FEARLESS 2021: Round 19 – Coaches Beware! Be Careful For What You Wish For


Hi all, hope you’re all well in life, in health and in footy..


Coaches. There’s 18 of them. Apparently, many are barking mad. Who knew?


When the coaching fraternity starts to speak out about things, do we get worried a bit? Rule changes? Why listen to the coaches, they only want to win. Case In Point: Damian Hardwick complains when the concussion sub isn’t a medical sub..I want to replace an injured mid with another mid not a ruckman. Der! This is a triple Premiership Coach speaking. The point of the Concussion Sub was exactly that…to assist teams with the treatment of a concussed player. Of course, the house of cards fell into place that it became a medical sub. Are you telling me that teams have never had injuries before? The AFL got a case of jelly knees with that one.


Coaches complaining about reduced support staff. Do we remember the 90s and before? Blight and Pagan won two flags with one assistant coach. Not the bloated format that was pre-Covid. I remember that photo of the Essendon coaches’ box when there were more laptops than people. Have they over-complicated the game? Yes. Purely and simply, yes!! Now post-Covid, the coaches are whingeing because they don’t have the support staff they once had. Someone should quietly remind them of two things: 1) there’s a worldwide pandemic happening at present and hundreds of thousands of people are dying, dead or gravely ill, and 2) the AFL lost $23 million last year. The AFL don’t like to lose $1. So, the loss has resulted in the commandment to cut staff, across all clubs and across the leagues. Covid has become a game changer in this regard. That’s not anything new mind you, but don’t shock the coaching fraternity into believing they’re expendable. Shock horror! Get a grip, coaches! Many people have lost businesses, relatives and loved ones and you’re complaining? You may collectively want to read the tea leaves before you open your mouths.


Into this mix, comes Eagles Coach Adam Simpson with his comments about not enough support staff and it may impact on the type of people they recruit. Adam is not a boisterous and loud person and is quite thoughtful. I think though he might have missed the boat here somewhat as this type of recruiting shift towards private school kids from ‘safe’ backgrounds had already started happening about a decade ago. Risk and reward. Return on Investment. Call it what you like. If one new recruit costs say $200,000 to take from one environment to another, then the shift was already on by AFL clubs to guarantee something in return. Sources of recruiting have become conservative in this regard, and it was almost perceived to be an outlandish call by recruiter/ex-player Matt Rendell to suggest that clubs may not take aboriginal kids into the future for fear of possible flight risk or inability to settle into a club that is far from home. Matt got unfairly pilloried for this suggestion by a sanctimonious footy media. It should be added that there are absolutely no guarantees of any recruit making it, so fortunately the emphasis on “safer” recruits is not foolproof. Equally, the indigenous recruits offer so much to the game that it would be a tragedy if they were not recruited.


Oh well, so we leave the coaches to coach. Be wary of the ‘winning industry’ mentality. At last thought both Bomber Thompson and Damian Hardwick took years to become Premiership coaches.


Cheers PT



2021 FEARLESS Round 19: Bitsa – bits of rd 19 and bits of rd20 – Covid fixturing on the run

Port Adelaide hosted Collingwood at Marvel. Yes, correct…as expected in club great Travis Boak’s 300th the Power were too hot for the Pies. Pendles’ broken leg didn’t help Collingwood, even if it wasn’t as gruesome at Connor McGregor. Whilst the Pies took charge early, Port’s finals aspirations kicked them up a cog as Charlie Dixon kicked 4 and Wee Willem Drew got 32, Boak 30. Port by 28.

Marvel Stadium kicked off proceedings on Saturday as the Blues took on the Roos without gun goal kicker Harry McKay, a case of twinitis. Interestingly, margins at breaks were 2pts, 2pts in 1st half, which ended with a stellar Ed Curnow goal in his 200th. 3rdqtr saw Joeys eviscerate the Blues finals hopes, 7.2 to 0.4. Souva Larkey 7, Thomas 4. Roos by 39. 4th qtr 6.1 to 6.2. Blues again played 3 qtrs.

