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The "state of the game"

Discuss the AFL, other clubs and the game in general

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The "state of the game"

Postby CouchPotato on Wed May 09, 2018 2:25 pm

A significant amount of angst recently in the media about the state of the game and congestion. Skill errors, goal kicking and general spectacle has all gone downhill.... Apparently...

Personally I don't see a substantial shift from previous years - but thought I would open it up to discussion.

A few 'solutions' proposed:

1) Zones - keep players inside / outside the 50m arc
2) Reduce player numbers - play with 16 on the field and 6 on the bench
3) Reduce rotations

I don't like any of them:

1) Zones are ridiculous - imagine a full forward sprinting then rapidly stopping and tip-toeing on the 50m line so he doesn't leave some artificial zone created for him
2) Don't mind it - but seems a 'nuclear' option for a relatively small issue
3) this won't fix the skill errors - players will fatigue quicker and skills will drop off even further = congestion.

Personally, I think this is a response by the VFL media to only having 4 Vic teams in the top 8 - the Melb, Coll, Carlton fans are all a bit shocked that their teams stink up the pitch every time they play. I watch Adelaide, Eagles & Hawthorn games and their isn't such a congestion issue - they all value kicking the ball over handballing and create space in the ground by getting it out of congestion fast - nothing new here, just better executed.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby Voice of Reason on Wed May 09, 2018 6:42 pm

Good topic - and I don't have the time to address it properly, but here are a few thoughts.

It depends on the game you are talking about - Australian Rules Football or AFL specifically.

Aussie Rules is facing an uphill battle:
- State leagues like the WAFL are dying on their feet
- While the AFL boast about Auskick numbers, how many of those kids are still playing at 16? Not many
- Competition with other sports, especially soccer and to a degree rugby union, will further erode the playing and potentially supporting base.

A couple of positives:
- The game has a specific place in the national consciousness in the footy-playing States & Territories that should be enough to maintain as a niche
- Country footy, while under pressure of numbers in FIFO areas, has good money and strong community support that is unlikely to be eroded by other sports.

AFL is doing well financially and superficially well in other areas:
- Outstanding TV revenue
- Strong base in heartland Victoria, solid two clubs in WA & SA
- Some success expanding to the northern States; certainly the Swans are (eventually) a winning outfit
- New stadia, especially our own & Adelaide, but also in potential expansion areas like Tassie & Darwin
- Equalisation policies have spread the flags around to an extent in recent years - Bulldogs & Richmond give everyone hope
- AFLW/Women's football/female commentators push is broadening the brand appeal (albeit I and most footy fans I talk to have no interest in it)
- The game when played well (most Eagles home games this year) is as exhilarating as ever

But there are big problems under the surface:
- Without strong State leagues it is "win or bust" for developing players with no worthwhile alternative pathway
- AFL is really VFL-expanded and people are sick & tired of Eddie commentating, Christian picking on the Eagles at the Tribunal, Vic-centric gits on TV talk shows, behind the scenes deals to get dodgy drug-taking clubs out of the mire that ultimately fail at the world anti-doping court of appeal
- The converse of the national niche argument above is that in reality it cannot get beyond Australia - at best it is a national game, notwithstanding the odd game in NZ or China - so future growth is capped, absent the building from below that is sorely missing
- If Forrest can get the Force back on the road and/or the A League improves, say by a second team in Joondalup (both are likely by 2020 IMO) and/or rugby league comes back with a better Western Reds, other sports will further erode the sporting dollar for footy
- The experts say that AFL skills (kicking in particular) are worse than ever (I don't agree, btw) - but it is true that coaches are all about winning and generally start with defensive approaches based on other sports (Sydney under Roos, Fremantle under Neesham was water polo, Lyon is more soccer 0-0s etc.)
- There are a lot of pointless H&A games and mediocrity is bred with no sanction for repeated failure (e.g. Carlton, Melbourne, Gold Coast).

