Tag Archives: fremantle-dockers

Weekend musing covers the AFL’s final round and the Dustin Martin saga

This weeks final round of football is an absolute cracker with every game having some influence on the final standings. In the Herald Sun they have equated this round to the final round of 1987 where several games impacted the make up of the finals. As an Essendon supporter I am happy that my team has control of its own destiny. The Bombers should account for Fremantle at home, but having seen my side cough up a 27 point lead against Brisbane at home you never can be sure. It also may be Jobe Watson’s last game in the red and black. He certianly got the most out of himself and it still riles me that he returned his Brownlow medal.

The Dustin Martin saga seems to be dragging on and it seems more likely that he will leave the Tigers. I know he is an important player and this year’s likely Brownlow medalist, however, if the reported offer from North Melbourne is $1.5m a year for 7 years the Tigers should not attempt to match it as it would jeopardise future contracts and their payment structure. I do not think he is worth anything like that sort of money as he doesn’t provide any sort of marketing clout save for his position as a star player. I also do not think that most Richmond supporters would want their club to go too far to keep him. Martin needs the money and I have no doubt he will go to the highest bidder. He is not a media performer and he is not coaching material, so he has to make hay while he is playing. If North Melbourne do get him there is no guarantee that he will be the panacea for their woes in any case. Paying a player that amount of money will no doubt cause a ripple affect amongst the other players as Tom Boyd’s contract apparently did at the Bulldogs. This guy is no Paddy Dangerfield.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL captaincy issues, Grant Hackett……

Chris Barwin HillsI was a little surprised by a couple of the AFL captaincy announcements during the week. Interesting that Nat Fyffe has taken over from David Mundy after he had only one year in the role at Fremantle. The other was Jack Viney joining Nathan Jones as a fyffe
co-captain at Melbourne. By all reports at Fremantle, Fyffe is not the most popular of players, but in a year when he comes off contract he is made captain. I know Freo had a bad year last year, however, nothing filtered through about Mundy’s captaincy, so to be replaced after a year is a big surprise to me. A slightly different story at Melbourne where Nathan Jones was not replaced, but was joined by Viney, which also comes as some shock. For some time before being made captain, Jones was considered the leader at the club and having skippered Melbourne to a promising season last year, he has been effectively demoted. Seems like a bit of a slap in the face for Nathan Jones.

Very sad to read about the continued spiral out of control by Grant Hackett. I remember an interview with him when he was on the way up, but still had not won anything of note and he was a very hackettimpressive individual who seemed to have his head screwed on right. He went on to have a stellar career and looked to have the world at his feet. Tim Watson spoke of his initial meeting with him at Channel 7 and said he had not met anyone as impressive as Hackett. It goes to show that sportsmen without the sport are vulnerable, even those that appear to do all the right things. It also shows that substance abuse doesn’t play favourites and can ruin anyone’s life. I hope for his sake and that of his family that he gets through it.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Boomer Harvey, Sheahan v Jacko, Bomber – the book……..

Chris Barwin HillsThis week in the AFL we have a number of milestone games. The most prominent is Brent Harvey who breaks Michael Tuck’s games record of 426. Not trying to take anything away from Harvey, but it has to be remembered that Tuck also played around 100 reservesboomer games and was ultimately forced into retirement by Hawthorn. Based on his on-field persona, I didn’t have much time for him in the past but having heard him on the radio this year I have moderated my views and he seems like a thoroughly decent human being. The second in line is pavMatthew Pavlich bringing up his 350th game for Fremantle which in some ways may be a more significant milestone than Harvey’s. Putting Pavlich’s longevity into perspective, he has played 60 mores games than Dean Cox (290), the nearest Western Australian based player since the start of the national competition. In reality, that is at least three more seasons of football. Remarkable! Then we have the Geelong pair of Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel, with the Geelong games record and 300 games respectively. I think it is not only a testament to the dedication of these players, but also a testament to the advancement in sports science that allows players to play for much longer at the highest level.

