Love it or hate it, the AFL is top dog of Australian sport

Glenn Mitchell Columnist

By Glenn Mitchell, Glenn Mitchell is a Roar Expert


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    When it comes to marketing a sport few do it better than the AFL.

    It starts with the very name itself.

    Ask a lot of parents what sport their kid plays, and they will say, “AFL”. The kids will say the same.

    Yet they aren’t playing AFL at all. They are playing Australian football, for the AFL is the 18-team elite level national competition.

    No other sport in the world is referred to by the name of its national league.

    When asked about which sport they play, no Australian kids would say NBL, NRL or A-League if referring to basketball, rugby league or football.

    Likewise, in England they would not say they play EPL, or in the United States that they play NFL or Major League baseball.

    It is a simple illustration of how all pervasive the AFL has become within the code itself.

    On a global scale, by average attendance per game, the AFL is the fourth largest league in the world with 33,200 fans attending each match.

    The introduction of clubs on the Gold Coast and in Western Sydney in the past six years – two non-traditional Australian football markets – has seen average match attendances decline from the record 38,400 in 2010.

    Steve Johnson GWS Giants Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL 2016

    The NFL leads the way with average crowds of 68,400, ahead of the German Bundesliga (47,500) and the EPL (36,500).

    Like the NFL, the AFL is an unusual beast in the fact that it is a purely domestic sport.

    In the case of Australian football, this has proven to be a double-edged sword.

    One of the great attractions of sports like football, cricket, basketball and the rugby codes is that they have all have an international flavour – none more so than football with the ‘world game’ having a strong footprint in over 200 countries.

    For anyone taking up those sports, there is the ability to either tour overseas or base yourself off shore and play professionally.

    That has seen many leading athletes leave Australia to ply their trade overseas.

    With Australian football, there is no such issue which means the very best in the sport must play here.

    It means that the highest possible level of the sport is played solely in this country, just like the NFL is in the United States.

    The greatest change to Australian football came with the expansion of the VFL.

    South Melbourne morphed into the Sydney Swans in 1982 ahead of the West Coast Eagles and Brisbane Bears joining an expanded competition in 1987.

    The VFL was renamed the AFL in 1990 and subsequently, further expansion teams sprouted in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.

    The league also took home-and-away fixtures regularly to places like Canberra, Darwin, Hobart and Launceston.

    Unlike the NRL, the AFL took on the guise of a truly national competition.

    There is no doubting that Australian Football is being challenged by football and that will continue to be the case.

    The factional infighting that blighted the sport in this country for so long is a thing of the past and has consequently resulted in a far more professional and businesslike approach at the board table.

    The world game is better placed than ever to make solid inroads into Australian football’s dominance of the nation’s sporting landscape.

    Football participation rates nationally are significantly higher than Australian football’s and there has been an increase in spectator numbers with match crowds averaging around 13,000 for A-League fixtures.

    Adelaide United fans celebrate

    By comparison, the NRL averages 16,100 fans per game.

    It is the TV rights area, however, where the AFL continues to garner massive leverage.

    The latest TV broadcast deal – to run from 2017-22 – netted the AFL $2.51 billion. The new deal, worth $418m per year, represents a 67 per cent increase on the previous agreement.

    By comparison, the NRL’s latest five-year TV deal was worth $1.8 billion while the FFA’s recently signed TV package for Socceroos, Matildas, A-League W-League and FFA Cup matches with Fox Sports over six years is worth $346m.

    A separate deal for the A-League on free-to-air television on Saturday nights for the next six seasons is expected to be inked shortly.

    This year, Fox Sports is launching a dedicated 24-hour NRL channel.

    The AFL had its own 24-hour Fox Footy channel between 2002-2006 and it was re-established in 2012.

    The major reason the A-League and NBL are played primarily in the summer months rather than the traditional winter period for the codes in this country was predicated on being able to find greater media traction rather than it being head-to-head with the NRL, and in particular, the AFL.

    The financial muscle of the AFL – garnered through its broadcast rights, membership and spectator base, and record levels of Australian corporate sponsorship – has allowed it to introduce its AFL Women’s competition which has been an overwhelming success.

    The TV audiences have massively outstripped other female domestic leagues and some of the matches have seen lock-outs with crowds as high as 25,000.

    Cannily, the AFL made admission free, which has been a masterstroke.

    It has resulted in exposing thousands of people to the new competition who may not have otherwise attended.

    The large crowds and the big TV audiences will inspire thousands of young girls to take up the sport which will, in turn, bring their parents to the code as well.


