Round 2: Is that it?


I must admit that, despite the commentariat’s enthusiasm, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the return of footy last night.


Perhaps I missed my pre-game pub tips ritual?


Perhaps Geelong-Hawthorn will stir the blood?


It was only Collingwood and Richmond and both coaches were desperate not to lose. Early days.


But I am interested to hear what your reaction was, and what your conversations with others say about general responses.


Here’s what’s in today’s Almanac newsletter:


Ron Barassi has always said that footy is such a good game, no administrator or League can stuff it up. The on-field stuff saves it. He’s got a point. I have always been able to ignore the off-field stuff and I reckon I wrote in Loose Men Everywhere (two decades ago – what?) that when Michael Voss and Nathan Buckley were flat out shoulder to shoulder after a footy in the open spaces on the Gabba wing, I wasn’t thinking about player contracts, and drug policies, and Eddie McGuire, and Toyota and rights deals, I was watching two supreme footballers locked in a battle. It was the footy that mattered.


Well, footy was back last evening, and while it’s a bit much to expect scintillating form in the circumstances, I must admit I felt a little underwhelmed by it all. I don’t think the footy engine needed more choke. The hype has just about flooded the whole shebang. I’ve penned a brief note this morning looking for the reactions of others. You can add your thoughts in the comments section – I will be asked to comment on Offsiders this Sunday morning and I’d prefer not to be swept along in the cheer-leading. I’d rather (mis)represent the mood accurately (however nuanced that might be). Perhaps my spirits will be lifted as The Hoops run down the race tonight. That has always stirred the soul.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    I must admit as a disinterested watcher last night I found the game also underwhelming. Dewy conditions probably didn’t help skill levels, and with both teams reluctant to take risks the free flowing game we may have expected did not really eventuate.Early days I suppose! I think I have been spoiled by reading game accounts on the Footy Almanac from the 60s, 70s, 80s when ‘footy was footy’ and wishing the game could return to those entertaining times when we stood on the terraces and screamed our lungs out..

  2. Very ordinary game but probably not unexpected. I have been of the view that the season should have been called off as the damage to the game could be irreparable. Last night was exhibit A. I really, really hope the season and the style of game opens up.

    The lacklustre game signified how important community involvement is.Cliche-less, boisterous, tribalism. That’s what we need. The atmosphere around footy is heavy, as if the game is dragging an anchor. Or anchors. Weighed down by a money cancer, a stifling array of “causes” and a leadership staring into the headlights.

    The game is screaming out for another Geelong 2007-like flag which saved the game back then and may save it again now, with long kicking, big grabbing, high scoring, play-on football!!

  3. Stainless says

    “Commentariat’s enthusiasm”? That’s putting it mildly! It’s been borderline nauseating to hear the “return of footy” dominating every news bulletin – as though there’s nothing much else happening in the world.
    Like Dips, I would have been happy to see the season called off. Let’s face it, it’s only money that’s driven this hasty return. Apart from the lurking possibility of another outbreak which would surely shut the whole thing down, the risks of a severely compromised spectacle (Exhibit A – last night) are great.
    Frankly I’ve quite enjoyed a three month break from the relentless cycle of live sport. It’s been a rare opportunity to reflect on the history of the game, the great moments, players, teams, contests without being distracted by the next mundane match that demands our attention simply because it’s “live”.
    Things may improve in the coming weeks but I’m not holding my breath.

  4. I hadn’t imagined that the game would be low scored. I was so surprised. Richmond had lack of speed and Dusty couldn’t be everywhere. Jack Riewoldt lost his skills – fewer marks and even couldn’t kick from 35 metres out at last quarter,

    Collingwood put much pressures at their back pocket and numbers were high. They pushed into rush at the last minutes. Richmond couldn’t get over the opponents at their goal square,

    It is good to have footy back, but I was disappointed with the low scores. I look forward to tonight’s blockbuster played in Geelong.

