Season 2013: Down and out

Is it just me or are there towels being thrown left, right and centre in the AFL right now? It may only be the beginning of July, but I reckon the season could finish right now.

At this point in the competition, if a club is not doing well, they must be ‘rebuilding’. The term indicates positive construction, but in the middle of the season rebuilding is simply a self-declaration of uncompetitiveness for the rest of the season.

Melbourne’s nightmarish season was doomed before it even began. Poor long-term recruitment has left the club with an underdeveloped list, plus coach and executive movement has left the club in disarray. The ‘deemolition’ has well and truly begun; 2013 is a season already forgotten.

With seven wins between them, the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda haven’t been competitors with consistency or quality this year. Both clubs have a great gap in terms of skill between their older and younger players and need to close this up in order to be a chance in 2014. It’s not all bad for the 14th and 16th placed sides though; success is only around the corner. Another poor season is as likely as a drawn grand final, the footy gods tell me. Good luck to the Western Bulldogs then.

Carlton and Brisbane are clinging onto glimmers of hope, of old time greatness combined with youngsters showing promise, yet the doors of opportunity are only slightly ajar for the two NAB cup grand finalists. Whilst neither club is accepting a full rebuild, the two teams need to jump off the wave of success brought by older legends before the wave breaks, leaving the two teams washed up and uncompetitive.

And of course there’s two clubs that haven’t even made it to the rebuilding stage yet. They’re building for the first time, and they’re doing a fine job at it. Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney might not be teams to fear just yet, but they’re developing and that’s all we can hope for.

Why don’t we just forget the home and away season altogether and make finals on a voluntary basis? This way uncompetitive teams can save their club and fans from 23 weeks of heartbreak and pain, and genuine contenders can enjoy the big stage like never before. Waiting for September will take on a whole new meaning.

If these seven clubs are feeling the heat, the umpires must be feeling scorched. Major errors on an almost weekly basis have raised concern over the need for additional umpiring measures, such as extra goal umpires and a greater use of technology.

Technology, there’s an idea. Computers don’t use towels. We have a solution.

And let’s not forget our CEO Andrew Demetriou. His towel is out, and it’s ready for the beach. Must be time for another holiday.

About Hannah Kuhar

Netballer working in banking. Definitely unbiased Hawthorn supporter. Passionate about socio-emotional vulnerabilities and the behaviours of high performing teams. IG: Hannah Kuhar


  1. Thanks Hannah, good read.

    As a Richmond supporter, I’d be happy if the Gold Coast volunteered to finish the season now and give us the 4 points for the Cairns match this weekend.

    Interesting about the Lions and Blues, I had actually forgotten they played in the NAB decider, funny once again, how little that game matters to the season overall


  2. Brad Carr says

    Hannah, you’re quite right, and this does really sap interest in the comp, and add a further distortion.

    Notice how in the last few years, everyone gets 7 or 8 tips correcct for each of the last 6 rounds? Every club that’s out of the running sends their good players off for early surgery so they can get a full pre-season (ie. sacrifice actual games in order to be fit for training), going-through-the-motions becomes the norm.

    It also means it’s much more favourable to play the weak sides late (when they’ve given up) than early in the season (when they still believe they have something to play for).

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