    Placing the competition where it has, in the two months leading up to the AFL home-and-away season, has provided the sport with an extra two months of media coverage, especially in the month prior to the start of the AFL pre-season series.

    The AFL has always looked to maximise its media exposure with the months of October and November nowadays peppered with stories surrounding the trade period, free agency and the national and rookie drafts.

    What used to be a sport that garnered public attention between the months of February and September is now pretty much a year-round staple for media outlets.

    On Wednesday, Mike Fitzpatrick announced he will be shortly stepping down after ten years as AFL chairman, to be replaced by outgoing Wesfarmers managing director, Richard Goyder.

    While the man at the top of the tree may be changing it is safe to assume that the sport itself will continue to dominate the Australian sporting landscape for many years to come.

    Glenn Mitchell
    Glenn Mitchell

    After 21 years as a sports broadcaster with the ABC, since mid-2011 Glenn Mitchell has been freelancing in the electronic and written media. He is an ambassador for mental health in Australia, and tweets from @mitchellglenn.

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    The Crowd Says (510)

    • February 17th 2017 @ 9:12am
      Don Freo said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      And so good to see it back. It doesn’t matter that it is a pre season gallop.

      We get to all of summer’s speculation begin to play òut.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 6:58pm
        Dean - Surry Hills said | February 17th 2017 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

        Glenn, this article is nothing more than a fluff piece that was constructed to boost your ratings and the egos of a state that aren’t as sports mad as we’re led to believe.

        I was born in Carlton and have had strong business ties to a Ballarat based company. Oddly, I was brought up to support Essendon though my allegiances now lay with The Swans.

        Speaking to the boys from Ballarat a few years back regarding rugby (both league and union) gave me some insight into the Victorian mindset. A chunk of the crew claimed that they tuned in for a State of Origin fixture and the NRL Grand Final, but were lucky to catch a glimpse of the regular League or Union seasons.

        Not a single sole knew of the most basic rules of either of the rugby codes.

        When I explained that the rugby codes required a great deal of skill with regards to ball handling, they countered that the same is true of AFL. They were then informed that the rules stipulate that you can’t drop the ball in a forward motion towards your opponents in-goal area (a knock-on) without handing possession to the opposition.

        The lot of them stared blankly as reality sank in. I claimed that Aussie Rules is a fumble-athon, and if the same rule was applied then you’d barely see a goal kicked in an entire game.

        They were then bought up to speed with regards to passes not being able to be thrown in a forward motion, and of the off-side rules. Only a few of them knew of either.

        We finally breached the merits of who was better abeled at kicking a football. I joked that even when you’re off-target in AFL that you’re still rewarded with a point. One countered that it was just as easy to score a point from a kick in Rugby League until he was informed that the ball had to make contact with the ground first (a drop-goal).

        My mind was blown. I left the premises bewildered that a game that had been played on mass in Australia for over 100 years was not really understood by a State that prides itself on calling itself the sporting capital of the world.

        Let’s just say that most of them enjoy watching some NRL that little bit more, now that they are aware of how the game actually functions.

        • February 17th 2017 @ 8:29pm
          GWSINGAPORE said | February 17th 2017 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

          Try visiting South and Western Australia too.

          I worked in Perth for nearly a decade and was amazed that so many locals had no idea that there were two rugby codes, let alone knowing the difference between them.

          The support for The Western Force was largely based on exSouth Africans living in Perth. (Over 100 000.)

          I used to drive past three primary schools on the way to work. On the Friday before a derby weekend the kids are allowed to wear their football jumpers to school. Every kid, and I mean every kid, had on a Dockers or Eagles jumper.

          • February 17th 2017 @ 11:42pm
            Lroy said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:42pm | ! Report

            I can attest to that, in 1987 I left Perth and joined the army.. on my posting to Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane I discovered not only did they play rugby instead of Aussie Rules, but they played two different versions of it!!!

            Took a while to work out why the Kangaroos were great and the Wallabies so so. In the process I discovered a mysterious team called the All Blacks.. who never seemed to lose a game back then.. and the same is true today 😉

            Ive learned to appreciate both the Broncos and Wallabies, but deep down its the West Coast Eagles that get this man truly excited 😉

            • February 20th 2017 @ 4:02pm
              Maxo said | February 20th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

              Dean little or no pressure in the rugby codes from 360 degrees but certainly a lot from 180 degrees so the comparison on goals kicked if not dropped is ridiculous..

