Top ten ideas for AFL HQ

frullens Roar Rookie

By frullens, frullens is a Roar Rookie


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    AFL is a wonderful unique sport, which is arguably the strongest sport in Australia. However there are two gaps which I believe administrators can address.

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    Gap 1: Heart and soul
    True footy fans will tell you that the game has been corporatised and will dream of the glory days in the 70s, 80s and early 90s when Footscray were called Footscray and played in Footscray.

    See the author’s lists to fix other Australian sports here.

    Gap 2: Representative football
    The casual fan will tell you that there are no representative events that capture the hearts and minds of the whole population. Soccer has the Socceroos, league has State of Origin and union has the Wallabies. AFL only has the grand final.

    The below ten ideas mostly try to address these gaps.

    1. Boutique suburban grounds for some Melbourne teams
    Since all Melbourne matches have moved to the MCG and Docklands, some of the Melbourne clubs have gone backwards, losing some of their soul, local character and identity.

    I suggest St. Kilda, Western Bulldogs and Carlton would all benefit from playing out of redeveloped boutique local stadiums at Moorabbin, Whitten Oval and Princes Park.

    2. New teams in Perth and Adelaide
    David Gallop famously said to fish where the fish are. Adelaide and Perth are both heartlands and deserve to have more teams represented in the national league than Sydney and south-east Queensland.

    Both cities host fantastic derbies and another team would mean we get more.

    3. Split league into two conferences
    The glory days of Australian football before becoming corporatised was the local derbies. Both the previously mentioned ideas seek to bring back the soul to AFL through more localised derbies.

    However splitting the competition into a north-west and south-east conferences will mean that all ten Victorian teams can play each other twice across a 18-round competition. Likewise so too can the SA, Western Australia and northern teams.

    These many ways this could be structured but I suggest having separate finals in each conference, with a separate grand final in each conference.

    A ‘Super Bowl’ style grand final could be played with the winners of each conference in a best of three series played at each home ground and a decider played in a neutral city.

    4. Move North Melbourne to Tasmania
    Nothing will bring more heart back into the comp than giving Tassie their own team to support, the Tasmanian Kangaroos. Time’s up for North and it’s finally an opportunity for Tassie.

    5. Replace draft with junior zoning
    Replace draft with each team being allocated a junior nursery. Players from their nursery get salary cap exemption and transfer fees apply to players leaving their home team.

    6. Draft is redesigned for senior players wanting to enter the market
    AFL culture has struggled with players selling themselves on the open market. It can be a seedy and murky business with fans only seeing disloyalty instead of players getting their fair share.

    Suggest that the draft is used for senior players, with a blind auction. Player nominates their reserve, and the player goes to the lowest ranked team that matches their reserve.

    7. Limit interchange and reduce game time
    The unlimited interchange does not best illustrate player fitness, toughness or determination. Fatigue is a great way to allow the cream to rise to the top.

    We must only allow each player to enter the field once, like in soccer. I imagine smaller players with silky skills can be unleashed in the final quarter when players are getting weary.

    Quarters should be exactly 20 long, making an 80-minute match.

    8. National women’s comp
    Expand the women’s comp to all AFL clubs with each game player as double header with a men’s match.

    9. Best of three Indigenous match
    In the October/November quiet period, the best players of that year can represent our First Nations people and the rest of the league.

    The concept has been running for a number of years in rugby league and is very important to players to connect with community. After the recent ugly scenes with Adam Goodes and crowd behaviour, this would be a small step in the right direction.

    10. Create a conference All Star match to be played as a best of three
    I know, the AFL have tried to do State of Origin before and it hasn’t worked. This is different in that it would be the best players playing in each conference. As the conferences don’t mix during the year, this match would have a lot of intrigue.

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    The Crowd Says (46)

    • Roar Guru

      January 8th 2017 @ 8:21am
      mds1970 said | January 8th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      Some interesting ideas, but not generally ones that would get a lot of support.

