Drugs in AFL and Unleash The Geisch – footy news week 12

Reclink held its second football day in two weeks with the Peter Galbally Cup held at Victoria Park on Sunday. Nothing unusual there you might say except that the Peter Galbally cup is played between a team of solicitors and a team of barristers yet rather than being staged somewhere in the wealth belt like Toorak, Brighton or even Elsternwick it was held in the hipster heartland of Abbotsford. A swap of venues with the Community Cup might be in order or maybe the barristers and solicitors were in Collingwood territory to find prospective customers – Joffa Corfe was one of the goal umpires on the day.

The highlight

Jeff Gieschen is the George Costanza of the AFL. His garbled and confused explanations of rules changes and contentious umpiring decisions are an embarrassment to the AFL. And now he has gone for a holiday during the season so how important can his work be?  Or as a mate said “You can chuck sickies anytime because you don’t add any value where you work”

I can see Jeff walking around the halls of AFL house while other staffers say, Who is that guy?” What does he do?” Didn’t we sack him 2 years ago.? Much like how GeorgeCostanza kept turning up to work after he’d been fired. What does the Geisch do all day ? He probably does a lot of Gorge Costanza style looking busy paper stacking and shuffling, looking annoyed and sighing but mostly under the desk sleeping.

George Costanza I mean Jeff Geishen hard at ‘work’ looking busy watching a game from 10 years ago.
George Costanza I mean Jeff Geishen hard at ‘work’ looking busy watching a game from 15 years ago.

How will Jeff go out on a George Castanza high? I’m not sure it’s possible perhaps his current holiday will just be extended to indefinite leave and then he will quit due to ‘family reasons’

Interesting that the new AFL Operations manager Mark Evans is looking to change the goal review system and trailing ball tracking technology Hawkeye while The Geisch is away. Hmmmm it suggest The Geisch is more of a hindrance than a help. Unleash The Geish AFL – cut him loose.

The lowlight

As an Essendon supporter I have said nothing about the Essendon drug scandal until now. The Essendon players, as professional athletes, need to take personal responsibility for everything they ingest or inject. A signed consent form is meaningless and trusting that someone told you it’s OK is naive and foolish. Ignorance is not a defence.

The VFL provides two examples of drug bans.

  1. Casey Scorpions Wade Lees was banned from all competitive sport for 18 months after importing a fat burner that contained illegal steroids. He did not even consume the product.
  2. Frankston’s Matthew Clarke accepted a pre-match drink named ‘Hemo Rage’ from a teammate after being assured that the product was within the drug code. After the game Clarke was drug tested and tested positive to an ingredient named Dimethylamylamine. He was banned for 2 years.

Why the Essendon football club believes its players will or should be treated differently to these two players is beyond me. All Essendon players who took banned substances in 2012 should be banned for 2 years.

The unbelievable

The AFL announced that the 2013 Australian team to tour Ireland for the International Rules Series would be all Indigenous players. A couple of points to ponder:

1. Gill McLachlan admitted the top players didn’t want to play in 2011 so isn’t it a bit disingenuous to then offer the ‘opportunity’ to an all-Indigenous team? If noon else wants to do it will give it to the indigenous boys – they’ll do it.

2. No mention was made of the Gaelic Athletic Association agreeing to this change of team. I reckon the Irish will be less than happy that they won’t be playing a full strength team, as they would be literally banking on filling stadiums, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they kicked up a great stink and threaten to boycott the series. [Though right at the moment they are probably more concerned with the greatest Irish rugby player of all time Brian O’Driscoll getting dropped from the Lions.]

But maybe this was the AFL’s tactic all along, change the Australian team without consultation with the GAA so they would then take offence and call off the series thus bringing down the curtain on the hybrid rules games for good.

VFL watch

I travelled to Coburg City Oval to watch Coburg take on the VFL Cats. A grealty improved effort by Coburg compared to previous weeks saw them lead by 3 points at three quarter time. Alas it wasn’t meant to be for the Burgers as the Cats overran them in the last quarter to win by 19 points.

Some observations from the day.

The Cat’s Billie Smedts is a class above VFL level. When the game was up for grabs at the start of the last quarter he dominated the forward line, kicking a couple of goals and passing off others. A class player.

