They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, that’s what I’m running with anyways.
The Sounding Board podcast does a weekly scorecard where the producer poses various, random statements, and the two hosts proceed to rate them out of 10 (1 being a harsh disagreement, 10 being in great support), and discuss their reasonings for each rating.
Now, before you accuse me of doing a Kane Cornes and voicing my outlandish opinions to reel in the clicks, these statements are aimed at showcasing the differing opinions of the Mongrel fraternity, and not necessarily the opinion of the original author.
So without further ado, I present to you…
The Mongrel Scorecard – V3
Tom Green’s re-signing at the Giants will prove to be one of the biggest signings of the season, with the 22 year old midfielder putting pen to paper and removing himself from a growing list of in-demand players set to come out of contract this season.
This could arguably be the most vital contract extension in their club history. Star player, future captain and one of the most promising players in the competition. As a smaller market team it’s always good to get these deals done.
7- Matt Passmore
If contracts mean anything these days, this is a particularly good signing. But the biggest of the year? We’ll wait and see. It is definitely a good sign for the Giants.
Jimmy Day – 3
Signing a contract doesn’t mean much if a club’s culture and salary cap are questionable – both of which remain at the Giants. Perhaps Adam Kingsley can stem the exodus from Western Sydney. Green is a great retention for the Giants, but whether it lasts long-term remains to be seen. Players have the bulk of the power these days, so who knows what Green will inevitably choose. Green will help them this year, but it’s narrow-minded to limit it to one year. Let’s see if he sticks to the contract and the impact he has.
Trent Adam Shields – 4
I’m as big of a fan of Tom Green as anyone, but one of the biggest signings is a stretch. There have long been rumoured a Tiger homecoming due to family ties, but as Richmond have tied up their salary cap and draft collateral for the next seven years with Giants B-graders that is now completely off the table. I will give the Giants credit though, there are very few players they actually want to keep that they don’t.
The Doc – 9
Would’ve been 10 if contracts weren’t so meaningless when it comes to the trade season. Nonetheless, given the Giants losses over the past number of years, this was perhaps one name that they could ill afford to lose in terms of their future. Tom Green is already proving himself as a hell of a player and there’s already discussion that he’ll be even better in 2023 with Hopper and Taranto not there anymore; he should be starting in nearly every centre bounce stoppage, such is his talent in the clearances and contest.
Matt Parnell – 9
Unlike most of the GWS players who run down their contracts to get back to where they grew up, Tom Green is as close to GWS through and through as anyone in the comp. Canberra boy, academy player, someone key enough to their lineup that he was a rumoured captain as early as this season? He’s got all the tools to be their next Callan Ward.
JB Eddy – 9
He is quality, and likely to get even better. Yeah, people can argue whether paying him for potential may cost them the contract of other emerging talents, but it’s an odds game, and he’s an odds-on favourite to be a star.
HB – 9
This is right in my wheelhouse… I’ve been a big Tom Green fan for a while and though I was a little worried he may seek greener pastures, his recommitment to GWS bodes very well for them. I genuinely believe he could be in the top handful of contested footy/clearance players in the game by the end of the season. Though I know many state that contracts mean very little, had Green wanted to fo, he could have. That he is remaining with GWS is indicative that he sees the path forward and that he sees a pretty positive one, at that.
The inclusion of Brodie Grundy into the fold at Melbourne will not have the desired effect that Melbourne had hoped for when recruiting the former Magpie, with two premier ruckmen upsetting the balance within the premiership midfield at the Demons. Despite one tremendous showing from the pair in the pre-season, the concept of plonking Max Gawn in a forward line will not prosper, as too many cooks spoil the broth.
This move is almost along the lines of the Kevin Durant to the Warriors, Melbourne don’t fill a need by getting him- however get extremely overpowered in their engine room. I floated a theory that the resting ruckman would be used forward rather then defensively rolling. That theory proved valid as Grawndy snagged six goals a few weeks ago. I understand the theory that it could alter the synergy of the forward line, yet its not like any other key forward for the Demons has consistently taken command.. maybe it’s time Simon Goodwin asks Alexa for help. Despite his average kicking, Gawn in particular still commands a quality defender obviously, and is one of the best in terms of getting in the right spots. If you like long odds and a roughie, he is at $251 for the Coleman… a take I had already presented to my fellow mongrels.
