Where would we be without the AFL Media?

In the dark? Forced to think for ourselves? Heaven forbid.

I’m not sure I’ll do this often this season, but as we edge closer to Round One and the coverage ramps up, we get all types of stories from those with the much sought-after accreditation and access to the stars and personalities of the footy world.

Sometimes, however, what they do with that access leaves a little to be desired.

Here at The Mongrel, I decided to have a look at some of what they’re feeding us and whether or not we want to swallow it. Without further ado, let’s jump into a few recent headlines.

 

JEFF KENNETT FLOATS RELOCATING HAWTHORN TO TASMANIA – multiple sources, but Kennett made the announcement on Five AA’s Rowey Sports

Calling Jeff Kennett outspoken is akin to saying iPhone charging cables break too easily. Sometimes he says and does things that appear to lack foresight.

As an example, not only did he rip the guts out of Victora by selling off assets when he was Premier, he also closed technical schools and, you’ll love this one, the Fairfield Infectious Disease Hospital. These days, he positions himself as a champion of mental health. You know, the bloke who caused so many issues for people when he was in charge is now a champion of making sure they’re all okay. It’s like putting Hannibal Lecter in charge of entrees in a hospital kitchen – one of the hospitals he didn’t close down, I guess.

The sad thing for many is that he isn’t in charge of entrees, but the Hawthorn Footy Club.

However, on this occasion, I kind of feel for him. This is the media grabbing a soundbite and running with it as fast as they can. Hawthorn are not going anywhere – the line was a throwaway one.

Still, I guess he said it.

Gold Coast President, Tony Cochrane had a belter of a line last year when asked about Jeff Kennett. When he was asked about some other dumb comment Kennett had made, Cochrane responded: “Here’s a comment I’ve never heard at a Presidents’ meeting – ‘good idea, Jeff, let’s do that’.”

And so it is again in this case. Kennett, running his mouth like it’s got USB backup power, once again threw his team and its members under the bus by casually mentioning that he would consider moving the team to Tasmania.

I’d offer to move Kennett to Tassie, but I am pretty sure they’d send him back with a note stating we shouldn’t try to ship our riff-raff off to them. Sometimes, I just wish he’d shut the hell up.

 

HOGAN GETTING “BETTER AND BETTER” IN FIRST FULL PRE-SEASON IN YEARS – sen.com.au

Well, he couldn’t really get much worse, could he?

Imagine they came out and said “Well, he’s not really improving at all…”

Jesse Hogan’s couple of years at Fremantle were a disaster. He went from an almost 50-goal forward in 2018 to kicking just 18 in total over the next two years. Battles with mental health and a form that was poor to say the least saw him on the outs with Freo and up for trade. He’s landed at GWS and last week we got the first signs of people talking up the potential of Hogan having a good year.

Is it beyond the realms of possibility that Hogan could have a very good 2021?

He is joining a GWS side that boasts an electrifying midfield group – supply shouldn’t be the issue.

He has two tall forwards running around beside him (Finlayson and Himmelberg) who have proven that they can impact the game (Finlayson had 44 goals to his name in 2019 and Himmelberg led the league in goal assists in 2019) and one of the best mid-size forwards in the game in Toby Greene. Maybe it is not too far-fetched to think that Hogan could regain some semblance of the form that made him a star with the Dees?

Of course, so much will come down to Jesse, himself. How different a person is he now to the one who played so well in 2018? How committed to the cause is he? Is footy his number one priority? Is this just a last hurrah for him before he moves onto the next phase of his life?

Hogan has biog shoes to fill at GWS. With Jeremy Cameron walking away and taking the only real award a Giant has won in the league (Coleman Medal), Hogan is a pretty decent replacement, particularly if we’re using JC’s 2020 as the gauge. I think we’ll know by about Round Five which version of Hogan we’re gonna get, and in a lot of ways, it could have a big bearing on whether GWS can bounce back after a 2020 they’d like to forget.

