Tag Archives: melbournefc

Weekend musing – Drew Morphett, Nathan Buckley, All Australian team, Chris Scott, Ange Postecoglou

One of things I want to discuss is the tragic passing of Drew Morphett. Drew was one of those classic ABC commentators who was comfortable commentating on anything from football to athletics to tiddlywinks. He was always interested in presenting the picture to the audience and not pumping up his own tyres. In a pretty cut-throat industry I think he was universally liked by his peers. He will be missed.

I was also pleased that Nathan Buckley was reappointed as Collingwood coach for another two years as this will consign Collingwood to another two years out of the finals. It has to be good for the competition.

It was interesting to see that three of the banned Essendon players made the All Australian team with Hurley the only player to have made the team previously. Unfortunately for Essendon, Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide) and Michael Hibberd (Melbourne) no longer play for the club. What it does show is that a year out of the game is not fatal for a player in his 20’s, but perhaps once you get to thirty it is not a positive experience.

Chris Scott took Geelong into another finals series last night and his fellow coaches recently voted him as the hardest coach to coach against. He certainly has had a lot of success since taking over from Bomber Thompson, however, his finals record needs some scrutiny. Since the 2011 finals series where Geelong won three games, including the premiership, but with the loss to Richmond, he has now contested a further nine finals for only two wins and one of those wins was over Hawthorn last year when Isaac Smith had a shot after the siren that could have taken the game away from Geelong. I think a few questions need to be posed as to Scott’s finals coaching record.

Speaking of coaches I cannot believe that Ange Postecoglou has come under so much pressure recently. He got the Socceroos an Asian Cup and in the current qualifiers the Socceroos have only lost one game. They do have an issue with scoring, but I put that down to personnel, not system. His system creates scoring chances, but we don’t seem to have the quality of strikers to put the goals away and this was no more evident that the recent game against Thailand. I think Tommy Juric is a good developing striker in the Mark Viduka mould, but we need a Harry Kewell or Tim Cahill at his best to compliment Juric. This is not Postecoglou’s fault, he has tried to develop players, but Australia just does not have genuine strikers playing at the highest level. Let the World Cup campaign pan out and reassess at the end.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – A- League Final, Collingwood’s good recovery after playing Anzac Day game…

The A-League grand final is on this Sunday with Sydney FC the clear favourite going up against Melbourne Victory. Sydney have only lost one game this season and has beaten Victory on three occasions, but the pressure is on Sydney as they are expected to win. The Victory have nothing to lose and an early goal could cause panic in the Sydney ranks. The Victory certainly have the talent to win the game and as with most cases involving the world game, they just need to take their chances. I am going to go out on a limb and pick the Victory to win 2-0.

Whatever the Collingwood fitness staff have at their disposal the other teams should be trying to emulate it. Back in 2010 they backed up for the grand final replay in a lot better shape than St Kilda and last Sunday they did it again with a five day break after the Anzac Day game. Essendon were clearly off their game on Sunday against Melbourne who had a similar break, whereas Collingwood faced Geelong who had two clear days break on them and yet Collingwood finished strongly and won the game easily in the end.

Just on the Melbourne/Essendon game, the Bombers finally got to play the Demons at Etihad instead of the MCG, however, the Demons had already played twice at the venue this year and it was the Bombers first appearance there so any perceived advantage was lost. he first half was one of the worst halves of football I have seen from both teams. Melbourne were a lot cleaner in the second half and deserved the win.

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 – droughts broken in AFL and NRL, Winx steps out…..

Sfan OB6Well what a great AFL Grand Final and a result that is good for football. With the Doggies breaking their 62 year premiership drought, it brings to 4 the number of significant droughts broken in the last 15 years. First you had Brisbane/Fitzroy breaking a 47 year drought in 2001, then Sydney/Sth Melbourne breaking a 72 year drought in 2005 and Geelong breaking a 44 year drought in 2007. This now leaves Melbourne (1964) & St Kilda (1966) as the two established clubs with the longest droughts and with both sides having encouraging years this year, who knows we may see another drought broken shortly.

I must say that Luke Beveridge handing over his medal to Bob Murphy was a wonderful gesture, but equally Murphy giving it back was the right thing to do. Without trying to kill Bambi, I am getting a bit tired of the love for Bob Murphy. Yes he is the captain and spiritual leader of the Doggies, but he is not the only player that has missed out on a premiership due to injury or suspension. I have always felt sorry for the recently deceased Neville Crowe who was captain of Richmond in 1967 when John Nicholls feigned being struck and Crowe missed the 1967 premiership as a result. That was also a drought breaking premiership win for the Tigers (24 years).

