Tag Archives: melbournefc

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!

Friday musing – Melbourne Cup, cricket, AFL…

I was disappointed to hear how Australia had fared in the cricket in Abu Dhabi overnight and it rekindled a gripe I have about Test cricket, particularly games against India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka. A test wicket should offer assistance to the quicks in the first session at least and provide a good contest between bat and ball. Australia has the most dangerous fast bowler in the world at the moment in MitchChris Barwin Hillsell Johnson and he gets his first and only wicket in the second session with the only wicket in the first session going to Lyon the spinner. If the ICC wants to promote Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game they have to have the fortitude to demand pitches which provide a proper contest. Having said that Younis Khan has to be congratulated for his three successive centuries which is a formidable feat no matter how good the wickets have been for batsmen. Speaking of batsmen, Australia’s performance in the 1st test was quite lamentable with only Warner & Johnson able to hold their heads up.

It was an amazing performance by Adelaide in the Cox plate last week, languishing at the back of the filed he made one of the longest sustained runs I have ever seen in the time honoured race. He was helped by the banked turns at the Valley and at the turn into the straight looked like he was going to win running away, but the length of his run told in the final stages and Fawkner and the others on his inside pushed him all the way to the line. It was an even more memorable performance when you consider that he is only a 3yo and because of the difference in breeding schedules in Europe he had to carry the weight of a 4yo in the Plate. However, I do wonder why they gave a colt a female name, what next a filly named Sydney?

Moving on to the AFL fixture I note that Essendon are again playing the Demons in a home game at the MCG. The Bombers have hosted Melbourne in at least the last 4 games at the MCG and have lost 3 of them in circumstances where they have started warm favourites each time. Everyone knows Melbourne perform poorly at Etihad, but we keep playing them at the G. Why? I was also perplexed to note that the Bombers only play 2 Friday night games, both against North Melbourne. While the Bombers didn’t win too many of their Friday night fixtures this year, they put on some pretty good games against Hawthorn, Geelong & Sydney. Speaking from the perspective of my own team, not a great draw in my opinion.

In passing I think Paul Gallen is obviously pretty stupid for his Tweet insulting the NRL chiefs, but a $50,000 fine!! That is hefty and I question if it really fits the crime. $5-10,000 would have sent the same message.

Have a great weekend.

Friday musing – AFL, Robert Flower, Essendon FC & more…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell my first comment has to be about the shock regarding the passing of Robert Flower. He is one of my most admired players from other clubs and I always felt he was stiff to miss out on a Brownlow. He had all the attributes to win the codes greatest individual honour, however, playing for a side that was nearly always in the bottom half of the ladder probably worked against him. I think he came third twice which was probably a significant achievement in itself. The Melbourne Football Club has suffered more than its fair share of tragedies have the last couple of years and for another icon of the club to pass away too early is just not fair. Vale Robert Flower.

Secondly the Essendon situation has taken a further turn this week. I did not hold out high hopes for the Federal Court application on the basis that the club had self reported and had submitted to the process, but was encouraged in the running by some reported poor performances by witnesses for ASADA and the AFL. Justice Middleton was not so persuaded and I can understand the club now wanting to move to the next stage and not appeal. Why James Hird now wants to take this on does really not make much sense to me and if he persists I would not blame the club for terminating his contract. I have really swung around to the need for Bomber Thompson to stay at the club with or without Hird. James is the clubs greatest living player and carries a lot of sentiment for everyone associated with the club, but you do not put the individual before the club. Despite it not being right, I am getting to the stage where I think the players should take the ASADA deal just to bring it to a conclusion.

Thirdly, how boring was the Grand Final! When you are a non-aligned supporter you want to see a good game and I kept watching thinking that the momentum would swing to the Swans at some stage and it never did. I thought Jordan Lewis would have been a worthy Norm Smith Medalist, but you could have raffled it between him, Mitchell and Hodge. It was interesting that Sydney’s best two players were Franklin and Kennedy and they used to play for Hawthorn! The Box Hill Hawks also played off in the VFL Grand Final, so it says something about their depth and now they look like getting James Frawley. I know they lost Franklin which freed up a lot of their salary gap, but how can they keep getting good players from other clubs and paying them accordingly?

Hopefully the NRL Grand Final between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs is a better spectacle this weekend.

Have a great weekend!