Tag Archives: robbie-gray

Weekend musing – the Brownlow medal, Grand Finals in AFL & NRL……

I was pleasantly surprised to listen to Dustin Martin at his Brownlow presentation on Monday night. He came over a lot better than I had envisioned and he seemed like a reasonable bloke who loves his footy. Bruce McAvaney was a little sickening, but he did a good job getting Martin to talk so it worked.

With 36 votes Martin scored exactly the same amount as the entire All Australian back line of Rory Laird (9) votes, Alex Rance (8), Michael Hibberd (7), Sam Docherty (5), Michael Hurley (4) and Jeremy McGovern (3). While I am not suggesting that Martin did not deserve his votes, it is a little hard to accept that these six champion players could only amass 36 votes between them as most of them are big ball winners as well. The forward line did significantly better with a total of 75 votes, but the forward line included Dane Zorko (14) and Robbie Gray (12) who are essentially mid-fielders and Lance Franklin (22) who seems to capture the umpires eye. With five votes it did endorse my view that Eddie Betts was lucky to make the team.

It was also interesting to see that nine of the 18 clubs had two players that secured half or more of their teams votes and at Richmond, Martin almost did that himself with 36 votes out of a team total of 80. As much as it is great to have a Brownlow medalist from your team, from a team perspective it is better to have a spread of vote getters. The two top teams were Adelaide and Sydney who both had 88 votes, but the contrast was that Adelaide’s top four Sloane, M.Crouch, Jacobs & Atkins contributed 51 votes and Sydney’s top four of Kennedy, Franklin, Parker & Hannebery contributed 67 votes with Hannebery only contributing 6 votes. I think the upshot from this was Adelaide had more to handle in trying to control Martin it will than Richmond had trying to control Rory Sloane…and that is how it turned out yesterday. One thing that the Brownlow coverage brought home was how disappointing it is that Jobe Watson is no longer a Brownlow medalist. To see Cotchin & Mitchell lauded as medalists was disappointing whereas I had not thought about it much beforehand.

The Grand Final was a reasonable game and even though I thought Adelaide were the better side going into the game, the Grand Final was played on Richmond’s home ground which, in my view evened out the contest. Richmond were worthy premiers and it says something for a Club that decided to hold fast in the face of great criticism of their 2016 performance. If the Tigers had buckled at the end of last season and sacked Damian Hardwick, I doubt they would have climbed to the heights of premiership glory.

The Melbourne Storm are my fancies in the NRL decider today. They
have had a great season led by Dally M medallist Cameron Smith. North Queensland Cowboys have had a remarkable run to the Grand Final but I believe they will fall short especially as they are without their champion play maker Jonathan Thurston.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – AFL, Phil Walsh, Sam Mitchell, Harley Bennell….

Chris Barwin HillsWell it is all AFL today.

I have just heard about the tragic passing of Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh. In my time following football or sport for that matter, I cannot remember a current sportsman being murdered. I must say I am a bit stunned and shocked and I wonder how this will impact on the Crows players. If the game was tonight you would think it would not proceed. Not forgetting that he also spent some time at Geelong, so they would not be immune from the impact of this shocking event. This is unprecedented and goes beyond the grief of health related deaths that have impacted AFL clubs over recent years.

It was interesting to hear the commentary over the Sam Mitchell incident in the Hawthorn -v- Essendon game last Saturday. Yes it was a bit juvenile, but I am surprised there hasn’t been more of it and I am sure the Essendon players were not phased at all given what they have been through. It is also quite ironic given the Sam Lane article in the Age in 2012 lauding the Hawthorn supplement injection programme.

There was also a lot of debate in AFL circles this week about the leniency of the Buddy Franklin decision compared to the Bryce Gibbs suspension. Again it has to be referred back to the consequences. Franklin put Edwards out of the game for 20 minutes for testing, but he was able to come back on (albeit a bit early!). Gibbs put Robbie Gray out of the game and probably cost Port Adelaide the match. After Franklin was reported he only touched the ball once, so it could be construed that the report actually cost the Swans the game, so it was the reverse of the Gibbs outcome.

The other big story of the week was the continued issues with the Gold Coast Suns players and their illicit drug use, in particular Harley Bennell. There has been a lot of hysteria about this and I would urge people to take a deep breath and give the kid a chance. I hark back to Tom Liberatore and his issues in King Street a few years ago. The Bulldogs dealt with it and he became one of their best players. Young players will make mistakes and I think they all deserve a chance and if they keep making the same mistakes, then it is time to give them their marching orders.

Have a great weekend!