Tag Archives: st-kildafc

Weekend musing – AFL, sledging, EPL final week……

There have been instances of good sportsmanship and bad sportsmanship in the AFL last weekend.

On the good side it was pleasing to see Dyson Heppell and Joel Selwood chair James Kelly off after last weeks game to celebrate Kelly’s 300th game.

On the flip side, you had the sledging allegations levelled at St Kilda players for targetting Marc Murphy in the game against Carlton targeting. This is a difficult issue and hard to assess and monitor. By drawing attention to the sledging and the content of the sledging, it brought to light rumours that I and a lot of other footy fans who aren’t on social media sites were not aware of. Where do you draw the line when it does not involve issues that are currently in the code of conduct?

Another good story in the AFL this week is the appointment of the female umpire, Eleni Glouftsis for the Essendon v West Coast game this Sunday. By all reports she has got there on her merits and deserves the chance. Another way of getting females involved in the game of Australia Rules Football.

The EPL concludes this week with Chelsea and Tottenham wrapping up the top two spots before the weekend and Manchester City almost safe in third spot. That leaves Liverpool and Arsenal in the fight for fourth position and the all important Champions League qualification. Liverpool have the easier game, but the Gunners have come with a rush in the last month and are not without some chance of finishing fourth. With Manchester United playing off for the Europa Cup and possible qualification for the Champions League, more may need to play out before the final positions are known. I have had a look at the qualification criteria and it is by no means clear. My personal view is that it would not be a bad thing for the Gunners to miss out on Europe and only concentrate on the League next season. Chelsea and Leicester have won the League in the last two years without having to worry about the Champions League.

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 – 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!

AFL Trade Period – Dangerfield, Carlisle, Selwood, Hawthorn…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell I must say that not much has grabbed my attention this week save for the AFL Trade period, but even that drags on like unwanted guests. It was good to see the Patrick Dangerfield deal go through early and both clubs should be commended on how it was all done. I cannot Dangerfieldbelieve that Dangerfield has copped grief from Adelaide supporters when he gave them 100% throughout his time there and didn’t go for the money, because he could have got just as much from Adelaide and more from other clubs. I do feel some sympathy for Adelaide, over recent years they have lost Kurt Tippett, Phil Davis and to a lesser extent Nathan Bock, with Dangerfield now leaving there is some pretty fair talent out their doors in recent times.

I must say that my club, Essendon has always had the reputation for over valuing their players and as a consequence being difficult to deal with at the trade table and I have to say that from a distance carlislethat looks like a fair assessment. I don’t think that Jake Carlisle is worth St Kilda’s pick 5, but I do think that he is worth more than their 2nd round pick and it is interesting to see that the best team in the competition, Hawthorn, has now come out and put two late first round picks on the table for him so they must rate him higher than I do. On my estimation he would be worth around the 15-18 mark, but should Carlisle agree to go to Hawthorn, the Bombers could snare both of those selections.

There has also been a lot of discussion regarding the compensation picks for free agents moving clubs and it does seem incongruous that Melbourne got pick five for James Frawley and West Coast get pick 35 for Scott Selwood. I know Selwood didn’t make the grand final frawley
side, but he has had an injury interrupted year and he is former best & fairest so pick 35 seems a little on the light side. Having said that, Hawthorn getting pick 19 for Buddy Franklin seems ludicrous and perhaps Hawthorn should have adopted the same tactic that Adelaide adopted for Dangerfield to secure a better draft pick for one of the better players in the competition.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the trade period pans out.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Bart Cummings, AFL, sling tackles, player management……

Chris Barwin HillsLast weekend we heard about the passing of J B Cummings and with his passing we say goodbye to the trainer who trained more Melbourne Cup winners than any other trainer by a fair margin. He may not have trained as many winners or Group 1 winners as Tommy Smith or Colin Hayes or won as many trainers premierships, but in the race that every trainer sees as the pinnacle in Australia he imagestrained more winners of the Cup than those two trainers put together. His record of 12 Melbourne Cup winners will not be broken in my lifetime and with the internationalisation of the race I doubt it will be broken at all. Vale James Bartholomew Cummings an absolute legend of the Australian turf.

I was at the MCG last weekend to see the Bombers take on the Tigers and I witnessed Courtney Dempsey’s tackle on Brett Deledio and I must say that it was extremely dangerous and Deledio was Unknownlucky he escaped with only a sore neck and a slight concussion. That type of tackle is probably worse than the sling tackle and Dempsey fully deserved his 4 weeks. The stupid thing about it was than it was also unnecessary, the game was gone and a standard tackle would have seen Deledio penalised for holding the ball as he had already broken one tackle.

Continuing the AFL theme it was with some interest I listened to Wayne Carey suggest that this weeks Geelong v Adelaide game should be for double Brownlow votes given that the earlier game between the two teams was abandoned due to the tragic death of Phil Walsh. I initially thought the idea had some merit, but the more I thought about it the less appealing it became. In the end it would mean that someone would play one game and get double the votes. IUnknown-1 dare say that if someone lost out in that scenario then there may be a legal challenge. It was also proposed that all games in that round have voting suspended and that doesn’t make sense either as it penalises those players that performed well that weekend and again could open up a legal challenge. The original game was abandoned and the points were split and all the participants knew that there would be no Brownlow votes awarded and that is the way it should stay. It will be bad luck if Patrick Dangerfield misses out on the medal by less than three votes, but would it be worse than Chris Grant missing out on the medal from what was really only a clumsy attempt to spoil, I don’t think so.