I didn’t watch the Mike Sheahan interview with Mark Jackson the other night, but I did read and hear exerpts from it and I must agreesheahan with Tim Watson who described it as a bit of self promotion for Jackson. Jackson makes his money on the speaking circuit in Australia and perhaps his engagements had been dwindling and he needed to ramp up his exposure, but what a performance! I have been critical of a number of football journalists this year who have conducted their own level of self promotion, but I do not jackothink that Mike Sheahan falls into that category and he did not deserve the tirade directed at him. Mike Sheahan was an old fashioned journalist who checked his facts and didn’t go off on flights of fancy visited by the likes of Caroline Wilson, Mark Robinson and Damien Barrett.

I went to the book launch by Mark “Bomber” Thompson last night in Geelong and he had some interesting things to say. He didn’t want bomberto make it all about Essendon and the supplements saga, but he did appear to place a lot of the blame with the Paul Hamilton who was the football manager at the time. He wouldn’t come out and say who his favourite Geelong player was, but it was pretty clear that Matthew Scarlett was right up there. Maybe that is linked to Scarlett growing up an Essendon supporter! However, he did have a few disparaging things to say about Essendon as has been reported in the media. I don’t know if I am all that happy with that as those things should be kept in house. Maybe I’ll read the book.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Essendon FC and the #1 draft pick, US Open, Jason Day

Chris Barwin HillsThere has been heated discussion over recent weeks as to whether Essendon should get the number one draft pick should they finish on the bottom of the ladder. Speaking from a purely one eyed position, surely if they finish last they get the number one pick. Hasn’t the Unknownteam been punished enough? three years of investigations combined with the most severe penalties ever dished out to a club….and all this when the Tribunal could not establish clearly that banned substances had been administered. Personally, I would prefer they didn’t justify the number one pick as the club has not won the wooden spoon since 1933 which is well before I was born, so in my life time I have not experienced the ignominy of finishing last. In 1933 there was only twelve teams, so they would be finishing six places lower this time!

I also noted with interest the comments from Mark Thompson during the week regarding the Essendon style of play. Bomber is watsonpart of the media and certainly entitled to his opinion, but I must say apart from the last two weeks I think their progress has been quite good. Even in the big loss to Fremantle, the Bombers won the last quarter. The loss to Hawthorn was certainly on the cards and I picked the Hawks to win by 100pts so I was not far off. One thing I will say about Mark Thompson’s comments is that they weren’t vindictive like Mick Malthouse’s continued comments about Collingwood. I think Bomber’s comments at least showed that he still cared.

OK, Essendon rant over for now.

The US Open is on at the fearsome Oakmont course. I was surprised to hear that Jason Day is feeling weighed down by the number one 1363998228672tag. That is unfortunate as surely that is what every sportsman strives for. His form has certainly dropped off since getting to the number one spot. I can’t get excited about the Aussie contingent this time around. Adam Scott is talking a good talk but his confidence seems to be lacking. I think the most likely winner is the home grown Jordan Spieth.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Muhammad Ali, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Tom Hawkins…..

Chris Barwin HillsThe biggest sports story this week was the passing of Muhammad Ali. Ali was a sporting icon and was voted in one publication as the athlete of the 20th century. He had not fought for 35 years and yet alimy 14 and 22 year old sons knew who he was, I think everyone knew who he was because he was not only a sporting icon, but also a champion of human rights. Ali was a wonderful promoter of the sport of boxing, but also with his 30 year battle with Parkinson’s Disease was also a testament to the dangers of boxing. When I was growing up boxing was a prominent global sport, however, the sport has now lost its way and unfortunately now lost its reatest son.

I read with interest during the week about the likely transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United and Jamie Vardy to Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring for Paris Saint Germain against St Etienne.Arsenal. My feelings here were quite mixed. I thought it would be great to see Ibrahimovic in the EPL even if it is in the twilight of his career as he is still one of the best strikers in the world. However, going to Manchester United gives me no joy at all. With Vardy, I am happy he is considering a move to Arsenal, but equally I would like to see him stick with Leicester City to continue that Cinderella story.

