Tag Archives: western-bulldogs

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 – Dawn of the AFWL!

Sfan OB6I watched a bit of the womens football last weekend and I was impressed with the degree of physicality exhibited. The standard of skill varied and it reminded me of watching a boys underage match where a third of the team were pretty good, the next third were okay and the final third were making up the numbers.

This is to be expected when the teams have sourced players from a variety of different sports and it will take time to raise the overall skill level to an acceptable standard. Some of the players were absolute stand outs like Carlton’s Darcy Vescio and the Bulldogs Katie Brennan.

It will be interesting to see how they go for crowds once the patrons have to pay, but in the meantime the concept helps fill the void between football seasons and I for one will continue to watch it.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Winx, the Derby day selection, the Bye revisited, Good Friday AFL game…..

Sfan OB6The WS Cox Plate run of Winx last Saturday was amazing. She was the only one that seemed to handle the track and put a space in the field very quickly. If she manages to stay fit and sound it is hard to unknown-2see anything beating her next year unless something from the latest crop of three year olds prove to be exceptional. I thought the run of Hartnell was good from a Melbourne Cup point of view. He looked to be gone on the turn put plugged on an held second comfortably in the end.

The connections of Winx have confirmed that she will not run in the re-vamped Mackinnon Stakes on the last day of the VRC Spring Carnival. While this is disappointing on one level as the best horse in the land will not contest the race, it does mean that we won’t have a repeat of the Caulfield Stakes where she only competed against two other horses. The problem is the dearth of decent middle distance weight for age horses in Australia at the moment and what was designed to be a showcase event on the last day has the potential to be a bit of a farce.

There has been some discussion this week about the bye before the haw v northAFL finals. As I mentioned in a previous post, I like it. It allows the AFL flexibility with scheduling in the last round and to an extent with the first week of the finals. Perhaps it does detract from finishing in the top four and winning the first week, but if we witness something like the Bulldogs this year then count me in.

Sticking with the AFL, the first Good Friday game will be held next season with the game kicking off at 4.20pm. I would have to question the timing of the game given that Good Friday church tarrantservices are at 3.00pm. If the churchgoing Christian supporters from North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs want to attend the game they will need to find a church proximate to Etihad stadium. Probably not a big deal, but a night game like the other sporting codes who play on Good Friday should have been considered.

By the way, my tip for the Derby is Morvada each way.

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!

Friday musing – Melbourne Cup selection, Terry Bailey, Jake Carlisle and the Wallabies

Chris Barwin HillsI must say I was very impressed with the win of Winx in the Cox Plate last weekend. I discounted her chances as she had not been around the Valley before, but she went around that home turn like a winxgreyhound lure while Criterion went around it like a Mack truck. Clearly Criterion will be better suited by the open spaces of Flemington and is worth some serious thought for the Melbourne Cup. I also like Preferment and Amralah for the Cup.

While we are on the races, the attack on Terry Bailey was very baileydisturbing. From all reports Bailey would not be concerned, but in cases like this it is always the family that is vulnerable. When officials who are trying to uphold the integrity of their sport or the law are attacked in this way and to have this type of threatening behaviour makes you wonder about the fabric of our society.

I remained silent on the Jake Carlisle trade last week, but was bemused by the scrutiny his manager has come under this week given he knew of the video before the trade went through. As Carlisle’s manager he is charged with getting the best deal for his client, it is carlisle
really up to the suitor to do their due diligence. The video was supposedly doing the rounds of various media outlets for a week before it came to light and the jungle drums suggest there was other material out there which may have betrayed his proclivities. The suggestion is that the Western Bulldogs & North Melbourne had done their due diligence and dropped out of the chase early as a result.

Good luck to the Wallabies this weekend in the fight for the Webb wallabiesEllis trophy. Against the Kiwis they will have their work cut out, but they have shown that they can beat the All Blacks if everything clicks, so fingers crossed.

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!

Friday musing – WADA wades in with an appeal in the Essendon supplements saga, A League final…

Chris Barwin HillsWell Tuesday morning I awoke from my slumbers to the news that I had not anticipated. WADA had lodged an appeal against the AFL Tribunal’s decision in the Essendon supplements saga. I had not considered that WADA would have much interest in a domestic sport where the team under investigation had not actually won anything, as opposed to the Lance Armstrong/Marion Jones cases.

This seems to be very much driven by ASADA’s Ben McDevitt as it is hard to see why WADA would instigate an appeal without a strong push from him. I must say his comments after the original decision 1427929273480was handed down smacked of sour grapes. In addition, if the case is as flimsy as was reported, it is hard to see why an international body would want to touch it. The big concern is still the very low standard of proof required.

