To clock or not to clock?

Like everyone else on this post-Vaudeville Sunday morning, I’m thinking about the clock.

We’re told that the lack of an official countdown clock is one of the great romances of AFL football:  the drama of not knowing how long to go until the agony is ended mixed with the fervent pleas to either “lock it in!” or “get it out!”

But it’s a romance constructed on a falsehood.  The only people who’ve bought into that romance are those without access to TV coverage of the game – effectively the players and a portion of the crowd.  Coaches know, runners know.  Maybe even the umpires know?

The question is:  should Courtenay Dempsey have known?  We expect a lot of our elite footballers, including a capacity to make good decisions.  But is it fair of us to make such demands when we withhold such a crucial aspect of the decision making process?

I was shouting at my TV, “STOP, STOP!!!” (no allegiance to either team, other than a minor  investment on the Bombers at what I thought were generous odds).  Did Courtenay deserve the benefit of my advice in those crucial, precious, fleeting, diminishing micro-seconds?  Not that I’m any sage, but should he at least have been privy to the knowledge with which I had been provided by the nice folks at Fox Footy?

I can’t help but feeling a bit dissatisfied with the arrangement.  My inclination is to demand that its all-in, or none-in;  that the clock is made available to all by way of the scoreboard.  Sure, its unlikely that Courtney was looking at the scoreboard, but I promise you that if I had been within earshot, he would have known.

About Danny Russell

Danny Russell, feet planted firmly in the island state, is easily led. "Scratcher" Neal led him to the Cats where his loyalty has remained (despite being sorely tested). The weekly magazine "The Story of Pop" led him to music beyond the focus of Tasmanian AM radio of the 70s.


  1. I like it the way it is. Knowing that the players don’t know and that you the viewer at home does, gives it a certain something. It’s like a horror movie where the viewer knows there’s evil around the next corner and the victim doesn’t …. if the victim did, the terror wouldn’t work.

  2. Trevor Blainey says

    And yet T you’d deny yourself the drama of the after-the-siren speculator from beyond 50? One of the great set pieces of our game.

  3. My feeling is that the drama at the end
    of the game demonstrated exactly why
    we should NOT have a count-down clock
    at the venue.

  4. Tom Bally says

    Now that the old heart has started again I’d have to agree, no clock. Rather The Commission ought to focus on why these quarters are going for as long as they sometimes do.

  5. Earl O'Neill says

    I don’t want the countdown clock on television. We don’t get it at the ground, it aint part of the live game and never has been. The drama, the tension, the edge-of-the-seat anxiety in a football game that can change from one extreme to another in some few seconds, makes for most of the best, most exciting matches I’ve ever seen.

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