The ongoing drugs scandal at Essendon show’s no signs of being drawn to a close anytime soon. Jobe Watson has had an interesting role to play in all of this admitting to taking AOD-9604 but steadfastly stating that he believes the players have done nothing wrong. He seems completely naive and misguided to me and it’s not the first time. When the substitute rule was first introduced Watson tried to get the Essendon players and opposition to stage a sit down protest at the start of their Round 1 game. Yeah, good one.
On field the wheels have fallen off for Essendon with three losses in a row each one worse than the previous. With North Melbourne, Carlton and Richmond in the final three rounds I don’t expect the Bombers to win another game for the year. An exit in the first week of finals looks likely if they aren’t stripped of their points beforehand.
A bad week also to have won the Brownlow medal in 1996 and then skipped a coaching apprenticeship to guide your club as a rookie senior coach. James Hird is being doorstopped by the media at his every move and he was charged with bringing the game into disrepute over the Essendon drugs issue. The longer this goes the more it appears that Hird was central to the drug program run by the Bombers. Like Watson, Hird seems supremely confident that he has done nothing wrong, he refuses to admit to breaking any ASADA or WADA rules or stand down as coach. All this arrogance, bluff and bluster is fine but his days will be numbered if AFL HQ want him gone – Andrew Demetriou always gets his man.
Micahel Voss was sacked by the Brisbane Lions during the week, some would say two years too late. “Crazy Vossy” went on a recruiting spree at the end of his first season as coach in 2009 and topped up with 7 players from other clubs including signing Fev on big coin on a 2 year deal. Fev’s stocks could not have been lower – no other club would touch with a barge pole after he disgraced himself at the Brownlow Medal but Brisbane outbidded themselves for his services. Fev’s signing ultimately cost Brisbane Lachine Henderson, Micahel Riscatelli and Daniel Bradshaw plus some draft picks. What do they say about untried coaches?
There is something a little cruel when a player retires just short of a major milestone ala Richmond’s Wayne Campbell who retired on 297 games. A number of clubs are taking player milestones and possible retirement right down to the wire as the season draws to a close.
Perennially suspended thug, Dustin Fletcher, copped 2 weeks from the tribunal during the week. He is currently level with Simon Madden for the most games for Essendon but fortunately will be available for the Round 23 game against Richmond to play his record breaking 379th appearance for the Dons and then it could well be retirement for Fletcher come season’s end.
David Hille would need to get a wriggle on if he is to play 200 games for Essendon. He currently stands on 196 games and would need to play the 3 remaining home & away games plus a final to reach the milestone – presuming Essendon aren’t stripped of their points of course. I don’t see this happening, given Hille wasn’t selected this week. Retirement beckon’s for Hille given Essendon’s depth of big man stocks and given Hille only played in 2013 after being talked out of retirement by the Bombers.
Over at West Coast, 2006 Norm Smith Medallist Andrew Embley is 2 games shy of 250. With the Eagles out of finals contention they have only 3 games left for the season. Embley will be hoping to break back in to the team very soon as, at 32 years old, it seems unlikely he will play on in 2014.He was named as an emergency this week.
Josh Hunt of Geelong played his 50th VFL game on the weekend which is a milestone I doubt he would have given too much thought. He’s probably more focused on playing the remaining 4 games required to reach the 200 AFL game milestone. With Geelong poised to finish in the top 4 a minimum of 5 opportunities remain but Hunt would need to break into the AFL line up first. He was also selected as an emergency this week.
Paul Chapman has been stuck on 247 games since Round 4 when he hurt his hamstring. A long winded recovery has been hampered due to repeated twinges of the hammy but Chapman has played in the VFL in the last 2 weeks. Hopefully an AFL return is just around the corner so he can notch the 250 milestone.
St Kilda has been stringing this one out all year – Justin Kositchze’s 200th. Kosi started the year on 195 games played in Rounds 5 & 6 and then later in Rounds 13 & 14 to be on the cusp of the 200 game milestone. A recent calf injury has slowed his tilt at 1 more game, but this could be a Josh Fraser scenario where a final round, 200 games and out, swan song occurs.
