There’s a strange feeling in the world of AFL at the moment. It’s strange, as in people know it’s not good, but we’re not entirely certain it’s disastrous, either.
I’d liken it to the feeling you get when a warning light goes off in your car. The car will keep running, but the car itself is telling you something is up, and in time, without addressing it, it will get worse. Left unchecked, the problem will ultimately cost a lot more to fix, and the problem will be larger the further we get down the road.
So, do we choose to ignore that warning light, as I am currently doing in my car with the “oil change required” notice constantly coming on, and the “check tyre pressure” warning telling me something’s up? Or do we pull over, address the problems and fix them.
And what exactly are the problems to begin with?
After Gil’s press conference yesterday, the knives were out, and some of them were justified. Whilst some of his answers were beautiful deflections, others rankled him. There was a palpable sense of agitation from him. That is often the case when the tough questions are asked.
Where there is smoke, there’s fire, and in the AFL at the moment, the smoke alarms are going off a little too often.
People will have different takes on what the problems are. You know the old saying about opinions and assholes, right? Well, this asshole only knows what his own opinions are, and those opinions lead me to the following problems that I believe need to be addressed.
NO MORE RULE CHANGES
So, we’re 13 rounds into the transformative rule changes adopted by the AFL prior to the season commencing. People like Malcolm Blight, Gerard Whateley, and their like put their heads together to talk about the state of our game, and decided to change it. I’ll never forget Whatelely telling his audience on SEN that he thought that if the AFL implemented the ridiculous 18 or 20 metre goal square, that supporters would embrace it and forget what the old goal square looked like by April. Yep, great to see he thinks his listeners are all idiotic goldfish.
So, what has changed?
Backmen are picking up more stats and metres gained due to running out of the goal square and getting a kick added to their stats. The game is being held up as players get into the 6-6-6 formation. And scoring has dropped – again.
So really, what we’re seeing is an exercise in futility if the AFL are trying to increase scoring, simply because coaches do not want free-flowing, end-to-end games. It screws with their gameplans, you see? Until the people in charge of the tactics, not the rules, decide they want a free flowing, exciting game, we’re bound to continue to see games where the half time scores have teams sitting in the twenties way too often.
The only two positive rule changes are basically rescinding other rule changes that cocked the game up to begin with – hands in the back once again being allowed… Matthew Richardson reckons it is quite a few years too late after the institution of the rule cost him a mark, shot at goal, and the chance to win one for the Tigers.
And the rucks being allowed to take the ball from ruck contests without fear of being pinged for holding the ball. Again, nothing new – just going back to what worked for dozens of years before the AFL decided it didn’t. And now they decided it did work, after all.
Take your medicine on this one, AFL. Allow the game to evolve and the coaches to adapt, and stop screwing with the product.
SECURITY AT GAMES
Look, I think this was a bit of a beat up. Security has always been there, but for whatever reason, the broadcasters decided to make it a focus, and turned its cameras on the crowd, and the blokes policing them. You think this was a bit of an F-U to the AFL by Channel Seven? Feels like it.
How about this for an idea – have a bit of a dual purpose for security guys. Allow them to smile, hand out freebies to kids, walk the aisles and be a positive presence rather than this authoritarian presence that makes people feel as though they can’t barrack. Talk to people – crack a joke here and there. be part of the experience.
Have them be a semi-positive presence, instead of the left hand of an Orwellian regime. Drop the stupid and insulting “Behavioural Awareness Officer” vests – whoever thought of that should be fired – and start thinking positively about the fans that attend games. Intervene where necessary and don’t where unnecessary. It’s not bloody rocket surgery, huh?
Give them a bag of mini-footballs to carry around. Hand them out to kids as they go. Hand out keyrings, toys… choking hazards… anything! Be appositive presence and be responsive when something goes awry.
