The real problem with Melbourne Football Club

Here’s something I wrote after Round 2 last year about the sorry state of Melbourne Football Club, 18 months later and after two horrid losses to the Brisbane Lions and GWS, the same holds true….

 

 

The unbelievable

Melbourne sack a CEO because he didn’t man up on his opponent on Saturday night and his game plan meant the team lost by 148 points.

Melbourne have lost their first two games of the season by 227 points which is eerily similar to 1996 when Melbourne lost its first 2 games by 221 points (Rd 1 lost to Geelong by 127 points, Rd 2 lost to Collingwood by 94 points) on its way to finishing the season in 14th place. At the end of the 1996 season the Melbourne members voted in favour of a merger with Hawthorn – voting themselves out of existence in their own right. Hmmm is that an option again in 2013?

Anyway I feel that people aren’t getting to the real heart of the issues with Melbourne.

Yes, the club seemingly can’t develop any of the procession of first round draft picks that have fallen into their lap into decent AFL standard players despite having 15 rising star nominations in the last 5 years.

Yes, they have let go, discarded or had leave a string of players to other clubs over the past couple of years. Brent Maloney & Stefan Martin (Brisbane) Matthew Warnock (Gold Coast), Cale Morton (West Coast), Jared Rivers (Geelong), Jordan Gysberts (North Melbourne), Ricky Pettard (Richmond) and Tom Scully (GWS)

Yes. they have cut short the careers of many stalwarts and club leaders including the shocking handling of club captain James McDonald as well as Brad Green, Russel Robertson, and even Cameron Bruce, Adam Yze, Jeff White – none of whom could be said to have finished their careers on great terms with the club.

Yes, their recruiting appears completely misguided shipping out the players mentioned above to bring in journeyman, nearly there, never were and VFL standard players. David Rodan, Shanon Byrnes, Tom Gillies and Cameron Pederson to name a few. Recruiting players from other clubs is fine but sometimes the old rule of thumb of recruiting blokes who can play 100 games for you is a good idea.

 

But the real issues to me are three:

1. The location of the Melbourne Football Club Shop.

It’s at the MCG but my guess is 99% of people who have ever been to the MCG would have no idea where it s and would have never even walked past it. The Melbourne Shop is located on Brunton Avenue underneath the concourse that wraps around the Southern Stand. The shop is located next to the driveway for the MCG’s underground carpark and the delivery entry for the stadium. This is what is holding Melbourne back! How can you be a great club if you can’t even sell footy jumpers with Jack Watt’s number on them to your fans on a match day because your fans can’t find your shop? The only people who currently see the Melbourne shop on a visit to the MCG are delivery drivers!

 

2. The logo

The Melbourne logo: Southern Cross added to apeal to bogans?
341 The Melbourne logo: Southern Cross added to apeal to bogans?

The current logo is complicated, messy and unclear on what it is trying to achieve (why are there flames coming out of the M?) – a bit like Melbourne’s recruitment policy! *boom tish* What is needed is a simple bold design and a simple Latin phrase: celebrare mediocritatem. I’ll let you guess what that could mean

3. The ring of stars on the jumper

An incomplete circle of stars - appropriately modeled by Tom Scully
342 An incomplete circle of stars – appropriately modeled by Tom Scully

The idea is that each star represents a premiership and form an incomplete circle as the Demons are always striving to complete that circle, always striving to win their next premiership. Clever marketing perhaps and all good in theory but maybe striving for their next win would be more realistic. A stark reminder too of Melbourne’s inability to develop any “stars” despite all the first round draft picks. Given the Dees last flag was in 1964 I don’t think the embroiderer is going to be busy anytime soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goals, Bumps, Club Legends as Coaches and All Australians – footy news week 18

In case you missed it, this week in AFL football…

The highlight

The two semi finals had strangely similar moments and some stunning goals. Jude Bolton produced a spinning grubbered kick for a goal right on the quarter time siren of the Sydney- Carlton final, Justin Westhoff produced a stunning falling away boundary line snap for goal for Port against Geelong. Topping both of these was Sydney’s Lewis Jetta who  ran outside the boundary line tapping the ball in play and then screwed the ball back to the goal square for Keiran Jack to soccer home a goal. The cream rose to the top in both games in the premiership quarter – the Cats kicked 5.6 to Port’s one goal in the third quarter whilst the Swans booted 5.2 to Carlton’s  no score. Both games also included bumps that came to the attention of the Match Review Panel. Swan Ted Richards escaped with a reprimand for knocking down Carlton’s Levi “Rock the” Casboult as the act was graded ‘negligent’. On the other hand Geelong’s Paul Chapman bumped Port’s Robbie Gray but jumped in the air as he did so and therefore had his actions graded as ‘reckless’ and so misses a week. That makes sense doesn’t it? Not splitting hairs at all. Both bumpees were fine by the way.