  5. Daryl Schramm says

    JTH. If you are underwhelmed that is significant. I had it on with a casual interest, mainly focussing on my phone catching up on things. The commentary pissed me off bit the dubbed crowd noise helped a bit. I am with Dips and Colin (and no doubt others). You can have my $10 x 2 for the tipping and top 8. Won’t be participating. Oh. Wait. What! I entered the ballot to get to the showdown Sat night, thinking buckleys chance. Shit! I’M IN! Will be an interesting experience with 2K at the match. Weather forecast not good. Would help if I could smuggle some port in.

  6. With not much enthusiasm, I watched anyway. At half time decided to get into a lovely warm bed and watch the rest from there (never had a tele in the bedroom before – until now!). Struggled to stay awake. “Oh my god, what a terrible game!” I kept exclaiming to a fast-asleep Marshall, but was pleased I lasted for the final minutes of “excitement”. Apart from Collingwood’s first quarter, they all look buggered.

  7. Meant to add: The players taking a knee before the game was the best part of the evening!

  8. JTH it’s showed just how vital spectators are it lacks soul, atmosphere and meaning massive no from me can’t watch it

  9. I will be watching the matches, particularly my beloved Freo, though it isn’t the same. Most round 1 matches are scrappy affairs, but this one took it to a new level.

    I think I actually like the fake crowd noise, but I’m not sure. BT sounds even worse without the crowd going off and that’s not easy.

    Showdown might be interesting with a crowd smattering.

  10. Neil Belford says

    1. Well said Dips


    2. I don’t care about no spectators for games I wasn’t planning to go to anyway. Makes no difference to watching to me. The fake crowd noise was good though.
    3. It was a super-lame game. Zero intensity, it reminded me of the NBA which for the most part is really boring except it is often close at the end.
    4. Footy Almanac – me included – is often the land of the reactionary – oh for the good old days etc. Athletes get better, coaching gets more effective the game looks different as a result. It has happend to all sports. Rule changes are required.
    – we need zones, for the same reason tackers needs zones.
    – we need 16 a side on the ground, 6 on the bench.
    Taken together this will produce open free flowing, mark contesting footy. We cant get back to the sort of game we had in the 80’s by carp, by wishing, or by magic.

  11. Stone Cold Steve Baker says

    More than happy to have the footy back, but arm-wrestle footy like we saw on Thursday night – when it doesn’t involve the team you support – has all the excitement and aesthetic appeal of a dial tone.

    I’d rather have a footy match to look forward to than not have one on the cards, but eight more matches like last night and I reckon Dips O’Donnell will be right on the money: the long-term damage to the game might not have been worth it

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    It was a lot like teenage sex, breathless anticipation in the lead up, plenty of frantic fumbling without much result, followed by much wondering what the point was. That won’t stop the ‘stakeholders’ from rushing off to tell everyone how great it was.

  13. Shane Kennedy says

    It’s a no from me.
    Something about all the other leagues having to cancel their seasons doesn’t sit well with me. The AFL have canibalised the game so that they can stay afloat. They can never say anything about supporting grass roots football ever again.
    It is a pretend year. A pre-season acting like a season. Like Gold Coast pretending to be relevant.
    What a shame too, the Eagles are right in the ‘window’.

  14. A cross-code perspective: the rugby league has come back fairly strongly with a couple rule adjustments opening it up to produce better, more entertaining footy. It has quickly regained its audience. The lack of an alternative helped, too. I only saw bits of the AFL last night but it looked pretty ordinary from two of the favoured clubs. What bothers me about both codes is that the media scrum is as self-occupied as ever, fully of hyperbolic crap, arguing about refs/umpires and rubbish about player X’s partner’s social influencing gaffe about some dietary fad, and very same old, same old – hoping we won’t notice that nothing has changed (because it’s just a commercial enterprise) and that it’s ‘what we want’ (which it’s not). I’m not sure if the clubs want it any different – the commercial imperative for them, too?
    You’ll probably get howled down, JTH, but give ’em heaps about ‘we’re not happy with just the same old, same old’.