Like most AFL fans I was a little shocked to see Tom Hawkins cop a suspension for his hit on Phil Davis. Yes he hit him in the head, but the degree of force was so minor that Davis threw his head back  tommore in surprise than due to the impact of the strike. If this is the standard of impact that is required for a report why wasn’t Matthew Pavlich reported for slapping Patrick Ambrose in the face on Saturday night! My guess is that Hawkins was carrying an injury and probably needed a week off otherwise they would have challenged the report.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – NAB Rising Star, Christian Petracca, AFL’s ‘rule of the week’, van Gaal out at United……

Chris Barwin HillsThis week sees Melbourne’s Christian Petracca get the Club’s third Rising Star nomination in the first nine rounds which is a great achievement. However, they still have a long way to go to emulate the Greater Western Sydney Giants who had eight nominations during the 2012 season. Putting aside the Giants who were given a leg up by the AFL in this regard with Draft concessions, the next best was five by Essendon in 1993 (a premiership year) and Fremantle in 1996. Then there are eight teams who have had four nominations. petraccaOf those, only Port Adelaide in 1997 and West Coast in 2004 converted their advantage into a premiership and in Port Adelaide’s case it took a further years! Fitzroy had four nominations in 1994 and were out of the competition two years later and Brisbane had four in 2005, the year after their last Grand Final appearance. So having good young talent is not the guaranteed formula for success, but it certainly doesn’t hurt and the Dees had two nominations and the winner last year so they are assembling a good batch of youngsters. It will be interesting to see if they can get any more nominees. I have heard there are some wraps on Sam Weideman so there is a chance they can get to four or maybe more. That being said, the GWS record looks safe for now.

There has been a lot of discussion in AFL circles this week about “rule of the week”. Last week the discussion centred around the deliberate behind with two examples being Lee Spurr from Fremantle and Pierce Hanley from Brisbane. Quite frankly I think both of those should have been penalised even without a “rule of the behindweek” crackdown. Both players had alternatives to rushing a behind and chose to go with the behind and copped the penalty. Neither infringement cost their side the game. If I was to nominate a rule which I think should be tightened up it is incorrect disposal. Once you take possession there are only two ways of disposing of the ball, that is by way of a kick or a handball. Watching the game between Hawthorn and Sydney last week, I noticed that Hawthorn have added a third means of disposing of the ball. Just about every time a Hawthorn player was tackled the ball spilled from the tackle and there was no penalty and no reward for the tackle. Come on AFL tidy this one up please.

As predicted in this column several weeks ago, winning the FA Cup wasn’t enough to save  Manchester United’s coach Louis van Gaal.louis Just a few days after the FA Cup triumph, van Gaal was dumped in favour of Jose Mourinho. There is no doubt the Club has struggled since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. He managed United from 1986 until 2013 bringing plenty of trophies and stability. Since then Mourinho is the third manager in three years. The Club seems to have lost its way and I don’t know that Mourinho is the one to get it back on track. We will see.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Fremantle Dockers demise, A-League finals fixturing & Alex Rance

Chris Barwin HillsThis time last year the Fremantle Football Club were the only undefeated team in the AFL, this year they are the only team not to win a game. What has happened? One of the reasons is personnel, they are an aging list and some of their key players are injured, but thefyffe main issue looks to be a change of game plan. It would seem they are trying to play more in the Hawthorn style, but unfortunately they don’t have the skill to execute that type of play. Their negative, lock down style of play got them to a Grand Final and save for a bout of stage fright and poor umpiring, they could easily have won that game, why change? I think they should revert to the style of football that made them successful. It may not be pretty, but it worked.

I have also got to have a say about the scheduling in the A-League. Melbourne City were scheduled to play after a five day break and while the best team on the night won the match, the fatigue factor Melb citycertainly influenced the margin. Then you had Brisbane who had played on the previous Friday playing on the Sunday. Why didn’t Brisbane play on the Friday and Melbourne on the Sunday which would have been the fairest outcome. To compound the issue, the grand finalists have also been mismatched by the schedule with Adelaide playing at home on an eight day break playing the Wanderers on a six day break. At least in the AFL each side gets a seven day break leading into the final match of the season. How do you take a competition seriously with scheduling like that for a marquee game? By the way, I don’t care who wins this final.

