10 things the AFL are doing wrong and need to fix


10. Clash jumpers

A hardy perennial here but  one that really annoys me beacaue it would be so simple to fix. How hard is it to lay out all 18 teams jumpers, short and socks  against all other team jumpers, shorts and socks  and work out which uniforms clash and what has to be done so there is no longer a clash. Scrap the current mish mash of home jumpers, away jumpers and clash jumpers and scarp the white shorts for away teams ‘rule’  – it’s not universally applied – just pick the colour shorts that best suit the occasion.

Every team will have their jumper, they will then have an alternative jumper that provides a contrast when required. The nominated home team will get priority on jumpers and white shorts will be used when needed (for either home or away teams) to provide contrast. Get on with it AFL and stop the inconsistencies.

Also the AFL needs to vet the designs of any alternative strips, the Indigenous round showed that sensible alternative jumper designs are possible.


9. AFL website

Many years ago the AFL got into bed with Telstra with their website and despite many improvements over the years, it is still pretty poor. The AFL also forced each club to have a generic Telstra made website, Essendon held out for  a while and had an excellent website but now it is in with the rest of the clubs and it’s website is ordinairy. I tried looking for the Essendon’s 2000 premiership team on both the AFL and Essendon websites. This is the only page I could find: http://www.essendonfc.com.au/club/history/premiership-sides and it’s not linked to Essendon’s main website.

The AFL website, other than honour rolls of medallists,  has no history of the VFL/AFL and of the other major leagues the SANFL, WAFL, VFA,  no history of interstate and state of origin football, nothing about the origins and transformations of the game. Surprising given the AFL’s Mike Fiztpatrick wants to include in club tallies VFA premierships prior to 1897.

The statistics information on the AFL website is fine but one dimensional, I can sort loads of stats but only back to 2001 and there are not individual player pages containing a short biography and all that players statistical information. There are no lists of all time games played.  There are other websites out there like afltables.com and australianfootball.com that provide much more detailed information and statistics than the AFL’s own website.


8. Goal Review System

Shambolic.  How about installing cameras inside the goal posts rather than supplying the video reviewer with 3 angles from 80 metres away ( a set up that makes Channel 7’s megawall from days of yore look snappy). The AFL has millions of dollars how about fitting the 17, yes that’s right only 17 venues with go pro style cameras inside the goal posts so any goal line decision can be accurately assessed . Secondly unless there is conclusive proof ( ie not guesswork) to overturn an onfield decision then the onfield decision remains. And finally to make the decisions consistent have the same people at a central location viewing all the games.


7. Match Review Panel

How about, as with other judicial systems, using a thing called precedence. Get some one to put together a DVD from the past decade of a series of cheap shots and blokes getting hit in the head – these are worth three weeks suspension. Then a series of lesser hits – this is worth two weeks, these are worth one week and these are worth zero weeks. None of this carry over points, early guilty plea reductions, reprimands, and good behaviour records. You do something thats on the DVD you get the weeks on the DVD and each year that season’s worth of incidents are added to the DVD ready to go for next season. All you need is a couple of people who are competent at watching the DVD and incidents from each game and making a decision. Hmmm ok it still involves decision making, this is fraught with danger.


6. Commentators

Too many shit ones basically. Bruce – retire. BT – go away. From Bruce’s infuriating rhetorical questions – ‘You get the feeling the next goal is crucial, don’t you?’  to the inane fence sitting prattling of Luke Darcy and BT trying to be a comedian, making up nicknames for players and mangling the English language Free to Air TV coverage of the game is doing nothing to enhance the AFL. Radio is just as bad – Triple M (James Brayshaw, Danny Frwaley and the boys club mutual backslapping) I’m looking at you.

How about more commentators who are accurate and articulate? For TV how about some insights as to what we can’t see on the screen, rather than calling the game like it’s radio? How about treating the viewer as a person with a mental capacity greater than a small child? Is it too much to ask?


5. Essendon drugs scandal

Wow, a new low in this sport. If the AFL have stuffed up the ASADA investigation and Essendon get off lightly because of this heads should roll at AFL HQ. The AFL need to have a good hard look at themselves and their procedures. What sort of competition are you running when one of your member clubs decides to run a systematic doping program?

At least this scandal has taken the heat off draft tampering, tanking, salary cap breaches, associations with criminals, and incidents involving alcohol. The AFL has handled all of those so well in the past.



4. Ticket pricing

Variable ticket pricing is the greatest crock since pyramid selling schemes. You might think it would mean you could get a long to some games for a bit chaper. NO. What it means is you pay less for good seats at crap games and more for good seats at popular games. Let us screw the customer even harder – let’s make finals tickets ludicrously expensive and lets lock out ordinairy fnas out of the Grand Final. Whilst I can see the point of maximising profits from the Grand Final, the price of the qualifying, elimination, semi finals and in particualr the preliminary finals is far too steep. Each year the semi final crowds, the second weekend of finlas, are poor. I will go he if this is not because of the high prices charged and fans saving their coin to go to an even more expensive preliminary final.

Also everyone should stop buying food at the footy.


3. Fixturing

In cricket there is traditional red ball cricket and white ball cricket. In the  AFL there is yellow ball footy (for any game starting at 3pm or later) and traditional red ball footy is being marginalised with most rounds containing only three or four  red ball matches out of  nine games.

The AFL has lost the balance between fixturing that suits fans and fixturing for the demands of TV. The fans have voted with their feet this season and Sunday night and Monday night football are to be binned. Also Sunday twilight games, how about putting some thought into when and where they are fixtured? Under the roof at Etihad might be a good idea for the depths of winter rather than the MCG or Kardinia Park. Also Perth is in a different timezone so that could be used to advantage.

There is no need to start the season in early March as per this year, 22 round is 24 weeks is fine to accommodate the players desire for two byes. The MCG is once again vacant for the entire month of October too if a later Grand Final is required. Also  put some thought into how the byes are fixtured to integrate the coverage of different levels of football. Have a think about how the Foxtel Cup, the National Under 18 Championships, Women’s exhibition matches and state league football could compliment the AFL broadcast schedule.


2. Incorrect disposal and holding the ball

Everyone hated Jeff Gieschen and his explanations of why umpiring decisions were right or wrong and explanations of half pushes and bumper bars but at least he had the guts to come out and defend the umpires or even occasionally say they got it wrong. Where the hell is the new umpires boss Wayne Campbell? And what the firetruck has happened to incorrect disposal (dropping the ball) and holding the ball rules? Bring em back. It’s all fine and dandy to say to umpires let the play go but at some point you do have to enforce the rules of the game otherwise we might as well get rid of the rules and  just have a free for all. Hang on, that’s what most games look like now anyway…


1. Interchange

If you don’t think 120 interchange rotations per game is ruining the game then I put you in the same basket as climate change deniers. It’s real, interchanges are making the game shit. Cut them AFL – bring on 3 subs and 1 interchange player or a cap of 20 interchanges per game. Dramatically reduced interchange is the way forward, it is not an player safety concern, players and coaches will adjust and adapt. The Gold Coast Suns had  2 interchange movements in the last quarter against Collingwood, and they won. Don’t let current coaches have any say in these matters either  – they have vested interests. AFL football use to be about positional play and bettering your opponent but  now the use of the interchange bench has become a tactic, who wants that in a sport?


Anything I have missed? Add your suggestions on what the AFL need to fix



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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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