  15. Tony Brain says

    I think we’re going to have a few weeks of pre-season comp style footy as per last night. Sharpness was down and to me it seemed there was a level of tentativeness. I was really surprised to see Richmond had 70 tackles – I’m not sure when they happened? Pleased to hear Dimma be honest about it in the post-match and in effect say “well, what did you really expect?”

    Not sure why we now need the shorter quarters – I guess simply because it was done in Round 1 and that means we’re now stuck with it.

    I’m a rusted on Tiger Tragic so nevertheless loved seeing them playing and nearly winning (I didn’t like seeing them nearly lose). I’m not sure I am going to watch as much footy however as I used to for the time being at least due to the clunkiness of the standard and the lack of spectators and hence the missing atmosphere – although Geel v Hawks does sound tantalising….

    It was interesting to hear Michael Walters speak on SEN this morning and it occurred to me after listening to him that these teams that are bunkered down on the Gold Coast are going to come out of this with an advantage, rather than disadvantage – he mentioned several times about how great it is from a connection perspective – I think it was David Astbury that mentioned last night how he was missing the connection with teammates. I think that is part of what was showing up on the field last night – the lack of cohesion and connection.

    Two great human stories on the weekend however – Jack Higgins and Harley Bennell. Fantastic for both!

  16. E.regnans says

    Just a game.

  17. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi John,
    I don’t think you made a mistake when you said you want to misrepresent rather than represent! I love slips. So much more interesting. Like Jan Courtin, loved the kneeling, had me in tears, then the rest of the first quarter had my attention…after that, I just marveled about the low scoring and no one criticising the skills…as I have heard for 5 years of women’s footy. Just had to say it! Coaches of all leagues are always going to go the defensive mode and that’s what most of the game was about.

    Never listen much to commentary…bore me. Nice to see Daisy interview from the distance. All that stuff, seeing how it was managed, was interesting. And to see two cranky coaches. Seeing Eddie unhappy always brings a smile to my face. Will be thinking of you tonight JTH and Dips. At the kingdom of the cattery.

  18. Tony Brain says

    Also John if you want a time filler for Sunday ponder whether a COVID-19 breach and suspension results in ineligibility from the Brownlow (or whether it should).

  19. DBalassone says

    As ER says, just a game. I’m just happy to have it back. It will get better. Incredibly dewy conditions, 3 month lay-off, and massive training restrictions (contributing to poor synergy between mids and forwards) all conspired to make this what it was. What did we really expect? It will get better. One step at a time.

    Daicos spin out of trouble in the first term and pinpoint pass was enough for me.

  20. Steve Thomas says

    That was a magnificent example to demonstrate the curse of excessive Interchange allowing both coaches to flood players back even more aggressively because if the 16 min qtrs. Rugby League has returned with a more open game designed to reduce the impact of the big boppers just running it up the guts. They reduced interchange long ago. The result is an entertaining spectacle and more emphasis on attack. C’mon AFL the fix is so obvious! Reduce interchange to 40 now!

  21. Fake crowd noise annoyed me. Better off without ti. Cheers for a point because the director thought it would be a goal. Dull roar instead of actual reaction to mistakes. At times not being able to hear the commentary clearly over the crowd!
    Effectively Round 1 rusty, all the big games played at night (for TV) in mid-June, there will regularly be dew, skills down. Players will take a few weeks to adjust. NRL better suited to night games with synthetic balls and many less 30-50m kicks to handle/mark/juggle.
    Commentators seem to be looking for the big story, it’s just a game of footy, last night not a very exciting one, even as a draw. 4 goals at 1/4 time, one in the next 3 quarters.

  22. Phil Hill says

    I love draws, especially in Test matches, and last night was a gripping contest but a game without individual highlights.

    Was too short.

    Drama needs time to develop while excitement(( spell checker offered ‘excrement’ when I misses the ‘e’ in excitement. I have not mentioned 50/50 over cricket) takes an instant.