      1. The problem with the boutique grounds idea is that it would take a hell of a lot of money to get the facilities up to AFL standard.
      Who’s going to pay for it? And with club memberships being what they are, would members be willing to put up with standing room instead of getting a seat?

      2. I could understand another Perth team. Possibly one that plays at Subiaco when West Coast and Freo are at the new stadium – a new team would need a point of difference.
      Adelaide would be tougher – it’s only in the last few years that Port have got their act together. But again, what would be a point of difference for the new team? AAMI Stadium perhaps?

      3. I’m not keen on a system where no non-Victorian club would ever play in Victoria. And it would be a kick in the teeth for the Swans and Lions, who are now based outside Victoria but have heritage and supporters there.

      4. That’s one for North to work out. But under the conference model, the trip to Tasmania would be the only interstate travel some Vic clubs would do all year.

    • Roar Guru

      January 8th 2017 @ 8:44am
      mds1970 said | January 8th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      5. Possibly what you’re suggesting could work like the Academy system in NSW & Queensland; together with bidding and draft points.

      6. There would still be a place for a draft; to cover players who were not part of a club’s Academy (out of area, late bloomers etc).
      But for a player who is delisted or wishes to change clubs; should they have any say in where they go?
      The current system where players are nominating where they want to be traded to after 2 years in the system (or 1 year in Tom Boyd’s case) isn’t ideal. But a blind auction may be pushing the balance too far the other way.

      7. I appreciate most of your ideas aren’t tinkering with the rules of the game; which is a good thing.
      Interchanges are being cut. But I feel that abolishing interchanges and going with subs is going too far.
      Do we want situations like in soccer where, when someone needs a breather, they roll around faking an injury and get stretchered off, only to then jump back on their feet and run straight back on? Especially with no time-on, if there’s a kick in it late in the last quarter, it’s guaranteed there’ll be fake injuries to waste time.

      8. I like this one. The AFLW comp is coming from humble beginnings but this should surely be the long-term aim.

      9. This may have some merit, but in October-November a lot of players are having surgery or holidays; so you’ll struggle to attract the top Indigenous players. Maybe in the first season but not every year.

      10. State of Origin died because clubs actively discouraged players from making themselves available to play. I don’t see why this would be any different.
      Particularly when interstate travel is involved, you’d find an epidemic of broken fingernails and general soreness forcing players to pull out.
      And a club who loses a star player to a long-term injury will be heavily disadvantaged. They’re not going to risk it for the sake of conference pride.

    • Roar Guru

      January 8th 2017 @ 8:49am
      Penster said | January 8th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      Some fun off season pondering here..Too lazy to write my own, so ….. :
      1 – yes although the VFL has this covered each ground had it’s own character (and characters) and it was enjoyable travelling to a different ground each week and eating locally, visiting the local pub. Really miss those days. Also – bring back the Princes Park peanut man.
      2 – in principal great, but no more than 18 teams in the comp please unless China gets a team The Beijing Tarps?
      3 – no way. Undermine the comp and create uneven match ups.
      4 – yes and take St Kilda with them.
      5 – salary cap exemption? Them’s fighting words.
      6 – I like your thinking here. Unfortunately the AFLPA will not let go of free agency. Might work for Xavier Richards tho 😀
      7 – limited interchange would separate the wheat from chaff. Quarters are currently 20 minutes plus time on. If you’re proposing to abolish time on, which currently comprises 5 – 10 minutes there would be much less footy played. Players would run the clock down, the wasting time rule would need to be tightened ……… not a fan.
      8 – curtain raiser? Eventually that might happen, great concept.
      9 – there wouldn’t be enough listed indigenous players to form 3 full teams. October/November is rest time, holidays, surgery, Gaelic football. Like the idea of indigenous teams from other comps touring tho. In fact, just add the peanut man and that would be a sell out.
      10 – I remember the State of Origin and loved it. The issue was injuries but it would be a block buster.

