How do you define an upset in 2012?
Can Jonathan Brown stay fit for the Lions? (Slattery Images)
This has been a great season for the AFL and in particular upset results. There is the old cliché that says it is a good season when any team can beat any other team on any given day.
This has been the case in 2012.
However, should we be surprised by this? Are they really upsets? Has the AFL not been wanting this all along? We have the draft and the salary cap, which are all meant to even up the competition.
This is the one thing that sets apart the AFL from other competitions around the world where money is king. It is the one reason that I love the AFL and can’t understand competitions like English Premier League, where the rich clubs generally always win and the others play for fourth, fifth etc. Or in the case of the Scottish Premier League, everyone plays for third.
While we do have these ‘levelling’ tools at play in the AFL, they are not the reason for these anomalies that we see at least once every two rounds or so during the season
So what is the cause? I am sure that if anyone could work it out and bottle it they would make a fortune.
The one person that can’t understand this at times is the coach. Can you imagine how Brad Scott felt on Sunday afternoon when the joy of the victory had died down? The first question he would have asked himself would have been where has this performance been all season?
They had come over to Adelaide and been five goals up on Port and gone down, they had a loss to another struggling club in the Western Bulldogs, they only just got over the Brisbane Lions, and then nearly had the misfortune to be the Gold Coast Sun’s first victim of the year, winning by just seven points.
Yet on Sunday they came up against a team widely touted as being a premiership chance and a top four certainty and absolutely put them away from the first quarter and never looked back.
Was it the training this week, was it the coaches speech before the game, was it a past player/legend that visited the rooms before the game? These are the questions that the North coaching staff will be asking themselves all week and trying to replicate for the remainder of the season.
Another person with those questions will be Michael Voss. His Lions were widely tipped to be a victim of the Western Bulldogs on Saturday. Granted, the Dogs are no finals chance, but Brisbane playing away from home aren’t the juggernaut they were in the early 2000s either.
They had played well against the lower sides this year including resounding victories over the three bottom sides in GWS, Gold Coast and Melbourne. And to make things even more complicated they did knock off grand final participant favourites West Coast only three weeks ago. Other than this they had heavy defeats at the hands of teams like Carlton, Geelong, Essendon and Hawthorn.
The performance of the Lions on Saturday resulted in a near 10 goal win against a side that many believe to be close to the Lions in talent and personnel.
Many have attributed this to the Lions Hall Of Fame function in Melbourne on Saturday night. But is this really something that affects the players?
If so, then clubs would be scheduling these sort of events every week!
No, when you sit back and take it all in, there are a myriad of factors that could account for the confusing form lines of our teams. But one thing is for sure and that is that while we play a game with an oval ball and 22 different individual personalities on each team we are going to get these results.
It is this uncertainty that keeps the crowds coming back and the TV ratings high. And for most, it is the reason that we love this game above all others.
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