    I think we would have enjoyed the match with proper quarters

  23. Daryl Schramm says

    Tony. You mean to say there will be a Premier AND a Brownlow this year?
    Don’t know about you JTH but I’m loving the comments on this. However I’d better get up and start my day.

  24. Geoff Woolcock says

    Love Swish’s teenage sex analogy, even though personally I wasn’t breathless in anticipation… the meagre scoring was definitely the lowlight… wonder if there had been plenty more goals, whether there would’ve been any other associated criticisms of the ‘spectacle’. As Dimma noted, we’re gonna see plenty more U12 type final scores with shortened quarters and more dewy grounds for next couple of months. Have been flogging it like a dead horse pre-COVID, but can’t the AFL seriously consider the suggestion of an additional premiership point for scoring 100pts +, win, lose or draw?

  25. I didn’t watch, I didn’t intend to and evidently I didn’t miss anything.

    So much effort to get “sport” back on the telly by both AFL and NRL when almost every other form of sport is languishing, with some clubs and associations condemned to extinction. We are not all in this together.

  26. E.regnans says

    “What were you expecting?” is a great place to start with this.
    And we all bring ourselves with us.

    I am aware of extreme hype around AFL. Many people now depend on AFL football for their livelihoods. So I guess it is in their interests that hype seems to increase all the time.

    On the other hand, when expectations are raised and then are not met, people will be dissatisfied.

    For me, a game of footy on TV is just another entertainment option. Like watching a TV show or listening to music or reading a book, playing a game or an instrument.
    From the outside, it seems like the game at AFL level is being managed and analysed to death.
    Like the goose that laid golden eggs.

    From a footy viewpoint, I see the shorter quarters. The benefits of that plan won’t be seen for a few weeks, I guess, as the plan was hatched to preserve footballer’s fitness & allow a season with shorter breaks between games (or something).

    I also see the defensive nature of last night’s 3rd and 4th quarters. That was the way of it last night. It won’t be the same every time. It depends on which players are there and which are not – and has been happening for years. There will be attacking periods and maverick actions in the future. Just as there will be choking blankets of negativity. What a terrific puzzle.

    Yes, groupthink (including within this site) is best avoided, I agree. (Ha.)

    A goose is a goose.
    Long may it amble around and peck at things, honk outrageously and lay its precious eggs.

  27. Andrew Fithall says

    I watch a lot of footy on TV but that is the first Collingwood MCG game that I have not attended in person for a long time. Was in compete agreement with Smokie Dawson’s in-game tweet about what we have to put up with regarding the standard of commentary. What other sport commentators (other than perhaps a few European round-ball examples) make the game all about themselves rather than just supplementing the spectacle? I was chastised several times at home by my 23 y/o Collingwood-supporting daughter regarding my negative comments against commentators, umpires and general standard of play.

    And if I had known quite a few years years ago that the goal umpire was going to refer his decision upstairs instead of going with his own correct observation that the ball was marked behind the goal line and was therefore a behind, I would have given him less game time when I coached him on the basketball court.

  28. Sue Currie says

    I enjoyed it. Loved my Pies in the first quarter then saw them run out of steam half way through. The quarters were too short. About half way through the last, as the Tigers were overtaking us, I just slumped in my chair and thought, “Here we go again”. Then looked down to the corner of my screen and saw only 5 minutes to go! Where did those other 10 minutes go? (they weren’t there) Perhaps we can hang on! When the siren went I just laughed and laughed.
    The canned noise was pretty good but didn’t capture the post draw groan, but who could blame them?
    As I was leaving my GP’s clinic yesterday she said to me, “Who do you think will win tonight?” I said, “I dunno – fifty-fifty”. But I wasn’t thinking of a draw!

