There are usually a lot of big predictions and statements made after Round 1 of a football season, and at what is only the half-way point of the first week, many are being bandied about willy-nilly already.
Malthouse has no idea. The Pies might want him back as they have even less of an idea with Bucks and are heading south. The Giants are going to deliver on their massive draft concessions and crush everyone and the Dockers are the reincarnation of the free-scoring Cats under Blight.
Here in clicheville, we are resisting going the early crow.
Except for one thing: The pre-game show on Channel 7 before the Saturday night game was the worst thing you’ll see on television this year. Unless of course, it gets a run next week, in which case, we’ll call it a draw.
In my defence, I was not aware that it was being hosted by Luke Darcy when I tuned in for a quick pre-dinner TV treat and a well-earned Scotch.
Within 10 minutes, this feeble attempt had fallen flat and made me pine for the subtlety and cerebral gag set-up of Funniest Home Videos or Two Broke Girls. In simple terms, it gives a bad name to other steaming piles of poo masquerading as television shows.
The trouble is, the show itself can’t decide what it wants to be. Part Brian Taylor self-promotion device, part sportsman’s night gentle digs at fellow panellists and part ‘let’s fill the void left by Before the Game’, it was rubbish.
And, despite declaring a conflict of interest here as being the (unelected) President of the Sam Lane fan club, Channel 7 simply does not know how to use a journo of her talents. Respected at 10 (and The Age) as being a football person first and a woman second, 7 seem to still exist in the sexist old days of ‘seen but not heard’ and as last year showed on the Saturday night coverage, her presence was barely tolerated as the discussion happened around her not involving her.
Mick Molloy was obviously more than willing to accept a free plane ticket to a game he would have been attending anyway, and was happy to pot Richo and do his shtick from last year for the price of a few Crownies. Half his luck.
Pre-game shows are usually difficult, being heavy on bland interviews with assistant coaches who give little away and are often light on serious game predictions. The heavily scripted content of the Saturday show though reeked of something that was going to push on with its own agenda, and couldn’t be amended for the real-time drama and result being played out in the GSW/Sydney game that deserved more instant attention, much as radio does. No, it was pre-arranged segments in the main, little or no Friday night or Saturday afternoon game recap, just a lot of ‘look at me, I’m on TV’ stuff from Darce and co.
Friday night footy coverage seems to be serious and analytical, (probably too much for mine), but that’s usually in respect of the marquee status of the game-of-the-week profile of the Friday game. Saturday seems to see itself as vaudeville, slapstick and attempted comedy. Do they think that the audience isn’t watching? I half expected a cut to the Saturday night trots and a return to Hardy and Sigley in the studio.
Darcy is fine on radio, usually reasonably opinionated and outspoken on some matters but not an interviewer’s backside as we saw with the Dean Robinson piece last year. Fine family man and great junior football coach, he should not be allowed to be the lead banana on Saturday night and needs to stick to occasional interjections and asides.
If this is the Channel 7 plan for the year, to grab from the carcass of the sadly departed Before the Game and crap out Brian Taylor puff pieces all year, then my long resisted aversion to paying for Foxtel will be sorely tested.
Last year, the Taylor, Darcy and Basil Zempelis Saturday night coverage was rightly criticised as self-indulgent and lousy. I’ve got news for you guys: In 2014, it’s got worse.
Please, take it out the back and put it out of its (or rather our) misery.