AFL Round 11: Wet weather footy

We come to an interesting proposition: Have sides that call Etihad Stadium their home ground forgotten how to play in the wet. I came to this query after watching the North v Gold Coast game on Saturday night. As the mind wandered, it dawned on me that no side that calls Etihad Stadium home has won a premiership since Etihad/Telstra/Colonial was built. The closest a side has come is St.Kilda in 2010’s drawn Grand Final. 5 teams call this ground home – Essendon, Carlton, North, Western Bulldogs and of course the Saints.

Initially this theory evolved off the 2009 Grand Final between Geelong and St.Kilda. The Cats have virtually built a wet weather fortress at Skilled/Simonds Stadium and over the last 10 years have unleashed the 2 best wet weather footballers in Jimmy Bartel and Paul Chapman. It’s no coincidence that they win in the wet as many of their home games are in these conditions against hapless interstate opposition, wind and rain coming off Corio Bay at will. Geelong can almost bank 32 points on the ladder each year based on this. Yes they are a very good team and the good teams win in any conditions. Similarly, the Swans have a happy knack of forging ahead in these conditions, a good and positive indication of a team’s collective mental strength.

The Saints however good as they were in 2009, and remember they nearly went through undefeated, largely played under the roof at Etihad. Funnily enough they did have a good win in the slush at the SCG that year. However, on the day that mattered most, the Grand Final, they fell short of the much anticipated Premiership against the Cats. I have the forlorn expression of my devout Saints-following brother etched in my memory at the end of that game. It was a pained look of the one that got away. A few years earlier the Saints had given up the right to host games at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium, a ground similar to Skilled Stadium, in terms of its exposure to the elements. This allowed more games at Etihad. Costly or not…?

I reiterate the good teams win anywhere and in any conditions. The game is often judged as being played above the shoulders! Geelong have 3 premierships and Sydney 2 to show for their recent history. The Pies and the Hawks have one so far too in recent memory. The Etihad-based teams should take note, as should the developing sides…

Rd 11 2013 FEARLESS: BYEWEEK1: JGB = RDS (Wake Up Jeff, leave the Dees alone!)  (Jeffrey Gibb Kennett = Relevance Deprivation Syndrome)

Officially the goal review system is a mess when a game is won or lost by any other means than on its merits. OK, full credit to the Bombers for their unlikely comeback.  Jarrad Waite had taken centre stage to put Carlton in a commanding position. But the two Jakes (Carlisle and Melksham) led the Bombers to a 5pt win. Garlett’s goal gets paid a point, not at all referred to the Goal Review. What’s it there for if it’s not used?

Geelong trailed by GWS by 5 goals leading coach Chris Scott to tell the media throng that the Cats were not playing top four footy. He may be right but you wouldn’t want to discount the young GWS side on their home turf. Jeremy Cameron is well in contention for the Coleman Medal and kicked some rippers. The Cats managed to put the afterburners on after 3 /4 time to a 9 goal win after an early orange nightmare.

The nightmare theme continued in the Kurt Tippett Challenge at AAMI Park where Sydney was visiting the Crows. Not only did the Swans win large and flaunt the fact that Kurt T is now one of them, they ground the Crows into the dust on their own dungheap by 77pts. Funnily enough, channel 7’s Basil Zempilas remained convinced that 127 to 50 was a 97 point win. Basil, my friend, 3rd grade Maths wasn’t that hard!

More nightmares on the Gold Coast for North, who got off to a flyer with 4.2 in the first qtr and 4.1 for the rest of the game. The Suns ironically mastered the slush at Club Metricon much better, led by Gazza Jnr and a troupe of more willing competitors. The Roos can play, but the curse of Etihad struck – footy is still a winter sport and in the wet, it’s about % ball movement without finessing. Suns by 15pts.

Stevie Milne had been under the pump and responded in fine style with 5 goals against the Eagles at Etihad on Sunday. Leading for most of the game, the Saints got pipped by the adventures of Eric McKenzie, an Eagle backman who chipped in with 2 late goals. Without Josh Kennedy and/or Darren Glass, the Eagles were looking vulnerable all day. The Saints left to rue what might have been. Eagles just – by 4pts.

As if Melbourne doesn’t have enough to contend with at present. Now they have ex-Hawk Prez JG Kennett saying he can rectify it. Loyalty? Passion? Ability? Who’s to say the current MFC board doesn’t have these anyway? Maybe they don’t have the players but it can turn quickly in this caper. QB tradition saw Melbourne play the Pies. Big margin great for the black & white army but for others, gardening got done.

Comments

  1. glennontour says:

    i reckon you are on to something about the wet weather footy and Etihad. The Bombers in Sydney the other week were given a lesson in how to do it. But, the 2000 Bombers were the first team to call Colonial Stadium home and were 10 goal victors on the last Saturday in September that year. Maybe it took teams a year to forget how to play in the wet??

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