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.

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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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