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How to choose a team to support

Sydney Swans fans watch the AFL grand final. (Wikimedia Commons)
Roar Guru
23rd March, 2016
5

The AFL season is upon us once more, and the NRL is already a few weeks in.
As many of us don our respective teams’ colours, others are new or yet to adopt a team.

For many, following a team makes the sport more enjoyable. It invokes a sense of passion and pride in your team and lends itself to a competitive edge. It is, after all, a competition in itself.

Home Advantage
The first major sport I got into was AFL – I attended a Swans v Collingwood match in 2005. Young as I was, I was indecisive and sort of chose both teams. In the end, and much to my sister’s disappointment, I would choose the Swans as my club to follow. It seemed like the proximity of the team won me over.

For many, the same thing would occur. You see a team for the first time and you back them. They are your home team, so you can see more of their matches. If State of Origin is anything to go by, Australia definitely has an interstate rivalry.

Should you follow your home team though? It depends. Are you going to watch their matches or attend any of their events? If you prefer to watch or listen to games digitally, then you don’t need to pick your home team. I suspect this would be the most common way fans pick their teams but it doesn’t have to be.

Premiers
The reigning Premiers would often see a surge of popularity from groups of so-called ‘bandwagoners.’ Essentially you start following the team because they are playing well. Why follow an unsuccessful team?

It seems a bit crummy and many people would criticise you for doing it, but following a successful team would actually make a sport more enjoyable.

Firstly, most teams who win the Premiership do well the following year and if you are new to a sport, it certainly makes it easier to watch better teams in action. The better teams also have a bigger media spotlight because of their success, so becoming familiar with the team is easier.

Colours and mascot
Sometimes a colour scheme of a team may simply attract your attention, or a mascot might seem pretty cool. This is an unorthodox way to start following a team, but you can get on board with the brand fairly easily. The colours and mascot in no way denote success or anything as a team. They simply represent the team.

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Would I recommend picking a team this way?

Sort of. If it makes it easier for you to be passionate about the team because they aren’t goofy, or if you look pretty cool in those colours, then go for it.

But overall, it doesn’t make too much of a difference. If you get into the sport, your team’s brand will be of no consequence to you. You’ll learn to love it anyway.

Pick your hero
There are some great players in many of our national sports right now. In the AFL, you have Gary Ablett, Nat Fyfe and Lance Franklin, while in NRL you have Johnathan Thurston, Semi Radradra and Cameron Smith. There are dozens more.

These players play with their heart on their sleeve and leave nothing on the field. They are role models and great for kids and adults alike to look up to.

So should you pick your team based on it?

It’s a pretty good reason to. If that player plays in a way you think is awesome it’s great. But remember every team has bonafide stars, and you can easily follow the players themselves. Remember the team will outlast the player so if you only want to follow the player, make sure you like the team too!

There’s no right or wrong answer as to how to pick your team. Simply choose one and back it all the way to the finals. You think about having a second crack at choosing a team if you happen to pick someone who fails miserably. But a good fan is there for the good times and the bad.

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