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The P***S is Killing AFL

by Justin C

  • MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 05:  Fans invade the ground after the round 19 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Gold Coast Suns at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 5, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
    AFL Rd 19 - Melbourne v Gold Coast (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Clue Number One

See that picture of the MCG it’s what a P***S looks like.

Clue Number Two

AFL Round 12, 2014
Melbourne 3.10.28
Collingwood 8.13.61

Clue Number Three

It’s partially banned in Junior Basketball in Victoria.

Clue Number Four

Rugby League is basically one big P***S and the live crowd numbers are the result.

Do I need to continue?

Come on it’s on the tip of your tongue, PPPPrrrress, yes you got it, the PRESS, it has been the plastic bag that has suffocated the individual brilliance and flare from our great game for too long now. 
As soon as the AFL coaches started these “study tours” of other sporting codes around the world and drunk the Kool Aid, it was the beginning of the end of “Up There Cazaly.”
 


 

Now if you watch that video carefully, you will see some species that are nearly extinct.
 

For example you may never see that wonderful spectacle of Peter McKenna being swamped on the ground after kicking 100 goals ever again if we don’t do something to curb this tactic. 

This tactic is so powerful it can actually turn kids sport into a non-event and forced the Victorian Junior Basket Ball body to partially ban it. Here is an excerpt from www.hoopskills.com/aau-basketball-tournaments an American Blog, spelling out the dilemma:

A few weeks ago I happened to be in Portland where I met up with an old friend to watch his son play in a 13 and under AAU tournament. Now before I continue I must admit I was a little skeptical at first since it had been a couple years since I had watched that age group play, but after watching a few minutes of the opening quarter I was somewhat surprised!
After watching two of K.C.'s games I began to notice a common theme. The teams that won pressed and pressed often. The teams that lost either didn't press and/or couldn't break their opponent's press.

Personally I am torn between the two options. Before now I have always been a big believer in instilling a competitive mindset in athletes as soon as possible. However, after watching this tournament part of me feels sorry for these kids. Coaches and parents seemingly would rather have their kids win than to thoroughly learn and understand the game. In the short term that's great but is it really best in the long term?
Could these tournaments be contributing to the current trend that as athletes get older many of them become more competitive yet remain under skilled? Could this increased "ultra" competitive spirit contribute to the massive egos possessed by many of today's players?

Well I’ve got news for you, not only does it cripple kids level sport it cripples adult sports as well. Don’t get me wrong it wins games alright but at what cost and to who? Us the Fans!

Paul Roos at the Melbourne FC knew the moment he walked in the door at Demonland the first thing he had to do to build a team that could win more than its fair share of AFL games was fix up the defensive side of the Demons games. He wanted the team to forget about their score and focus on limiting the other sides scoring potential, with the aim being to introduce the attacking elements of the game down the track, once the defensive side was mastered. End goal a balance of two way footy, defense first, with just enough attack to score a little bit more that your opposition, like his premiership winning Sydney side.
In fairness to Paul Roos he is doing his job and well, because success for him is defined by winning premierships and he needs to build a game plan for his list that can give them a shot at doing that. He plays the odds because to build a game plan on attack and brilliance leaves you in the lap of the recruiting and draft gods.  Will you get the hand of God come down and bless you with Bartel, Corey, Enright, Stevie J, Selwood, Ablett, Scarlett, Kelly, Ottens & Taylor all coming into their prime at the same time. 

Please just give me Red 24 and spin the wheel!

So he does the smart thing and builds a game plan for the lower, more likely common denominator, we might not win the talent battle but I have a game plan that can beat individual brilliance, so I don’t care, I play to win more often, based on reality.
So where does that leave us the fans? In my view on the couch, rather than in the stands. When you go to the footy the thing that you enjoy most is that surge of sound from the crowd, that rush that pulses through you when a goal is kicked, or that ball gets out into space and you can see a break in the game, the collective roar builds as Yarran takes one bounce, then two as he sides steps one more before unleashing from outside 50 for a goal, its electric as the crowd goes nuts.

The problem is that’s it! 120 minutes, a pie, a couple of beers and one hair raising high and it’s a wrap. Our game is like one big tease these days it gives you glimpses of brilliance that keeps you wanting more but I just wonder when the penny will drop and more of us fans will not get enough of a buzz when we go to a game and spend our hard earned.

The AFL is trying a couple of things to break open the game to allow more free flowing attacking, TV friendly (read $$ ratings) footy:

•    Reduce the interchange to allow players to get tired so the game breaks open.
•    You can kick out before the flag is finished waving to allow faster breaks out of defense.

Radical solutions for 2024:

•    The half ground zone, if you’re playing in the Forward or Back Half you have to stay in your end of the ground except for designated mid fielders or your offside and a free is awarded in the middle of the field. GPS in jumpers is linked to ground position and computer signals automatically an out number in one half. It stops all of these new 5 and 6 roles and defensive wing set ups at stoppages in the back half that are crushing our game.
•    16 Players and no wings. I know we can’t touch the heritage of our game the untouchables! I did say radical.
•    You have to kick it 30 metres for it to be deemed a mark.
•    You have to move the ball forward or it is a free kick against. So the defensive structures won’t have the time to get back as their team mates kick it backwards, maintaining possession in tempo mode.

There is only one problem it takes B***S Balls to grab this one by the scruff of the neck and fix it for the fans as my favourite motivational speech of all time shows:

My memo to Gillon Mclachlan:

 

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