        • February 17th 2017 @ 10:34pm
          Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

          Insular to the extreme. Thanks for that Dean

        • February 18th 2017 @ 10:40am
          Slane said | February 18th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          The ‘knock-on’ rule makes rugby worse. No other sport in the world has such a ridiculous rule. It makes the game sterile and gets rid of any genuine contest for the ball. The fact that you think it is a benefit to the spectacle of the sport shows me that you were raised in NSW, QLD or NZ. The only 3 areas of the world were knocking the ball forward is penalized and throwing the ball backwards is applauded.

          To decry half of Australia as insular for liking their own code reeks of hypocrisy when your own idea of what makes a grand and skillful contest is so at odds with every other code on the planet.

          • February 18th 2017 @ 11:11am
            concerned supporter said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

            Slane, you say
            “The ‘knock-on’ rule makes rugby worse. No other sport in the world has such a ridiculous rule. It makes the game sterile and gets rid of any genuine contest for the ball. The fact that you think it is a benefit to the spectacle of the sport shows me that you were raised in NSW, QLD or NZ. The only 3 areas of the world were knocking the ball forward is penalized and throwing the ball backwards is applauded.”
            The epitome of stupid, uneducated comments. Slane you are a world champion.
            Think England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, Canada, USA, and probably30-40 more countries.which are AREAS OF THE WORLD I think?

            • February 18th 2017 @ 12:19pm
              Agent11 said | February 18th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

              imagine how bad the rugby’s would be to watch without a knock on rule. There would be no discipline, no skill in passing because who cares if they drop it? players would just soccer it along the ground until it rolled into the ingoal. The defense would just try and intercept every single pass.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 6:56am
                Slane said | February 19th 2017 @ 6:56am | ! Report

                Yet somehow every other sport on the planet manages to do without it.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 10:21am
                Agent11 said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

                Every other sport? you can’t knock the ball forwards or backwards in American Football. You couldn’t do it in soccer cause of the hand ball rule.

              • Roar Guru

                February 19th 2017 @ 10:37am
                Cat said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

                Sure you can, you can fumble the ball in any direction in the NFL. Play doesn’t stop because a loose ball goes in one direction versus another.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 10:53am
                Slane said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

                You can so knock the ball forward or backward in American football. It’s just that it doesn’t happen all the time becase the game revolves around trying to maintain possession of the ball and letting the ball go is a risk. The ball can be thrown in any direction.

                Likewise with Soccer the ball can be kicked or headed or shouldered or kneed or knocked with any body part bar the hands in any direction. The bal can be thrown in any direction from the sidelines or thrown in any direction by the keeper.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 1:16pm
                Dean - Surry Hills said | February 19th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

                What are you banging on about Cat?

                If you fumble the ball in American Football (in any direction) and the pill hits the ground or another player, then the next play returns to where the ball was thrown from. Therefore the team will lose ground and field position. You can actually go backwards from the scrimmage line and make negative yards.

                This is why teams choose to punt the ball on the 4th down for field position, rather than risk a long pass.

                Anyway, I’m off to watch The Swans take on The Roos.

                Coffs Harbour – the sporting capital of NSW!

              • Roar Guru

                February 19th 2017 @ 2:10pm
                Cat said | February 19th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                In NFL if you Fumble the ball forward or backwards or sideways play doesn’t stop. Play continues until the ball is possessed and the player is downed (can happen simultaneously if the recovering player is on the ground) or the ball goes out of bounds.
                We are not talking about an incomplete pass. We are also not talking about change of possession on downs.
                A quarterback can also throw a pass forward, backwards or sideways. There is no directional limitation like NRL.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 2:18pm
                Slane said | February 19th 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

                You are confusing a fumble with a dropped pass, Dean. If the QB or RB drops the ball before throwing it there is a fight for possession. It doesn’t matter which way the ball bounces or gets knocked.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 8:04pm
                Dean - Surry Hills said | February 19th 2017 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

                You’re nit-picking Cat.

                I’d say that 80% of plays in NFL that require a clean catch are thrown from the quarterback.

                Pass-offs from the quarterback are generally handed directly to a runner – so there’s bugger all chance of someone dropping the ball.

                Your quote ” Sure you can, you can fumble the ball in any direction in the NFL. Play doesn’t stop because a loose ball goes in one direction versus another.” is wrong.

                Play does stop – every single time that a player drops a pass from a throw.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 8:54pm
                northerner said | February 19th 2017 @ 8:54pm | ! Report

                Dean – you are wrong. An incomplete pass is a ball which hits the ground before anyone has possession of it. It might be that the QB has either made a bad throw or been hit just as he was throwing the ball. Or sometimes the receiver simply screwed up the pattern. If the QB throws the ball and no one catches it, that’s an incomplete pass.

