6 Things You May Have Missed From The AFL Grand Final

The AFL season is over but here are 6 things you may have missed from the 2014 grand final.

6. Tom Jones and Ron Weasley pack light.

Yes the grand final entertainers pack so light in fact they only had one set of clothes with them. Here they are on Friday before the grand final being presented with Weasely being presented with a factory second Sherrin with a misprint and Jones receiving the concept jumper from the infamous Hawthorn-Sydney merger that was mooted in the 1990’s…. Jones has his name on the jumper yet I thought Gil said that there wouldn’t be names on jumpers in his lifetime?


Jones and Weasley were paid in trinkets
Jones and Weasley were ecstatic at being paid in trinkets

And here they are the next day in the same clothes; well Ron did change his T-shirt. Check out the scribble on his arm, Weasely could be the next international rookie drafted by Collingwood.



Ink time
Ink time

There was also some concern that Jones sang “Delilah” a song about domestic violence and Weasely a song about a homeless, drug addicted prostitute, but most people were said not to have cared because they didn’t listen to the pre-match entertainment. I can only imagine the outcry if Jones had brought his Cardigan and sung “Burning down the House” –  a song which promotes arson and revenge/retribution, eye for an eye stuff  with it’s lyrics of  “fighting fire with fire, burning down the house” – two wrongs don’t make a right, Tom. Don’t even get me started with “Sex Bomb”

One thing we can thank Jones for is interview with Campbell Brown. Brown presented Jones with a pair of jocks and Jones signed of the interview, according to some people, by saying “take care” but after I carefully listed to the audio at least twice Jones clearly says “dickhead” in his Welsh accent. Never has anyone summed up the average footy fans view of Campbell Brown so quickly and so succinctly. All is forgiven Tom for referring to the players as “rugby players” in the same interview.


Campbell Brown: a dickhead in a long jacket
Campbell Brown: a dickhead in an oversized jacket

Most people seemed pretty pleased with the entertainment but the nagging question remains: How about some Australian music? (and I don’t mean Mike Brady ‘reworking’ Up There Cazaly again). Of course the obvious solution is to give the Triple J Unearthed winner the gig every year. I can’t stand the music that’s played on Triple J but that’s besides the point, it’s Australian music, it’s emerging talent so there should be no complaints about giving them exposure on a national stage – it would be un-Australian not to.


5. Curtain raiser not in HD

I kid you not, prior to Weasely and Jones “entertaining” the crowd, there was a game of football played on the MCG. Yes a curtain raiser game of football was played on the MCG prior to the AFL Grand Final, the biggest game of the year but there are very few to no curtain raisers before any other games during the year. I know what your thinking, what the hell was this game and why wasn’t it on TV when I was watching another politician speak at the North Melbourne Grand Final breakfast (does anyone watch this snoozefest?) or Stephen Motlop do an acoustic version of “Up There Cazaly” (it was crap in case you were wondering) Well the game was between the traditional rivals: the All-Australian Under 17 team and the Allies – an U18 team of players from NSW, ACT, Queensland, Tasmania, NT. You can now probably understand now why it wasn’t on TV, however the game was streamed online but not in high definition. Outrage.

The Allies in there traditional strip. There is no such thing as taking sponsorship too far.
The Allies in their traditional strip. There is no such thing as taking sponsorship too far.
The NAB employees celebrated a famous victory on Grand Final day
The NAB employees celebrated a famous victory on Grand Final day

The game that followed, the small matter of the AFL Grand Final, was also not broadcast in high definition but instead in standard definition despite this being 2014 and Channel 7 having a HD channel, 7mate, at their disposal. This may have gone under the radar so I just thought I’d point it out. And whilst were on Grand Final broadcasts, it’s time the AFL got the TAC Cup Grand Final (which was an online stream only this year) and all state league grand finals (VFL, SANFL, WAFL, NEAFL, TSL, NTFL) broadcast live nationwide on TV.

If you squint the Standard Definition looks fine.


4. Bad Crowd Behaviour

Media reports suggested sections of the crowd were booing Adam Goodes and social media had fans reporting racial abuse directed at the Sydeny star. But social media really lit up when some corporate types decided it would be appropriate to pay for a stripper to come into their box for the day and lo and behold what did she do but strip off at the final siren. Who would have predicted that? The pictures are out there, Google them if you like.