  29. I gave up YouTube for this overcoached crap? I turned on Kayo/Fox Footy hoping for a game and all I got was England V Scotland at Murrayfield.
    Being old and curmudgeonly I have scarcely missed pro sport and happily lived in books and videos from last century. Will watch again tonight hoping for something more interesting from Cats and Hawks. Will watch my Eagles Saturday eve’ but feel pretty disconnected from the whole thing. Will tune in more when they play a serious game against a serious side. But without being able to attend it all feels like an exhibition game.
    Mostly last night confirmed that I won’t watch many games at all this season. WAFL when it’s back if my nephew is playing. Covid19 has reminded me of many other life interests.
    Neil Belford is spot on – though I prefer to be called revisionary rather than reactionary. Without 16 a side we will never see Voss and Buckley flat out shoulder to shoulder on the Gabba wing because there will be a dozen robotic athletes clogging up the space.
    Commentators and canned crowd noise don’t bother me because I don’t listen and don’t expect better. it’s politics with pigskin.

  30. Thanks for all of these comments. I’m looking forward to reading the whole discussion when I get back to my desk later this afternoon.

    The standard of footy is not the main issue for me. It’s my relationship with footy. Which has been such a part of me for so long.

    Interesting times.

  31. george smith says

    There’s a weekend of football left, so one crap game does not a season make. The spirit of Matt Stevic was alive yet again, turning a dodgy free into an almost win against Collingwood. I felt though that we were lucky to get away with a point, and this one means a load less than draws in 1977 and 2010.

    Before switching off please reserve judgement until the rest of the weekend – we have Moggies v Hawks, SA v SA and Swans v Essendon.

    And anyone who has the hide to nominate the 2007 grand final as better than any season including this one ought to take a good hard look at themselves!

  32. “Black Lives Matter” taking a knee pre-game in silence. Moving and meaningful when a black American does it during the Star Spangled Banner in the militarised gun crazy United States. But devoid of context and meaning on the MCG last night. 40 blokes going along with a harmless exercise not wanting to offend their mates.
    Will Collingwood be taking Jack Hamilton’s picture/statue down from the clubrooms? Tokenism rules.

  33. Paddy Grindlay says

    I was so happy to have it back – football has made up so much of my identity and observing the weekly ritual of checking the teams, tipping, fantasy footy, podcasts etc was rewarding enough. The game itself, average, error-riddled. And the lack of fans hurts the soul. But I think like JTH it’s not neccessarily the game but the relationship with it. To have football on the airawaves and participate in discussions like this one is enough for me.

    As someone born in the naughties I can’t quite get the appeal for halycon days in the 70s, 80s, I quite enjoy modern footy so the game itself doesn’t put me off. But there needs to be a subtle tweak or three. Extended benches are a good idea. Not as sure on 16-a-side.

    I think it was made difficult from the over-commentating on 7, doubling down on the reason why I’ll listen to 774 or SEN if I can’t go to the game.

  34. Colin Ritchie says

    Ripper comment Swish!

  35. Don Robertson says

    JHT – as a dyed-in-the-wool Tigers fan (well, only since 1967 when I changed from the Dees, but that’s a whole story in itself, starting with Saturday morning choir practice), I was a little apathetic towards the game in the lead up, but on the day excitement grew (it helps having a family of Tiger supporters). I knew the game would be sloppy, but didn’t expect it to be that poor. Typical slow start by the Tiges and typical claw back. Is it better than losing to Collingwood? Absolutely. (And check the record books – J. Higgins 1 goal.)

    Overall, I’m very glad footy is back. Not sure I will go to a game if crowds are allowed back – we still are in the middle of a pandemic. Which is why the quarters have been reduced so that teams can play games with shortened breaks between in case the season is paused due to a second wave.

    And now to my favourite topic – community footy and in particular junior footy. I’m amazed that senior leagues have pulled the pin on the season “because we can’t afford it”. The reason they can’t afford it is they pay exorbitant amounts to weekend warriors. With the season cancelled, these players aren’t getting paid. If they really played for the love of the game and not the money, they would play the season with no pay (no different financially to what they are doing for the year). Compare this to junior footy. Yarra juniors have announced a start date and other leagues are working behind the scenes to ensure kids can get back on the park – all in recognition of the physical and mental health benefits of organised (and casual) sporting/physical activity. This is where the government’s focus should be – the kids, and not doing deals with the AFL so that they can get 2,450 fans at the SA showdown.