Unusually in the Sydney – Carlton game no goals were kicked to one end of the ground in the second half. Also, so far this September only one final, the Richmond v Carlton elimination final, has attracted more than 60,000 fans.

The lowlight

Three club legends.

Read more: http://thearmchairselector.com/2013/09/goals-bumps-club-legends-coaches-australians/

Finals upsets, fires, hashtags and All Australian squads – footy news week 17

The highlight

Three finals won by lower ranked teams.

First it was Fremantle getting under the skin of Geelong, well Ryan Crowley getting under the skin of Steve Johnson from opening bounce until after the final siren and Zac Dawson throwing his weight around before the ball was bounced. Ross Lyon’s Dockers were simply too good and didn’t allow the Cats to score a goal in the final quarter. The team effort was highlighted by the class performance of Michael Barlow who had 21 possessions and kicked three goals.

There were some unusual sights down at Geelong on Saturday: Aaron Sandilands played in a helmet, Stephen Hill manufactured a sliding doors moment at the interchange gate to pounce on a loose ball and set up a goal and in his 250th match Paul Chapman took the coin toss wearing the green substitutes vest. Even stranger still Geelong have never won a final at their home ground fortress, Kardinia Park, or won a final under the leadership of captain Joel Selwood. Selwood’s finals captaincy record stands at two losses to Fremantle and zero wins and he for one will be looking forward to taking on a different opponent this week when Geelong face Port Adelaide in a semi final.

Read more: http://thearmchairselector.com/2013/09/finals-upsets-fires-hashtags-australian-squads/

Come on click on the link. All the funny stuff including decoupage, bonfires and hashtags is in the link. Also a grumpy Ross Lyon and dodgy All Australian selections.

Go on click the link.

Interchange Cap, Jumper Clashes and Goal Kicking – footy news week 17

Footy news week has moved to The Armchair Selector website but still contains all the same regular features.

Click on the link to read about the week in the AFL:  http://thearmchairselector.com/2013/09/afl-interchange-capjumper-clashes-goal-kicking/

 

 

Retirements, ground invaders and finals fixturing – footy news week 16

The Essendon saga is pretty much concluded so finally the focus can get back to the football, the last round and the finals.

The highlight

A raft of player retirements have been announced this week including Justin Kositchke who  lines up for the first time in 10 weeks for the Saints for his 200th and final game. Kositchke will be joined by the retiring Stephen Milne as well as 22 year old Dylan Roberton who returns from being rested form the Saint’s last match. Rested from the penultimate game of the season with no finals to be played? It’s different that’s for sure.Talking of resting players StKilda’s opponent Fremantle have rested 7 players amongst 10 changes this week. Ross Lyon, ever the pragmatist, has pulled a familiar move for Freo fans they also sent a shadow side to Tasmania in Round 21, 2010.

Essendon will farewell two loyal servants on Saturday night with David Hille and Nathan Lovett-Murray calling time on their careers. One player who won’t be alongside them is Dustin Fletcher who hurt his hamstring during the week. Had he played Fletcher would have become Essendon’s games record holder. He is currently level with Simon Madden on 378 games but fair to say this has been overshadowed by other events at Essendon. Fletcher only managed 13 games this season but is keen to play on in 2014.