The average AFL fan would probably give up a lot of things to go to a grand final. Their clothes is probably not one of them.

The stripper was arrested but not after hitting and biting police. All class from the stripper and those in the corporate box who hired her. There is also a complete lack of respect for Grand Final tradition, streaking is meant to occur on the field of play.


Big day comes to an end in the lockup.
Big day comes to an end in the lockup.

Also Usain Bolt was in the crowd. Why? As was Terrell Owens. Who?


3. Who had 35 touches in the Grand Final?

Easy. Lewis Jetta (4) + Gary Rohan (7) + Craig Bird (8) + Sam Reid (8) + Dean Rampe (8)

Luke Hodge also had 35 possessions and won the Norm Smith medal, Jordan Lewis had 37 touches and  14 of the bottom 17 disposal winners on the ground were Swans…


MCG staff were still looking for Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan on Monday.
MCG staff were still looking for Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan on Monday. The MCC confirmed that the resurfacing was necessary after playing a curtain raiser on Grand Final day had subjected the playing surface to ‘an unprecedented heavy load’

What else can Luke Hodge do? Well he can make every kids dreams come true by getting a photo with the Auskick kids while his team mates pose with the premiership cup.


Luke Hodge and the Auskick kids
Luke Hodge and the Auskick kids


2. Hawthorn fashion statement

Hawthron celebrated it’s premiership in style taking to the post match presentation stage in a combination ensemble of dress shoes, suit pants, white shirt, footy jumper and premiership medal. It is a look that is sure to take the Spring Carnival by storm this year.


Shaun Burgoyne was awarded best dressed for wearing his footy gear and a watch. Punctuality is key to all premiership celebrations.
Shaun Burgoyne was awarded best dressed for wearing his footy gear and a watch. Punctuality is key to all premiership celebrations.


Josh Gibson with his girlfriend Renee Bragh on the right and on the left Delta Goodrem
Josh Gibson with his girlfriend Renee Bragh on the right and on the left Delta Goodrem of course


 Gibson was still going third man up in the contest late into the night.
Gibson was still going third man up in the contest late into the night.

By the way, Hawthorn won. In a throwback to the 1980’s the Hawks have been in multiple consecutive grand finals, won back to back premierships and dominated the game, killing it as a contest mid way through the second quarter in a style reminiscent of three decades ago. Talk of a possible Hawthorn dynasty is too late, it’s already here.


1. Buddy Franklin and Alan Kohler

Yes Buddy Franklin plays for Sydney now but he use to play for Hawthorn, I bet you didn’t know that! It’s not like the commentators mentioned it at least a dozen times a quarter and every second minute during the pre-match. Franklin also played against some of his former teammates who still play at Hawthorn in the grand final, bet you hadn’t picked up on that one. Sydeny’s Josh Kennedy and Ben McGlynn also use to play for Hawthorn but you may have missed that in all the talk about Franklin.

Lance Franklin has moved on from Hawthorn.
Lance Franklin has moved on from Hawthorn.

There’s been a lot of talk this year about how handy Alan Kohler has been for Sydney; he helped get Kurt Tippet and Lance Franklin to the club, he’s said to have become Buddy’s best mate over the course of the season, in fact he’s been so good that some have said he’s provided the Swans with an unfair advantage. Unfortunately Kohler couldn’t get Sydney over the line in the grand final and I hear, despite all his hard work over many years, he’s not going to be at the Swans next year, I’m not sure why. Well, I think that’s right – there sure has been a lot of talk about Kohler.


Alan Kohler has done wonders for Sydney over many years. He will be missed



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.












No names on jumpers, a 20 round season and a grand final public holiday

Check out my latest for The Roar


AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has scrapped the idea of putting names on jumpers after a trial in Round 5 this season.

McLachlan said the font size of the names wasn’t able to be seen at the ground or on TV because of the “style and cut of the jumpers”.

Read more here….




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


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!


Football is light blue and the peripheral premiership champions – footy news week 13

It’s been a while between posts on the footy news front so enjoy.

The highlight

95,000 Liverpool fans plus a few hundred Melbourne Victory supporters descended upon the MCG for a pre-season practice match last week. It seems to me that in Australian sport we like to keep our songs and the like for celebratory purposes after a win like the Queensland state of origin team singing their team song “Yie Yie Yippee Yippee Yea” after the 8th straight series win but moving from the ridiculous to the sublime, some of the most famous traditions/events in sport are done before the match – think the Haka and of course Liverpool’s anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” Fortuitously for those at the MCG who had recently joined the Liverpool bandwagon the words were on the big screen – karaoke for 95,000?

