apologies for this not actually coming out weekly but its pre-season so I have scaled back to fortnightly editions but I will upscale to weekly for the season proper.

Footy is… best in threes.

The AFL pre-season competition has had a fortnight of 3 way games to kick it off. A couple of years a go I went to one of these three cornered hat games and they were a good idea when they had some purpose. Back when the NAB cup was a proper cup competition the three way games served a purpose – to reduce 18 teams to 8 teams – a group stage before the knockout phase if you will. The 6 group winners and the two best second placed teams advanced to the knockout phase culminating in the NAB cup grand final. It made sense then but now that the NAB cup doesn’t have a knock out phase they are pointless.  Keep them I say as I enjoy the novelty but bring back a proper cup competition to give them some meaning.



The highlight

A trial match. Yes Adeliade played Fremantle yesterday in a trial match at Footy Park at 9am WST, 11:30am CDST. Not a Wizard regional challenge or NAB practice match just a trial match.

I was surprised this occurred because I thought the ALF Players Association had rules governing how many matches a player could play – 1 intra-club, 4 practice matches, 22 H&A games plus finals.

I can only guess that both Adelaide and Fremantle forgoed their respective intra-club matches for this trial match to occur. It also highlights the crapness of the AFL’s scheduling of the NAB cup –  play all six of the ‘triple headers’ on one weekend and get on with it!


The lowlight

The lowlight is the fiasco surrounding Melbourne and tanking and the AFL’s investigation. Somehow Melbourne were found not guilty of tanking even though it was clear to Blind Freddy, his seeing eye dog and his dead grandmother that Melbourne tried their hardest to lose games in 2009. After being found not guilty of tanking Melbourne was then fined half a million bucks for not tanking just for being a really, really shit football team in 2009 with shit people in charge. The coach of the time, and that’s a generous term given he appeared to have been directed by those above to lose not win games, Dean Bailey and a bloke’s whose job it seemed to be to master mind not winning and who had secret meetings in ‘The Vault’ where he swore at everyone who didn’t understand the importance of and how not to win, a man I have nicknamed  ‘The Architect’ , Chris Connolly, have both been handed suspensions for “acting in a manner prejudicial to the integrity of the game.” The reality is they have been put on ‘gardening leave’ on full pay by their respective AFL clubs – lucky them. And to think John Burke got 10 years for pushing an umpire!

The AFL took only partial responsibility for putting in place a system (the priority pick for teams that won less than 5 games in each of two consecutive season) that encouraged shit teams to just bottom out, give up trying to win and instead to deliberately try to lose. This was not celebrating mediocrity it was rewarding abject failure.

All I can say is if Brock McLean can tell that something is not right then the efforts by the coaches and ‘The Architect’ to lose games must have pretty damn blatant. However McLean will not be known to me as the player who lifted the lid on Melbourne NOT tanking (according to the AFL anyway) instead I will remember him for this insight on why he left Melbourne for Carlton at the end of the 2009 AFL season:

“I will say that driving distance from my home in Maribyrnong to Casey was a consideration. It took me an hour to get there and on a bad day two hours along the Monash to get back.

“It isn’t ideal being in a car for an hour before you are going to run around for a couple of hours. Your back seizes up, your hammies get tight.

“I now live 10 minutes from Carlton. The 2-3 hours extra I was spending in a car can now be re-invested into recovery sessions, extra weights, fitness.

“I think I can get 15-20 per cent extra out of my body and football.”

But no mention of wanting to leave Melbourne because they were tanking? Surprising.

The unbelievable

Sharrod Wellingham injured his ankle on a trampoline and will miss games because of it. Is Wellngham in primary school? Isn’t that when most people suffer trampoline injuries? What exactly happened – did he get double bounced? Details need to be more forthcoming.  And what is it with West Coast and freak injuries – first Josh Kennedy missed a game with an eye injury after Dean Cox threw a tennis ball to him and he wore it in the eye and now Wellingham and the trampoline. However it can’t beat my favourite freak injury story. Trevor Barsby, a former Queensland batsmen, missed a shield match due to a back injury. The injury occurred when the team bus he was sitting on went over a speed hump in the MCG carpark.

Lance Franklin is believed to have sent Wellingham a pair of glasses without lenses and a Nina & Pasadena t-shirt to help ease the pain. The pain of these tough early days of their separation that is. He also wished him a speedy recovery from his ankle injury.

The boring

Fantasy football competitions like Dreamteam and Supercoach are the height of tedium with their massive squads consisting of the same key players for most people and complicated scoring systems. If you don’t have a draft meaning only one person in your league can draft Gary Ablett not everyone can have him I don’t see the point of the competition.

Thankfully there is a draft based fantasy football alternative that I was introduced to a few years ago.  where you only have 9 players to select each week from your squad of 15 and the scoring system is simple.

VFL Watch

VFL Practice matches kick off this Friday with Williamstown playing Werribee at the Whitten Oval.

In case you weren’t aware some VFL-AFL club alignments are ceasing at the end of the 2013 season.

It will be the end of a 13 year alignment between Coburg and Richmond with ‘Burgers determined to stand alone. Coburg will drop the Tiger moniker they adopted when they aligned with Richmond and revert to their traditional Lions nickname next season. While this all sounds just dandy in theory Coburg have no money and no source of the sort of regular income required to fund a VFL club. Most VFL clubs have pokies as their main revenue stream but Coburg has none. Stories circulate of delayed payer payments and if you believe  Caroline Wilson the Coburg  players were booked into a caravan park when they played a game in Warrnambool last season to save coin  – oh the humanity!

After appointing an independent Senior coach, Adam Potter, in 2012 (ie not a Richmond Development coach as they have done for much the alignment) Coburg took a backward step this year when they demoted the Senior coach to Development League coach (that’s VFL speak for Reserves in case you were wondering) to allow a Richmond Development Coach, ex Hawks ‘star’ Tim Clarke, to take the reins in the final year of the alignment. Not surprisingly Adam Potter then walked – not an ideal way to prepare for life post alignment I wouldn’t have thought.

Richmond will play VFL games at the reconfigured and re-grassed Punt Rd Oval from 2014. They kicked off the cricket club and now have a playing surface with the same dimensions as Etihad.

The Question

If Melbourne didn’t tank what did they do?

Membership slogan watch

I’ve been COTCHED! – The Cotch Crew

One of the dangers of living in Richmond is seeing cars with Richmond membership stickers but what the hell does ‘COTCHED’ mean? Oh well it sounds marginally better than being ‘FEVOLAD’

The Quote

Roughead is a major supporter of the US National Basketball Association, and has more than 40 player singlets, not to mention naming his young golden retriever ”Melo” after New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony.

John Pierik, The Age, 10/2.

I love how this has been reported so earnestly to give it gravitas, as if it is really important. The phrase  “major supporter”  makes it sound like Roughead is a sponsor of the competition not merely a fan and using “US National Basketball Association” instead of NBA make the opening line (in bold) read like a sponsors press release – just replace with Roughead with McDonalds for example.

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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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