A tale of two halves with Tropic Thunder at the Gabba with Brisbane starting poorly and Gold Coast finishing poorly at the Gabba (originally round 20). The Suns had a 27pt lead at the half led by the forgotten Brayden Fiorini, 41 and twin forwards King and Corbett 3 each. Lions took a 6pt lead into the last off the work of Daniher, McCarthy and Cameron. Lyons 33, Lions 8.4 to 1.3 last qtr. BANG!

Saints forward Max King came off age with a display of contested marking up forward that Saints fans hadn’t seen since Nick Riewoldt. The Eagles at Optus were always going to be a challenge. Both teams up for the finals race but the Eagles superiority prevailed to 3 /4 time, despite an injury to Flyin Ryan. The barnstorming Saints nearly pinched it, but the Eagle hung on by 8pts. Waterman 12 marks.

Adelaide hosted Hawthorn in the Kyle Hartigan Cup at Marvel (originally round 20) on Saturday Night. Crow-turned-Hawk Kyle had an ok night with 14 stats and 61 dreamteam points, but squaring off against Tex wouldn’t be that great. Tex got 4 and Rory Laird showed why he’s an All-Aussie regular with 36 and 2 goals. In Vic, he’d be a household name. Crows did enough, a win by 19pts.

Melbourne’s top of the table clash against Western Bulldogs at a wet MCG (originally round 20) and unlike their previous encounter, the Doggies were clearly the better side. Cody Weightman continued his heroics with a mark over serial step ladder Gawn that was seen from Tulla! Bont-O-Meter went off as Dogs skipper led them to a 20pt win. Keath did hammy/ Love Schache subs in well in defence.

Fremantle in 2021 could be summed up by a word: injury. Against Sydney at Metricon, the Dockers started well, leading until nearly half time, before the purple haze went pear-shaped. Injuries to Fyfe, Walters, Darcy and Pearce didn’t help. Neither did re-emergence of the Swans’ Mr Fixit Isaac Heeney with 5 and 22stats and a massive hanger! Swans 2nd half rubbed the Dockers noses in it, win by 40pts.

Geelong hosted Richmond at the MCG on Sunday and yet again Cats Coach manages a whinge about the game not being played at the Cattery. Talk about unnecessary distractions! Fortunately, by the end of the game it was superfluous. The Cats got the job done again over their fellow 2020 Grand Finalists by 38pts. Big Esava kicked 4 alongside the Tomahawk 4 too. Tigers racing finals clock. C Guthrie 34.

Time will tell but Essendon might have shot themselves in the foot collectively in losing to the GWS Giants at Metricon on Sunday. When little Giant Daniels kicked the sealer, Dons coach Truck looked pensive in the box, wondering what lay ahead. Credit where its due, GWS coach Leon Cameron has tinkered with his Ferrari and it keeps going. Whitfield 35, Tom Green 29, Hogan 2. GWS in the top 8.


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


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  1. Football Analyst says

    Your article is correct.

    However, changing the subject slightly, what I do like is when Administrators, like Richmond CEO, boldly declared in 2010 that Richmond would win 3 flags and have 80,000 members within the next 10 years. Not only was Brendan Gale fearless in saying that, he was right.

    I’m hoping that St Kilda President Andrew Bassat proves to be right in declaring that St Kilda’s premiership window will start from 2022.

    Of course, it can backfire too, when at the start of 2004, Hawthorn coach Peter Schwab declared that Hawthorn would win the premiership in 2004. Hawthorn, of course, finished very low on the ladder that year and Peter Schwab was sacked as Hawthorn coach at the end of 2004.

    Perhaps that was the best thing to happen to Hawthorn because his replacement as coach, Alastair Clarkson ended up winning 4 flags for Hawthorn, notwithstanding much better players.

    The Peter Schwab declaration that Hawthorn would win the flag in 2004 reminds me of former Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, who in the mid 1980s famously declared that by 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty.

    Ah, if we only had a crystal ball.

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