The bench working overtime at the MCG is not an unusual sight but it was a little different when, at the 70th minute Liverpool substituted 10 players, having previously subbed skipper Steven Gerrard. It was a mass movement of Reds not seen since Melbourne’s horrid red clash jumper. Melbourne Victory made 1 substitution for the night.

Another recent highlight was Gary Ablett’s uber impressive 49 possession match winning performance against Collingwood and subsequent Brownlow favouritism. Reams of statistics were producing showing the calibre of Ablett’s season but the one stat that mattered to me was this: Gary Ablett has played 96% of game time this season. Clearly the interchange bench isn’t for everyone.

The lowlight

Light blue! Everyone has gone mad for light blue. First the runners in GWS & Gold Coast games were swapped out of their usual orange into light blue so as not to clash with aforementioned expansion teams only to then clash with their opposition like West Coast. Then the AFL umpires got in on the act donning light blue in Round 15 for the Collingwood v Carlton “Dick Pratt Memorial Raising Awareness for Prostate Cancer” Round – I thought it was one of the AFL’s new themed rounds. I was wrong. The real reason the AFL umpires were in light blue was to support OneSight, a not for profit foundation providing essential eye care to Australians in need. Unfortunately it seemed to be the umpires who needed the optical assistance as they failed to spot the clash casued by being togged out in light blue against North Melbourne & West Coast [Jeff Geishen I’m looking at you again]. To avoid the clash why not dress the umpires in brown? It was Prostate Round after all wasn’t it?. The referees for the A -League All Stars v Manchester United match joined in by wearing light blue tops despite the All Stars being in an all royal blue strip and the refs having every colour of the rainbow available to them – think AFL umpires circa 2007-2011. Yellow might have been a better choice.

Light  blue! Its everywhere from Luke O'Sullivan's 50th to umpires & referees.
Light blue! Its everywhere from Luke O’Sullivan’s 50th to umpires & referees.

But this light blue craze is not a new phenomenon the AFL boundary umpires celebrated the 1996 Centenary season in style by changing to a light powder blue number for reasons best known to the Jeff Geischen of the day. The field umpires remained in white. In Round 3 1997 Carlton either celebrated cult hero Luke O’Sullivan’s 50th match in his 11th season by changing their guernsey to light blue for a day or got a truckload of cash from M&Ms  to promote a new product by changing their guernsey to light blue for a day. Either way by 1997 the boundary umps had thankfully reverted to white so as not to clash with Rhino.

The unbelievable

Every day I log on to The Age website to be greeted by another article by chief football writer, Caroline Wilson, calling for James Hird’s head on a stick. The count is up to 11 consecutive days now. Whilst Carro is right, in my humble opinion, I just wonder if she couldn’t give it a rest just for one day – I think we all know her opinion on the matter by now. From one end of the newspaper journo spectrum to the other, have a look at how Robbo, the chief football writer for the Herald Sun, is attacking the big issues with admirable zeal. The question at the end is the clincher.


1. Jeremy Cameron
What a ripper, well-rounded young man. He spoke brilliantly in an interview on The Footy Show and then for three quarters had his team whipping at the heels of Collingwood on the MCG. He has everything. Can mark, is agile, is quick, has nous and likeness to attack the opposition players. And you know what he does best? He smiles, he makes you smile and he makes you get excited when the ball goes into his area. He kicked seven against the Pies and he was beaming after every one of them. Question though, has he big mouth or a big mouth guard?

Dropping the indefinite article ‘a’ in the last sentence “has he big mouth”; gives it a certain fairy tale feel, a Shakespearean quality – intentional I’m sure.

The boring

Buddy 13. A self indulgent nonsense concept if ever there was one. Foxtel produced a documentary about Lance Franklin kicking 13 goals against North Melbourne last year and they got Buddy in to the studio to live tweet and answer questions during the show. Wow, what a massive wank. What’s next an hour with Cyril Rioli talking us through the best 15 touch, 2 goal game in AFL history? If this had been the early 1990’s Foxtel would have been making special documentaries every second week as Ablett, Dunstall and Lockett routinely racked up double figure goal tallies.

