What to do about dead rubbers, and Round 23?

Jackson Clark Roar Guru

By Jackson Clark, Jackson Clark is a Roar Guru

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    Something needs to be done about dead-rubber AFL games in the final round of the season.

    I saw the most uncompetitive performance from a side in recent memory with Fremantle’s performance against St Kilda on Saturday.

    With all due respect to the Saints, we were watching a game where only one team cared about winning and it certainly, and understandably, was not the men in purple. It is all about next week and beyond for Ross Lyon and his side.

    Interestingly, if Ryan Lester converted the goal for Brisbane in the dying seconds against Geelong, the loss would have cost Fremantle a home final.

    The Dockers made 10 changes at the selection table, with most of those players being listed as rested. Hayden Ballantyne, Nat Fyfe, Zac Clarke, Lee Spurr, Zac Dawson, David Mundy and Michael Johnson were confirmed outs on the Thursday, while Chris Mayne and Garrick Ibbotson were late withdrawals from the selected team on the day of the match.

    You cannot blame Lyon’s strategy of resting tired players on the eve of the finals, especially as coach of an interstate side where travel is a major factor. Yet the game on the weekend made a mockery of the competition, even if it did give three St Kilda stalwarts the send-off they deserved.

    The work rate and defensive structures of Fremantle was well below its usual standard as the Saints did as they pleased for four quarters. Ryan Crowley, probably the best tagger in the competition, did not tag a St Kilda player. This is despite Leigh Montagna and emerging superstar Jack Steven gathering 47 disposals each and absolutely dominating the match.

    One possible solution to limit the amount of these types of matches could be to have Rivalry Round in the final round of the season.

    This way clubs that are out of finals contention still participate in matches where there is a lot of pride on the line.

    We could also have the Q-Clash, Showdown, Derby and the Battle of the Bridge on the same weekend so non-Victorian sides competing in the finals get a week’s rest from travel.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • Roar Rookie

      September 2nd 2013 @ 12:55am
      Martyn50 said | September 2nd 2013 @ 12:55am | ! Report

      The attitude of the dockers resting so many players could be considered ‘bringing the game into disrepute. An insult to other clubs and umpires. Spectators pay good money believing that they will see the top players in that game. Not 2nd string.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 2nd 2013 @ 10:07am
        Nash Mitchell said | September 2nd 2013 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        In the NBA the Spurs got a huge fine for resting star players all at once, people pay there money to go watch star players play!

      • September 2nd 2013 @ 3:40pm
        Dockersfan said | September 2nd 2013 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

        and then the Dockers can charge the AFL with not placing the safety of their players first. It’s not Essedon it’s the Dockers, players safety comes first and foremost. Use your brains. If you have any.

    • September 2nd 2013 @ 4:24am
      charkmandler said | September 2nd 2013 @ 4:24am | ! Report

      Perhaps Jackson (if one was cynical), they could put forth that in the finals for the Melbourne AFL, the worst outcome would be more non-Melbourne teams. The play by play team has made that clear.

    • September 2nd 2013 @ 5:24am
      bilbo said | September 2nd 2013 @ 5:24am | ! Report

      So JC what you’re saying is that if Freo were already in the finals and playing against Eagles in a last round Derby, that Freo wouldn’t rest 10 of its players?
      To highlight the hilarity of this view, Freo have always suffered the perception that winning the Derby was the ultimate. Now when they are in the finals you delude yourself the same perception? Me thinks – wet behind the ears.
      Oh and BTW, what a cynical Vic club solution to the inevitable and irredeemable ‘last round dead rubber’ : consign the stand out Derbies/Showdowns to ‘dead rubber’ status. That type of thinking makes the non-Vic clubs bristle, a bristling which is best served cold against a smug Vic club on Grand Final Day.

      • Roar Guru

        September 2nd 2013 @ 5:04pm
        Jackson Clark said | September 2nd 2013 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

        Believe it or not mate I actually do think they would take the game more seriously (and not rest 10 players) if it was a derby. Travel is less of a factor and there is definitely more pride on the line in a game like that. And that applies not only to the Dockers viewpoint but perhaps we would have seen a more spirited West Coast outfit.

    • Roar Guru

      September 2nd 2013 @ 9:01am
      sheek said | September 2nd 2013 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      The VFA & SANFL comps began in 1877, the WAFL in 1885, the VFL in 1897 & the AFL in 1990.

      Last round dead rubbers have been occurring for over 100 years & you suggest we should do something about it ….. NOW?

    • September 2nd 2013 @ 9:15am
      Winston said | September 2nd 2013 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      I actually think it was a really good round of footy even compared to many regular season rounds. The Kangaroos Magpies game was a dead rubber but who can say that wasn’t a good game. The Swans Hawks game really was a dead rubber – and both teams knew it too hence they both rested key players – but not only was it a great a game, it also provided food for thought for everyone because they knew the real thing is next week. The GWS and GC game was significant for so many reasons too – Sheedy’s farewell match, the Coleman Medal and avoiding the wooden spoon – can’t exactly say there wasn’t any incentive in there for GWS to win. Even the Saints Freo match – I doubt any Saints supports would have complained, and as for Freo supporters, I’m pretty sure none of them would have cared about the match other than praying for no injuries.

      By the same theory, if this was the EPL, only a couple of teams can challenge for the title each year, and even for the incentive of the Champions League, usually you race for 4th normally only involves 2-3 teams. Add to that because of the number of games throughout the year, it is completely expected that good teams will field 2nd string sides regularly. I would have thought by comparison we have nothing to complain about on this front!

    • September 2nd 2013 @ 9:51am
      Gezza said | September 2nd 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Ask the footy tippers?

      Ask the bookies?

      Disgraceful way to play sport

      Now they whinge about playing in Geelong

      • September 2nd 2013 @ 3:42pm
        Dockersfan said | September 2nd 2013 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

        Teams are selected on Thursday afternoon. You have major issues if you gambling you money on the footy before Thursday afternoon. Bigger issues than whether a team decides to not risk the health and safety of their players

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