AFL’s late withdrawals annoying the fans
It’s no secret that over the past ten years the AFL has become exponentially more professional. Along with this has come the dramatic increase in gambling options and the surge in people playing fantasy games such as Dreamteam and Supercoach.
There is one thing that the people who play these fantasy games or who gamble on games rely on and that is knowing who is playing.
The AFL have rules around this very thing which require clubs to name their teams on a Thursday night and then for those playing Sunday to finalise their squad on Friday night.
Those in Fantasy Sports land need to set their teams before the first game and those that bet on games with multis need to assume that those teams are accurate to make their selections.
This is where things just fall apart! We get to 90 minutes before the game and suddenly that guy that has been fit and healthy all week has a hammy strain or a slight ankle sprain and is withdrawn from the game. How dumb do they think we are?
If they came out and said that the player had fallen over their own shoelaces and knocked themselves out in the rooms it would be more believable than some of the rubbish that gets served up.
A couple of weeks ago we saw Geelong talk all week about Joel Selwood and being cautious about his knock to the head, then on Thursday they name him. And surprise surprise on the Saturday he is withdrawn 90 minutes before the game. He was never going to play, so just tell us!
Who do they really think they are fooling? I mean there are eyes and ears everywhere. All teams have spies at opponents trainings and they aren’t even employed by them. Fans everywhere are tweeting and Facebooking players every moves.
Do they really think that opposition coaches don’t have plans for the stars playing or not playing? In this day and age they would have probably known before the player did that they wouldn’t be playing.
This is just one of the ways in which the AFL lets their most valuable resource, the fans, down. We all pay our hard earned cash to go along and see the stars play. This is particularly important to the newcomers to the game in Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney who can’t afford to play their supporters for the fool or they will switch to another of the codes available in those areas.
Let’s just think about what would happen if this occurred in another sport. Can you imagine the uproar if you turned up to the Wimbledon final and 90 minutes before the game starts, after everyone is packed in, an announcement comes across the loudspeaker “Attention folks, unfortunately Rodger Federer has a slight ankle strain and will be replaced in today’s game by John Struggler”.
He and his doctor would probably have known at least a day before the game that he wouldn’t play. Do you think this would be acceptable to that crowd? No. So why do the AFL think it is ok for teams to treat their fans like that?
There is someone that is forgotten in all of this, there is a blatant disregard for the feelings of the player. Just think, his family have given up a day of gardening, shopping or just sitting home having a few drinks and made the way to the ground, only to find their son/brother/loved one has pulled out of the game and they have wasted their time and are watching a team they probably don’t even like that much.
The player themselves would have thought they would be playing, the doctor had given them the seal of approval and then they get told they are out. How devastating would that be?
Gone are the days where coaching cat and mouse needs to happen before the game starts. There are no secrets anymore.
So AFL clubs everywhere, I implore you, please treat us, the lovers of the game with some respect and tell us the truth.