In the NRL we also saw the Cronulla Sharks win their first premiership since they entered the competition 50 years ago. I obviously wanted the Storm to win, but again it is hard to begrudge a club a drought breaking premiership.

The attention of the sporting public now turns to horse racing and the Spring Carnival. The Melbourne public see Winx for the first time since the Cox Plate last year. She is in a three horse field and sometimes these races can provide an upset because they can become a “sit and sprint”. If that is the case it may favour Black Heart Bart who is clearly the best sprinter of the three acceptors.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, All Australian team, 2017 improvers…….

Sfan OB6It must be a first for any form of football in Australia with AFL finals to take place in four different states next week. This shows it is truly tarranta national competition and the four finals spread over three days should be a great spectacle. While the bye may be frustrating for some it did allow flexibility with the scheduling of the last round and the finals so from a broadcasters point of view it is likely to be a success even if the coaches don’t like it.

The All-Australian team was announced last night and I thought there were a few surprises with Robbie Tarrant missing out andenright Corey Enright making the team, but the biggest surprise was eight teams missing out on a representative in the team. This must be a record and it is hard to believe that North Melbourne and St Kilda both winning twelve games did not have a player worthy of being a representative.

Next year it is anticipated that St Kilda, Melbourne, Collingwood and Essendon are the likely teams to improve, but at this stage only North Melbourne looks like sliding, so perhaps we are in for a very even season, just as it has been for the top seven teams this year. It makes for an exciting competition.

Now that the Bombers season is over I can say that having approached their season with very low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. While the results were heavily skewed in tipungwutifavour of the losses, most games seemed to reveal some positives for the team. For an example you don’t need to look further than Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. Other players have progressed, like Zach Merrett who I think was unlucky to miss out on the All Australian squad. I doubt the Bombers are under any illusions about next year. It will take time to integrate the banned players back in to the team and a season of 10-11 wins would be a huge step forward.

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 – AFL, Adam Goodes, cricket, Mitchell Johnson……

Chris Barwin HillsI ventured along to the MCG last Friday night to see the Real Madrid v Manchester City game and it was mazing to be part of a crowd of 99,000+ people. I enjoyed the game for the first 60-65 minutes, but with Real controlling the game each side took off their best players and it petered out towards the end. Having said that it was great to see the skill of Cristiano Ronaldo and to see him get a goal on the MCG. It also is a reminder of what a great sporting stadium the MCG is. I have witnessed the World Cup cricket final, game 2 of the NRL UnknownState of Origin series and now the soccer in front of 90,000+ crowds. I missed the Anzac day game this year in front of 88,000+ and the biggest AFL game I have witnessed this year was the Dreamtime game before 83,000+. This year the ground has hosted four different sporting codes with crowds exceeding 88,000 and when you factor in the AFL Grand Final it will means the average will be lifted over 90,000+. We are truly blessed to have this magnificent stadium to showcase all these different sports.

Last night at that great ground we had the Richmond v Hawthorn game and I was expecting a good game. I wasn’t disappointed! Richmond displayed an ability to retain the ball which put pressure on Hawthorn and this was instrumental in the Tigers’ win.

This brings me to something I have been mulling over the last couple of weeks. When St Kilda belted Essendon a month ago I thought it may be detrimental to St Kilda as it may have given them an unrealistic appreciation of their ability. The next week they lost a winnable game against GWS and the following week only just lost to Richmond after the Tigers led by 9 goals at 3/4 time. I think for sides on the way up like St Kilda, it would have been better to have beaten mcgEssendon by 5-6 goals than to win by 18 goals because the youngsters understand they need to work hard every week to get the result. Conversely, you get a top side like Hawthorn give a fellow top eight side in Sydney a belting, then they come out the following week against Carlton and win by even more. The theory is, a big win by a good side against another good side franks their form, a big win by a lower side against another lower side is not a great guide to form. St Kilda’s grittier win last week against Melbourne will be better for them going in as underdogs this week against Port in Adelaide.

The Adam Goodes story just won’t go away and I won’t go over the Adam-Coodesissues that I raised earlier in the season, but I thought two articles in the Herald Sun on Thursday were worth some thought. The paper printed a poll of 50,000 people where 80% said the booing wasn’t
racist. There is no doubt a percentage of the booing is racially motivated and the rest is part of a mob element where people follow on like sheep. What we do know is Adam feels it is racially motivated and so it doesn’t really matter what the poll finds or what other people think.

