State of the game – The 2018 Redtails Cup

Greetings Tipsters


Aussie Rules is alive and well in Alice Springs. Beautiful ground, surrounded by the grey-green of eucalypts, yellow hills rising beyond, Australians dancing around the paddock, ball on a string, dancing in space cos forwards hung around the forward line…


Previous week, we’d watched the Friday night match and listened to Wayne Carey’s comments, then I played a utoob of Wayne’s greatest hits for Perky Girl. Ah, the space! Yeah, sure, it was Pagans Paddock, but there was always space in the forward line back then. Dunstall and Lockett kicked 2570 goals.


Barely looked at a match that weekend. There is only so much of that under sevens soccer style of play I can take, especially when I’ve been reminded of how it used to be. I’m not the only one, there’s been a lotta pieces lately, from long-time journos all the way down to me, saying that the game isn’t what it used to be. We all know that, we know that everything evolves and changes and not always the way we’d like it to, but if we wanted to watch rugby, we would.


The difference is that ‘AFL’ players are full-time professionals and devote themselves to levels of fitness unimaginable twenty years ago. The desert match was terribly one-sided – Redtails train together, NT Storm were playing out of season – yet the key diff, the one that made it so vastly enjoyable, was that the players were amateurs. Sure, naturally skilled and vastly more fit than you or me but nowhere near the fitness levels of the (equally one-sided, less entertaining) match that followed.


As I’ve been saying for years, it’s the incredible level of fitness of players that makes the difference in these Twenty Teens. Hence my endorsement of the Nineteenth Man. Yet it goes beyond that. These blokes would still be doing the rugby maul, maybe moreso. We need to take a step further, we need to revisit another aspect of the 1990s.


Nightclubs. Pubs. Leather trews.


Being 2018, when everything is monitored, assessed, controlled, we’ll need rules that are fair for all. Hereso and thus: players and coaches of both teams shall meet at a venue twelve hours before the match, Aragorn’s shout; shall stay there for four hours and blow a minimum of 0.12 on the booze test before leaving; brawls will not be reviewed by Michael Christian; cigarettes and Zippo lighters are free.


That oughta slow ‘em down come the first bounce. Let’s see your “pressure” now!


Cheers Tipsters


P&C A Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production

Brought to you with the assistance of Goldfrapp’s ‘Supernatural’



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. Earl O'Neill says

    Tongue in cheek? I’m serious as cancer, you should’ve seen the first draft.

  2. Grenville Dietrich and Paul Van Der Haar as playing coaches.
    Was reading Swish’s piece about the 1973 Interstate game at Adelaide Oval. Your recommendations were SOP for half the crowd in those days. You brought eskies of full strength long necks in through the turnstiles. I couldn’t comment on the game because I was passed out on the concrete terraces for half of it. The drinking culture was madness in the 70’s and 80’s.
    I’ve seen ex AFL players on ice in local comps in recent years. BOG on the up. Can’t scratch themselves hanging out. Sad to watch.
    Maybe footy on whoopy weed would add a bit of creativity with a more laid back vibe? 3/4 time huddle munchies? I’d like to see that.

  3. I want Edition 1

  4. John Butler says

    Thinking outside the square, as always.

    But I suspect The Committee are tea drinkers at heart.

    More’s the pity.

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