    Credit to Offsiders – they did one episode on the impact of the virus on community football. Perhaps they should do more? There are innumerable unheralded heroes putting in the hours just for the love of the game. A show with panelists drawn from volunteers and paid administrators from leagues/clubs would provide the broader community with a different perspective to what has dominated the media. JHT – perhaps you should mention this to Kellie?

  36. Peter Myers says

    I am of the “footy is the greatest game in the world” school of thought, a game of skill, speed, endurance, bravery, excitement, you name it. When it’s at its best, I don’t think there’s any other game that can touch it. Unfortunately, in my opinion, games that live up to that are a rarity in the AFL these days. There were moments of skill in last night’s game, and it’s understandable that the players and teams were a little rusty. But more often than not these days, I think it’s about as exciting as watching a bunch of people wading through a bowl of cold porridge. The only thing that raises the temperature a little is that the ball is like a hot potato, that no-one’s got any time to do anything constructive with. Hopefully there’ll be better games than that to look forward to.

  37. This is the footy we had to have back as soon as possible.’If we don’t start ASAP the game will perish forever’. No, it won’t. The game as we now know it might perish for ever – the commercial interests that run it had to have the game back – you know: TV money, overpaid players and coaches, commentators (oh, how much I haven’t missed Talkative Taylor and ‘Numbers’ McAvaney) and Monday night commentators on commentators, player managers and superfluous coaches.
    There will always be footy as long as little boys and bigger boys want to play it. It never needed increasing commercial interests which have now taken over and their rush to reinstate the game prematurely led to last night’s underwhelming spectacle. Wanted to get that off my chest for a while – last night’s game gives me the opportunity!

  38. Swish, I didn’t understand your teen-aged sex bit having never ever experienced it. I’m not a fan of shortened games. What’s next – game s that last only three quarters of 15 minutes? I must admit I didn’t expect much with such a long layoff and no crowds but it was actually better than i expected. Defenses of both sides were very strong – unfortunately. Hopefully tonight’s game will be more entertaining.

  39. Catherine Bergin says

    I had the raw football excitement pre game, admired the players for taking the knee ( hope they all understand the truth of BLM) Listening to the radio today, so many people negative about the crowd noise, the standard of the game etc. can’t we just appreciate footy is back and how bloody lucky we are to even be watching it on TV.
    I will add as a Collingwood Supporter felt relieved when the siren sounded, happy to take 2 points, lucky to get away with points.. Overall felt content having watched my boys out on park – seven more matches to watch this weekend, Roll on round 3

  40. Watched less than 5 minutes of last night and really struggling to care. Today’s Advertiser in Adelaide showed how many country leagues have abandoned their seasons and how many yet to decide. None of my Magpies in SANFL and frankly will not raise much of a gust of wind if the Power beat the Crows. It is really such an artificial season, with so much bias in favour of the Victorian sides that winning will be irrelevant. I was supposed to be in the Kimberleys now, so may also be bitter and twisted. Must be nearly cricket season!

  41. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’m only going by what I’ve seen at the movies Fisho.

  42. Malby Dangles says

    Would’ve preferred last night’s sound effects provided by the Warner Bros. cartoon department.
    When I see my team up and about I’ll have stronger feelings about AFL.
    I still love Aussie Rules and I’ll take that to my grave.

  43. richard agar says

    Why nostalgia? Because in the past, the league didn’t change the rules every five minutes to suit the tv network. In Barassi’s day, players played for the club and honor and tribalism and had a day job.
    My first job out of uni was in Perth where I worked at a small family-run travel magazine selling advertising space. I remember being nervous about attending my first client meeting with the journo. The owner of the business sat me down to tell me not to worry about the story the journo was writing, it was only the shit that went around the ads I sold. ( sorry gang)
    that’s what I saw last night, has the AFL become the shit that goes around the ad breaks?

