Sunday Morning Coming Down

2012 was total football

The modern coach doesn’t flirt with form, they answer journalists’ questions truthfully or not at all, they control what can be controlled, they enact a strategy. The media don’t like this. They can’t acknowledge that for players, the contest is just a relentlessly, moment by moment battle. A zazen state where there are no grudges, there is no last week, there is no next week, just the contest, just your role, just the highest percentage choice. The media prefer the concept of some wily long game involving lying about players fitness, about pretending to influence things that are outside their control, about cryptic messages and subtext. The silver fox, the plumber and their acolytes sell papers. But guys with names like Scott, and Sanderson, and Clarkson win footy matches.

We have heard plenty in recent weeks from old school guys, but the bitter reality for clubs who have old school guys, or clubs who are about to hire them, is that those days are over. Season end 2012 – top 8, all new school. Hint of old school and you are out, found out, sorry you got smashed when it counted by a team focussed on a process and not a result or a grand plan. You didn’t make it.

So thus ends the best home and away season since the AFL was created, with the closest competition at the top end of the table. The highest standard of football ever. There was metal machine football through to sheer artistry – but none of those forms was dominant  The only football thing I didn’t see tried was a drop kick – but someone might have done one. Just as soon as there was game plan construction there was deconstruction. Actually no-one held sway, no postion in the top 8 was set until the final round began and then game by game the result was inked in.

So bring on the finals. Hawthorn have a claim to favouritism, they seem to be just in front. As for the rest – it’s just going to come down to match ups and performance on the day. In 2012 the flag can be won from anywhere in the 8.




  1. Not only are the sides even, there are more ‘good’ sides this year than in a lot of years, and in that ‘goodness’ they are pretty even. I think this helps to explain the lack of single direction in form lines, because a lot of sides have the capacity to unravel others, especially when other are off. It is interesting that Geelong, sixth, has finished two games from top position.

  2. Thought provoking as ever, Neil. Loved the ‘metal machine football’ analogy.
    In homage, here is my Lou Reed finals lineup:
    ‘Ecstasy’ Hawks V ‘Magic and Loss’ Magpies
    ‘Transformer’ Crows V ‘Legendary Hearts’ Swans
    ‘Set the Twilight Reeling’ Cats V ‘New Sensations’ Dockers
    ‘Metal Machine Music’ Eagles V ‘Growing Up in Public’ Kangaroos
    Honourable mentions to ‘The Blue Mask’ and the ‘Sally Can’t Dance’ Saints and the ‘Rock n Roll Animal’ Tigers.

  3. Neil Belford says

    Hey Pete – what about a dishonourable mention to the ‘Live at Max’s Kansas City Blues’

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