Matt Passmore- 6
I somewhat agree here. Gawn is far from the most mobile ruck going around and even Grundy, who’s mobile for a ruck, isn’t the best athlete in the forward line. Neither of them are natural tall forwards, though both have capabilities as an option up there. Simply put, Melbourne has replaced Jackson with someone who is never going to be Jackson. They will definitely be slower around the ground and up forward. What they have done, though, is allow relentless pressure for opposing rucks as there’s no number two ruck which their number two can compete against, and they will stretch the height of opposing team’s defence permanently, rather than just when the ruck is having a rest forward. So I don’t think it will end up being a bad move, but yes, there will definitely be elements of the pairing which quality sides will be able to exploit.
Jimmy Day – 5
This is a speculative comment and one that’s probably best served answering in six months time. They will have ruck dominance, that can be almost guaranteed, as no team can match their one-two punch there. However, around the ground, I’m not convinced they are invincible nor that one of them playing forward more is the answer to their scoring woes. It’ll be one of the most commented on dynamics all season.
Trent Adam Shields – 2
My answer may be more borne from intrigue rather than foresight, but I love teams in the premiership window taking calculated risks to improve their chances of holding the cup. At draft time there is always a discussion about best available versus best fit for the list, Grundy no doubt was the best player to move clubs in the off season and despite a slightly different skillset, is a massive upgrade on Luke Jackson (for now). I’m backing the Dees to be right back at the pointy end this season as a result.
The Doc – 6
If Grundy has another lengthy injury setback, then it upsets the applecart significantly, because it’ll force Gawn back in the middle for major minutes when he’s getting to that age where they need to conserve and manage him a littlea bit. The pair showed that they’re going to cause a lot of problems this season, both are imposing out of the goal square and it lessens defensive attention on Tom McDonald, Ben Brown and (hopefully) Jacob Van Rooyen. Grundy’s best in the ruck has put him in amongst the best players in the competition. We’ll find out in due time whether or not his best football is behind Grundy – he’s 29 next month and he’s right in the bracket where athletes tend to shine.
JB Eddy – 3
Flexibility and depth are no small factors in a premiership run. It’ll also extend the careers of both players if they rotate off the ball, and supporting Big Bald Ben Brown up forward.
HB – 3
Geez, are we down on Grundy already? We have short memories.
He was close to unstoppable through 2019/20, and whilst injuries have obviously impacted his ability to produce ridiculous levels of follow up football since, he is still a huge threat at stoppages and around the ground. What we miss here is the big picture in terms of Gawn’s longevity in the game. Having Grundy riding shotgun may allow the Dees to get another year or two of Gawn at his best. That, my friends, is a huge win. Even if it is a bit clunky at points, we’ll look back on this as potentially the move that led to another Melbourne premiership.
Jack Billings’ latest injury further highlights a pandemic of poor recruiting at the Saints over the past decade and a half, and whilst an injury is an act of fate and not as much a reflection upon the club or the player, some of the decisions at the draft table, especially with their top picks, have historically left a lot to be desired.
Matt Passmore – 8
I have absolutely no idea what drives the decision making of St Kilda. I rate Ross Lyon fairly highly as a coach, but their list-building is typically questionable at best. Buying a flag though the trade table never seems to work: drafting quality and then topping up the list with trade always seems more successful; However, the Saints seem to want to trade in big players more than draft (not discounting a few good picks), and they’re not able to trade in great players; But I wonder how much of paying large amounts to attract mediocre or unreliable players is on them. How much of it is them being a small fish in a crowded pond? Surely competing with the big clubs to attract talent is at least as difficult for them as it can be for the non-victorian clubs in bringing players away from Victoria, and perhaps keeping them as well. I think it stems down to a bit of panic. I think they want wins quickly to secure their list and build their membership base, but to do so they’ve bought whatever they can without looking too closely in the mouths of their stock.
Jimmy Day – 3
Injury isn’t necessarily the fault of recruiters and list managers. Lots of factors come into play. That said, the Saints have cooked their picks for a long time. The strategy seems non-apparent and the way they’ve used players hasn’t been great either. Ross Lyon has a great football brain, so it’ll be interesting to see how he navigates the list issues this season.
Trent Adam Shields – 8
It’s possibly a stretch to blame injury on poor decision making, but in saying that I’m fairly sure the latin inscription on the club’s coat of arms roughly translates to ‘poor decision makers’. Even though it is fraught with danger to use AA selection to justify anything, the daming stat that the Saints had not drafted a home grown AA since the early 2000’s before Jack Sinclair points to a generation of wasted picks, and expensive trading mistakes.