 

BOB MURPHY WANTS TO CHANGE THE DOGS’ NAME BACK TO FOOTSCRAY – sen.com.au

Before I start this bit, I love this opening from the SEN article, where they state that “the club great and former captain told SEN’s Bob and Andy…”

So, in effect, he told himself about it?

Anyway, I like this suggestion. I’m not the biggest Bob Murphy fan, but you have to give credit where it’s due and the Western Bulldogs are a team without a suburban heart. The oval is there, the name of it is the Whitten Oval and it is visible as you drive over Geelong Road in Footscray, but the name of the team…

… the Western Bulldogs.

Other teams have their bases; their homes. You can hear the Bomber fans say “Go Essendon”, the Blues fans scream “Go Carlton”, and the Kangaroos have fought so hard to retain their identity. They are North Melbourne.

But the Bulldogs are… western? Go Western?

Sounds like someone cocking up the lyrics to a Pet Shop Boys song at karaoke.

Is woke Bob on the money here? Should they return to their roots and call themselves Footscray?

Go Hawthorn? Go Collingwood? Go… Footscray!

 

THE RESIGNATION OF EDDIE MCGUIRE FIXES RACISM AT COLLINGWOOD – multiple sources and then, all of a sudden, very few sources

Do those who were baying for blood just a couple of weeks ago feel satisfied now? It seems so. The figurehead of Collingwood has gone and all of a sudden, we’re not really discussing any issues at the club?

It was all just one bloke, was it?

I see… I see…

The departure of Eddie McGuire and the whirlwind of media attention surrounding it has settled down to a gentle zephyr now as the Magpies turn to focus on the season (just over a month away, people!) but where is the follow up from the salivating media about what comes next?

McGuire rattled off a list of community programs in his farewell address that highlighted the good his club were already doing in the community. Let’s face it – no one else was going to bother listing them, were they?

So, two weeks removed from the fracas, has there been anything else announced that adds to what is already happened? Has there been any shift in direction? Any sweeping change? Any additional reports on what happens next?

Nup, it seems the media and those who wanted McGuire out got what they wanted. Now they have put their guns back in their holsters and sheathed their swords once more. Blood has been spilled and now they’ll find another focus – the next big story.

I’ve covered my thoughts on Ed’s departure below, but I am more frustrated with the media now thinking everything is okay. If systemic racism was the issue, the removal of one man does not rectify it. That seems to have been lost on people.

MEMBERS – Eddie No Longer Everywhere

 

500+ DAYS SINCE THE PROVISIONAL SUSPENSION OF WILLIE RIOLI – multiple sources

530+ days, to be exact.

People are tried, convicted and jailed for murder quicker than this.

Am I justifying the actions of Willie Rioli? No, he did the wrong thing… and it was a dumb, wrong thing at that. However, if it was the wrong thing and it was dumb, what is even dumber and wronger (nice, Kanye…) is that it has taken the better part of two bloody years for the people responsible for making decisions pertaining to guilt or innocence, and handing down a suspension, to do their jobs!

ASADA might be being really stringent. They might be making sure all avenues are covered and every possibility has been considered, but seriously… 530 days to do something… anything… is a bit much.

The AFL preaches about the mental health of their players and ASADA themselves have a line about protecting the health of athletes in their mandate. Here you have a young man in limbo for the better part of two years, waiting to find out exactly what his penalty will be, whilst this bunch of… well, this is a family publication. I’ll try again. While this bunch of people from ASADA much around to the point where their entire process seems a convoluted mockery.

I am not a West Coast fan, so I have no bias here, but to see a player left without a decision pertaining to his future is heartbreaking. I am all for a bloke copping a whack for the errors he makes, but making him wait this long is just cruel and if this is an indication as to the process that needs to be undertaken to get a result with ASADA, maybe the AFL should start looking elsewhere for people to administer this process.

 

DAMIEN HARDWICK’S RELATIONSHIP STATUS IS BIG NEWS – sen.com.au

And we go from one situation where the media were salivating all over themselves to another.

Damien Hardwick is in a new relationship. Damien Hardwick is still the coach of the Richmond Football Club. Damien Hardwick’s ex-wife is still extremely close with some players and their families. Yes… we get that, but there are some headline chasers just looking to sink their claws into one aspect of it all and refuse to let go.