I know that a lot of other people have commented on Mick Malthouse’s comment that Alex Rance should have been let off by the AFL Match Review Panel on the basis of his good character, but IUnknown-2 could not let it pass without comment. What Rance did may have been out of character, however, he still did it and it was intentional. To excuse someone in that situation would be a total miscarriage of justice. Did it deserve 2 weeks? Maybe one would have been sufficient on the basis of impact/injury, but a suspension was definitely required. Good character may lead to a reduced sentence, but guilt is guilt.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Sportsmen and alcohol, drawn AFL Grand Finals

Chris Barwin HillsI was thinking about Grant Hackett this week and how he now joins a burgeoning list of sportsmen who should refrain from drinking. I understand the incident itself may have been blown out of hackettproportion and has been sensationalised as seems to happen these days to sell papers. Hackett is in good company with the likes of Brendan Fevola, Robert Allenby, David Warner, Mitchell Pearce and any number of rugby league and union players. Most of these people are reasonable types who just don’t seem to be able to handle their grog. There is no doubt they should find other ways to relax!

I must say I think the move to drop the AFL Grand Final replay in the event of a draw was the correct decision. It may have been OK in the old VFL days when teams were all situated in Victoria but now with the national competition, imagine if Brisbane were playing Fremantle drawin the Grand Final and they had to come back the following week. It would be just too difficult. In addition, it would be unfair if a Melbourne based team were playing an interstate team.

What I do not agree with is the pundits who suggest the same should apply to a draw in the regular season games. A draw is an unusual outcome and I agree it does leave everyone a bit flat, but it is a arsenallegitimate result and history does not need to be changed just because some want a winner and a loser at the end of each game. Soccer is the most popular football game in the world and a draw is a common occurrence. Imagine if the same ‘sensibility’ applied to that game?

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, Sheffield Shield, Peter Moody, Jason Day

Chris Barwin HillsWell Easter must be one of the most diverse periods for sport in Australia, we had the start of the AFL season, the Stawell Gift, the bellsBells Beach Surfing Classic, the Sheffield Shield Final and some big horse races from Sydney. We also had soccer World Cup qualifiers either side of Easter.

It was great to have the football back despite Essendon not having much to look forward to. The debut of Patrick Dangerfield for Geelong was clearly the difference that got them over Hawthorn and Dangerfieldif he had of kicked straight they would have won by more. Collingwood and Fremantle were very disappointing, but I think both sides will perform a lot better this week. The Bombers first half was probably as expected, but their second half was a bit better. Given the number of new players due to the supplement scandal outcome it might take a while for the team to gel, but the wooden spoon still is theirs for the taking!

Also great to see Victoria win the Sheffield Shield away from home. A couple of weeks ago I was going to comment about the demise of Cameron White as a cricketer and while he has not put himself backsheffield in the frame for Australian selection, he has redeemed himself. When he lead Victoria to the Shield win just after David Hookes died I thought he was a future Australian Test Captain and while he did play a couple of test matches, he was mainly a ODI and 20/20 player, but his star had dimmed in recent times to the point where he missed selection for Victoria.

I was sad to see Peter Moody retire from racing and he has now sold moodyoff all his gear to resist the temptation to return to the sport, but I think, once his suspension is over, he will come back and establish a smaller boutique stable just to keep his hand in. It is very hard for real horsemen to simply walk away from the sport it is too ingrained in their DNA.

Also good to see Jason Day back to the world number 1 position in golf and I just hope he maintains his form going into the Masters.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Moto GP, AFL Trade period

Chris Barwin HillsI am not a big motor sport fan, however, I started listening to last weeks MotoGP from Phillip Island when I was walking the dog and when I got home I sat down and watched the final six laps of the race. What a fascinating race with many exciting overtaking manoeuvres grand prix
with the top four riders duelling throughout and Marc Marquez taking over in the last lap to win. At one stage with a couple of laps to go he had been shuffled back to fourth. I don’t think I will suddenly become a motor sport fan on the back of that race, but it was certainly very exciting. Maybe if Formula 1 could replicate the same excitement it would improve in popularity, particularly at the moment Mercedes dominating.

Well the AFL trade period is finally over with plenty of trades going through, even players like James Aish who Brisbane said they wouldn’t trade getting where he wanted to go. One trade that didn’t go through was Cam McCarthy from GWS to Fremantle. One thing I mccarthydidn’t realise until last night was that McCarthy was only one year into a four year deal. I can understand players wanting a trade with a year to run on a contract, but three years? Why sign a long term contract and then ask for a trade in the first year, it doesn’t make sense. I think in reality, he hadn’t done much until this year so his manager got him a long term deal, he then has a good year and he suddenly has some currency. I certainly don’t blame the Giants for not doing the trade.

Have a great weekend!