The draft is hypothetically a lottery, you never know what you are getting. While there is a tremendous amount of skill and time involved in scouting and prep there is also a massive element of chance and luck. There’s no guarantees whatsoever and the reality is that one draft class can change the fortunes of a club immediately. A draft can’t really be dissected until all is said and done anyway- and for every success there is always some element of error that ultimately evens things out one way or another. Part of this could be the fact they are feeling the heat with being in the midst of a long premiership drought in a nine team state..
The Doc – 9
Jimmy Ayres, if this is a response to elicit me to bring out how the Saints missed a trick by drafting Bontempelli over Billings once again, then it has worked. It’s not Billings’ fault, because he was a class talent in his draft year. But the Saints should be condemned with a lot of their moves over the past few years. It’s been a few years since the 2019 off-season where they traded in established players, and with the exception of Dougal Howard, it’s only set them backwards. Brad Hill has not worked, Zak Jones hasn’t moved the needle of where the Saints need to go and the 2020 acquisitions of Crouch and Higgins have been hit and miss.
JB Eddy – 8
The Saints have had some bad luck, but at some stage you can’t just blame luck, you have to look at the system that contributed to it.
The reasons for the Saints to be the least successful team over the VFL/AFl period (excluding University) likely sit between the four walls of the club. Doing what they’ve always done won’t change it. Recruiting Lyon is a step in that direction, but he’s not a silver bullet, he’s just the first step. They seem keen to take those steps, but they need to look in deep at why this keeps happening.
HB – 5
They’re paying for choosing Billings over Bont every time they watch the Dogs’ captain tear a game to shreds, aren’t they? It’s not quite Tambling over Franklin levels, but it’s still a pretty significant cock up, in hindsight.
I feel for the Saints. Nobody knew Paddy McCartin was going to suffer so badly from head knocks. The fact that Christian Petracca was taken after him must eat St Kilda supporters up inside. I know it’s easy to whack them, but I genuinely believe that sometimes you just cannot help bad luck. Coffield’s knee, Maz King out with a knee straight after the draft, Hunter Clark getting head knocks… injuries are just horrible. But, as I am sure we all would, there’d be four or five picks the Saints would like to have their time over again with.
The Swans will experience the dreaded Grand Final thumping hangover and fail to make the top eight this season, following suit of Western Bulldogs, GWS and Adelaide of recent seasons, who have all been thoroughly accounted for in a Grand Final and struggled to bounce back in the following year.
Swans do have one glaring flaw, but their list is strong overall and they have one of the best defensive zone setups in the business. They will be completely fine come the business end, although I don’t believe they have improved compared to their flag rivals. For the record, I believe that their biggest talisman could be their Achilles heel- as “Buddy Ball” has been shown to work sporadically, throw in the fact that he will be rested for games due to age- it seems that they are wanting one final Swansong for Bud..
Matt Passmore – 4
I don’t think so. I think those aforementioned teams made the Grand Final almost by accident, in seasons where they performed better than they expected. The pressure then rose, and they never had the team to match it, but perhaps tried too hard to do so. GWS may perhaps be the exception there. I think Sydney are a much more mature team, even if their side is quite young. They’ve got the list and systems in place to recover from a lost Grand Final, even a poor one. I think they’ll bound back pretty quickly.
Jimmy Day – 2
The Swans will learn from this. Some of the other teams overachieved or got on a good run. I don’t think that the Swans overachieved or just had a good run. They earned it and played some damn good football. I think there’s some major upside to them, and Longmire is a very good coach. I expect them to come again in 2023.
Trent Adam Shields – 5
I’m going to sit on the fence here, as I believe Sydney will fall to the bottom of the top 8, but not out of finals contention. Sydney’s great push last year was on the back of a youth injection, and they will continue to mature and get more consistent. They have too much talent to fall away as those other clubs did.
The Doc – 4
In my season predictions, I’ve got the Swans going a step and a half backwards this year, but I’ve got them in the eight still – this list is too good to be dropping out of finals or middling, but it’s going to be a season of growth for the likes of Chad Warner, Braeden Campbell, Errol Gulden and the others. This stigma where teams that get belted in Grand Finals struggle the following year is real – there was some bizarre statistic I saw the other day where teams that were well beaten in a Grand Final this century either failed to win a final the next year or missed out altogether: Port in ‘07 didn’t play the following year, Collingwood in ‘03 were bottom four the following season. Sydney’s 2014 side were knocked out in straight sets the following year and West Coast’s 2015 side lost a home elimination final the following year. It’s one hell of a trend that John Longmire and his boys must buck this year.