So what would I do? Here we reach a fork in the road and my suggestions are based on me and some mates who were debating this earlier. This approach ruins the West Perths of the world who I have supported for decades, so I'm not saying I like it.
- Make AFL two divisions with promotion and relegation
- Tassie & NT get their own teams, with preferential start-up provisions, but in Div 2
- Each division has a fair draw (10 teams, 18 H&A games)
- Retain Finals for Div 1 and introduce play-offs for promotion & relegation
- Consider relegating the bottom team of Div 2 to the State league (if Tas or NT, to VFL or NEAFL) to give a Subiaco hope
- Raise the draft age to 19
- State leagues have more elite young players in them, but become feeders to AFL
- Abandon alignments
- Reduce AFL lists to about 30 but allow top-ups from named clubs lower down the pyramid
- Cap rotations a bit further to allow the Robert Harvey type players to use their fitness to win at the end of games
- Try to minimise rule changes wherever possible.

Welcome all feedback!
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby Mr Q on Thu May 10, 2018 4:45 pm

I actually think drafting should go something as follows:

Round one - as per now, best players in the land get picked, wherever
Round two - players must have played at least 10 senior games for a relevant State League club after their 18th birthday
Round three - players must have played at least 30 senior games for a relevant State League club after their 18th birthday, or be aged 22 or above (and 10 games)
Round four+ - players must have played at least 50 senior games for a relevant State League club after their 18th birthday, or be aged 24 or above (and 10 games).
Anyone over the age of 27 who has played senior state league footy is an automatic delisted FA if they want to be.

I believe this would keep players in the lower leagues longer (helping them remain stronger), and give more hope to late bloomers that they can get drafted. It would also allow AFL drafting to improve as players have had more time to show their abilities at an adult level.

Rookie list should be abolished, and rolled into the main lists. It effectively has been now, so make if official.

Free agency raids should have a cost to the club getting the player as per F/S picks, and the club getting the FA should have to cough up picks to that value. So if for instance Gaff walks to a Melbourne club, and he's rated as a first round pick, if the Eagles are due pick 11, then the club in Melbourne has to cough up something to get him - namely a shitload of other draft picks (or alternately, the recieving club could accept the rolled up picks if they prefer). I've had a lot of problems with FA resulting in every club except the one getting the FA having to pay for it by their picks being pushed down.

I don't really think promotion/relegation is the way forward - we don't have the numbers for it. As much as I don't usually like Americanisms, I'd actually rather see conferences. With 18 teams, I'd see two conferences, with each playing once H&A against each other, and one game, alternating years H&A against the teams in the other conference (Unfortunately that's 25 games - 16 in conference and 9 ex-conference every year) Then a final four for each conference, with the two winners of those playing in the GF against each other. Conferences can be re-seeded every two years.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby WCE Booka 89 on Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm

Mr Q wrote:I actually think drafting should go something as follows:

Round one - as per now, best players in the land get picked, wherever
Round two - players must have played at least 10 senior games for a relevant State League club after their 18th birthday
Round three - players must have played at least 30 senior games for a relevant State League club after their 18th birthday, or be aged 22 or above (and 10 games)
Round four+ - players must have played at least 50 senior games for a relevant State League club after their 18th birthday, or be aged 24 or above (and 10 games).
Anyone over the age of 27 who has played senior state league footy is an automatic delisted FA if they want to be.

I believe this would keep players in the lower leagues longer (helping them remain stronger), and give more hope to late bloomers that they can get drafted. It would also allow AFL drafting to improve as players have had more time to show their abilities at an adult level.

Rookie list should be abolished, and rolled into the main lists. It effectively has been now, so make if official.

Free agency raids should have a cost to the club getting the player as per F/S picks, and the club getting the FA should have to cough up picks to that value. So if for instance Gaff walks to a Melbourne club, and he's rated as a first round pick, if the Eagles are due pick 11, then the club in Melbourne has to cough up something to get him - namely a shitload of other draft picks (or alternately, the recieving club could accept the rolled up picks if they prefer). I've had a lot of problems with FA resulting in every club except the one getting the FA having to pay for it by their picks being pushed down.

I don't really think promotion/relegation is the way forward - we don't have the numbers for it. As much as I don't usually like Americanisms, I'd actually rather see conferences. With 18 teams, I'd see two conferences, with each playing once H&A against each other, and one game, alternating years H&A against the teams in the other conference (Unfortunately that's 25 games - 16 in conference and 9 ex-conference every year) Then a final four for each conference, with the two winners of those playing in the GF against each other. Conferences can be re-seeded every two years.


