Round 8 – Fearless: Happy Mother’s Day for the largely unsung members of the AFL community

They drive to games, they cheer, they treat injuries, they run canteens and are parts of the club’s board. Congratulations to the mums, the very backbone of most sporting clubs around the country.


We love your work. We really do.


Hiya hope all’s well.


Two interesting developments in footy land:


1) Joel Wilkinson, AFL journeyman of Australian-Nigerian descent, wannabe soccer player and gridiron recruit sues the AFL for entrenched racism, pain and suffering. Joel played for the Gold Coast Suns and when delisted the Suns’ recruiters said in no way was his delisting due to racism. Shine Lawyers enter the fray and the matter gets listed before the Human Rights Commission. I detect something’s amiss. As an aside, I undertook a beer-related google-search on the word “furphy” and it was so defined as a rumour or story, especially one that is untrue or absurd.


I would never deny Joel’s search for justice. However I can’t help but think that there’s a touch of furphy in the story. We know what Nicky Winmar has endured and we also know that the AFL in 2018 would love to solve many societal ills. Something here just doesn’t add up. Instinct maybe is what prompts me to conclude this, rather than cynicism. We wait and let it all play out. Footy’s not perfect but it has come a long way.


2) Mark Neeld falls on his sword in the Essendon Coaches Box. He’ll land on his feet, he’s halfway through his MBA. What I can’t understand is his position as Game Performance Coach. Rob Harding is also in the Bombers box. His title was “Game Intelligence and Opposition Strategy Coach”. These titles are just pure and utter BS. There were others also in the coaches box, apart from the obvious one, John Worsfold, the coach. In a nutshell, this is the biggest flaw in modern footy. The players are overcoached. They are surrounded by almost as many coaches as they are teammates. WTF is happening? Line coaches (backs, mids, forwards, rucks) had to report through Neeld to get their thoughts to Worsfold. OMG! WTF! Seriously, does any player utilise instinct anymore or do you have an indoctrination into theory and application of stoppages? Do you have a thesis into the ways of attack and defence: the duality of the modern AFL player. Players are born with instinct – Maurice Rioli, Tony Lockett, Greg Williams, Gary Ablett Snr and Jnr…where does it end? That’s why they are great and why people come to watch. Brilliance, skill, instinct…nothing more.


I simplify footy back to the quote by Allan Jeans: “they’ve got the ball, you’ve got the ball, or no one’s got the ball”. The AFL has brought mess this on the game by allowing clubs to have too many coaches and by having an almost pathological need to follow all things American sport. The AFL can fix this mess. Maybe a salary cap on coach spending.


The game is played by players. The recruiters should only recruit players NOT athletes. Instinct can NOT be taught. Players should NOT be measured by skinfolds and GPS stats. The coaches need to simplify their teachings NOT overcoach the players…they aren’t studying for a doctorate! The day an Ablett, Lockett, Williams or Rioli are NOT recruited to play the game is the day that footy will have lost itself.


Let’s see what happens. Don’t hold your breath.


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