Cynique, moi?

Greetings Tipsters

Read an article in the SMH a few days ago, the writer stated that Howard, Abbott and Trump had taught her that politicians could be dishonest, I thought: “how naive can you be?”

Having thus refreshed my base cynicism, I went on to ruminating upon the DAFL. As writ a few weeks back, the competition expansion to ten teams next year and fourteen in 2020 will perforce include hundreds of players who aren’t good enough to make any of the current eight teams. If you were serious about creating a genuine competition you’d stick with eight teams for five years, they would get better and in 2023 there’d be hundreds of young women who had five years of junior football behind them. Bear in mind here, Rulebook’s opinion on the risk of injury cos the players haven’t played often enough for long enough to develop the instinct of self-protection when going for the ground ball.

The reps game in the gap week last year was a great match, featuring the best forty female footballers in the country. Today, they’re spread across eight teams, twenty-four months later they’ll be spread across fourteen teams. The average quality of team skills will decline. Yes, some youngsters will come to the fore but overall we will get more matches of less attraction.

Well, then I started to think, why should this be so? Why would the most powerful and wealthy sport comp in the land go to all this effort only to shoot themselves in the foot?

Hooking the women’s teams to existing clubs made perfect sense, access to coaches, training facilities, etc. Also meant that costs were negligible. How much has the ‘AFL’ spent on women’s football? Let’s see, there’s ground hire, airfares, salaries and, ahh, anything else?

You almost want to congratulate Aragorn for the Machiavellian stunt he’s pulled off. Is the DAFL budget listed under ‘Marketing’? I saw a bunch of ads featuring DAFL players and the word ‘never.’ What the hell? This week, there’s GAFL players and ‘never’ has been expanded to a phrase. Never give up, or something like that.

Grieves me to say it, but the DAFL is a marketing exercise. Beautiful way to fill the gap between Test cricket and the GAFL, suck in media space, get us wound up for the blokes’ footy, buggerall expense. If I were the advertising hotshot who put it together I’d be chopping choice cocaine and bragging to all my wanker mates about it.

This does not demean the efforts and enthusiasm of the players, coaches and fans.  The DAFL is a great idea and deserves its place in the sun.  But pushing it too far, too fast will dilute the product.  Remember Super League?

Sure, over forty thou showed up for the first match at the new Perth stadium but there was a huge historical/novelty factor at play there.  How many will show up to watch St Kilda vs Essendon at a suburban ground in Round Six, 2020?  Will Seven or Fox think it worth the expense to send an OB van and full camera crew to telecast it properly?

The expansion from eight to fourteen teams in four seasons is a cynical grab at fans’ allegiances for the sake of media space at the expense of the integrity of the DAFL.  It will result in far more negative comments, maybe justified, a poorer image for the competition, a lower standard of play.  In 2016 I read comments from women players who thought eight teams might be too many, maybe six would have been a better number, for the sake of quality matches.  Smart take, but sorry ladies, not enough clickbait.

Cheers Tipsters

P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production

About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Nailed it Earl. Not just Aragorn, but the Suits at clubs like my Eagles and the others without a DAFL team feared they were missing out on a market segment. If you can’t give ’em bread, give ’em circuses.
    Last Monday’s Australian Story on the ABC about the two steps forward/one step back development of the Matildas was an uplifting and cautionary tale. Sam Kerr “world superstar” in a professional international league is the happy ending to 40 years of graft and sacrifice by trailblazers. Aragorn is trying to do it on steroids and monkey glands.
    Never mind the quality, feel the width.

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi guys,
    on the flip side, having the competition in and of itself has guaranteed a huge flow of new girls and women who will make this competition better as time goes on. It doesn’t have to be perfect now, it just has to start. The games played this year are better than last, and the season ends with a grand final that wasn’t decided until the last game. For those intensely invested and loving seeing women play, we have to take the bumps and mistake in organisation along with us. It was always going to be contentious just to have a women’s league. I liked the take of Trinity Handley posted on March 16. I know you are not comparing, and I know you are saying go more slowly and carefully, but those most invested (clubs, supporters and players) are showing they want it expanded. Talked to women of new Saints VFL side and they are keen to go tomorrow. Put in protections and teach them rather than try and slow it down.

    And can you explain what DAFL and GAFL are, I assume its the women and men? Perhaps you’ve explained it in an earlier post.