The lowlight

Ground invasions. Essendon just can’t seem to escape the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In their Round 20 game against West Coast at Docklands  a spectator ran onto the playing surface not once but twice. The man ran on the field, tripped and was apprehended but somehow he wriggeld free from security as he was being escorted around an internal walkway and ran onto the ground for a second time. On Saturday night, what looked like a kid in a helmet ran onto the field in the second half of the game against Carlton at the MCG. But to top this a young girl was on the MCG before the Essendon v Carlton game having a kick to kick with her dad. Her Dad just so happens to be coach of the Essendon Football Club and she was on the ground because she had been listed as General Manager on the Bombers team sheet. Some people were annoyed Essendon didn’t adhere to the AFL rules that only accredited people could be listed on a team sheet that grants them access to the playing surface. Requiring a security clearance to take walk on an oval is a bit like needing a license to climb a ladder in my opinion, but the kick to kick on the ground and the hug between Hird and his daughter in the change rooms after the game  struck me as carefully choreographed and planned events in the public relations campaign to create the image of James Hird as the perfect family man who can do no wrong. Sort of along the lines of Lance Armstrong could do no wrong because he was a cancer survivor who ran a charity, he had the squeaky clean public persona and cult like following. There are strong parallels between these Hird and Armstong: the denials, attacking people who speak against them, the unquestioning faith some people have invested in the duo blinding them to Hird’s/Armstrong’s faults. I’m just not sure who James Hird is going to sit down with Oprah style to tell all, Caroline Wilson? Probably not. Note that Hird’s wife drove him to and from the AFL commission hearing on Tuesday too.

Become General Manger for a day
Become General Manger of Footy for a day

The unbelievable

Either the AFL have been trying to slip out press releases under the cover of controversy created by the Essendon verdict or trying to deflect from the scandal by putting out a phalanx of press releases of varying value.

Finals venues

First it was that the MCG could host all 4 games on the first weekend of finals which would include two games on the Saturday –  the first double header at the MCG since 1986. That was Monday and Tuesday, and just as the seemingly unlikely double header gained some traction the AFL  announced on Thursday that the MCG couldn’t host two games in one day and Geelong’s Kardinia Park was being considered to host a final. Another seemingly unlikely scenario to which Geelong’s likely opponent, Fremantle, lobbed a protest. What’s not being mentioned is something Rohan Connolly mooted in The Age on August 20th and the most likely outcome – one of the finals will be played at Docklands and the Victorian club who is fixtured to play there will probably be pretty pissed off. I’m not sure if the AFL are deliberately trying to make a story out of nothing but finals fixturing is hardly worthy of a mini series of melodramas across a week.

The 2014 fixture

The AFL announced the structure of the 2014 season. The NAB cup is gone replaced with two practice matches and an as yet to be determined representative game. The AFL home & away season will remain at 22 games but is extend from 24 to 25 weeks to include two byes for each club in  Rounds 8-10 and Rounds 18-19. The season will feature a split round to start on March 14-16 ( 5 games) and March 21-23 (4 games). It will be interesting to see how the AFL handles Round 1 as, of the main AFL venues, only Docklands, Sydney Showgrounds, Cararra and  Subiaco will be free from cricket commitments until Round 2.

The Indigenous All Stars team.

You know the AFL were trying hard to distract people when the  International Rules series got some airtime during the week. The Indigenous squad of 34 players to take on the Irish in October was announced, wait for the player withdrawals to start soon.

VFL Watch

Port Melbourne’s full forward Dean Galea returned from injury on Sunday, in the final round of the home & away season, to stake his claim for the VFL leading goalkicker award, The Frosty Miller medal. After Saturday’s matches Galea was 6 goals behind Frankston’s Michael Lourey and things weren’t looking great at half time when Galea only had 1 goal beside his name. Two goals from difficult set shot’s into the wind in the third quarter got Galea firing and when the game was up for grabs at the start of the last quarter with Port Melbourne leading by only 1 point, Galea stepped up with four final quarter goals. Galea was too strong for the Coburg defenders out muscling them to take a series of contested marks and convert the set shots.

A bit of an unusual and unfortunate side note for Michael Lourey is that he did actually kick the same number of goals as Galea across the season (55) except that one of those goals was scored in the first half of Frankston’s match against North Ballarat where a second half head count revealed Frankston had 19 men on the ground and their score to that point was wiped including Lourey’s goal.