There has also been a lot of discussion around Fremantle and North Melbourne resting players for the finals this weekend. While the Fremantle decision has no bearing on the finals, the North Melbourne decision is not as clear and the AFL are rightly copping a whack as a result, but this has happened before. Kevin Sheedy rested players at the end of 1990 to allow the four Daniher brothers Unknown-2to play together in the last round against St Kilda. They won the game, but due to the draw between Collingwood and West Coast in the Qualifying final it back fired on the Dons and some of the players had three weeks off and the rest is history. Sheedy did it again in 2001 when Essendon played Richmond in the final round, a few players were rested, but the team clearly didn’t have a winning mind set and went down by about four goals. This result kept Richmond in 4th place and meant that Carlton could not get above 5th. The following week in the Qualifying final Essendon belted Richmond by about ten goals.

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!

Friday musing – A-League final, AFL, Mick Malthouse, NBA Playoffs, Andrew Bogut…..

Chris Barwin HillsThe biggest thing in local sport in the last week was the A-League grand final and what a comprehensive result for the Melbourne Victory. They were aggressive and positive from the start and played almost the complete game. Sydney FC only had two real shots on goal and both went straight to the keeper. Speaking of the keeper, Lawrence Thomas, in my far from expert opinion, he is better than
the injured Nathan Coe so they didn’t lose anything there. I think in Unknown-4the previous week Melbourne City put more pressure on the Victory defence for the same score line. This is perhaps the most complete side to take out the title and while they lost and drew a few games during the year that they should have won, it was evident that if they clicked no other side in the competition could beat them. Mark Milligan was a deserved winner of the Joe Marston Medal and it is surprising that he has not find greater success overseas.

In the AFL it is interesting to see the issue about the head high tackles and the tactics employed by the likes of Lindsay Thomas in drawing free kicks. I raised this issue earlier in the year and players Unknown-3that drop their knees and dip/raise their shoulders are almost impossible for the umpires to detect even though it is the equivalent of ducking the head. I think it is unfair to be critical of the likes of Thomas, the Selwoods, Shoey and Puopolo when coaches from all teams should be teaching the players the same tricks. Every supporter hates when these frees are paid against them, but delight when they go in their favour.

The heat on Mick Malthouse continues and it reminded me of when Ron Barassi went back to Melbourne. He had been successful at two clubs, but could not work his magic a third time. I think the main issue at Carlton is their atrocious disposal. They win the ball in Unknown-2contested situations and then give it straight back to the opposition. I think they could be a sneaky chance tonight against Geelong, but I am still not prepared to pick them. My upset for the round is the Saints to topple West Coast.

The NBA finals are entering the final phases and wouldn’t it be great Unknownif the Golden State Warriors played off against the Cleveland Cavaliers so we could be guaranteed an Australian was on the winning side. Andrew Bogut v Matthew Dellavadova. From a personal point of view I Unknown-1would like to see the Golden State Warriors win the title for Andrew Bogut given his constant battles with injury he deserves the reward.

Have a great weekend!

Pelchen out at St Kilda is troubling

pelchyI have said many times before, that if I was in a position to influence an AFL club, the first person I would hire would be Chris Pelchen.

Why? He has a very good pedigree having had stints at Hawthorn (x2) Port Adelaide and St Kilda, he wants to be successful and he has a blue print for putting together a list of players that can take the ultimate step.

I have read quite a few comments on social media from St Kilda supporters saying they are glad he is gone. I would imagine that those supporters felt badly about players that were traded over the last few seasons and about the performance of their Club during that time.

I would suggest that those supporters consider that when Chris took over he was presented with an aging list that, through lack of vision had not been rejuvenated. He also had to deal with a diabolical total player payments problem and ensure that the up and coming young guns were re-contracted before they slipped into free agency. Needless to say he accomplished that and also had time to foster a new market in New Zealand and establish the Saints player academy.  By the way, I have relied on the St Kilda CEO’s summary of what Chris had done for St Kilda in putting that list together.

But, clearly that was not enough and to quote Matt Finnis, the Saints wanted to ‘drive further development in their high performance programs’.

Good luck is all I can say as rebuilding properly is all about timing and careful planning. Areas I think the Saints aren’t good at. I say this as parting company with the Head of Football who has control over the player list several weeks before the AFL draft seems a very strange decision indeed.

AFL theory of equalisation a myth after free agency!

footballAfter writing yesterday’s piece on AFL broadcast rights, I gave some thought to free agency, the trade period and whether the current AFL system is equitable to all clubs. Most stories that have been in the media recently talk of lower ranked clubs like Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and GWS losing players to the top dogs of the competition in Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Sydney or Geelong.

It seems most players want to go to a club that can challenge for a flag immediately or in the not too distant future. Take for example Mitch Clarke – he wants out of the Demons to go to Geelong (a usual top four finisher) and James Frawley appears certain to also leave the Demons to go to…..well you take your pick of the top clubs. His name has been mentioned in the same sentence as Hawthorn (this year’s premiers in case you missed it), Geelong and Fremantle. Haven’t heard any rumors that he was considering St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, GWS or staying at Melbourne.

What this means is that the stronger clubs get stronger as they pick off the good talent from the weaker clubs….and we know what that means. The weaker clubs get weaker and so the cycle continues. How is this different to the pre-draft days of the 1970’s and 1980’s when the size of the cheque book dictated the strength of the team and where you finished on the ladder. Seems to me we have replaced one bad system with another and it will only get worse as the years go by.crowd

Speaking of broadcast rights…..if the AFL becomes too much of a lop sided competition, I don’t know that it will foster interest in the game, get bums on seats and people watching on TV, all of which affects the amount of money the broadcasters are willing to pay for the content.

I’d suggest this should be a priority issue for the AFL to address.