The 2017 AFL season can’t come soon enough

Jenna Downer Roar Rookie

By Jenna Downer, Jenna Downer is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    No one knows what is going to happen this season. Don’t let them tell you they do.

    Mid-January is a strange time to exist as a football fan.

    We are not quite far enough into preseason to get truly excited, but neither is it far away to let cricket entirely occupy that space in our minds devoted to sport – which, if you’re like me, is an ever-dynamic setting between 70 to 98 percent at any given time.

    Team lists are set, time trials complete, draftees have gone back to being minuscule fish in overwhelmingly big oceans and football reporters pass time by publishing a disturbing number of ‘listicles’ that still somehow, despite his retirement, almost always feature Dane Swan.

    But this mid-Jan crisis, sometimes exemplified by all of the same symptoms as the more popular mid-life crisis, feels particularly bizarre. For the first time in recent history, despite what they will tell you, absolutely no one knows what this season is going to look like.

    AFL, the most statistic-heavy professional sporting league in the world, can be analysed until those tiny blood vessels in your eyes spontaneously-combust.

    But for all the possessions, the contests, inside 50s and hard ball gets, these statistics cannot override the effect that was, and is the Western Bulldogs premiership.

    From seventh to winning the big dance, a team resilient in light of the loss of their spiritual leader Robert Murphy, the Doggies have single-handedly made every statistic, season record guide, every expert, and absolutely everything written in The Herald Sun, redundant. Although that last bit may have been the case for a while now.

    GWS Giants, coming off an incredible 2016 season, have a list so talent-stacked that other clubs now recruit from their reserves! The Giant’s chances in 2017 really should be dominating the football-obsessed Victorian media. And yet, no one wants to call 2017 yet.

    Much maligned St Kilda and Melbourne members now have a spring in their step around the Yarra, having suffered significantly in a way only old clubs can while membership numbers across underdog teams have soared in the off-season. These clubs now believe, if the Bulldogs can do it, why not us?

    Suddenly, we remember why we love footy.

    While our teams haven’t played finals in years, have an injury list longer than the playing squad, and just don’t get it between the sticks anywhere as much as we would like, we remember the Doggies.

    Because maybe, just maybe.

    The 23rd of March can’t come soon enough.

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • January 12th 2017 @ 8:37am
      I hate pies said | January 12th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      “AFL, the most statistic-heavy professional sporting league in the world…” Have you not seen any American sports? Our analysis is kindergarten stuff compared to theirs.

      • January 12th 2017 @ 8:45am
        peeeko said | January 12th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        i had to laugh at this as well

      • January 12th 2017 @ 9:49am
        Milo said | January 12th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Agreed. Start with MLB and NFL. We wouldn’t even be close to kindergarten compared to those two!

      • January 12th 2017 @ 11:06am
        Maxirius said | January 12th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        The (publicly available) analysis may be more advanced in american sport, but the (mostly not publicly available) data is certainly far greater in Australian football than basketball or baseball (I’m not sure about american football)

        This is a good article:

        https://thearcfooty.com/2016/09/05/the-afl-needs-to-go-beyond-the-box-score/

        • Roar Guru

          January 12th 2017 @ 11:33am
          Cat said | January 12th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          Baseball sabermetrics kick the crap out of anything the AFL does.

          • January 12th 2017 @ 2:02pm
            Maxirius said | January 12th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

            …but it is a not as “data rich” as Australian football…it just is far more advanced in the analysis and research of that data and certainly in the public availability of that data so others can use it

            The AFL, in terms of the structure of their contracts with champion data, demonstrate that they have not grasped the potential benefits of making the data public available

            There are a number of bloggers now using the information that is available (and there’s a lot of it) but I’m sure it is at an infant stage compared to american sports

    • Roar Guru

      January 12th 2017 @ 9:18am
      mds1970 said | January 12th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      It’s a long off-season, no doubt about that.
      At this time of year, there’s enough distractions that I don’t miss it that much. The Big Bash, international cricket, the Australian Open etc.
      But I find myself missing the footy a lot more around October-November. There’s trades and drafts; but not much else sporting-wise at that time of year.

      But once the players shake hands to end the Australian Open, thoughts quickly change to footy. Especially so this year, with the AFLW comp starting just a few days later.

    • Roar Guru

      January 12th 2017 @ 10:06am
      Conor said | January 12th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      Good Article! Absolutely cannot wait for the AFL Season to start!

    • January 12th 2017 @ 10:10am
      Milo said | January 12th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      Thanks for the article. Agree, bugger this pre season stuff, wastes too much time.

      We should be playing for 34 rounds home & away, throw in four split round byes, one clear bye before the finals for the Brownlow, All Australian and Ted Whitten Classic, five weeks of finals including a wildcard round (7 v 10; 8 v 9), a weekend off before the GF similar to the Superbowl, to really build it up and then we’re getting closer to a more bearable situation.

      Four weeks off for the players (incl Christmas and New Years and cricket and ‘spring’ racing), then two weeks for the nab challenge and a final weekend off leading into the new season proper…

    • January 12th 2017 @ 1:32pm
      Jeff Milton said | January 12th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

      I can’t wait for the test matches against other nations to start
      Where is the bledisloe cup this year?

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