      • Roar Guru

        January 8th 2017 @ 12:48pm
        Col from Brissie said | January 8th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        Penster, love your point 1. There was nothing better than heading off to a Saturday game after a quick counter lunch at the local pub, grabbing a few cans of VB inside the ground and watching the second half of the reserves game before the seniors. The first quarter, half time and three quarter time scramble to the toilet hoping you could get back in time before play re-started.

        I loved the old suburban grounds – Glenferrie Oval, Windy Hill, Western Oval, Kardinia Park, Moorabbin, Lake Oval, Junction Oval (I was there the day the fog rolled in during a Carlton/Fitzroy game), Victoria Park and of course Princes Park.

        They were all different and had their own character and atmosphere. As for the peanut man who could ever forget “peanuts shilling a bag, peanuts”.

        • Roar Guru

          January 8th 2017 @ 1:37pm
          mds1970 said | January 8th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

          Ah yes, the peanut man. Who also sold inexplicable videos…..

          My earliest footy memories were of my Dad taking me to Windy Hill. When the likes of Terry Daniher, Paul Van der Haar, Rugged Ronnie Andrews & Rodger the Lodger were strutting their stuff. Plenty of ferals around, especially when we went to Victoria Park and Paul Salmon did his knee after kicking 60-ish goals in half a season.

          But that was another era. Clubs only had a few thousand members, even the biggest clubs had less members than GWS have now.
          And members demand better facilities, which the suburban grounds can’t offer. Make Windy Hill an all-seater with top-class corporate facilities, and it’s capacity would be less than 20,000. Essendon’s membership is much higher. In short, the club outgrew it. As did the other clubs.

          Ironically, the closest you’ll get to that retro experience is at a GWS game at Manuka. Not Spotless, its facilities are modern; but Manuka is old-school. Standing room, a manual scoreboard with letters for round the grounds scores and beer sold in cans. You could almost imagine a peanut man there.
          Maybe in Ballarat when the Bulldogs play a game there this year……

        • Roar Guru

          January 8th 2017 @ 2:28pm
          Penster said | January 8th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

          I lived across the road from Glenferrie Oval as a kid and vaguely remember seeing games there before moving to Princes Park – and the peanut man had moved to decimal currency too! Western Oval and Kardinia were absolute dives and the locals weren’t exactly welcoming especially of Hawthorn supporters in Geelong, but as you say, a counter meal at the local closest to the train station or tram stop and a couple of green cans inside, standing mostly, was a very agreeable day out.

          The Hawks had one of the smallest membership bases back then – now it’s one of the biggest and I wish most of them would f$k right off, bandwagonners.

          Spotless is nice, it’s got the old feel about it as it’s the old show grounds and what I like is that the food & drink outlets face the ground so you don’t miss match time in a queue but the booze restrictions are a nuisance. Ah the good old days!

          • January 8th 2017 @ 10:45pm
            Leonard said | January 8th 2017 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

            “Spotless”? . . . Oh, yeah, the [Sydney] Showground. (Note for Victorians: NOT ‘Showgrounds’.

            Pretty, please, could all us independent posters use the traditional names for our grounds? Stuff the corporate branding.

            • January 9th 2017 @ 12:16am
              Mitcher said | January 9th 2017 @ 12:16am | ! Report

              On ya Leo!

              I’m some sort of lap dog.

            • Roar Guru

              January 9th 2017 @ 7:08am
              Penster said | January 9th 2017 @ 7:08am | ! Report

              Yes good point, I missed that. It’s the showgrounds. Has retained timber character and was rated best game day experience in 2016 I believe. And for good reason. The big one next door to it, branded as “ANZ” – is completely soulless.

    • January 8th 2017 @ 9:42am
      Tristan said | January 8th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      I like the enthusiasm, but this reads like a passionate rugby league fan with limited knowledge of the background to Australian football.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 8th 2017 @ 12:36pm
        frullens said | January 8th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        Free up playing both Aussie rules and rugby league, and still follow both sports living in Melbourne.