VFL watch

The Frankston v North Ballarat game was interrupted a few week backs when North Ballarat skipper, Myles Sewell, called for a head count. Yes the head count still exists at VFL level and Frankston were found to have 19 men on the field. Strangely the Dolphin’s score wasn’t immediately reset to 0 and the game continued with North Ballarat going on to win a thriller by 3 points. During the week the Frankston score was adjusted and the Roosters were credited with a win by 40 odd points.

Sandringham and St Kilda have an interesting alignment based on hatred and mistrust I feel. Two weeks ago the Saints pulled Sam Dunnell and Jason Blake from the Sandringham line up just prior to the game. Blake was in the process of being strapped up when the call came that they weren’t playing. Sandringham was then forced to take out two players who were playing in the reserves and get them prepared for the seniors game.This week they withdrew 4 players at late notice – the reason why? The players neede a rest, they’d been training since November. Surely they train to play football. I hope the Saints don’t make the finals anytime soon as they won’t be able to field a team with everyone needing to be rested due to the long season

Alistair Clarkson was investigated for verbally abusing two Port Melbourne players at a quarter time huddle of the Box Hill v Port Melbourne game. Yep Clarko is going through another “short angry man” phase. First it was belting holes in the wall of the MCG coaches box, then swearing at an official at a junior footy match and now this, verbally abusing Toby Pinwill & John Baird .

Port Melbourne coach Gary Ayres wasn’t short on a few patronising words for Clarkson.

“if my memory serves me correctly, hasn’t Clarko got a prior misdemeanour for being a naughty boy at a junior game?”

“If he did what the boys said, it seems to me that that is an abuse of his responsibilities as a senior AFL coach. I’m not sure what he thinks he should be doing at an VFL game.”

“We think Alastair would be better to keep his feelings to himself … this was potentially said in front of kids, he is an ambassador for the game, I would have thought. 

“There are ways that we should behave ourselves, especially in the full view of young people. He has a prior somewhere along the way so probably he is a slow learner.”

Good point Gary – won’t somebody please think of the children!

Last week the VFL announced that 6 of the 9 VFL finals would be held at North Port Oval, Port Melbourne’s home ground. A couple of days later they were forced to announce that the weekend’s Port Melbourne v Box Hill game would be shifted away from North Port Oval due to an unsatisfactory surface – doesn’t bode well for hosting the finals. The reason North Port Oval wasn’t up to scratch – the super sopper broke down and there was some difficulty sourcing parts. I’m not surprised – the last time I heard of a super sopper being used was after a rain delay at the cricket in 1996! Hopefully it will be fixed before the finals.

The Foxtel Cup rumbles on anonymously – the grand final is on tonight between West Adelaide and East Fremantle at Football Park. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around…

What they should do

Scrap the NAB cup. Hardly a new suggestion but it could happen after Andrew Demetriou said the AFL season might start 2 weeks earlier in 2014, squeezing out the NAB cup. If 2013 was the last NAB cup it will give Brisbane a unique place in AFL history. Brisbane will be the peripheral premiership champions. They will be the last NAB cup premiers having defeated Carlton at Etihad in March and they were the first AFL Reserves premiers in 1991 defeating Melbourne at Waverley Park. Note both grand finals were played on peripheral grounds, not the MCG. The Brisbane Reserves premiership was the first AFL premiership to be won by a non-Victorian club. The coach was Rodney Eade and premiership players on that day in 1991 included Shaun Hart (Norm Smith medallist in 2001), Matthew Kennedy (games record holder for the number 41 jumper), ex Hawk Peter Curran & journeyman ruckman Alex Ishenko.

Brisbane: Pheripheral Premiership Champions. Great jumper logo in 1991 too
Brisbane: Rodney’s Eade and Lester Smith celebrate in 1991. Great jumper logo

The Quotes


“The AFL is proud to have the first Sudanese born player, Majak Daw”

For their Multicultural Round the AFL were running ads with this slightly confusing choice of phrasing. The first Sudnaese born player to do what? Play AFL? Anyway Majak Daw didn’t play AFL that weekend instead he played Werribee in the VFL. Fortuitously it coincided with Werribee’s multicultural day featuring Sudanese dancers



”I am not certain Robert Harvey has ever opened his mouth on a footy field. That includes calling for the ball”


Grant Thomas responds to Matthew Scarletts claims that Robert Harvey sledged Geelong players. Wow Robert Harvey won 2 Brownlows and averaged 25 possessions over a 383 game career without speaking – imagine what he could have achieved if he’d actually called for the ball! How does he go as an assistant coach now? Write everything down? Use sign language? The mind boggles Grant Thomas.

