AFL Round 1: The View From Shepparton



The second half of round one was as disappointing as the first half was exhilarating.   Normality has now returned, sides visiting interstate have been walloped which gets me to my next point.


It doesn’t matter how much it is denied but playing the Grand Final at the MCG, though sacrosanct, always gives any Victorian side playing, a head start. That’s the way it is, has been, and will be world without end but if this was a truly mature competition the last match of the year would always be played on a neutral ground. Crowds shouldn’t be a problem either, if the NRL is to be believed and the AFL to a lesser extent, numbers attending games are just an incidental part of the whole thing. It’s the TV ratings. I don’t know about the NRL but the AFL has long since priced out the admission for an average family of four and in any case scheduling games for 7:40 or whatever on a Sunday evening just goes to underline that the AFL is a joke. (I actually got sick of it all at this point and watched the show on ice age mammals, and then Rake, instead, before returning to the footy.


So I reckon that the GF should be played in Launceston, particularly whilst the joke of Hawthorn being a sort of surrogate Tasmanian team continues, it’s a nice ground, would only take a few thousand of those who could actually afford to attend the game to fill it and everyone would be a winner. I would even allow that as a make belief Tasmanian team the Hawks could play on their “home ground”.


The good news is though if you are a Western Australian is that the trip over to Perth is what it should be, a nightmare for opposing teams. Freo and West Coast have been most impressive, yes after round one I can read the tea leaves!


The problem though is that at the end of the first round all of the winners, except St Kilda, looked impressive. I hate to admit it but the Essendon Infractioners were really good  particularly given their circumstances and in fact to me  the best of the lot but then Freo looked pretty OK, Hawthorn finished off the Lions  convincingly as did Geelong, Adelaide. Getting back to the Bombers, Jobe Watson is such an outstanding player and that new recruit, “Chappie” is it? Looks like he can play a little. Daniher could be anything.


It’s fashionable of course to bemoan current standards, particularly kicking across the backline and worse to backward positions to then gain a possible advantage setting up lose players up the field but for me, in general the game has been more exciting to watch in the last couple of years because it is so fast. You notice this particularly when the play is slowed down by a player dithering around as he tries to work out where to kick the thing. Even Ross Lyon’s mob made a feature of going forward with quick attacking play.


As far as the losers are concerned, pretty much as expected but I do think that Adelaide and Brisbane might yet have decent seasons, North Melbourne, who knows and the rest, not much. Still this could all be turned around by the end of the next round.


Week’s Highlight: Essendon

Week’s Lo Light: Essendon (however the Tank Engine gets an honourable mention).

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer

Leave a Comment