Conflicting Interests

The announcement of the All-Australian team got me to thinking. Not about the team itself which, let’s face it, contained some questionable inclusions. No, I was more interested in the make-up of the All-Australian selection panel. The AFL continually promotes itself as a broad church, but it seems to be an AA selector, a pre-requisite is that you are a retired footballer who works in the media. I should not be so surprised, because the burgeoning industry that has grown within and around the AFL is chock full of experts, pundits and others who all wear multiple hats.

Let’s start with a snap-shot of the All-Australian selectors:

Andrew Demetriou: why on earth does the El Supremo need to be the chairman (albeit non-voting) of this committee? In a year when he had a long European sojourn, surely he has more important things to do than sit in on these meetings?

Adrian Anderson: I reckon I could write a thesis on the ridiculousness of this bloke being a part of the All-Australian discussion. The kindest word I can come up with to sum it up: unnecessary.

Kevin Bartlett: KB, who hosts the “Hungry for Sport” radio show on SEN each week-day morning (as well as commentating matches), is these days widely seen as an AFL apologist given that he also sits on the laws of the game committee.

Leigh Matthews: Lethal does special comments on Channel 7 and 3AW, and occasionally writes articles for the Herald-Sun. Wearing all those media hats qualifies him instantly.

Gerard Healy: One of Fox Footy’s faces, he has been a long-time part of 3AW’s footy coverage. Multiple media hats? You betcha.

Danny Frawley: Another member of the Fox Footy mafia, he is also involved with the AFL Coaches Association which, I guess, provides another angle. As well as being a part of Triple M’s footy team. A huge “yes” given his multiple interests.

Mark Ricciutto and Glen Jakovich: token respective South Australian and Western Australian representatives. As commentators, and now selectors, they made great footballers.

Luke Darcy: Channel 7. Tick. Triple M. Tick. All-Australian selector. Tick. His comment that Matthew Pavlich’s modest early-season form cost him a spot in the team conveniently overlooks Buddy Franklin’s non-existent form in the six matches he missed.

As well as this bunch and their many and varied roles, there are journos on the telly (Caroline Wilson, Mark Robinson), player managers providing special comments (yes, really!) and various others with fingers in multiple pies.

The relevance of the All-Australian team is a different kettle of fish altogether. But please, give us some diversity on the selection panel. As a bare minimum, people who are currently hatless.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. I cannot believe the media career Luke Darcy’s been able to eke out – he is the football equivalent of a carnival shill trying to guess people’s weights.

  2. Who would you have on your All Australian committee smokie?

  3. Ben
    I have thought more about whom I would not have on it, rather than whom I would have on it. But definitely people who don’t work for Fox Footy / MMM / 3AW / The Age et al.
    Someone like Robert Flower would make a great chairman. Grab Matthew Scarlett, I don’t reckon he will be moving into the media. And what about an ex-coach such as Gary Ayers (who was a handy player, by the way).

  4. Jeff Dowsing says

    With Nic Nat & Cyril getting a guernsey I’m astonished Bwuce wasn’t on the panel.

    Excellent summation Smokie, I’d put the red vest on half of that lot too.

  5. Scarlett & Flower are good calls. Malcolm Blight would be another good addition I reckon, I still find his opinions on the game excellent on the rare occasion that he offers them these days.

  6. Call me cynical Smokie, but I reckon this is an exercise in promoting the ‘stars’ of the future. Not in the spirit of the game. If is the AFL worried about the future maybe? How Kerr, Jacobs, Stevie J, Gibson and Mitchell could be overlooked is amazing.

  7. I’m amazed at how an imaginary team can generate so much discontent and debate. Every year we hear statisitics justify positions and performance and inclusion in teams. We hear how certain clubs were overlooked and how champions of the game deserve more respect and inclusion in the All Australian is proof of this respect. Teams of the year and teams of the century have become a vehicle for keeping the football conversation in our media. This perhaps justifies who the selectors are. I can only liken the All Australian selection to the one that will occur on Monday night. The Brownlow won’t be awarded to the player who kept his opponent without possession and followed the coaches instructions to achieve the team win. Despite this on Tuesday we will all read articles about who should have won the Brownlow, how player “x” should have been awarded 3 votes for a 40 possession game, how the voting system is flawed and how the umpires shouldn’t be the only ones voting!

  8. Stay tuned – next week I’m launching :

    “Dips’ top 50 players who started playing football as a left footer and became right footers”

    They must have played football.

    Or is that criterium?

    Let the discussion begin!

  9. Andrew Starkie says

    I lost faith when SOS was named FB in the AFL TOTC. Token current player at the time.

  10. Agreed Andrew

    How the TOTC could contain only two players who played prior to 1950 is beyond me. The unbalanced weighting of ‘modern day’ players showed a complete disresgard for the stars of yesteryear. The omission of Gordon Coventry whose goalkicking record stood for an incredible 70 years simply beggars belief. And this in an age when the footy was like a medicine ball.

    Nevertheless, congratulations to this years’ team. There are no poor players in the side but a couple are lucky to be there in my opinion and a few unlucky to have been overlooked.

  11. Neil Belford says

    Smokie – correct – the selection panel is totally dubious and clearly useless – we can all identify great players, but the task is to pick a team.

    Why dont we just ask the 18 club selection panels to be the selectors. No meetings, they just submit their teams position by position, without any of their own players. That would give us 18 selections for each positon.

    The bottom finishing clubs nominations for positions would carry 1000 points each, ranging up to 1018 votes for nominations per position for the minor premier. The purpose of this weighting would be to minimise ties. ( Actually I could make that even more non linear and guarantee there could be no tie ).

    So there you go – might not give the AFL the media space it is after but I’m pretty sure that would deliver us the best possible all Australian team.

  12. Stephanie Holt says

    Like your idea of getting match committees on to it. They debate week in week out the most dangerous players on the opposition, the hardest to match and negate. Would love to see their views.
    The AFLPA Player of the Year has become a very respected, credible rival to the Brownlow. Maybe we need an alternative All-Australian.

  13. Shane Kennedy says

    My theory is that the selectors sneak a few contentious selections so that the media (i.e. them) have something to talk about for the rest of the week.

  14. Should have a ‘Knacker” on the panel. Heaps of un-biased experts amongst us.

Leave a Comment