        Both sports have their pros and cons, and both can learn from each other’s strengths. Article simply trying to outline some areas I believe AFL could improve.

    • January 8th 2017 @ 9:58am
      Aransan said | January 8th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      Television drives much of what the AFL does and TV is national these days. Team names based on state suburb locations such as Footscray, North Melbourne, Essendon have been replaced by Western Bulldogs, Kangaroos, and Bombers no doubt to attract a greater national supporter base with hopefully increased TV ratings for their teams. I don’t believe we can justify more local grounds in Victoria, remember some of those mud heaps in the middle of winter in “the good old days”? Perhaps the Geelong ground could be used more.

      I believe that free agency mainly benefits the elite players, driving up their payments at the expense of the other players given the salary cap.

      • Roar Guru

        January 8th 2017 @ 11:25am
        Cat said | January 8th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        You mean the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Essendon Bombers? The only team in the league with a dumb ‘location’ name is Western. Generic much?

        • January 8th 2017 @ 12:28pm
          Aransan said | January 8th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          You always seem to have to respond to my posts Cat. Victoria has nine Melbourne teams and one provincial team, nationally there are a total of 18 teams. I believe it can be understood that non-Victorian supporters would be happy to support non-Victorian teams other than from their own state, Victorian teams wishing to expand their national base will have a greater chance of success if they can identify themselves in some way other than just with their geographic location. The emphasis with the North Melbourne Kangaroos has very strongly moved to just the “Kangaroos”, I believe this is already happening with the Essendon Bombers and you don’t often hear the Bulldogs being called Footscray these days outside that suburb and its immediate surrounds. National ratings are very important for clubs due to TV and this directly affects the income that clubs receive from sponsors and so on. We have moved a long way from the previous VFL and its constituent Victorian teams.

          • January 8th 2017 @ 4:33pm
            Knoxy said | January 8th 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

            I’d argue the opposite Aransan. Apart from the Bulldogs I think that in recent years more clubs have been making an effort to reconnect with their roots.

            North Melbourne actually did ditch their name in the early 2000s and were just known as the Kangaroos. However they changed back.

            Melbourne’s current logo and marketing puts more emphasis on ‘Melbourne FC’ rather than demons.

            As for traditionally strong clubs like Collingwood, Richmond and Essendon I can’t ever see them ditching their real names and just going with nicknames.

            Those club names are all strong, well known brands despite all three clubs performing badly in recent seasons.

            • January 8th 2017 @ 5:25pm
              Aransan said | January 8th 2017 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

              You might be right Knoxy, but it could also be that the suburb names are especially used for their local supporters. Perhaps new names will evolve just as they did in the past — red legs, shin boners. West Coast Eagles is a name that stands on its own, Bombers, Cats, Tigers, Hawks less so. Whatever happens will depend significantly on national marketing considerations.

            • January 8th 2017 @ 8:51pm
              Aransan said | January 8th 2017 @ 8:51pm | ! Report

              How about the Yakult Bombers and the Skilled Cats, don’t laugh as this has been done overseas. Naming rights for teams — this should upset the traditionalists although I remember one player who wanted to change his name for one round.

              • January 8th 2017 @ 11:50pm
                Knoxy said | January 8th 2017 @ 11:50pm | ! Report

                Oh dear god no! Here’s hoping that day never comes.

              • January 10th 2017 @ 10:15am
                Penster said | January 10th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

                Gary Hocking changed his name to Whiskers for round 1. Has Gary Ablett Jnr changed his name to Jesus yet?

              • January 10th 2017 @ 11:56am
                Aransan said | January 10th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

                Perhaps Gaz will be referred to as SOG but his father will object to that.

              • January 10th 2017 @ 12:51pm
                Penster said | January 10th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                They are religious men (Snr a born again) and doubt they’d use the Lord’s name in vain!