Drugs in AFL and Unleash The Geisch – footy news week 12

Reclink held its second football day in two weeks with the Peter Galbally Cup held at Victoria Park on Sunday. Nothing unusual there you might say except that the Peter Galbally cup is played between a team of solicitors and a team of barristers yet rather than being staged somewhere in the wealth belt like Toorak, Brighton or even Elsternwick it was held in the hipster heartland of Abbotsford. A swap of venues with the Community Cup might be in order or maybe the barristers and solicitors were in Collingwood territory to find prospective customers – Joffa Corfe was one of the goal umpires on the day.

The highlight

Jeff Gieschen is the George Costanza of the AFL. His garbled and confused explanations of rules changes and contentious umpiring decisions are an embarrassment to the AFL. And now he has gone for a holiday during the season so how important can his work be?  Or as a mate said “You can chuck sickies anytime because you don’t add any value where you work”

I can see Jeff walking around the halls of AFL house while other staffers say, Who is that guy?” What does he do?” Didn’t we sack him 2 years ago.? Much like how GeorgeCostanza kept turning up to work after he’d been fired. What does the Geisch do all day ? He probably does a lot of Gorge Costanza style looking busy paper stacking and shuffling, looking annoyed and sighing but mostly under the desk sleeping.

George Costanza I mean Jeff Geishen hard at ‘work’ looking busy watching a game from 10 years ago.
George Costanza I mean Jeff Geishen hard at ‘work’ looking busy watching a game from 15 years ago.

How will Jeff go out on a George Castanza high? I’m not sure it’s possible perhaps his current holiday will just be extended to indefinite leave and then he will quit due to ‘family reasons’

Interesting that the new AFL Operations manager Mark Evans is looking to change the goal review system and trailing ball tracking technology Hawkeye while The Geisch is away. Hmmmm it suggest The Geisch is more of a hindrance than a help. Unleash The Geish AFL – cut him loose.

The lowlight

As an Essendon supporter I have said nothing about the Essendon drug scandal until now. The Essendon players, as professional athletes, need to take personal responsibility for everything they ingest or inject. A signed consent form is meaningless and trusting that someone told you it’s OK is naive and foolish. Ignorance is not a defence.

The VFL provides two examples of drug bans.

  1. Casey Scorpions Wade Lees was banned from all competitive sport for 18 months after importing a fat burner that contained illegal steroids. He did not even consume the product.
  2. Frankston’s Matthew Clarke accepted a pre-match drink named ‘Hemo Rage’ from a teammate after being assured that the product was within the drug code. After the game Clarke was drug tested and tested positive to an ingredient named Dimethylamylamine. He was banned for 2 years.

Why the Essendon football club believes its players will or should be treated differently to these two players is beyond me. All Essendon players who took banned substances in 2012 should be banned for 2 years.

The unbelievable

The AFL announced that the 2013 Australian team to tour Ireland for the International Rules Series would be all Indigenous players. A couple of points to ponder:

1. Gill McLachlan admitted the top players didn’t want to play in 2011 so isn’t it a bit disingenuous to then offer the ‘opportunity’ to an all-Indigenous team? If noon else wants to do it will give it to the indigenous boys – they’ll do it.

2. No mention was made of the Gaelic Athletic Association agreeing to this change of team. I reckon the Irish will be less than happy that they won’t be playing a full strength team, as they would be literally banking on filling stadiums, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they kicked up a great stink and threaten to boycott the series. [Though right at the moment they are probably more concerned with the greatest Irish rugby player of all time Brian O’Driscoll getting dropped from the Lions.]

But maybe this was the AFL’s tactic all along, change the Australian team without consultation with the GAA so they would then take offence and call off the series thus bringing down the curtain on the hybrid rules games for good.

VFL watch

I travelled to Coburg City Oval to watch Coburg take on the VFL Cats. A grealty improved effort by Coburg compared to previous weeks saw them lead by 3 points at three quarter time. Alas it wasn’t meant to be for the Burgers as the Cats overran them in the last quarter to win by 19 points.

Some observations from the day.