  44. PB, I was happy with the kneel. Sure it might not have the ‘ooomph’ of Afro Americans doing it at one of their sporting events but AFL footballers are hardly the most political types. I’m happy with these actions.

    The game was underwhelming. The Pies got the jump, i thought will they run away or, will the Tigers swamp them? Neither; a final score looking like a score line from the period of ‘The Great Trade War’, the last time these teams drew.

    The short quarters certainly don’t enhance a good, quality encounter. The short terms reminded me of the VFA lightning premierships 40+ years back. Any body else remember them?

    Any how the Footy’s back in the first 17 game season since the mid 20’s. Let’s see where it goes.


  45. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Collingwood came out playing footy. Stirred the inner child for a time.
    Then Richmond went to work.
    Then Collingwood went to work.
    Before long I felt like I was watching blokes work.
    I watch footy to take my mind off work.
    It didn’t work.

  46. Let’s be honest. 36-36? The game was shite.
    Yes, there was plenty of fumbling and poor skills possibly due to a tiny pre-season but these blokes are professional footballers.
    Game 1 of the reactivated season is a small sample, but if this is indicative count me out!

    Re the commentators: no comment!!!!!

  47. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    On the other hand, the Cats v Hawks game has started like Alvin Rides Again.

  48. It was like pie without sauce…an apt analogy really.

  49. Mark Giuliano says

    discussions about the standard or quality of footy have always annoyed me………. beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What is important for me is a hard fought contest.

    Having said that, standard/beauty/enjoyment is not the main issue for me. It just doesn’t feel as important as it used to.

    Last night (and tonight) feel like a bit of a novelty as opposed to my normal view which places great emphasis on the value of 4 crucial premiership points.

    I think what is missing for me is the certainty that these games are parts of a season…… that they have purpose. They feel a little bit like pre-season matches ……….. I’m curious to watch, but the result seems almost unimportant.

    I am hoping my usual feeling will return after a few consecutive weeks of matches convince me that the season is on !!! And I have a feeling that watching my Swans try to hold off the Bombers will stir something in me.

  50. george smith says

    All those whingeing moggy boys, wanting the season to end after round one! I wonder how they’re feeling now???

  51. Kevin Densley says

    A playwrighting friend of mine once had an idea for a futuristic play in which AFL football was entirely a media event without live spectators, played in what amounted to a large television studio … that’s what football has felt like so far this season – unavoidable in the current COVID-19 context, I suppose – but hopefully, in due course, footy will return to a more interesting time with live spectators assuming their usual integral part in the game.

  52. As a Tigers fan back on Aussie soil after seeing my last game against Carlton in the glow of the Northern lights in Arctic Canada Boy haven’t things changed in the last few months !!!!
    I was looking forward to the rivalry with the Magpies being renewed but I was sadly disappointed and totally underwhelmed mainly with the quarters being shortened and the lack of atmosphere with canned noise really hard to deal with.
    In the last quarter the tiges should have won by 4 goals but to the magpies credit they played within the new rules to choke the game and take advantage of ridiculously short quarters and amount of interchange to hold on to a draw.
    Dusty and Jack showed that it spite of being champions not being match fit has its price no matter how good you are.
    The highlights I take from the game was both teams taking a knee for a great cause before the game and after the game the Jack Higgins interview,
    The artificial hype only made it worse to deal with especially BT going off at the slightest showing of skill … oh and it was good at half time to watch Denis Cometti’s tribute !!!

  53. Lisa Jones says

    What disappointed me most of all was the realisation that we’d be back to the non-stop ads on TV for sports betting. Can’t stand them….

  54. I held off adding my two cents until I’d seen at least two games – Thursday’s game featuring the lowest score in 21 seasons (I must admit I’d thought it would be more like 41 seasons – I must have expunged that 1999 Tiger performance against Port from my memory fairly quickly…) didn’t make for the most objective viewing fodder.