Geelong’s Jack Holman looks like he was pulled off a surfboard at Torquay that morning and thrown onto the team bus to come and play for the Cats. A shaggy mop of blond hair and a long sleeve jumper that could have concealed a long sleeve rashie or a wetsuit made the look. Holman can play football though – he kicked three clever goals for the day including two in a minute in the second quarter.

George Horlin-Smith, despite having a name that suggests he’s from an elite Eastern beaches Sydney private school and he should running around in the second row for the Wallabies, looks like former Geelong player and  mediocre 90’s player hall of famer , Glen ‘Oyster’ Kilpatrick.

Josh Walker is a Steve Johnson disciple. He had two set shots from within 30m of goal including one directly in front, which he kicked by having set shot snaps standing at 90 degrees to the man on the mark, you know the Setvie J method. It worked with Walker kicking 5 goals for the day including a big drop punt bomb in the 3rd quarter from outside 50.

Robin Nahas, seemed to be playing for himself on Sunday: running hard only when it suited him, demanding the ball from team mates when he was in worse positions and berating them when they made mistakes yet he was guilty of poor decision making himself. A classic Nahas moment came in the third quarter when he took a mark sized up his options and kicked the ball out of bounds on the full. I wonder why Nahas hasn’t featured much in the AFL this year.

Coburg’s Daniel Venditti is a hard running wingman with neat skills who loves to kick a goal. His committed work ethic and team oriented style of play were a highlight. Skipper Nick Carnell was his usual industrious self around the midfield. Brett O’Hanlan looks like a likely type as a key forward. He took some good contested grabs and coolly slotted a couple of difficult set shots to finish with 2 goals. Tom Derrikx rucking against Trent West and Nathan Vardy battled manfully all day and showed signs he could be the back up to Ivan Maric that Richmond are hoping for.

Geelong supporters need to extend their vocabulary. The Geelong cheer squad had the same chant after every goal. For example, Ryan Bathie, whose nickname is Bubbles, kicked a goal and the cheer squad lept into action with: “Ryan Ryan Ryan Oi Oi Oi, Ryan Oi, Bathie Oi, Ryan Ryan Ryan Oi Oi Oi.” Then clap clap clap x 8 “Go Cats!” Another Geelong supporter was quite vocal and treated the crowd to such great lines as calling the umpires dressed in orange “glow worms” and after a call went against Geelong followed up with “Umpires, open your eyes. The only one open is in the back of your pants.” Then the piece de résistance, after a scuffle that resulted in a Geelong goal, this: “Throw another punch burgers. You’ve got nothing burgers. Cold as hamburgers.” Classic.

What they should do

Why do he TV networks bother with those cameras pointed into the coaches box? How many times can you watch a coach go “F$CK!” and break a phone when a player mucks up? How many times can you see them looked shocked when a line ball umpiring decision goes against them? Are they saving up all those reactions to make an end of season montage? What is the point? It’s trite and adds nothing to the coverage.

Coaches have been a little bit touchy about who is looking into their box this week with Essendon wallpapering the coaches box at Subiaco to stop prying West Coast eyes see their peptides I mean tactics. Then Ross Lyon went apoplectic when a fan tried to take a photo of the coaches box with a phone. Really it’s the thin edge of the wedge you let one person take a single photo of you and next thing you know there’ll be TV camera’s mounted on the front of the boxes filming every single thing you do…. Yeah. Chill out Ross, focus on coaching teams to play really boring football.

The quote

“If you’re going to bring things in, bring them in at the beginning of the year. Grow up.”

“Don’t knee jerk. Don’t find out there’s something available at round 15 when it was available in round one.”

“Don’t make excuses for the AFL. There’s already enough excuses.”

“An organisation that big, with that many people, it’s a conglomerate stuck down there at Docklands and they’re going to wait until round 15 to discover there’s some mechanism that actually gets it right? Turn it up.”
The AFL announced they will trial ball tracking technology, Hawkeye, for goal umpiring decisions this weekend.  Hooray! Cricket says welcome to 2005, Mick Malthouse was less enthusiastic. Although to me this outrage is a diversionary tactic by Mick to mask Carlton’s current plight I have to agree with him, the AFL have made a real hash of the goal review system.

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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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