JB Eddy – 2
Since 2000, Sydney have missed finals five times, played in 17 finals series’, and six grand finals. Betting against them is always a risk. It’s like writing off Geelong as people did in 2020 when they lost to Richmond.
HB – 2
Nah, I’m all in on the Swans – have been for a couple of years, now. If anything, they may have overachieved a little in 2022, making the Grand Final a year or two before they were truly ready.
They’ve got high class talent all over the park, a coach who has forgotten more about footy than most will ever know, and a set of budding stars ready to break out. I’m not saying they’ll win the flag, but I do think they’ll be in the final four come the latter half of September.
Brian Taylor is this generation’s Rex Hunt. Equally despised as he is adored, his quirky and sometimes over-the-top style of commentary may not be to everyone’s taste, but it adds a much needed flair to an otherwise vanilla commentary team.
For a fisherman, Rexy was a great football caller. He was an icon of the time as it fit the period and it was true that his style was an anomaly. Brian brings a lot of nothing to a broadcast besides asking hypothetical questions and trying to stretch names out like Bruce McAvaney. Perhaps the difference is the unnecessary tangets BT goes on, and te one time he absolutely nailed a moment is when his voice slightly broke on the “Sheed from the boundary” line. I see him as somebody that creates conversation in the box- not somebody that calls the game well. Perhaps he only does night games due to needing a few frothies to make his style tolerable….
Matt Passmore – 10
I’ll agree with this. I enjoyed Rex Hunt’s commentary (except maybe his ‘fat lady’ impersonation, which won’t leave me alone). BT definitely brings excitement, character, and a few interesting perspectives to the game, and most television commentators are pretty drab. Even BT is better on radio. It’s almost as if we don’t need the game called as much when we can see it. Do we need to add some flair to television commentary? I think so. While it can get annoying, it’s the best way to replicate the atmosphere at the ground. The crowd noise helps, but you need a bit of artificial excitement, and he does it well. At least, better than the others who try to add some spice by cheering the team who’s now only 8 goals down with 8 minutes left of what has been a pretty dull match.
Jimmy Day – 4
Please don’t besmirch the great name of Rex Hunt by comparing BT with him. BT hardly knows the day of the week it is, let alone the players on the field. He tries to bring interest – and he’s had a modicum of success (namely on the radio around “Boyd’s kicked a goal!” and you know the rest). Rex wasn’t just great on his own (the Fat Lady, YABBBBLLLLLLEEEEEETTTTTTTTT, and his player nicknames) but he worked well in commentary partnerships – primarily with the late Clinton Grybas. I think Brian sometimes thinks it’s just him/about him. BT is a meme for a lot of people, and not in a good way. Rex is a legend!
Trent Adam Shields – 1
Fundamentally I don’t dislike Brian, and actually think he was a good caller before he transformed himself into the ultimate blokey MMM parody he now is. His incessant and irrelevant outbursts, mixed in amongst bizarre ranting about whether an inconsequential boundary decision was right or wrong diminish from the broadcast significantly. It will be very interesting to see now that Foxtel have negotiated their own broadcasts for all matches this season if the viewers choose to switch – I know I will.
The Doc – 4
God this is hard. I loved listening to Rex and Clinton Grybas on the radio with my old man when I was little. They complemented each other just perfectly. Rex had his little quips and over-enthusiasm of the players with quirky nicknames, and Grybas was an incredible professional with great one-liners. There are some similarities to Rexy when it comes to Brian Taylor in terms of enthusiasm with the game. I get that it is grating on a lot of people on the TV, but on radio, it’s where he shines, it feels like he’s able to be a bit more aware of his surroundings and his little clips to his colleagues on the radio never ceases to get a smile out of me. But having said that, BT is BT and no one will emulate Rex Hunt in our lifetime.
JB Eddy – 5
I think he’s trying a bit too hard to play that role. The emotional commentator adds a lot to the game. I mean, Jesulenko’s mark was great, but the iconic commentary of “JESULENKO, YOU BEAUTY” definitely adds to it. But it was an expression of emotion, not a scripted piece of smartassery. Guys like Sandy Roberts, Denis Cometti and Lou Richards’ off the cuff comments may have been prepped, but they came off as earnest expressions that (usually) added too the game.
