I am staggered at the negativity being directed towards AFL at the moment.
People don’t like the congestion around the ball, the lack of risk-taking, lack of goals, and, ultimately, the lack of entertainment.
My rather harsh, but fair, response is – stop worrying about it.
Don’t worry if we are seeing fewer goals scored. It’s a tactical game, with one coach trying to out-coach the other. I’m sorry, but if it bores you, then consider a different form of entertainment.
As a supporter, obviously a quick and bold game with flair is much more appealing. But if we’re winning, I’m not too concerned.
I scoffed when hearing people in the media label Monday’s Geelong versus Hawthorn clash, and Hawthorn’s Round 2 match against Essendon as the only exciting and good games so far this season.
Geelong’s clash with Adelaide (Round 1), Western Bulldogs versus Richmond (Round 3) and North Melbourne against Port Adelaide (Round 3), were all enthralling, see-sawing contests that kept us intrigued.
I understand that last Thursday night’s game between the Brisbane Lions and Richmond at the Gabba was about as dour as they come, and North’s win over the Bulldogs a few weeks prior wasn’t much better. But let’s not go up in arms about the style of game because of a few poorly-skilled scraps.
Everyone wants to see end-to-end, dashing football, but we can’t be treated to it all the time.
It is all about winning, and coaches will employ the tactics that give them best chance.
It still needs to be more of a game than a form of entertainment – even though we’re heading down that path.
The honchos are also contemplating a change of rules that will mean six defenders and six forwards must remain inside the 50s at centre bounces, to help reduce congestion.
They just can’t help themselves, can they?
Good luck policing such a peculiar rule. It would mean ore unnecessary change and it’s constant rule tinkering that is more a danger to the game.
We have seen in past years that defence is the key to winning premierships. Everyone is trying to adopt that approach and as a result we do get some less appealing games of football.
But as it has done for so long, the game will evolve.
We need to stop pressing the panic button and make do with what we get.
For now, let’s just enjoy the grind.