    Echoing JTH, it’s largely not about the game but the relationship to it. Is it just the mere fact that months have passed with arguably the most pressing concern of our lives hanging over our heads (but doing little material damage, thankfully) that has pushed AFL footy into the harsh light of reality? Or is it something deeper? I’m in the mood to ask questions, because I’m not sure I have many decent answers…the one thing I do know is the passion for the game remains strong, but my focus has both split prismatically away from the big league and refocused on the aspects that resonate more with my footy soul (both local and international).

  55. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Good to see the Sunnyboys get up, Crows getting what they deserved.

    Maybe (to continue the theme) I went off too early.

  56. Power very good – Crows abysmal. What can one say about that belting. Not a single Crow in the best players.
    It’s very difficult to find a team that Adelaide has a chance of winning against on what they have shown us so far. On the other side, I believe the Power has a real chance this season, they have recruited far better than the Crows – time will tell.

  57. Daryl Schramm says

    Swish. Re going too early. One is a choice. The other you have little control!

  58. David Zampatti says

    The whole fixture existed in some kind of twilight zone, and I realised just this morning, somewhere between scratch matches and the real thing. I hadn’t even taken a first glance at the ladder or the games coming up, so it looks like I’m in there with it. Of course I was happy enough to see that Freo will be at least competitive this year, and delighted to see the Suns tear the Eagles another one, but that’s hardly a substitute for a real season.
    Did we break our coronaviral pre-dinner ritual (the Chase and The Drum) for 360 and The Couch? Didn’t even consider it. Am I canvassing Dockerland and the Almanac for insight and amusement? Spasmodically at best.
    This is not good, and I don’t think it’s going to get better. It’s just a phony war, and will bring no credit to it’s victore, through no fault of their own. And what’s going to happen if the virus really gathers pace in Victoria and everywhere else is okay? What if there can be crowds again in Queensland and SA and WA and NSW, but teams can’t even train in Melbourne? Will the AFL call the whole thing off, or insist that Victorian teams scatter to the colonies to play on? At what point will clubs start to dig in and insist on a level playing field the AFL cannot give them? What damage is all this going to do to the 2021 season?
    Whatever the epidemiology and whatever the politics, this is no way to conduct a season. Cancel the premiership, and the Brownlow, and the Coleman, and build a one-off competition that we can all commit to for this year. It’ll be fun, it will allow clubs to make compromises and sacrifices they couldn’t be expected to if the premiership was on the line.
    You can even play around with some of the changes being raised on this page.

  59. Rick Kane says


    I’m extremely late to this important and very interesting discussion. I don’t have much more to add but I like to talk so here goes. Yep, to most every observation running through this discussion. Dips summed it up (except for his last sentence!) Phil D’s pithy note also.

    The JTH set up, the relationship with footy is the question. Mostly what we responded with was our relationship with the AFL. I dare say, and it came through the comments, that we have a deep, even spiritual relationship to footy. Which might be our admiration of the idea of the game, its history, the skills it evokes, the joy (and heartbreak) it delivers. That is what it gives me. It being footy. I’m not sure that the AFL does. I have watch 10 mins of AFL so far this year. Hardly watched the tv shows that surround it. Haven’t turned on footy radio at all. Yes, I reacted to the thumping the Cats gave us last week. But it was almost a rote reaction. I really couldn’t care less. Likewise with last night’s win. And it has everything to do with my relationship with the AFL vs my relationship with footy.

    We are in a pandemic, with no clear sign of the road to recovery let alone the other side of this moment. Of course we will get through. But to do so we have all reflected on what matters. Today, tomorrow and into that weird old idea called the future. I have been surprised at how far down the give a fuck list AFL is for me. Music, concerts, reading, film and tv have not lost their footing. In many ways they have been Linus blanket supports. I can’t wait to go to my next concert. But I’m in no hurry whatsoever to see my next AFL game.

    If this a turning of the page re the AFL (and I’m not sure it is) it is definitely not a turning of the page about footy. There’s plenty of footy for me to get involved in. Down the road, in the next suburb and so on. And, at the moment that is where I’m at with my relationship with footy/AFL.


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