He’s like a tequila shot, a fun part of a big night, but too much and you just end up in the foetal position around a toilet saying you’ll never do that again.
HB – 5
I can see both sides, here. When Brian Taylor is calling the game and is invested, he can genuinely add to the broadcast – his excitement is palpable and he seems to genuinely love what he’s doing.
Having said that, I can understand why people are tempted to turn the sound down when he becomes fixated on something trivial and forgets there is a game occurring right in front of him. Overall, I reckon he brings a lot more positivity than negativity to the AFL landscape.
The recent controversy around the MCG requiring an entire surface overhaul in the wake of Ed Sheeran’s record breaking concert series only weeks before the AFL season starting is not quite the contemporary phenomenon that it’s being made out to be, with the famous venue playing host to many large acts in recent years such as Guns ‘N Roses, Eminem, Bon Jovi, Sound Relief, Elton John and The Rolling Stones all in the months leading up to the commencement of the home and away season.
Why is it always the redheads that cause the trouble..
Yeah, play on- nothing to see here
Matt Passmore – 3
I don’t think this is much of a story. The MCG people know what they’re doing and will have had a plan. I did read they didn’t expect that much damage, and most of it was caused by the pack-down crew- but it’s hardly a story. Worst-case scenario, they shift a few games to Marvel and the season moves on. We’ll have forgotten by week 3.
Jimmy Day – 8
Spot on. Ed Sheeran wasn’t the first concert on the hallowed turf and won’t be the last. I expect the turf will be good to go come the first bounce of the season opener. This whole thought process is just a sensationalist media grab because they can.
Trent Adam Shields – 9
I expect this was another expertly planted AFL adjacent news story seeded by those inside the walls at Marvel stadium to crossover from the off-season quiet into the teeny bopper crowd who are like moths to the flame of the English goblin.
The Doc – 9
Why is this a news story? Sure, there has been issues at Marvel Stadium in the past about concerts affecting the turf, but I can’t recall a time where the MCG has had issues in producing quality surfaces following big concerts.
JB Eddy – 8
It should be a requirement that anyone busting up the G has to perform at half time. GnR rocking the G at the Granny? Let’s go!
HB – 4
Non story until someone has the turf move under their feet when they change direction and pop goes a knee.
As a knee injury veteran, you’d want to hope the surface is settled enough to handle what’s to come. But I’m not sure it will be. Maybe the AFL need to book the place and pay a retainer for the month before the season starts?
The internal scenery has changed sufficiently enough at Essendon over the past three seasons, justifying Paddy Ryder’s return to the club as Indigenous Player Development Manager since making the comment “… I just didn’t get a really good feeling from going back there.” When ultimately selecting the Saints as his club of choice upon departure of Port Adelaide for the 2020 season, after requesting a trade from Essendon in 2014 during the fallout of the infamous supplements scandal.
Can’t say I know what the “inner sanctum” is like currently, all I can say is that it must have as Paddy has made his choice. They have been equally quiet on field as they have off field, so perhaps the adage “no news is good news” rings true in this case…
Matt Passmore – 4
Essendon to me always comes across as the person who holds on to former glories, and is difficult to convince they still have much to learn. Does Paddy Ryder coming back show that things have changed? or does it show they’ve convinced him that things have changed? and come with a pretty decent pay-check to help? Or does he hope he can be the change that Essendon needs? I am not quick to use one decision as a signifier for much. There’s too many questions still remaining.
Jimmy Day – 3
If by internal scenery you aren’t including the trophy cabinet or finals appearances … then you’d be wrong thinking there’s any change. The club is still a basket case run by the same few. We’ve seen the off field issues this past summer and there are question marks over the leadership and culture. Perhaps Ryder sees the potential under Brad Scott. On the surface, this seems like a monetary decision, but we aren’t inside the four walls. For Ryder’s sake, I hope he has chosen correctly.
Trent Adam Shields – 2
From outside the inner sanctum it appears a very odd appointment, not disputing Ryder’s credentials for this role in any shape or form, but the club hardly seems to have addressed its woeful decision making in the past two decades. Are they morphing into St Kilda-lite?
