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The seven deadly sins of the AFL media

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    This year I managed to make it all the way to round one of the AFL season before becoming heartily sick of the accompanying media circus. This is actually a new personal best; usually I can’t make it through the NAB Cup without reaching for my Eddie McGuire voodoo doll.

    Here are the seven deadly sins of the AFL media.

    1. Overusing the phrase ‘AFL’
    Unless it is one of the 18 Australian Football League clubs, it isn’t an AFL team.

    Certain media outlets (*cough* The Australian *cough*) might class every instance of a Sherrin being kicked in anger as an AFL match – even if it is between North Albury-Wodonga and the Ettamogah Sheepshaggers. But that doesn’t make it right.

    See those two boys in Manchester United shirts kicking a round ball? They aren’t playing Premier League.

    2. Continually mentioning Dream Team statistics
    I don’t care if Buddy Franklin has scored a billion Dream Team points in this quarter alone; it still won’t make me want to play your fantasy football game.

    Assume that since I have tuned in to listen to a football match, I have some interest in the actual game.

    I didn’t want to play in Year 10 when it was called Dungeons and Dragons; what makes you think I want to play now?

    3. Taking Kevin Sheedy seriously
    Sheedy has been trading on his eccentric persona since Essendon won their last flag, any coaching ability a mere loss leader for his promotional skills.

    Surely everyone understood this when he was wheeled out as the inaugural coach of Greater Western Sydney.

    When Sheedy says he wants an ANZAC Day game against the Turks, on the shore of Gallipoli, he is doing so as a calculated publicity ploy. It’s much like the sex tape of a reality TV starlet being ‘accidentally’ leaked on the internet.

    Don’t publish it; it only encourages him.

    4. The magical black man
    Ever notice how Aboriginal players get magic-based nicknames like Michael ‘Magic’ McClean, Jeff ‘the Wiz’ Farmer and Liam ‘the Walpiri Wizard’ Jurrah?

    There is a YouTube video of former Port Adelaide player Daniel Motlop kicking goals from a series of increasingly difficult angles, culminating in a freakish goal from the grandstand.

    You can find the video by searching ‘daniel motlop magic’.

    Sydney champion Adam Goodes called the media on this in a 2010 article, which highlighted how Cyril Rioli and Lewis Jetta were never praised for their hard work and dedication to training. They were only ever celebrated for their silky skills.

    5. Forgetting it’s just a game
    One things the media – and some fans – seem to forget is that access to professional football is not a right on par with free education and health care.

    Much has been made of the amount of games exclusively on pay television. If there was ever a suggestion that the Western Derby be broadcast exclusively on Foxtel, the West Australian and Channel Seven would be apoplectic.

    They’d mount a campaign to ‘Save our Derby’.

    Sure, it would be a pity if anyone who wanted to watch the Dockers lose to the Eagles had to fork out $720 a year. But it’s not like all the hospitalised are being privatised.

    6. Shouting panelists
    The sight of former footballers in suits shouting at each other has a rich pedigree that dates all the way back to Ted Whitten and Lou Richards exclaiming over the talents of new Geelong ruckman John Newman.

    The trick is to have at least five people talking over each other, to ensure no pause long enough for the audience to engage their critical faculties and change the channel.

    The current experts are the alpha males on Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show, though the Marngrook Footy Show‘s Gilbert McAdam is showing an increasing mastery of the art of implying all modern players are soft.

    7. Unnecessary Americanisms
    Do you know what the best thing was about Collingwood losing the grand final last year? I mean, besides the obvious.

    We don’t have to endure commentators wondering if they can achieve a ‘threepeat’ this year.

    I don’t mind borrowing American phrases to convey concepts we don’t already have an expression for. For example, as much as I dislike football clubs being referred to as franchises, there is no doubt the term ‘franchise player’ best explains the importance of Gary Ablett or Michael Hurley to their respective clubs.

    However, when it comes to a team winning three flags in a row, we have the perfectly serviceable ‘hat-trick’, which conveys exactly the same meaning and, more importantly, doesn’t make me want to vomit.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • April 4th 2012 @ 5:40am
      Norm said | April 4th 2012 @ 5:40am | ! Report

      Is 3-peat an American term? 1st used about Brisbane 10 years ago……was it copying some Americanism?

      • April 4th 2012 @ 7:21am
        TomC said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:21am | ! Report

        According to wikipedia, the phrase was actually trademarked by the former coach of the LA Lakers back in 1989.

        I must say though I don’t remember the term being used about AFL very often.

        • Roar Guru

          April 4th 2012 @ 8:36am
          The Cattery said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:36am | ! Report

          I too haven’t heard three peat used in Australia too often.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 8:45am
            Lucan said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:45am | ! Report

            I’ve got a Lions “three-peat” polo shirt somewhere in the wardrobe. 🙂

      • April 4th 2012 @ 7:33am
        Lucan said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:33am | ! Report

        3-peat has been used in the US for fair while. The Chicago Bulls first three NBA titles in the early-mid 90’s brought the term to households in Australia.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 8:07am
      Lucan said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      Eighth deadly sin, crow-barring excessive sponsor references:

      If I hear “Scott Pendelbury’s had 10 Carlton Draughts this quarter” rather than “10 possessions” I’m switching off the radio.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 8:37am
      BigAl said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      and the 9th; 10th and 11th ! – the Channel 7 commentary B – team . . .

      Brian Taylor – an obvious graduate from the Rex Hunt School of Commentary

      Richo – looks and sounds like a bewildered schoolboy

      Luke Darcy – likes to look and sound very very VERY serious when talking about absolutely nothing or stating the Bleedin’ obvious !

      – also, Cameron Ling can look a bit scary on TV

      • April 4th 2012 @ 5:04pm
        hawker said | April 4th 2012 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

        BigAl couldn’t agree more, Richo should be a boundary rider no more. Darcy has no insight whatsoever , they should’ve got Lloyd he might be wooden but at least he gives an opinion and BT is a b grade Rex

    • April 4th 2012 @ 9:20am
      Paul said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      The “playing AFL” thing has gotten me a few times, particularly as a southerner now living in Queensland. “Australian-Rules Football” or “Australian Football” is the correct term, if one wishes to avoid using “football” so as not to upset the rugby lot.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 9:30am
      Matt F said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      I think the blame for your first point should be directed at the AFL itself rather than the media. Particularly in the northern states, where “football” means alot of different sports, all the signs/ads for junior registrations are not “play aussie rules” or “play Australian Football” but “Play AFL.”

      Agree 100% with points 2, 4 and 6. Point 4 especially

    • Roar Guru

      April 4th 2012 @ 9:51am
      Ben Carter said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Hi Ben – that “playing AFL” thing has totally ticked me off for years… It’s the name of the top-flight competition, NOT the entire sport. The Australian cricket team doesn’t “Play ICC”, Brazil and Spain don’t “Play FIFA” (etc, etc, etc)… Sorry, but it just sounds stupid. That’s not me saying I hate the game itself. Just call it “Aussie Rules” or “footy” and be done with it.
      Totally agree with number two as well. I still have a soft spot for Sheeds, however. And point four, while probably on the contentious side, also probably has an element of truth to it.

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