The other article wasn’t even about Goodes, but about Mitchell Johnson and how the Barmy Army got stuck into him in 2009 and Unknownjust about destroyed his career. It is an indication on how barracking can destroy the confidence of some players where race is not even an issue. Crowds now know that Goodes is affected by the booing so it is hard to see it being totally eradicated unless both captains agree to stop the game until the booing ceases. I have expressed my views previously about Adam Goodes on field persona, but it would be a real shame if he was forced into retirement because of the booing, just as it would have been if Mitchell Johnson pulled the pin after the 2009 Ashes series.

Have a great weekend!

One AFL draft that doesn’t make headlines

Feb 20 2011 006If you missed the fact that the AFL held its women’s draft last night, it’s not surprising. A Google search of the event brings up links to the AFL, Melbourne FC, Western Bulldogs FC and Canberra Times websites. That the two matches in 2015 are between the Dees and the Bulldogs means it is not surprising that the AFL and the two teams are talking the event up.

What is also not surprising is the total lack of coverage from all major media outlets representing television, radio and print. That images-1 one of the biggest events in women’s football garners no interest is a sad reflection on the media.

It is not surprising as research shows coverage of women’s sport in the media ranges between 4%-7% (depending on the particular study referred to). Given the paucity of media interest, it naturally follows that commercial investment in women’s sport is a miniscule 0.4%.

g4That is a totally unacceptable result in today’s world.

It is up to major organisations, such as the AFL, to lead the community and demand more coverage for women in sport. Only then may the imbalance be corrected.

AFL needs to re-think ‘illicit’ drugs policy

meIt is about time that the AFL amended its illicit drugs policy.

Sportzfan Radio has been calling for this for a considerable period of time. This week Melbourne Football Club coach, Paul Roos and Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley have added their voices to this imagescall. Buckley went as far as to say ‘if it’s a battle, we’re not winning it’ and wanted players to be held accountable for their behaviour.

The drugs policy indicates that the AFL does not condone the use of illicit substances and aims to identify AFL players who have substance abuse issues and place the necessary support around them to protect their health and wellbeing with a focus on education of the player. The policy includes a ‘three strikes’ component that means a player’s identity does not become public knowledge until he has been detected three times with illicit substances in his body.

First off let’s look at the word ‘illicit’. It means ‘forbidden by law, rules or customs’. In other words the policy can be described as the AFL’s illegal drug policy.

Interestingly, the AFL Player Code of Conduct that is incorporated into the standard AFL playing contract, is intended to ‘educate players on the importance of maintaining appropriate standards….’ Unknown-3and requires them to conduct themselves in a manner so as not to bring the game of Australian Rules into disrepute. The Code also indicates that AFL players must refrain from taking illicit and/or performance enhancing substances.

There are provisions in the Code that allow Clubs to penalise players where there has been a serious breach of the Code and, in cases of wilful misconduct, termination of the playing contract is open to the Club. I would argue that taking illegal drugs is a serious breach of the Code.

The problem with the current illicit drugs policy is that when a player is detected, he has already breached his playing contract with the Club. However, the Club is unaware of this until the third strike and is powerless to take any action it may deem appropriate. It is arguable that after a first strike and certainly after a second, the Unknownplayer comes within the ‘wilful misconduct’ provisions and could have his playing contract terminated. Without that knowledge of course, the Club is unable to act notwithstanding the player is engaged in illegal conduct.

Paul Roos’ analogy of ignoring motor car theft three times before taking action hopefully focusses those at AFL headquarters and the AFLPA on the problem of the current illicit drugs policy.

Time for a rethink!

Round one should be compulsory for all fans!

Feb 27 2011 016My mother believed any footy fan should always go to their team’s first game of the season, even if they missed all the others for the year. She reasoned that round one was the only time where hope and expectation collided.

Melbourne80sAs a long suffering Melbourne supporter, I have over the last ten or so years realised just how right my mother was. 2006 was the last occasion on which the Dees made the final eight (even beating St Kilda in an elimination final). As of 2007, after round one, all hope for Demon supporters is pretty much gone and expectations have been for a cold and long football season.

I don’t know how Melbourne will fare in 2015. I hope they improve and that Paul Roos has moulded a team that can be defensive as well as having attacking flair. Expectation is that the new signings will add some class and ability to the team.

Whatever may happen during the game, there is one thing certainmelbournefc and that is before the first bounce of the ball I will be filled with hope and expectation of good things to come. I am sure all sports fans have similar feelings on the opening day of the season.

It certainly is the one game of the season a fan shouldn’t miss!