Teeth, avoidance and a fixturing guru – the hot topics in the AFL

Here is a review of the latest in the AFL this week.

I give you, the AFL Three.


1. Flying teeth

West Coast’s Elliott Yeo had his two front teeth snapped off  in the game against Collingwood last weekend and is looking at several thousand dollars of dental work to get them fixed. As always prevention is better than cure, and a hell of a lot cheaper. AFL players are made to have their ankles taped to avoid injury so why not insist they wear a mouth guard.  Yeo was in fact wearing a mouthguard on Saturday night but he’d taken it out briefly and tucked it into his compression shorts when the incident occurred. It’s a bit like riding a bicycle with the helmet around the handlebars instead of on your head. At least his leg would have been protected if a player had driven his teeth into his thigh.

The reason given for Yeo taking out his mouthguard? He’d just had a run in the midfield and was catching his breath. Clearly midfield rotations and restricted interchanges mean players have to catch their breath on field rather than on the bench and ultimately are causing players to lose their front teeth. Agh! That damned interchange cap is having unforeseen consequences. Soon every AFL plan will need a dental plan because of it. However last time I checked you could breath whilst wearing a mouthguard other wise players would be expiring all over the field.  If Yeo’s having difficulty breathing with a mouthguard, he is obviously not taking enough time moulding in hot water his $14 mouthgaurd from the chemist. With the AFL keen to get mums to allow their sons to play AFL it  would be appropriate for Yeo to become an ambassador to get junior footballers to wear a mouthguard. A snappy slogan would be ideal, something like, “Don’t take the field without your mouthgaurd in your mouth and don’t tuck it in your shorts your teeth need protecting not your leg. And your parents will thank you for saving them a massive dental bill and you won’t have this terrible smile,”


2. Avoiding tricky situations
Jack Reiwoldt told the truth at a press conference and then decided to do his own version of the Ben Cousin’s triathlon (run-swim-run away from a booze bus) to avoid the media waiting at Punt Road Oval the next day by jumping a fence, running across Punt Road to Richmond Station, buying a Myki and hopping on a train –  a jump-run-train if you will. Excellent avoidance tactics but it was the retirement of an double avoider this week that caught the eye. Heath Scotland retired during the week due to a degenerative ankle problem. Some may remember that Scotland twice avoided conviction over assault charges by using the “I-want-to-be-a-fireman” defence. Now with his degenerative ankle problem Scotland can’t walk up a set of stairs ruling out any hope of a career in firefighting.  One wonders if the wanting to be a fireman story may have been just that – a story – all along. As an interesting side note Heath Scotland was the last remaining player to play in Collingwood’s final game at Victoria Park in 1999.
3. Simon Leathlean
Simon Leathlean is the AFL general manager of broadcasting and scheduling. In March he suggested that the 2015 AFL Grand Final might be in October due to the Cricket World Cup and suggested that October Grand Finals had occurred in 2000 and 2006. Hmm, wrong. October Grnad Finals have occurred (in 1990, 1994, 2010 and 2011) but not in 2000 or 2006. And just this week Simon was at it again when talking about the recently concluded bye rounds.
‘‘At the end of the day, fans and media just don’t want byes at all, which is not possible. But we have two this year, I think for the first time, so we are trying out what we think both are best,’’
Simon please, you should be all over this. It’s not the first season each club has had two byes. Every season there has been an odd number of teams each side has had two byes –  from 1991-94 and most recently in 2011 when the Gold Coast Suns entered the AFL. It was the two byes per club in that season that gave the AFL Players Association the idea of pushing for two byes per year. And yes this is the first year the AFL have ceded to he AFLPA’s wishes and granted them two byes with an even number of teams. Come on Simon, lift your game. Those who are not students of history are doomed to repeat it’s mistakes.

Chips Index, Star Wars and Canberra

Check out my first piece for The Roar.

Go on click on the link, it’s great stuff about Star Wars and the price of chips at the footy.

Give it a read!


The six minute man, Buddy bad driving and ANZAC eve – The AFL Five

1. Chris Judd

Chris Judd returned from an Achilles injury to be Carlton’s sub in a round not so long ago. As we now know he entered the fray in the 3rd quarter and twinged a hammy after just six minutes on the field. An unusual occurrence and unfortunate for Judd and Carlton. However Judd kicked things up a notch when he spoke to the media the next day. Judd claimed that the Carlton sport science team had looked at his GPS data and at the moment he hurt his hamstring, as he simultaneous kicked the ball and was pushed by the Doggies Stew Crameri, he was travelling twice as fast as any player did throughout the game. Wow! What a load of shit! What’s next for Judd? Perhaps he could channel the brains trust of ‘This is Spinal Tap’ and get the sports science boffins to change his GPS so ‘it goes to 11’


2. Buddy bad driving

So Lance Franklin wasn’t under the affect of alcohol or drugs and wasn’t distracted talking on his phone or texting and he managed to clean up four parked cars, wheels off and all. Wow! He must be one of the world worst drivers. Rather than that Fox Footy special last year “Buddy 13” celebrating Franklin’s 13 goals against North Melbourne in 2012 I’d like to see a “The Best of the Worlds Worst Drivers  – Buddy 4” hosted by Sheriff John Burnell (retired) and as per the Fox Footy special live tweeting from Buddy would be obligatory… but obviously not while he’s driving. There’d be segments on his many misadventures in Melbourne and the fateful day he lent Dan Hannebry his keys.

