Midweek football is somewhat of a rarity in Australian codes but what a magnificent collection there has been over the past two weeks. Last week there was Monday night AFL , the Socceroos World Cup qualifier against Japan on Tuesday night followed by Sate of Origin 1 and the first match of the British & Irish Lions Rugby Tour on Wednesday night. This week delivered another World Cup qualifier this time against Jordan, the third tour match of the British & Irish Lions and a rip-snorter Foxtel Cup match to boot. Mid week festival of the boot indeed, even the staid and stoic bastian of non-innovation, the Victorian Amateur Football Association got into the action hosting two midweek night games at their Elsternwick Park headquarters after some of the weekends matches were ‘rained off’. Hard to imagine how a game could be called off due to weather given no hurricanes rip through Melbourne and it doesn’t snow. Time to toughen up, Ammos.
Not only is this geometrically pleasing – a return to the proper definition of a “square” rather than the current configuration which is technically a rectangle – but it would also put an end to the need for rule changes regarding kick ins. First there was the kick to yourself kick in (which I’ve always thought was too much like the rugby league “tap and go” for AFL) then there was the bag of balls behind the goals and no waiting for the goal umpire to wave his flag/the cheer squad to chuck the ball back before kicking in and this season umpires only give the players 6 seconds to kick in before calling play on. With the 1896 goal square none of these rules would be needed just launch a kick in from anywhere in the square – simple.
Goal umpiring. Who would have thought something seemingly relatively straight forward could become so complicated. The goal review system looks like a crock and the big question is why has John Inverarity or one of his similarly geriatrically aged buddies been employed to be the eye in the sky. Every time I here those fateful words “Footage inconclusive, umpires call” I think why are the AFL employing a great gandad to do this job? And seemingly the same great grandad at every game? Don’t they know any game starting later than 4pm will finish after their usual time to be tucked under the doonah. Don’t they know people can’t operate properly when they are tired? Just ask Eddie McGuire the sort of blunders you make when you are ‘tired’. Next time a goal umpire makes a mistake I’d like them to hold a press conference to tell everyone that the reason they blundered was they were ‘tired.’ Everything can just be explained away by a lack of sleep. Bad umpiring, bad goal review systems, bad kicking for goal (looking at you Travis Cloke), bad last quarters every week (North Melbourne are really tired), bad coaching (Brad Scott is pretty tired, Mark Neeld is an insomniac!) and racist slurs – its a cover all excuse.
I was surprised to read that the AFL Operations Manager, Mark Evans, is sounding out using Hawk Eye technology for goal line decisions. Hmmm I believe I suggested that in footy news week 06.
An even lower lowlight is the continued presence of Eddie McGuire on football coverage after the incident caused by him being ‘tired’ [Do you get the feeling I think this is one of the shittest and weakest excuses of all time?]. In 2012 Justin Sherman of the Western Bulldogs racially abused a Gold Coast Suns player and received a 4 week suspension from the AFL (although he was allowed to play VFL which was odd) However Eddie McGuire has not been punished at all. He is still fulfilling his role as a pre-match host on Fox Footy and calling AFL games. Why hasn’t he been suspended from AFL duties for 4 weeks like Justin Sherman? Why does this double standard exist?
The whole Eddie McGuire-Adam Goodes issue seems to have slipped form the headlines without a satisfactory resolution or outcome to me. The people calling for life bans and club memberships to be revoked if a member of the crowd racially abused a player have lost their voice now that person in the wrong has a profile. Surely the same standards and punishments should apply to AFL club presidents. What has happened to Eddie McGuire? As far as I can see he has got off scot free. He offered to symbolically step down from being Collingwood president for a week (highlighting even further how much he doesn’t get it) and saw the aftermath of the incident as an opportunity for him to be a leader against racism (too late, and he still doesn’t get it) and come up with the lame excuse of he was ‘tired’ The person who has also shown a distinct lack of leadership on this issue is Andrew Demetriou. His lack of action regarding Eddie McGuire on this matter has given tacit approval to this kind of behaviour. Unacceptable Demetriou.
