Crio’s Question: Are fans losing touch as AFL expands?

As the AFL has expanded I have lost touch.

Players are less accessible.

Games are less accessible.

Yet we are constantly told how “good” development is.

A dinosaur, I’m not convinced.

Dozens of footy shows do not compensate for going to your “home” club.

I wonder why we should barrack for the AFL. Why West Sydney is good for the game and hence good for us. Why I should fear other sports gaining a foothold. How big broadcasting rights and inflated salaries should excite me.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Frame of reference.


  2. Crio,

    You’re spot on.
    Over in sleepy old Adelaide, I haven’t been to an AFL game for many years for a number of reasons;
    -hard to get to
    -hard to get home
    -red coats everywhere telling people what to do and where to go (in a nice way)
    -it’s getting relatively expensive as well

    I do however go to watch the Bays on a regular basis. It’s close, cheap
    (membership for home games from about $80 for the year), you can have a beer with your mates while still watching the footy and not feel like an outcast, even the smokers can have a fag. You can even still get a snag in a piece of bread or a steak sandwich & chips with sauce for $5 or so, kids can also kick a footy around at each break.
    After the game you can go into the club (recently renovated) maybe have a few more drinks and hear the coach give his synopsis of the game and hand out awards to the players who mingle with the fans. After all that I can either decide to walk home or get a cab for under $10.
    In the first half of the season they have a lot of Friday night games and attract good crowds.
    From my point of view it’s a better experience. The game standard is OK, obviously not AFL level but you see plenty of AFL listed players going around.

    Sometimes the Bays even beat Port…nirvana.

    AFL has turned into a TV sport for me. I guess its different in Melbourne given accessibility to the G and more games but for me and many over here grass roots footy at the local club is a better day out.

  3. Barkly St End says

    Rather than asking what the game should be doing for us, shouldn’t we be asking what we can do for the game?

    If you have to question why the game is important…if you have to question the validity of following something which at it’s very core is actually of little importance to sustaining life…then we may as well put all our effort into disseminating the idea of the holy trinity and the resurrection…at least in that narrative, you are guaranteed some form of salvation, whereas with following the footy…there are few guarantees.

    If your highs offset your lows, you are doing well.

    Many on this board remember a time when the VFL chugged along with the same 12 teams for 62 seasons (allowing for the interuptions of war and one relocation).

    62 years from now, will our grandchildren and great grandchildren question the right of GWS and the Suns to exist? Will they be overly concerned with the introduction 50 years earlier of Joondalup, Hobart, Far Nth Queensland and Wellington?

    Will the people whose families once lived in and around the old working-class suburb of Footscray be overly concerned at that point in time that the Western Bulldogs had merged with Central Districts decades earlier?

    Time heals everything.

  4. They’ll be watching soccer on TV.

  5. Corporate lawyers and nanny state protectors will have killed the game off in 50 years, much like they would do with the NRL and NFL.

    But in all seriousness players are becoming more and more fake during their careers and only show some sort of personality once retired or axed. Elite Clubs are nothing more than franchises who will eventually become more and more privatised.

    And it’s not really a secret that figures relating to game development can be doctored to suit, every sport does it. For every positive story about how there are 5 Auskick centres are booked out week after week with 30 kids trying the game, there are stories of clubs struggling to find enough players to fill junior teams without relying on players playing 8 quarters (heck of the 50 players that played in our senior side last year, about a third would have played more than one game on a single day at least once, and I did myself twice). Sure there are positive stories, such as the addition of a couple of new teams and a womens league in Toowoomba (Chinchilla and East Burnett are fielding mens teams this year), but that is tampered by the Under 18’s team being forcibly disbanded after being denied entry into a higher level Brisbane based competition. Many either will be stuck playing in a low standard senior competition (Darling Downs league a relatively weak league) or be lost to Rugby League (possibly back into Queensland Cup in 2014 or 2015) or other sports.

    Don’t be fooled, the real development is in the grass roots, and that in reality is stagnant at best in the so called developing states and regressing in the strongholds.

  6. Barkly St End says


    You might well be right.

    But if that were to happen, would it be a direct consequence of AFL and clubs stubbornly working towards 700,000+ memberships?

    Would be a direct result of stubbornly trying to maintain the third highest average attendance in the world?

    Would it be a direct result of stubbornly working towards billion plus dollar TV rights deals?

    Would it be a direct result of abandoning rat infested hovels that used to masquerade as the home grounds of some Melbourne clubs?

    Wouldn’t the kids have switched to watching soccer on TV quicker if we were still organising our game as if it were the stagflationary seventies?

    Mick J
    Australian Football has been losing clubs in the bush at a steady rate since the 1890s.

    Soccer has had higher participation rates than Australian Football in Victoria since at least 1980, probably earlier. Soccer has probably had the highest participation rate in NSW forever.

    And yet the gap today between the AFL and the A-League is every bit as great as the gap between the VFL and VSL was in the 1960s.

Leave a Comment