The Doc – 5
I don’t have an issue with the appointment itself, Paddy Ryder will go down as one of the better indigenous players this century and he’ll be handing down wealth and knowledge to the Davey twins, McDonald-Tipungwuti and Anthony Munkara who’s on their rookie list. What I am trying to wrap my head around is the comment. Perhaps there was internal feelings about the drugs scandal still, and that’s understandable – there was a big sense of trust broken. What is the internal scenery at Essendon? Last year before Rutten was sacked it was the same sort of mediocrity that Bombers fans have been subjected to over the years. Perhaps the appointment of Brad Scott as coach has provided a breath of fresh air and a good direction for the club and that means a new dawning at Tullamarine.
JB Eddy – 3
It doesn’t seem like it’s changed all that much from the outside. That doesn’t mean it’s doomed to failure though, they have some great talent. It just seems like there’s not a lot of off-field cohesion. Brad Scott will be pushing for one voice, one message. If he’s allowed to do that, Essendon may break their streak. If they look like a top 8 side around round 15 though, you may see a lot of people wanting to take credit and have some face time with the playing group to take the bows. That’s when things will go pear-shaped.
It’ll be interesting.
HB – 2
A nice job, familiar surroundings, not so many other options available… amazing how quickly those charred and scorched bridges are mended, huh?
Alastair Clarkson’s recent threatening comments and subsequent apology to a female journalist certainly isn’t the first time the four-time premiership coach has been held accountable for an attack on the media, and I would comfortably wager that it will not be his last, given that he is now tasked with coaching a bottom-of-the-table side that already faces more than its share of media scrutiny throughout the season.
Will definitely be some upcoming outbursts with trying to turn around the fortunes of the Kangaroos, but I believe that people will be somewhat tolerant as they can see a clear direction with a rebuild. So long as everybody has their ice baths I’m sure Clarko will be a little more reserved.
Matt Passmore – 8
Clarkson is a very good coach, but he seems to have issues with his temper and is quick to anger. Absolutely he’ll explode again this year, probably pretty regularly. You’d just hope that this is how he deals with the media and he treats his players with more respect, because the old days of a coach berating their players to get better… Well, it might work for some, but it’s definitely not a strategy that inspires confidence in many- especially in a developing team. The level of scrutiny will depend largely on the amount of games North win in the next couple of years.
Jimmy Day – 10
He’s always been abrupt and brash and sometimes, I wonder if he thinks he’s above the scrutiny. If some players had the track record he does, the media would want him stood down. He’s an incredible coach, and while I understand sometimes that means being on the edge and sometimes going a bit too far, threatening a journo – especially a female – is beyond just an apology. He has form, and it’ll be interesting to see how Sonja Hood and the like navigate having Clarko at the helm as it is, as Thanos described himself, inevitable that something happens again because of Clarko’s anger/aggression.
Trent Adam Shields – 7
It’s hard not to vehemently agree with that one, and no doubt he’s made an egregious mistake with his outburst. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt (of which there is plenty) that he will reflect on this and endeavour to just concentrate on the very tough task at hand. The other side of the coin is that he ruthlessly seeks success for his players and teams, often at the expense of anyone in their way. It has been proven to work, but at what long term cost?
The Doc – 10
One hundred and ten percent, you can count on Clarko getting fired up over something else during the season. There’s no questioning his accolades as a coach over the years has him down as one of the greats this century at least. But as we have seen with Luke Beveridge last year with Tom Morris, Clarko can get a bit over-protective with his team or perhaps a bit too passionate that he gives the plaster at the MCG coaches box an extremely powerful high-five. I can already sense that him and Sonja Hood have butted heads on a few things since the whole journalist debacle and that will continue on throughout this season and beyond.
JB Eddy – 10
In Clarko’s defence (and as an admitted North member) he thought the journo was going in on Thomas too much. If what’s been reported about Thomas is true, it can be argued that he deserves it, but Clarko’s job isn’t to try the issue, it’s to look after the playing group.
However, even if Thomas never takes the field again, there will definitely be more scrutiny on individual players in the squad. Clarkson will certainly come out strongly in defence of the players again and again, because it works. People will talk about his attitude and not the player’s actions.
Is it right? Probably not. But it’s the sort of shielding that some of North’s younger players will need in the coming seasons, and it’ll promote loyalty.
But the media and public will keep biting, so it’ll keep happening.
HB – 10
And good on him for firing back at the media. They’ve taken pot shots at him for months and then, when they start questioning one of his players – a player he feels he is charged to protect – everyone is up in arms and on his case?
Screw that. The media talk about holding Clarkson accountable – that’s fine. Who holds them accountable?
I hope he pays out on them all year, all next year, and keeps paying out on them as North start to achieve success.