              • January 10th 2017 @ 1:31pm
                Leonard said | January 10th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

                Be nice if G Ablett Jnr could finish his AFL career back where it began, and reach the 200-game benchmark. (I think Geelong has the most players with 190+ club games, and maybe the most on 199. There’s room in sport for such dreams, surely?

              • January 10th 2017 @ 2:08pm
                Aransan said | January 10th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

                I can’t recall an individual being named Jesus in an English speaking country.

    • January 8th 2017 @ 11:07am
      Spotty186 said | January 8th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      I’m looking forward to the women’s comp and expect double headers will be very popular. The AFL attracts huge numbers of female fans already and can show cultural leadership integrating social with spectacle. Female umpires. Indigenous umpires. No more video decision reviews… Technology is dull.
      Princes Park is a great inner city option that I miss but shouldn’t be limited to Carlton games…. Looks prettier and fuller than Etihad.

      • January 8th 2017 @ 5:27pm
        I hate pies said | January 8th 2017 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

        Most footy fans are tired of the AFL pushing a social agenda; it continues to alienate the fan base.

      • Roar Guru

        January 9th 2017 @ 7:24am
        Penster said | January 9th 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

        Agree Spotty186. Inclusion means people don’t miss out on opportunities because it’s an exclusive closed door white boys club. Double headers would represent great bang for buck on game day. I remember Grandad insisting we get to freezing cold Winter grounds at 9am to watch the U19’s followed by the reserves followed by the seniors. The only thing he enjoyed more was watching his grandchildren play sport and kicked the Sherrin with the boys and girls in the backyard. Glad the old boy passed on before Fitzroy was shipped interstate, but he’d have enjoyed the womens comp as much as he enjoyed watching womens tennis and representative cricket.

        I hate pies is hoping the thing fails and rarely misses an opportunity to deride the womens comp as “social agenda” (citing that women are inferior to men in sport) rather than “sporting agenda”. Speaking on behalf of “most footy fans” is also amusing and flies in the face of stats.

        • January 9th 2017 @ 9:27am
          Leonard said | January 9th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          Penster, about your “Grandad insisting we get to freezing cold Winter grounds at 9am to watch the U19’s” (wish I’d had a Grandad like that!), I have similar memories of coaching junior school teams at the same time of day in the same kind of conditions. Great days in a less ‘entitled’, less wimpish age. Same with watching footy at the traditional suburban grounds.

          But, after a while it had two effects: ensuring that I wore wellies outside very thick socks, and eventually (in my late 40s) finding job which did not have that as a condition of the employment.

          Reality catching up with nostalgia!

          • January 9th 2017 @ 10:13am
            Penster said | January 9th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

          • Roar Guru

            January 9th 2017 @ 10:18am
            Penster said | January 9th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            Our family was deeply involved with footy – media and a particular club – it was religion, still is. Dad attends 3 matches each round, if we ever need to order a whack on him, he’ll be really easy to find. Grandma used to roast jacket potatoes with butter and salt wrapped in foil and we’d put one in each duffle pocket to keep our hands warm on the cold mornings. When the day had warmed up a bit, we’d eat them! Taking Grandad to the footy when he was older was like moving house each weekend, he had a cushion, a rug, transistor radio, earplugs, spare batteries, a 9 course degustation menu in grease proof paper and biscuit tins, 2 thermos flasks, pens to mark up the record book (that was my job and I hated it), last weeks record book, spare scarf, the newspaper, binoculars ………. all transported in 2 vinyl Jetset Tours bags.
            It’s easy to be nostalgic of course, but looking back, although it annoyed the hell out of me at the time, chomping at the bit to find my mates and yahoo around, it was a very nice childhood with 3 generations and extended family together at the footy each weekend bickering over the binoculars. My own father has turned into his father, taking a fair bit of luggage to the footy with him – guess I’m next ……..