Don't mind the conference idea. Divisions would take it too far, and definitely wouldn't work with your re-seeding (divisions mostly work just to create rivalry/continue rivalry) what I am interested in is how your re-seeding works. Is it based upon their finishing position in the second year, or combined? If combined I like it a lot. Gives a much better picture of where the club is, perhaps even going every 3 years for re-seeding and that record taken into account for new position.

Although what you could also do from the NFL system is treat it as one conference and then divide them into divisions, that way you can keep your essendon/collingwood/blues/tigers rivalry alive by dumping them in the same division. So divide all teams into 3 divisions, each playing each other twice, then the rest of the comp once, then just have top 2 in division go through, giving 6 teams, then you have the choice of having just a six team finals competition where say top 2 seeds go thru to second week and 3v6 and 4v5 with winner to play 1 and 2. or you bring in the top 2 teams from the remainder and stick with our current system. Ends up being a 24 game fixture so again AFL will love it for extra games

I personally think however what is wrong is that there are too many teams for the current talent pool. And you can see it. Bottom teams are so off the pace every year (lately it just seems to be blues and lions swapping seats down there). Really think the AFL stuffed up with their timing at least for GC and GWS. Had we waited until now we could probably have enough talent to withstand 18 teams. If we had the bottom 44 players each week in the AFL instead playing WAFL/VFL/SANFL/NEAFL it would be a much stronger comp at that level, which wuld develop the youngsters playing there better and create better footballers when they finally get elevated.

I do support raising of the draft age, especially with free agency, you can't expect teams to replace 7+ year veterans with 18yr olds and continue on like nothing happened. Nor can you expect clubs to develop players for 7yrs then have them walk out in their prime. At least after 7yrs of developing a 20yr old you have gotten some of the best out of them.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby farmer joe on Fri May 11, 2018 9:57 am

It is time that the AFL had a stand alone reserves competition. It has the money and state based comps are dying. Have a look at the VFL ladder and you will see that the non AFL affiliate clubs wont last.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby HH on Wed May 16, 2018 9:06 am

My post relates to the state of the game in terms of the inconsistent application of its rules.

Tom Hawkins has every right to feel more ripped off than Nic Nat who, in turn and in his own right, was ripped off.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby domo_the_eagle on Wed May 16, 2018 9:10 am

HH wrote:My post relates to the state of the game in terms of the inconsistent application of its rules.

Tom Hawkins has every right to feel more ripped off than Nic Nat who, in turn and in his own right, was ripped off.


The MRO and tribunal are a fucking farce.

My love of this sport is dying.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby MrWoollie on Wed May 16, 2018 4:13 pm

domo_the_eagle wrote:
HH wrote:My post relates to the state of the game in terms of the inconsistent application of its rules.

Tom Hawkins has every right to feel more ripped off than Nic Nat who, in turn and in his own right, was ripped off.


The MRO and tribunal are a fucking farce.

My love of this sport is dying.
The MRO and tribunal was meant to achieve a more transparent and CONSISTENT interpretation and enforcement of the rules. It started out ok. Needed a few tweaks but wasn't too bad. Seemed to be going in the right direction.
However, under the current regime it is doing the opposite. Becoming pedantic one week, then harsh the next, with the same offences getting different results. A bump is bad, then a bump with a severe concussion is only a fine while a tackle is good then bad and a light umpire touch is a hanging offence then 'not worthy'.
I would hate to lose someone for an important match for a Hawkins touch or a NN tackle.

On touching an umpire...
1. Don't do it
2. But the field is crowded and in motion and accidental touches (even with hands) will happen.
3. A palm out, non-malice contact like Hawkins, give him a fine. Slap his wrist.
4. If you push or grab or make deliberate forceful contact with an umpire expect to get the book thrown at you.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby Mr Q on Thu May 17, 2018 9:02 am

MrWoollie wrote:On touching an umpire...
1. Don't do it
2. But the field is crowded and in motion and accidental touches (even with hands) will happen.
3. A palm out, non-malice contact like Hawkins, give him a fine. Slap his wrist.
4. If you push or grab or make deliberate forceful contact with an umpire expect to get the book thrown at you.