A trip to Victoria Park. It’s hard to explain what was more unusual about this day: The 11:00am start time of a VFL match, the fact that Collingwood and Werribbee managed 6 goals between them in the first half but 20 in the second half, that Werribee could only manage 2 goals to half time and 5 goals to three quarter time but kicked 8 in the last to nearly pinch the game, Ben Hudson acting like a goose, the VFL match being  a curtain raiser to a TAC Cup match not vice versa, the lurid yellow outfits of the Dandenong Stingrays (Think the Eagles inaugural ‘Yellow Peril’ design with a cartoon stingray replacing the eagle teamed with Hawthorn’s all yellow socks from the 80’s), Dandenong’s abysmal kicking – 0.10 at half time or the Collingwood after match function I attended in some bunker underneath the Sherrin Stand where I shared free party pies and sandwiches with Anthony Rocca.

No sting rays were harmed in the making of this promotion but 3 humnas were severley embarassed
No stingrays were harmed in the making of this promotional photo. Three humans were severely embarrassed.

Bendigo Gold surrendered to a final round massacre at the hands of Geelong losing by 201 points, their biggest loss of the year in a season where they lost all 18 games by an average of 96 points.

VFL finals finally make it to Kardinia Park this week when Geelong will host Casey Scorpions on Friday night in the first ever VFL final at the venue. Perhaps it is being used as a trial for AFL finals at the ground….

The Quote

 “James Hird is under the most pressure of anyone ever”

Luke Darcy dives into his kitbag of hyperbole during the Carlton v Essendon game on Chanel 7’s ‘Saturday Night Football.’ The only way to watch this BT hosted ‘entertainment’ (used in the loosest possible sense of the word) masquerading as  football coverage is on mute.

Revising history, team lifters and three quarter time rev ups – footy news week 15

The highlight, The lowlight, The unbelievable, The boring.

All this wrapped into one section – it must be the 34 page AFL charge sheet on Essendon. No , it’s the other great literary work form the week, Darren Jolly’s article in The Age.

Jolly really struggles deciding which side of an argument he’s going to take. This time Jolly goes for a bit of revisionist history  and omits some key details about what happened in the lead up to the 2006 grand final.

“The Swans media guy asked my wife Dea and I if we would do an interview for a small story about having a baby and playing in a grand final. We weren’t all that keen, considering Dea was heavily pregnant, but we agreed.”

I have never been pregnant but I wasn’t aware that sitting and chatting and being preganant were mutually exclusive events If the journo had requested to force feed your wife oysters, blue cheese and bourbon I wouldn’t have been keen either but it was just an interview. Also if as you say you weren’t keen you could have said no to the interview request, but I think deep down you sort of liked the attention.

“By the time we got home, the photographer and journalist were waiting on our front door step.”

Those damn journo’s have the temerity to be punctual, how annoying!

“When the story landed on the front page the next day, it was a shock and it put extreme pressure on us right before I was about to play. The story read: “Jolly to miss grand final to be with his wife”. As this was never said, you can imagine how angry we were. It was a huge beat-up.”

Misquoted? Well that is a poor effort by the journo. Get the Swan’s media department to issue a press release. You don’t even have to write it – they’ll do it for you. All sorted, the “extreme pressure” has been released and you can get back to focusing on footy. Come on admit it a front page story that must have been cool.

“Somehow the media got wind that we were in hospital because they were stationed out the front, waiting to grab me for any information.”

Damn pesky media getting wind. Somehow Darren makes his wife giving birth all about himself. The media wanted me, come on admit it you liked the attention.

“One of them even had the nerve to ask if they could come into my wife’s room to take some photos. Another wrote a note to my wife while she in the delivery suite, asking if they could get an exclusive when she had delivered. It was a circus.”

The midwife wore giant shoes and a red nose, the doctor had a chair and a whip, the anethetist was a bearded lady. Oh a media circus. Also Nana rang she’d like her phrase ‘the nerve of them’ back.

So it seems Jolly thinks the media overstepped the mark, were intruding too much on his private life and he’d had enough of it all. I think that’s fair enough, I think I’d be pretty guarded with my interactions with journos from now on, probably politely decline interview requests and the like. Let’s move now to what happened when he flew to Melbourne

“I arrived in Melbourne to be greeted by a hundred reporters and cameras.”

Really? Exactly one hundred? Not a scrum of, not an uncounted number of  but  an even 100 reporters and cameras. Pray tell Darren what did you do next?

“Once I arrived at the hotel, I had a bite to eat went to bed.”

