AFL clubs can’t handle the truth

Luke D'Anello Roar Rookie

By Luke D'Anello, Luke D'Anello is a Roar Rookie

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    The fact that the career of Hawthorn defender Trent Croad is now in doubt – due to a serious foot injury – has raised a number of questions about the way AFL clubs try and hide the true story in relation to injured players.

    Croad’s future has been on the agenda for the past two months, after he broke his foot in last year’s Grand Final.

    He has not played a senior game this season, and has been ruled out of the final three rounds of the home-and-away season.

    This week it was revealed that Croad may not play again.

    On MMM radio in early June, Hawthorn director Jason Dunstall threw a bucket of rice over caller Steven Quartermain during a pre-match broadcast.

    Dunstall had grown frustrated at Quartermain’s belief that Croad’s career was in doubt.

    Whether throwing a bucket of rice at Quartermain was warranted or not is an argument for another day.

    But, why do AFL clubs try and play hard-ball with the public/media on injuries?

    Who does it serve? Does it boost a club’s ego to keep information, which the public/punters deserve to know, in the inner-sanctum? I doubt it.

    All season, Hawthorn has communicated the message to its members/fans that Croad would play this season. It has proven false and many ruled Croad out weeks ago, despite the message from the Hawks.

    Why not simply tell the truth?

    Why not tell supporters that Croad’s injury is not responding to treatment and, while he is unlikely to play in 2009, every effort will be made to get him back fit and firing?

    Supporters deserve to know what the situation is. They pay money for their memberships and club merchandise and, in many ways, a club’s success is determined by its fans.

    Why do clubs cover the truth? It can’t be due to the opposition. If an injured player is on the sidelines, he can’t influence the outcome, anyway.

    I can understand a club wanting to keep possible game-day match-ups away from public consumption, because that can influence a result.

    There needs to be more appropriate transparency and club stakeholders deserve better.

    Geelong ruckman Brad Ottens was also at the centre of another injury charade this season. He injured his knee in Round 2 against Richmond and only returned to the VFL recently.

    In the meantime, the club, more than once, went down the predictable line: “he is only one or two weeks away”.

    Fans are left to wonder because football clubs are treating them as fools.

    Dunstall’s frustration was due to the fact that he knew Quartermain was correct. Perhaps in future, clubs would be best served to communicate the truth about injury complications.

    Football clubs are entitled to keep certain things in-house. But when the career of a key player is on the line, fans have a right to know.

    The truth does not have to be sugar-coated.

    And, there is no point looking at the team injury lists anymore. There is sure to be some inaccurate information.

    It came to a head last week when, between Tuesday and Friday afternoon, eight star St.Kilda players were ruled out, suddenly, with a range of questionable injury concerns.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • August 14th 2009 @ 6:13am
      Michael C said | August 14th 2009 @ 6:13am | ! Report

      “2-3 weeks” is code word for ‘indefinite’, which is in turn code word for either “OP” or “F.. me, this isn’t getting better.”

      This topic though does touch on the issue around pain killing jabs – – playing sore/injured, and at what point does a club heading into the finals have the right – or even obligation – to attempt to set it’s list up as well as possible.

      Personally, I’m happy to leave it to the clubs and their doctors – – ever since the Adrian Whitehead case, clubs and doctors are going to be much more careful – – and most the whinging will come from people silly enough to bet money on footy match outcomes……or dreamteamers……hmm, no Luke in the Roar dreamteam league.

    • Roar Guru

      August 14th 2009 @ 9:18am
      Pippinu said | August 14th 2009 @ 9:18am | ! Report


      It’s a good point you’re making – why carry on such charades – it doesn’t really achieve much.

      By the way, when you said that Dunstall poured a bucket of rice over Quarters, I thought you had made a typo – but then you repeat it – so I assume he really did pour a bucket of rice over Quarters!!

    • August 14th 2009 @ 10:48am
      Kick2kick said | August 14th 2009 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      Dunstall was just trying to divide his serving into Quarters as the lunch lady gave him too much…

      Seriously though, good points, I think the truth is that Hawthorn seriously did not know his foot was that screwed. Honest assessment must also come from the players, doctors can only take their word.

    • August 14th 2009 @ 10:53am
      Luke D'Anello said | August 14th 2009 @ 10:53am | ! Report

      By all accounts it’s true.

      It happened during the pre-match and Quartermain responded by chucking Dunstall out of the box.

      I’m not saying clubs have to reveal which players are receiving injections etc, but in the situation of Ottens, and especially Croad, there should be more accurate communication.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 14th 2009 @ 12:47pm
      cuzybro said | August 14th 2009 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

      Tent Coad, maybe he might want to pull a black jumper on one day

      • Roar Guru

        August 14th 2009 @ 1:38pm
        Pippinu said | August 14th 2009 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

        Nice clip.

        While I was checking it out, I stumbled across NZ vs PNG in the 2005 IC, and then compared it to the 2008 IC, which PNG won late in the game.

        Its’ a very interestring comparison (I only looked at a few minutes), this is what I noticed:

        1. Almost no handballing
        2. No left foot
        3. Stop start kick and mark game

        1. Much faster
        2. Handballing to position, often 3 or 4 together
        3. Playing on, a bit more sytematic

        Mind you, some of the set shots show poor kicking technique – but there’s a definite improvement in 3 years.

        NZ were pretty impressive with their leading and taking a grab in 50, and PNG were a bit more play on at all costs.

    • August 14th 2009 @ 1:22pm
      Gibbo said | August 14th 2009 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

      Ottens being 2 to 3 weeks away stuffed my super coach. dont clubs realise the implications of their actions!??!?!

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