Garry Lyon on SEN, of all people, should have an understanding of what it is like to have the media latch on to an aspect of your personal life and go after you about it, yet there he was, doubling down on questions about Hardwick’s personal life to the point where the Richmond coach had to direct the line of questioning back to football. After all, that’s what he was there to discuss.

This was the same Garry Lyon who cried “mental health” and ran off to spend a while away from the media after the story of he and Bill Brownless’ ex-wife becoming an item hit the headlines. Did Garry learn bugger all when that happened?

People get married. People break up. People start new relationships. In the case of Hardwick, let he who is without guilt cast the first stone.

Drop the stone, Garry. You have no right to throw it.

 

AMAZON ANNOUNCES DOCO ABOUT TAYLA HARRIS – multiple sources

People were up in arms about Tayla Harris being the subject of a new documentary from entertainment giant, Amazon.

I get it – there are other stories out there you’d rather see given the air time. In AFLW, the stories of Daisy Pearce and Erin Phillips would be just as good viewing, if not better. And if we look at the sport as a whole, there is a plethora of stories we could delve into that would make brilliant viewing.

However, the big story here is that Amazon are continuing to invest in AFL content. Where this leads, I do not know – I had an astute reader point out that one day, Amazon may bid on the TV rights of the footy, perhaps ending the free-to-air coverage. Don’t rule it out – it could occur one day, but for now, the idea that there are documentary makers scouring the world for subjects for their ork, and their eyes have rested on the AFL right now is a great sign.

I’ve listed a few of my own ideas for doco ideas in the article below – I’d love to hear some of yours.

Amazon Making AFL Documentaries – Where To Next?

 

BUDDY IS DOING “EVERYTHING RIGHT” – afl.com.au

I read this article with interest during the week, where John Longmire stated that Lance Franklin was doing “everything right and then some” this pre-season. This, a week or two after he left the track with a “setback” in the form of an injured calf that has put him in doubt for Round One.

I’m not sure who is handing out grades at Sydney currently, but if your 34-year-old key forward who has not played since 2019 is having any sort of issues, he is not doing everything right. Most things – maybe. Some things – I’m sure.

But everything?

Training consistently would be considered part of “everything”, wouldn’t it?

We’re not sure how Buddy is going to go this season, are we? A 107-kilogram full-forward that cannot hit full pace in case something goes TWANG isn’t exactly a reliable option from week to week, but I am pretty sure most people are pulling for Buddy to string a few good games together in 2021 and start giving that 1000-goal mark a nudge.

Failing that, it is not all doom and gloom for the Swans – their list of 23-and-under players is fantastic, and I would not be surprised if that is where we see the lift in 2021 – not from an ageing champion, even if he does most things right along the way, there will still be a hiccup or three.

 

THE BLUES ARE BEING CAUTIOUS WITH CHARLIE CURNOW – afl.com.au

Wow, knock me down with a feather… like they had any other choice in the matter.

Charlie Curnow has not played since Round 15, 2019, so the revelation that Carlton were taking a cautious approach to him playing in 2021 is hardly a surprise. Whilst the Blues expect their young star to be available toward the middle of the season, only a bloody idiot would have thought anything otherwise.

In David Teague’s defence, he was asked specifically about Curnow and answered honestly. The answer he gave was what everyone expected, really but why not turn it into a headline, right?

Curnow initially hurt his medial ligament against the Dockers in 2019, but subsequent injuries to the knee whilst playing basketball, falling over on a tiled floor and then during a weights session away from the club caused some raised eyebrows from some fans.

At 24, Curnow has a heap of time left in the game, as Teague later added, but he seems to currently be at the crossroads and could go either way from here. Is he going to develop into the player Carlton envisioned a couple of seasons ago? Or will the series of knee injuries and their residual impact cause Charlie to be one of the AFL’s great “what if…” players?

 

Seen any other ripper stories doing the rounds you think we should have a look at? Let us know in the comment section below.

 

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