Daniel Giansiracusa looks to have timed his run to perfection, needing to play each of the remaining three games to register 250 games for the Western Bulldogs. Eyebrows were raised when Gia was the starting substitute for a number of weeks in mid-season but this may have been a way to nurse him through to the milestone as he has already announced this season will be his last. Good mate Bob Murphy is one game behind Giansiracusa but is playing on in 2014.
If Collingwood play 3 finals then Nick Maxwell will play his 200th AFL game. WTF! Somewhere there is a category for most unlikely 200 game players and Nick Maxwell would have to be tight in the mix. For mine ‘The Most Unlikely 200 Gamer’ award goes to Mark Graham (243, 93-04, Hawthorn & Richmond) edging out Anthony Rock (222, 88-01, North Melbourne & Hawthorn) with bronze for Nick Maxwell.
Chris Newman is out of the Richmond line up this week with an ankle injury. Hopefully the injury isn’t too serious and he can return in time to play in the finals. Newman has played 232 games since debuting for the Tigers in 2002 without playing a single final and now owns the record for most games without a final after recently passed the record of 230 games held by Trevor Barker. Some current Melbourne players could probably challenge this ‘record’ if Melbourne bothered to keep them on their list for long enough!
The SANFL decided to allow the Adelaide Crows to field a reserves team in the SANFL from 2014. If it didn’t get the required support of the SANFL club delegates the Crows indicated they would place a team in the SA Amateur League. I guess the South Australian definition of amateur is a little different to my interpretation if a team of highly paid, full time professionals was to run around in that competition.
The terms and conditions surrounding the entry of Adelaide into the SANFL are as long and complicated as a Greg Norman pre-nup. The Crows have to pay each SANFL club $50,000 annually for the next 15 years plus a host of other non-compete clauses for players and staff. Those who believe this move will compromise, devalue and be a black mark on the SANFL competition are right – Adelaide have confirmed they will wear their white away jumper.
Jack Watts want’s to see who is coaching Melbourne before he decides if he will sign on with the Dees. Whoa! What! Since when does Jack Watts have the upper hand in negotiations? He should consider himself lucky he’s been offered a contract at all given the sort of form and ability he has demonstrated across his career to date.
Eddie McGuire was at it again at the Sydney President’s dinner on the weekend. This time he compared the “absolute injustice” of the treatment he received after his racist slur on Adam Goodes to the plight of Aboriginal Australians. A week of being rightly potted by the media versus centuries of mistreatment and racism – doesn’t quite stack up Ed.
Geelong have wrapped up the minor premiership with two rounds to play in the VFL. They have won their last 8 games in a row by an average margin of 45 points. Good luck if anyone can stop them winning back to back flags.
At the opposite end of the spectrum Bendigo Gold are struggling through their first stand alone season without a win and not looking likely to chalk up a victory. There has been talk in Bendigo that the Gold will not go on in 2014. What they need is an AFL alignment but I don’t see that happening.
Football on the Grassy Knoll
Conspiracy theory time. The Western Bulldogs will field a stand alone reserves team in the VFL next year and will revert to the Footscray name with the team to be called the Footscray Bulldogs. The conspiracy theory is with Footscray having a team in a Victorian competition, this frees up the AFL to rename the Western Bulldogs franchise as the Northern Bulldogs and relocate them to Darwin and/or Cairns.
What they should do
Follow the advice of Jeff Kennett and kick Essendon out of the AFL for season 2014 if the current investigation is not completed. Hmmm, guilty until proven innocent, nice one Jeff. Why do people keep talking to this man?
They fight like, I said it once before…. you know… bloody um… UNICEF dropping of food parcels in Africa and… they fight like the Africans fight for that to feed their families.
Mark Robinson talking about Port Adelaide. No Robbo, simply no.