Another confounding issue here is the innocence of the players. I don’t think any one thinks the players knowingly took a banned substance. I am sure the club didn’t sanction banned substances, so if banned substances were administered (and I understand there is no direct evidence that they were) why continue to pursue this matter?

There is no doubt the club should have taken more care to ensure that the records and the substances were all properly approved and documented, but the club has been dealt with by the AFL. What has Unknowncome out this week was that there was a spreadsheet as to what the club believes was administered. This should put to one side the comments that the club didn’t even know what was administered to the players, because clearly they knew what they believed was administered and anything else would have been administered without their knowledge and consent.

It is quite ironic that revelations regarding the use of stem cell injections to aid recovery from injury came out in the same week that WADA decided to appeal. I resolve not to make any further comments on this sorry issue until CAS decide on the appeal.

Moving away from this blight on the local sporting landscape to the A-League grand final, it would have been interesting to see what sort of crowd they may have got if the game was to be played at the graham-arnoldMCG. I have heard suggestions of 70,000 and that would not be out of the realms of possibility and would match the expected crowd for the Richmond -v- Collingwood game at the same venue. Either way you would think that the game would still attract a greater audience than the Western Bulldogs -v- Freemantle game at Etihad Stadium.

I am hoping for a Melbourne Victory win and while a lot of the focus has been on their strike power up forward, I think the key to this game will be the captain, Mark Milligan. Should the Victory win, I think he is every chance to be named the Joe Marston medalist.

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.

Soccer and basketball making inroads on Aussie footy at junior level

100_4274Tucked quietly away on page 19 of the Herald Sun today is a small story that could quite easily be overlooked but its ramifications should resonate very loudly in the halls of power at the AFL.

Eastern Lions Junior Football Club, a club in excess of forty years old, has had to resort to offering fee free football in order to attract young players. In addition, should a player sign up prior to the start of the season, they will be entered in a draw for an iPad or sports voucher.

The Club has needed to take these steps due to the ‘intense’ (their word not mine) competition from soccer and basketball.

Several weeks ago, this column looked at Western Bulldogs President, Peter Gordon’s plea for the AFL to spend more money on grass roots football. As the person leading an AFL working group on junior participation rates, he reasoned that this investment was necessary due to inroads being made by soccer at the junior level.

It would seem that the plight of the Eastern Lions, and no doubt other junior Clubs, bears out exactly what Mr Gordon was saying.

One wonders how long it will take the AFL to react…….hopefully not as long as the NBL!

The Professor’s Thursday rant – AFL player wages & the grass roots

meWestern Bulldog’s President, Peter Gordon has it right when he suggests that more money should be invested in ‘grass roots’ football by the AFL. He said he feared (his word not mine) for the game’s future if significant (again his word) investment is not made at the grass roots level. He cited pressure on developing the next era of players due to inroads being made at junior level by soccer. He should know as he has recently chaired an AFL working group looking at junior participation rates in the west and north west of Melbourne.

Without those junior players and consequent supporters, the slice of the consumer market for the AFL will shrink and its ability to attract big dollars in media rights will be hampered.

Compare Gordon’s thoughts with those of AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh. Marsh thinks it is amazing that only one AFL player, Gary Ablett, made the top 50 of Business Review Weekly top sports earners. He has called for urgent attention to AFL player remuneration to remedy that situation.

Of course, an increase to player wages will reduce any ability for the AFL to invest in grass roots football.

Sportzfan Radio has long argued that professional sports people are well remunerated and gain an equitable portion of the pie already. Consider that the average AFL player receives at least $250,000 per year. In 2014, the average wage in Australia was almost $79,000.00 meaning AFL players, as a rule, are very well remunerated compared to the average Australian. That average wage increased by 2.3% from 2013. I have no argument in sporting people achieving parity with the rest of the Australian full time workforce and receiving the agreed Australian Bureau of Statistics annual increase. However, I perceive that Paul Marsh has a much higher increase in mind.

From where I sit, grass roots football is considerably under resourced and this state of affairs doesn’t look like it will be addressed anytime in the near future. The AFL and the AFLPA would do well to heed the words of Peter Gordon. Failure to do so will invariably lead to a reduction in participation (and supporter) rates and a consequent inability to demand the big figures in future media rights deals. One only needs to look at the NBL as a shining example of a sport that failed to invest at grass roots level and suffered a huge fall from grace with the media.

Perhaps Paul Marsh should should add his voice to those calling for greater investment in the grass roots. That would seem to be the best way for him to ensure he achieves his goal of increased wages for AFL players.