Oh and that woman with the tape over her mouth at the Carlton game… I don’t know about you, but she looks the type I’d rather see keep the tape over her mouth at games. I’m not convinced we’ll hear much in the way of intelligent banter coming from her.
ENOUGH VIRTUE SIGNALLING
Personal gripe, but if there is one thing I hate more than all else, it’s being told what to think.
I’m only a semi-idiot. I can make my own mind up on issues and don’t need the AFL or people associated with the sport dictating what I should think on issues. The AFL is not my moral compass – they’re a collection of clubs that play a sport I enjoy watching. Raise awareness about things all you like, but do not dictate what I, or anyone else should feel about issues that are larger than the game.
SHUT CLUB PRESIDENTS UP
As many of you know, I am a Hawthorn supporter – I cannot stand Jeff Kennett. The more he puts his foot in his mouth, the more I want to put my foot in there as well.
Eddie, Kochie, LoGiudice… shut up.
You know who I like? Tony Shepherd at GWS. And you know why? I had to look the bloke up. He could be out there banging a drum, creating issues, pushing an agenda in the west of Sydney, but he concentrates on running a club that is pushing for top two, and should be in the mix for a flag again.
Same goes for Colin Carter at Geelong. I actually thought Frank Costa was still in charge – that’s how inconspicuous Carter is!
No grandstanding. No wearing multiple hats to hide behind his other job to justify statements. These two just go about doing what’s best for their club. I love that, and a few more could learn a bit from them – it’s about the club, not the individual.
BRING BACK THE BARS
Eddie cops a whack twice in a row.
It’s high time the AFL grew a pair, shook their head and told Eddie McGuire no. If Port Adelaide wish to wear black and white prison bars for home games not involving Collingwood, bloody well let them!
It has very little impact on the Collingwood Magpies, the Port Adelaide team will still be called the Power, and everyone can go about their business. I’m a little sick of Collingwood lording it over Port as though they’re the dopey cousin of the AFL fraternity. It’s time for the AFL to look Eddie and co. in the eye, thank them for their input and make their own mind up. As much as people would like to think it is the case, Collingwood do not run the AFL – it’s time to make a point of it.
Where to start with this…
Invest your money in getting this right. Don’t rely on Channel Seven – it’s not their responsibility. If you’re going to implement a score review system with insufficient technology, you’re bound to get burned, as we’ve seen multiple time with this lemon of a system.
I reckon you’ve got one more chance to get this right before people turn on you. Use snicko, or Edge or whatever you’re calling it. Invest in goal post camera that provides footage that looks marginally better than the home videos I took on my Nokia ten years ago, and stop screwing around on an issue that may end up costing a team a premiership!
CLOSE THE ROOF
Seriously, you’re making games hard to watch at Marvel Stadium. For supporters, they’re staring into the sun for half the game, and can’t see the other half of the ground.
For TV viewers, I’ve actually turned it off once or twice. Producers must be tearing their hair out as they look for half decent camera angles as the ball transitions across the ground. Sun to shade and shade to sun… I know it happens at other grounds, but why does it look so horrible at Marvel?
And if you have the means to fix the problem by closing the roof… why not do it?
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTY AND THE BYE
Okay, I kind of like this concept. Sure it screws kids out of attending except during school holidays, but I’m really questioning is why you’d choose to restart having these games during the bye weeks?
With only six games on the cards for the weekend, you throw one on a Thursday night, leaving one for Sunday? And then in some parts of the country it isn’t even on free to air TV? This is a fail.
Let me help you out.
Six games – one on Thursday. One on Friday. Two on Saturday. Two on Sunday.
Or – one on Friday, Three on Saturday. Two on Sunday.
There you go AFL – fixed! And once the byes are done, move a game to Thursday then – there’ll be plenty to choose from.
So there we go, a few gripes from the Mongrel and some potential fixes. If you have your own, please add them in the comments or on our socials. Get ‘em out there and maybe…. just maybe, someone’ll listen
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