Of course there would also be the more scientific “Crash Scene Investigation” documentary TV special with Jeff Geischen cast in the role of a motion expert explaining that the route Buddy took was just his natural arc and therefore not illegal.

Who is making the most money from Franklin’s move to Sydney? He’s costing the Swans plenty, he’s probably cost his girlfriend a car sponsorship, yeah it’s probably his smash repairer.


Buddy's smash repairer couldn't be happier.
Buddy’s smash repairer couldn’t be happier.

3. Congestion

Ah footy is dead. No more are there “all 36 players in one half of the ground” as Robert Walls use to love to say, it’s so congested that all 36 players are in one quarter of the ground, nay within a 20 metre radius. No actually it’s so congested all 36 players are so close together they are actually standing on top of one another, it’s ruining the game and it’s no longer a spectacle worth watching seemed to be the general consensus after the first four rounds of the season.

And according to legends of the game the only way to fix it was with rule changes and zones. Wayne Carey wanted the length of a kick to be increased to 20m, Leigh Matthews was calling for three or four players from each team inside the 50m arcs for each stoppage, Kevin Sheedy said he’d been calling for zones for years (don’t remember that, Sheeds)  and Garry Lyon said he wasn’t getting enjoyment from going to the footy (too many Melbourne games I’d suggest)

Guidelines had been put in place in the TAC Cup this season meaning 4 players had to be in the forward half for a kick in and Gippsland Power coach Leigh Brown claimed the game was much better for it. Compared to what? Leigh Brown is in his first year as a TAC Cup coach after getting the axe from his assistant coach role at Melbourne. Given Melbourne’s diabolical form I’d say he hadn’t been involved in a decent game of footy since he retired form Collingwood in 2011!

After a couple of well contested (not congested – just one letter different) games on Easter Monday and ANZAC day most of the talk has dissipated. No doubt the congestion issue and possible solutions will rear their heads again this season or the next like the other hardy perennials: high marking is dead, goal kicking accuracy should be better, Melbourne’s 3rd stadium, the standard of umpiring, the cost of food at the footy, there will never be another player kick 100 goals in a season, etc, etc.

In fact the congestion issue and it’s ‘solutions are not new – Leigh Matthews  (if not Kevin Sheedy) was calling for players in zones in 2012.





4. International Rules

What better way to detract from crowds being down and footy being ugly than to announce that a series no one cares about is going to be rolled out again. That’s right Australia will play Ireland in a  single International Rules match in Perth on November 22. After the embarrassing and abject performances of the Indigenous team last October in Ireland, things are going to change. The players will have to be current or previous All- Australians to play (I now understand why Cyril Rioli and Nic Natanui were named in the 2012 All-Australian team – it’s so they could qualify for the 2014 International Rules series) Rules could be tweaked to favour key position players and ruckmen, Alistair Clarkson has been appointed coach and Eddie McGuire was given the role of ‘Chef de mission’ – a position usually reserved for Olympic Games teams. With McGuire at the helm as chief spruiker one thing is guaranteed-  there is going to be a whole lot of hot air and bluster before November.

Eddie was immediately into the bluster talking about getting Shane Warne on board, having training camps in Barcelona and playing a game in New York – nothing like aiming high! A more realistic goal would be getting the best players wanting to play and getting the public to take an interest.


5. ANZAC day eve

IN the great tradition of the AFL here is the revisionist history account of football on ANZAC Day. in 1995 the AFL deceided to stage an AFL game on ANZAC day – Collingwood v Essendon on ANZAC day, 90,000+ turned up the match was a draw and a great and grand tradition was born and ANZAC day remains to this day the.  Well, not quite AFL had been played on ANZAC day for many years prior in Melbourne between teams other than Essendon and Collingwood. I know who would have thought!

The ‘first’ ANZAC day in 1995 was a Tuesday and on the Monday night beforehand Richmond played North Melbourne at the MCG ( possibly the first game of Monday night AFL, I’m not 100% sure). Last week Richmond floated the idea of an annual ANZAC eve match against Melbourne but Andrew Demetriou quickly poured cold water on the prospect saying it would detract from the ANZAC day spectacle.

Well Andrew it didn’t detract from the ‘first’ ANZAC day game in 1995, so with the great and grand tradition of Collingwwod v Essendon set in stone I fail to see how a match the evening before hand could detract from it now. Whilst Richmond don’t have the support of the AFL on this front, they did seek out and receive the approval of the RSL to hold a game of football on April 24. What? What are you doing Richmond – the games not on ANZAC day. If the Tigers wanted to play the day after ANZAC day would they run it by the RSL for approval? When would it end? Are Richmond seeking RSL approval for all their games in April? What’s next? Melbourne checking with the Australian Monarchist Society if it’s ok to play a game of football on the Queens Birthday holiday? Actually they should probably check with the Hotham and Falls Creek ski resorts if its ok with them to hold a match in Melbourne on the opening weekend of the ski season.

I’d just like to let the AFL know my birthday is in September. It’s kind of a big deal and I usually run with a ‘birthday  fortnight’ with a multitude of events so if the AFL could not schedule any finals during that time to detract from my ‘birthday fortnight’ that would be great.