For the final word on the Eddie McGuire fiasco I take from Fairfax journo Sam De Brito: “Racism? We don’t get it, because there are no consequences for being an ignorant, smug arsehole in this country.”
That collarless skivvy that Mick Malthouse was wearing last Friday night. It looked like a cross between the long sleeve Carlton jumper Bryce Squibbs was wearing with such aplomb on the evening and a set of Skins. It was weird. Obviously it was still restricting blood flow to his head on Tuesday when he was at his deflecting best making a story out of Chris “Ya YA” Yarran [he has a Greek grandmother] and his petulant display as starting sub on Friday night.
“As Chris knows, and has apologised for his behaviour, there are 18 (substitute) players every week. As I said to the group here, if the AFL get their way, there will be 38 every week – there will be two and two,”
“I think some players would prefer to play in the reserves than be a sub.”
“I don’t get the sub stuff, I think it’s nonsense but it’s a rule. So, you abide by the rules.”
Ah Mick so close, but remember 18 +18 = 36. There is nothing Malthouse likes more than ranting about one of his pet topics – his hatred of potential restrictions to the interchange bench – this is a play straight out of the Mick Malthouse “How To Deflect Attention After A Loss” handbook. Don’t worry Mick your secret is safe with me.
Fixturing – Say goodbye to the bye. Everyone hates split rounds and byes – boring. With 16 teams we had 7 games one weekend and 1 the next , 2 and then 6, 4 and 4, maybe even 5 and 3 (I can’t remember) and now with 18 teams and 3 weeks of 6 teams having byes we have 6,6,6. Yes it’s the Devil’s number and it confirms to me that byes are evil – every fantasy football nerd hates them. There is no need to ruin 3 weekends of football – just ruin one. The AFL should take a weekend off after 12 rounds and let the Under 18 national championships take centre stage along with the State leagues and even local footy. Foxtel could even have a round of the Foxtel cup if it would help get more teams to field full strength sides. With a whole weekend spare it could even mean state of origin could make a comeback…..
Talking of state of origin anyone notice the NSW team were sponsored by VB and like all true blue New South Welshman they cracked an ice cold Victoria Bitter after the game in the ‘sheds’. Good to see there is still room for punch-ons and post match piss ups in professional sport.
What they should do
Those damn seagulls at the MCG just can’t be stopped. First a couple of wedge tailed eagles with handlers were hired to hangout on the roof of the stands but that idea was binned (not sure why), now it is 9 strategic wires strung between the stands to disrupt the seagulls flight patterns. Well that didn’t work judging by the number of gulls making the hallowed turf home over the weekend. What the MCC should do is revert to plan C: The shotgun. Any farmer will tell you the best way to deal with a bird problem is with a gun. Now don’t get all precious saying that you can’t shoot seagulls because they are native birds we club penguins don’t we….. sorry I mean we shoot kangaroos to cull numbers due to over populating and roos are native animals. I can’t see there being any danger of the seagull population going into rapid decline – have you been to a tip lately? Anyway the plan to rid the MCG of seagulls is a simple one. Before night games at the MCG (according to Richo the seagulls only land on the hallowed turf after sunset) the Southern stand and associated entrance gates will be off limits to all patrons until 15 minutes before the bounce. In between the player warm ups, (you know how the players come out have a bit of a warm up then disappear into the rooms only to reappear 10 minutes later to warm up again) well during this interval a select group of crack marksman (Russel Marks, Michael Diamond)/farmers will take to the field on the members stand wing and aiming toward the southern stand shoot as many seagulls as possible. What cracking pre match entertainment! And what better way to get kids into shooting. “Daddy, Daddy as I can no longer have a kick of the footy on the MCG after the game, I want to shoot seagulls on the ground before the game!” Shooting is an Olympic sport remember and we’re going to need all the help we can get in Rio 2016.