I actually think if you deliberately touch an umpire, you should be suspended (even if it's not malicious). The reason being nothing to do with AFL, but with lower levels, where umpires don't have the protection that they do at AFL level (ie being in front of thousands of people), and can cop a lot more physical and verbal abuse. The standard needs to be set at the highest level that the umpire can be wrong as shit, but their person is absolutely sacrosanct.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby farmer joe on Thu May 17, 2018 10:08 am

Mr Q wrote:
MrWoollie wrote:On touching an umpire...
1. Don't do it
2. But the field is crowded and in motion and accidental touches (even with hands) will happen.
3. A palm out, non-malice contact like Hawkins, give him a fine. Slap his wrist.
4. If you push or grab or make deliberate forceful contact with an umpire expect to get the book thrown at you.


I actually think if you deliberately touch an umpire, you should be suspended (even if it's not malicious). The reason being nothing to do with AFL, but with lower levels, where umpires don't have the protection that they do at AFL level (ie being in front of thousands of people), and can cop a lot more physical and verbal abuse. The standard needs to be set at the highest level that the umpire can be wrong as shit, but their person is absolutely sacrosanct.

I couldn't agree more. Deliberately touch an umpire, in any way, and you should be gone. Kids don't need to see it.
Though it is also a good time for the AFL to have a chat to the egotistical, show pony umpires like Razor Ray and remind them that their job is to umpire. The game is not about them and they should be very careful in the way that they interact with the players.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby WCE Booka 89 on Thu May 17, 2018 10:36 am

farmer joe wrote:
Mr Q wrote:
MrWoollie wrote:On touching an umpire...
1. Don't do it
2. But the field is crowded and in motion and accidental touches (even with hands) will happen.
3. A palm out, non-malice contact like Hawkins, give him a fine. Slap his wrist.
4. If you push or grab or make deliberate forceful contact with an umpire expect to get the book thrown at you.


I actually think if you deliberately touch an umpire, you should be suspended (even if it's not malicious). The reason being nothing to do with AFL, but with lower levels, where umpires don't have the protection that they do at AFL level (ie being in front of thousands of people), and can cop a lot more physical and verbal abuse. The standard needs to be set at the highest level that the umpire can be wrong as shit, but their person is absolutely sacrosanct.

I couldn't agree more. Deliberately touch an umpire, in any way, and you should be gone. Kids don't need to see it.
Though it is also a good time for the AFL to have a chat to the egotistical, show pony umpires like Razor Ray and remind them that their job is to umpire. The game is not about them and they should be very careful in the way that they interact with the players.


Agree with both. Any deliberate touching should be a suspension. But yeah umpires need to back off, they don't need to be near the players where they can get touched.

Accidental contact though should just be play on and if anything the umpire should have a review of his performance to see whether he is putting himself in bad positions.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby Fair Bump Play On on Thu May 17, 2018 1:21 pm

MrWoollie wrote:3. A palm out, non-malice contact like Hawkins, give him a fine. Slap his wrist.


Interesting, to my mind I thought Hawkins action was malicious. Not one that was thought about simply a deliberate action in a flare of temper that was no doubt instantly regretted - aided by the nearby Giants player - but that does not change the fact that it's totally unacceptable and not to be imitated by others watching.

Mostly the rules of the game are interpretative but this one area that should be B&W and exceptions should be truly exceptional. (That does not mean some Victorian based star playing in the Grand Final the next week is an exception)
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby HH on Mon May 21, 2018 3:28 pm

So Buddy elbows Hamling giving him a bloodied jaw and concussion and he is cleared by the MRO.

The bias and favouritism of the grubby VFL is sadly so predictable.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby MrWoollie on Mon May 21, 2018 7:53 pm

HH wrote:So Buddy elbows Hamling giving him a bloodied jaw and concussion and he is cleared by the MRO.

The bias and favouritism of the grubby VFL is sadly so predictable.

Predictably inconsistent.

NiCNat gets a penalty because of the outcome of his tackle rather than the intent. Buddy's elbow was clearly accidental and in my opinion did not deserve a penalty for intent, BUT... if we are operating on outcome based penalties then he should have got more than NicNat.
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Re: The "state of the game"

Postby HH on Mon May 21, 2018 8:03 pm

Spot on Mr Woollie, spot on.
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