    Thanks for your thoughts

  3. Guys and Dolls. Earl’s nod to Broadway and Damon Runyon.
    His take is that the rapid expansion of the women’s game is being driven by the men’s agenda (I concur). No disagreement about the goal, just the best way of getting there.
    I notice that there were some bad collision injuries in the Fremantle-Carlton game yesterday, with player’s enthusiasm greater than their skills and awareness. Don’t want to see a life altering injury.

  4. There is no easy answer to all this, Earl.
    And I fully understand your argument.
    The one thing I am sure of is that in 8 – 10 years’ time the womens game will be flying.

  5. John Butler says

    Don’t know if I’m with you on this one, Earl.

    Yes, there’s no doubt the AFL have tried to do things on the cheap this season. And Channel 7 have clearly tried to downplay the product ahead of having to negotiate actual TV rights with the AFL for next season. The question of depth is ultimately unknowable because things are changing so rapidly.

    But on the positive side, the standard of play from most of the sides has improved beyond anything I personally expected this year. So have the bottom four players in most teams, injury lists allowing. We won’t really know about the depth until the two new clubs hit the field next year. I suspect a few players might have been closeted away: there might be some surprises.

    On the issue of player safety: this is an issue of concern to men exclusively. The women actually playing find the topic hilarious. Some might add patronising. They are perfectly aware of the risks. Some of the code hoppers might need to work on their game awareness, but what would you expect after they’ve been excluded from the sport since early teen years? The only way they’ll learn is by playing.

    The women who play actually relish the physical contact element. Daisy Pearce has written much more eloquently on this topic than anything I can offer:

    If you want to worry about injury, take a look at the men’s game. The number of players I still see leading with their heads into contested situations worries me much more.

    Cynicism over AFL motives is perfectly justified. They rarely disappoint in that respect. But I continue to find the AFLW easily the most interesting development in big time footy since the formation of the national comp. As a Carlton supporter, it’s been a long time since I’ve held such a glass-half-full view.


  6. Rick Kane says

    What JB and Yvette and Daisy and Trinity said. The game is on. The tide is rising. Saturday night’s Dogs vs Dees was as good an advertisement for where the game is at (including spekkies; brilliant goals; hard as at the footy; an injury; pathetic services for fans at the game; a ripper venue; and all the welded on love of this wheel within a wheel). AFLW is the best thing to happen to footy in a long time, for reasons Yvette mentions above. Not sure of your intention using the term DAFL Earl (ironic, sarcastic stab at the powers that be I assume), I reckon that misses the mark for what is actually going on even despite how little heart and soul the AFL has really given the venture this year. As JB and others note the game itself has stepped up a few noticeable notches and won’t be sliding back.


  7. bring back the torp says

    I agree with Yvette, John & Rick above.

    Also, Earl, your basic premise is flawed: the average AFLW standard WILL rise again in 2019 -as it will in ongoing years. This is due to:-

    . Chyloe Kurdas, AFL Victoria Female Football Manager, said on ABC 774 Radio in February 2018 that the top 18 U18 Girls, who will be drafted into the AFLW late this year, will be the MOST SKILLED group of teenage female footballers the game has ever seen.

    . We have specialist Academies for female footballers now, as well as the elite female U18 TAC Competition (which started a few weeks ago).

    . AFLW players are receiving elite training/skill development/nutrition & recovery advice through their affiliated AFL Clubs’ programs -a new experience for many. This is inevitably increasing skills each year -as has been witnessed by the better standard in 2018.

    . The sheer increase in female playing nos. is massive; & is inevitably attracting some of the best athletes to AF for the first time.

    . Adding “big” Clubs eg RFC, EFC, HFC, WCFC, & GFC will simply amplify the GR female player boom, & general popularity of the AFLW. Many of their female supporters might not have followed the AFLW, since their Club was not involved in it.

    . The AFL will, hopefully, reduce the no. of day time games played during the heat of the Aust. summer. Playing above 28 degrees causes sweaty hands/sweat in eyes/stinging eyes/ loss of concentration, fatigue etc. -which reduces skill levels.
    Games (for men or women in the Aust. summer) should only be played at 5.30 pm, or later -if so, the general AFLW skill increase will be very noticeable.

    Finally, don’t compare female AF to male AF – biologically different! Enjoy the AFLW in the context of female sport only. Men will always kick longer, jump higher, run more quickly etc. -so what! It will always be a different style of game -but women will need just as much courage (& they have already demonstrated that). For many, the AFLW entertainment level is very satisfying -as evident in the good crowds averaging c.6500 per match: one of the best stand-alone female team comp. averages in the world.

    As for the awareness of protecting their heads & bodies in imminent collisions, women will only get better with more advanced training & experience.

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