Crio’s Q: Which is the better prep for a life in elite professional sport?

Money well spent?

Don’t start me on “entertainers”, International Rules, fact-finding missions and the other ways that millions of dollars are burnt by ambitious and deluded Administrators. The sooner they realise that footy was the best local comp in the world and stop dreaming of being the 50th best global, even regional, game, then we can cut the ambassadorial crap and resume enjoying Aussie Rules and the players who wear the jumpers and carry our hopes.

But “discovering” those blokes, whom many of us once aspired to join, might be part of the wastage of money and effort that do the game no ultimate good.

On Sunday we watched the TAC Cup. This comp is part of a money drain to develop the next generation of overpaid stars. Recruiters, scouts, consultants and coaches are consumed year round on kids who are processed for years through “the system”. Many of them have been on multiple junkets abroad and are forensically calibrated for performance and recovery.

On Monday night Matt Priddis won the Brownlow. His win, though not forecast, had pundits banging their foreheads for overlooking his stats and past form. Priddis’ acceptance speech and demeanour have generated widespread admiration. A country boy who moved to Subi, this surf lifesaving zealot was an “elite junior” but was not drafted. He continued with his hobbies, worked as a tiler, trained hard, dreamed big and played WAFL – winning Premierships and a Sandover. The reward was a “no promises” rookie spot with WCE. Now he has widespread respect as a partner and father, a team leader, a humble and well rounded person – and a Brownlow Medallist.

Which is the better prep?

On one hand we have targeted, professional athletes for AFL – a provincial game – with eggs and egos in one basket.

On the other there’s a bloke who’s earned his stripes, worked for a living, played against men, pursued outside interests and reaped his rewards.

In a time of Qs re expenditure and revenue why is so much spent on making good footballers? The best play at the top level regardless. That’s here. Not exported to Europe or the States.

Good players emerge and are better for the journey.

Congratulations Matt Priddis.


  1. Crio – great points. One of the beautiful things about Priddis’ win was the amount of egg it left on the faces of countless “experts” in the game. How many highly paid assistant coaches and talent scouts overlooked this gem? Why are the Demons still trying to figure out if their first round draft pick can play when players like this drift under their noses?

  2. Love it, crio.
    “The best play at the top level regardless. That’s here.”

    A team environment probably benefits from having at least a few of these guys from “outside the system”. Provides a sense of perspective.

    M Priddis’ Brownlow an interesting moment in the evolution of recruiting.

  3. I sometimes wonder whether the bells and whistles are to employ footy sycophants and to deter traitors to other codes rather than advance the game.
    The more money and more focus equals better footy is baffling….better athletes certainly, but good footy was always broader than that.

  4. The cosseting and cherrypicking is so often counterproductive because it fosters the unhealthy view that there a best way to develop.
    As with coaching,best strategies fall to next strategies
    Critics will tell you that Priddis can’t kick or run
    Umpires will tell you that he’s better this year than last
    Well done Matt

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