What? No, no, no, back up a second you’ve left something out there, you forgot to mention this:

8996c36f-9d4c-40a8-9831-433e2bc16a81

Jolly was so pissed off with the media, the misquotes, the intrusion on his private life, the ludicrous requests, the nerve of them, that he decided to pose at the airport with a picture of his new born daughter on his cool flip phone. (I had to do a bit of digging to find this picture but here is the link) There he was more than happy to ham it up for the waiting media even after the “extreme pressure” the “beat up” and the “circus” they’d put him through. I would say the truth is somewhere along the lines of pre the 2006 Grand Final Jolly was happy and excited to go down “Media Street” (as Denis Pagan would say) but then it all blew up when he played a stinker in the Grand Final. Now seven years later he’s revised history with this version of events and conveniently omitted the picture that tells a thousand words. I will give him credit though for admitting that he played very poorly in the Grand Final.

Please write more articles Darren Jolly – they are so much fun to pull apart. I’d tell your ghost writer to do more research too and not trust everything you say.  Also good luck in the VFL.

VFL Watch

Port Melbourne power forward Adrian Bonnadio doesn’t kick goals he kicks team lifters. With his usual key forward partner and VFL leading goalkicker, Dean Galea, absent on the weekend due to injury it was up to ‘Big Bonners’ to shoulder the extra load. And he did so admirably, leading hard up the ground, taking marks with his vice like grip, crashing packs, tackling and bullocking his way through opponents. He was a particularly impressive in the first half of the game against Geelong where he kicked two team lifters. Alas it was not enough to get Port over the line in a see sawing affair. In a classic match that went right down to the wire, Geelong’s last quarter centre clearances, mainly from Taylor Hunt, and a late snap by Paul Chapman got the Cats over the line. Geelong’s dominance of the set plays highlighted the difference between an AFL reserves team and a VFL team. The full time professional footballers, Geelong are practicing their centre square set ups at 11am on a Wednesday morning whilst the VFL boys at Port Melbourne  are busy at their job, driving a forklift, running their own plumbing business, putting the had word on someone and closing the deal as a used car salesman, etc. The only sour note for the Cats was a painful looking popped shoulder to skipper, Troy Selwood. Port Melbourne will need to beat Coburg this weekend to secure a finals berth but should take comfort from the fact that they are one of only a couple of teams that can really test Geelong.

Melbourne rookie listed player James Magner racked up 51 possessions for the Casey Scorpions against the Bendigo Gold on the weekend. It could have been more if he hadn’t been benched in the last quarter. Curiously, Magner has played only 2 games for Melbourne this year despite their struggles. He was elevated off the Rookie list in 2012, played 17 games and acquitted himself fairly well as a midfielder/tagger. However he wasn’t put on the Demon’s main list at season’s end and returned to the rookie list for 2013. It was Round 18 before he was elevated to the senior side his season. Magner is one of the favourites to win the JJ Liston trophy, the league Best & Fairest award in the VFL.

Northern Blues Coach Luke Webster was having a bad day on Sunday. His team had only kicked 3 goals against Werribee up to three quarter time and appeared to be more interested in fighting than playing football at times when he went out to address his players on the field. It has become standard practice for most VFL teams to rope off their players and trainers on the ground at the quarter time breaks as fan are allowed onto the ground during the intervals. The Blues support staff managed to rope off only 2 sides of the team huddle leading to quite a loud ‘interaction’ between an overzealous fan & a security guard. However this did not distract Webster from his task as he called the players in fro some final instructions before the fourth quarter began. He implored them to “Have a f&cking go” as they had shown “f&cking nothing” so far today and told them to “F*ck that fighting shit off” The words must have inspired the Blues as they kicked 7 goals in the last quarter. Werribee still won by 48 points though.

The Quote

“it’s probably also a touch deflating on an opposition when they’ve done all this work and kick a goal and there’s only 50 or so people clapping.”
Cameron Ling in The Age on what it might be like for Geelong’s opponents at Kardinia Park.

The 1996 Brownlow, AFL player milestones and retirements – footy news week 14

The lowlight

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.

1996: Happier days for Voss and Hird
1996: Happier days for Voss and Hird

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?

Player milestones

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 unbelievable

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.

Stone the Crows! Don’t inflict that jumper on the SANFL
Stone the Crows! Don’t inflict that jumper on the SANFL

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.

The boring

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.

VFL Watch

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?

The Quote

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.