The Cat’s Billie Smedts is a class above VFL level. When the game was up for grabs at the start of the last quarter he dominated the forward line, kicking a couple of goals and passing off others. A class player.

Geelong’s Jack Holman looks like he was pulled off a surfboard at Torquay that morning and thrown onto the team bus to come and play for the Cats. A shaggy mop of blond hair and a long sleeve jumper that could have concealed a long sleeve rashie or a wetsuit made the look. Holman can play football though – he kicked three clever goals for the day including two in a minute in the second quarter.

George Horlin-Smith, despite having a name that suggests he’s from an elite Eastern beaches Sydney private school and he should running around in the second row for the Wallabies, looks like former Geelong player and  mediocre 90’s player hall of famer , Glen ‘Oyster’ Kilpatrick.

Josh Walker is a Steve Johnson disciple. He had two set shots from within 30m of goal including one directly in front, which he kicked by having set shot snaps standing at 90 degrees to the man on the mark, you know the Setvie J method. It worked with Walker kicking 5 goals for the day including a big drop punt bomb in the 3rd quarter from outside 50.

Robin Nahas, seemed to be playing for himself on Sunday: running hard only when it suited him, demanding the ball from team mates when he was in worse positions and berating them when they made mistakes yet he was guilty of poor decision making himself. A classic Nahas moment came in the third quarter when he took a mark sized up his options and kicked the ball out of bounds on the full. I wonder why Nahas hasn’t featured much in the AFL this year.

Coburg’s Daniel Venditti is a hard running wingman with neat skills who loves to kick a goal. His committed work ethic and team oriented style of play were a highlight. Skipper Nick Carnell was his usual industrious self around the midfield. Brett O’Hanlan looks like a likely type as a key forward. He took some good contested grabs and coolly slotted a couple of difficult set shots to finish with 2 goals. Tom Derrikx rucking against Trent West and Nathan Vardy battled manfully all day and showed signs he could be the back up to Ivan Maric that Richmond are hoping for.

Geelong supporters need to extend their vocabulary. The Geelong cheer squad had the same chant after every goal. For example, Ryan Bathie, whose nickname is Bubbles, kicked a goal and the cheer squad lept into action with: “Ryan Ryan Ryan Oi Oi Oi, Ryan Oi, Bathie Oi, Ryan Ryan Ryan Oi Oi Oi.” Then clap clap clap x 8 “Go Cats!” Another Geelong supporter was quite vocal and treated the crowd to such great lines as calling the umpires dressed in orange “glow worms” and after a call went against Geelong followed up with “Umpires, open your eyes. The only one open is in the back of your pants.” Then the piece de résistance, after a scuffle that resulted in a Geelong goal, this: “Throw another punch burgers. You’ve got nothing burgers. Cold as hamburgers.” Classic.

What they should do

Why do he TV networks bother with those cameras pointed into the coaches box? How many times can you watch a coach go “F$CK!” and break a phone when a player mucks up? How many times can you see them looked shocked when a line ball umpiring decision goes against them? Are they saving up all those reactions to make an end of season montage? What is the point? It’s trite and adds nothing to the coverage.

Coaches have been a little bit touchy about who is looking into their box this week with Essendon wallpapering the coaches box at Subiaco to stop prying West Coast eyes see their peptides I mean tactics. Then Ross Lyon went apoplectic when a fan tried to take a photo of the coaches box with a phone. Really it’s the thin edge of the wedge you let one person take a single photo of you and next thing you know there’ll be TV camera’s mounted on the front of the boxes filming every single thing you do…. Yeah. Chill out Ross, focus on coaching teams to play really boring football.

The quote

“If you’re going to bring things in, bring them in at the beginning of the year. Grow up.”

“Don’t knee jerk. Don’t find out there’s something available at round 15 when it was available in round one.”

“Don’t make excuses for the AFL. There’s already enough excuses.”

“An organisation that big, with that many people, it’s a conglomerate stuck down there at Docklands and they’re going to wait until round 15 to discover there’s some mechanism that actually gets it right? Turn it up.”
The AFL announced they will trial ball tracking technology, Hawkeye, for goal umpiring decisions this weekend.  Hooray! Cricket says welcome to 2005, Mick Malthouse was less enthusiastic. Although to me this outrage is a diversionary tactic by Mick to mask Carlton’s current plight I have to agree with him, the AFL have made a real hash of the goal review system.