An unpredictable season? We’re not so sure

THE footy has hardly started and it’s already generated more headlines than Julia Gillard’s glasses and Tony Abbott claiming to be a feminist.

Confused AFL fans have had to digest concerns about gambling and illicit drug use, Essendon’s alleged doping saga and Melbourne being fined for apparently not tanking.

We’ve also debated whether Lance “Buddy” Franklin will leave Hawthorn and who’ll win the first Collingwood-Carlton clash with Mick Malthouse coaching the Blues.

Ex-Magpie Malthouse takes on former charge Nathan Buckley in Round 2, guaranteeing a small forest will die in the lead-up.

Round 1 is finally set to excite tonight – and confuse. Carlton plays Richmond in the traditional blockbuster sure to draw Tigers fans in their droves – because they haven’t lost yet.

But tonight is not the season opener.

Strangely, Adelaide played Essendon at AAMI stadium on March 22 in a round that stretches for 11 days ending, perhaps fittingly, on April Fool’s Day.

No-one knows how such a drawn-out opening fixture will go down with fans already scratching their heads following our most controversial pre-season since Kevin Bartlett had hair.

Which got me thinking.

With all the defections, rule changes, dodgy training programs, off-field scandals and on-field upsets, is anything certain in footy anymore? Yes and no.

Of this you can be sure: The following certainties, possibilities and impossibilities for the 2013 AFL season are guaranteed to be at least partly right.

At this early stage I’m taking it one week at a time, but my panel of armchair experts can safely predict the following:

Certainties…
-At least 25 unscheduled press conferences on an emerging crisis … in the first week.
-The AFL making or threatening to make at least 37 rule changes.
-Forty two players being disciplined for offensive/racist/sexist tweets.
-Clubs claiming record membership numbers on the back of one or three game members.
-The AFL refusing to move a big game to the MCG, despite 50,000 more fans being able to see it at there.
-High performance coaches dragging players who just kicked a goal because a hi-tech gadget shows they’ve run 1.86 kilometres in the past 10 minutes.
-Everyone suspecting tanking or match fixing whenever there’s a big upset.
-A high-profile star playing up but avoiding suspension because his team can’t win without him.
-A coach being sacked the day after the club board expresses full confidence in them.
-Thousands of competing members who have attended games all year missing out on Grand Final tickets.

Maybes…
-Collingwood selling 80,000 memberships despite the fact they can’t all fit into any game when you factor in the opposition.
-The number of players with tattoos officially overtaking the number without.
-The number of staff in footy departments officially overtaking the number of players.
-Greater Western Sydney having more players and officials than fans at a game.
-A team, probably Carlton, becoming the first to top 5000 rotations during one game.
-The first tweet being sent from a quarter time player huddle.
-The first player being fined for sending a tweet from the quarter time player huddle.
-A gambling market enabling fans to bet on how long they’ll stand in the half-time pie queue.
-A day without Eddie McGuire in the paper (albeit a microscopic chance).
-Football media types being beaten in the footy tipping by a dog that wags its tail at each pick.

Buckley’s chance…
-The AFL admitting it got something wrong.
-The AFL considering what fans want in any decision it makes.
The Footy Show featuring a feminist panel to discuss sexism in sport.
-Food and drink prices falling significantly.
-Etihad stadium allowing kick to kick on the ground after a game.
-Umpires being praised.
-Bruce McAvaney not using the word “special” during any given five-minute period.
-Players who do the right thing attracting lots of media attention.
-Corporate types who score free Grand Final tickets donating them to competing club members.
-Meatloaf singing at the above mentioned Grand Final.

You can also bet your life someone will complain about the explosion in footy gambling, which has taught eight-year-olds all about betting and seen concern grow about potential match fixing.

But the odds of anything changing are slim.

Much higher are chances of Richmond finishing ninth and Greater Western Sydney poaching Lance Franklin after a year of denials by all involved.

Despite all this one thing is certain; us dedicated footy fans will lap it all up and love every minute of it. But, of course, if things change all bets are off.

Cheryl Critchley is on twitter: @CherylCritchley

Comments

  1. Some things change, some things never will. Tune into SEN, pick up the Herald Sun from about April 20 and what will be the main topic of conversation? “Should other teams have the right to play in the ANZAC Day clash”. Cue outrage. (Yawn)

  2. cheryl critchley says:

    The Herald Sun also has the old “footy greats bag Good Friday” story today. You can also set your clock on that one. :-). Go Tigers tonight! Cheryl

  3. PeterSchumacher says:

    Bruce saying “cleverrrrrrrrrr” in the same five minute interval

  4. Cheryl Critchley says:

    That would be specciiiaallllllll Peter :-)

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