If this plan doesn’t get the OH&S stamp of approval, and I fail to see why it wouldn’t – the shotguns would be aimed toward the empty southern stand and Laurie Levee would be allowed to roam around the G picking up the dead seagulls, I have one remaining trick up my sleeve. Plan D: The gas gun. Fruit growers will be familiar with this piece of equipment. It wouldn’t look out of place as a homemade mortar launcher on the streets of Syria… I mean Shepparton and sounds like a shotgun going off at regularly timed intervals. It is used primarily to scare birds away from fruit trees or scare the shit out of anyone if you fire it in the boot of your car. The only problem is the birds get accustomed to hearing the sound of the gas gun and not… well how can I put it…. dying, so become less scared of it over time. The remedy is to occasionally get out there and shoot a few birds with a real shotgun – maybe during a Foxtel Cup game when you can guarantee not only the southern stand but pretty much every stand will be empty.
If nothing else a volley of shotguns ringing around the MCG should wake up the ‘tired’ old bloke manning the goal review booth.
Foot in mouth of the week
A new segment looking at who has opened their mouth only to insert their size 10 boot – they must have been ‘tired’.
1. Jeff Kennett
The former premier opened up by saying he would run to be chairman of the Melbourne board. Probably a good idea actually – he couldn’t do much worse than the current administration. He then followed up by saying that the expansion in to Greater Western Sydney for the AFL could be “what Gallipoli was to Australian forces in the First World War”
2. Kevin Sheedy
Immediately after Jeff Kennett compared GWS to Gallipoli Kevin Sheedy tweeted this: “How do you compare a game of Footy to people dying in war? Senseless and absurd analogy.” Pot meet kettle, Kevin. I’m pretty sure you pedaled this sort of analogy for 12 years to promote the Anzac Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood.
3. Holger Osic
Not enough o’s in smooth to describe this move. After beating Jordan in a cut throat World Cup qualifier, Osic decided to have a bit of pre-post match press conference banter with the waiting press. He rattled off a Latin phrase and then decided to give the English translation: “It means women should shut up in public. I say it to my wife at home.” Perhaps more of a misogynist than Tony Abbott?
Kurt Tippett countdown
Even less days to go until Tippet pulls on a footy boot in anger than last time I mentioned this. Foxtel are doing a documentary on Kurt Tippet (Why? Run out of riveting Foxtel Cup matches to show between Zillmere Eagles and Belconnen??) Anyway they are and the promos for it include a very stern and serious looking Tippett telling the camera that the hardest part of his week is watching the Swans play. Talk about first world problems! The most difficult thing in Kurt Tippett’s life at the moment is watching a game of football from the comfort of the stands! Wow and I thought it was dealing with the bags of cash in brown paper bags that the Adelaide Crows were paying him under the table. I was wrong.
Kurt Tippet sitting around waiting reminds me of those Christian Charity Fund TV ads from the late 90’s. “As we gripe about he cost of prescriptions, ‘I can’t believe it cost that much!’, Kurt Tippet waits…” But thankfully only for 10 more days.
Port Melbourne are flying high on top of the ladder in the VFL and had their first fixture of the Foxtel Cup during the week. The MCG played host to the quarter final of Port Melbourne v West Adelaide. Well actually it was more like a mix of the seniors and reserves that played as Port had 11 changes from the previous week and West Adelaide 10. I’m not sure why teams aren’t taking this competition seriously – it’s an 80 minute game of football on a Tuesday night and they don’t play the weekend preceding the game. Why bother competing if your not going to put out full strength sides? This I believe will kill the Foxtel Cup. Expect more format changes next year and until Foxtel’s contract expires and the competition dies.
“There is a chance of the side being changed considerably.”
Mick Malthouse again. Chris Yarran’s apology for bad body language clearly wasn’t enough as he was omitted from the Carlton side this week. He gets to play against Frankston at Preston this week instead. Last time I recall a player being dropped for bad body language Richo had a week in the VFL after ranting at his teammates for not being able to deliver lace out passes when he was on the lead.