                A fumble is different: it is a ball that the person who is actually in possession, loses. For example, the quarterback fumbles the ball before he can throw it or hand it off because he’s just taken a hit, or the guy he hands it to has it and drops it, usually because he’s just been tackled, or the receiver catches it but can’t hang on to it,because he’s butter fingered. In all those cases, it’s a fumble and anyone who can get possession of the ball, owns it. Play certainly doesn’t restart as though it never happened. Even if the QB recovers the ball, he has to start the next play from way back wherever he picked it up, not from where he was on the previous down.

                This is not nit-picking: this is fundamental to both NFL and CFL.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 11:24pm
                Dean - Surry Hills said | February 19th 2017 @ 11:24pm | ! Report

                Fumble – from the NFL rule book:

                The distinction between a fumble and a muff should be kept in mind in considering rules about fumbles. A fumble is the loss of player possession of the ball. A muff is the touching of a loose ball by a player in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.

                I twice used the word “thrown” – rather than pass to differentiate a forward pass from a lateral pass.

                The word fumble is used in rugby codes with reference to a player that drops the ball backwards, or juggles the ball and recovers possession – regardless if its from a pass or a kick.

                A knock-on in rugby is simply a fumble that travels forward towards the opponents in-goal area without being recovered before hitting the ground, or is touched by another player prior to recovery.

                Agent11 was clearly attempting to refer a dropped ball in either direction from a forward pass (throw) in The NFL.

                Cat was nit-picking while we were having a discussion about safe hands.


              • February 20th 2017 @ 9:16am
                northerner said | February 20th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

                I disagree with your interpretation of what Agent11 was trying to say. I also disagree with your statement that ” If you fumble the ball in American Football (in any direction)the pill hits the ground or another player, then the next play returns to where the ball was thrown from.”

                First, rather a lot of plays in American football do in fact involve hand-offs, not passes, and fumbles most definitely can occur in that situation, especially if the defence gets to the QB or the running back at the point of exchange. Or, sometimes, it’s just a broken play because someone has messed up. If the ball hits the ground and the defence recovers it, the offence certainly doesn’t get it back.

                Fumbles also occur when the QB is hit by the defence before he can release the pass. Again, what happens next depends on who recovers the ball. If the QB or his team recover it but can’t move it, then the next down starts from that position. If the defence recovers the ball, it doesn’t go back to the QB.

                And fumbles will occur after a pass reception, again usually when the receiver is hit by the defense. The key here is that the receiver must have been in possession of the ball to make it a fumble; otherwise it’s an incomplete pass and the ball returns to the last line of play. But if the receiver has a hold of the ball, and then loses it, it’s a fumble and anyone can recover it.

                This is not “nit-picking.” An incomplete pass is entirely a different animal from a fumble and it has nothing to do with whether the pass is forward, lateral or backward. It has everything to do with whether the receiver is or is not in possession of the ball.

              • Roar Guru

                February 20th 2017 @ 9:44am
                Cat said | February 20th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

                I’m not nit-picking Dean, you just obviously are not very well versed in American football. Any player that is in possession of the ball and drops it (or is dispossessed) before being ruled down has fumbled it. A fumbled ball is ‘live’ until it is recovered and the recovering player is downed. If a loose ball is picked up by an offensive player they can attempt to run it for a touchdown. If a defensive player picks it up they too can attempt to run it in for a defensive touchdown. It happens all the time. There is no directional limitation. Doesn’t matter if a loose ball (ie: fumble) bounces off 5 more players and goes forward, backwards and sideways, it remains alive until recovered (or goes out of bounds).
                As mentioned by northerner a Quarterback can fumble when the ball is hiked to them, they can fumble it when being sacked. Receivers can make catches, then fumble the ball while running for more yards. Running backs can and do fumble it when getting it from the quarterback, they fumble it when trying to break lines.
                Teams last year averaged 0.6–1.8 fumbles per game. That means there’s an average 2-3 fumbles per game.
                Vid quality is crap but here is an example of 3 fumbles in one play. Note: fumbled in multiple directions and play was never dead.

              • February 20th 2017 @ 12:22pm
                Dean - Surry Hills said | February 20th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                We’re going around in circles between a fumble and a muff. The premise of the argument was always regarding safe hands and the ability to catch a forward pass.

                Most people on this thread wouldn’t even know that only one forward pass can be thrown per down.

                Agent11 was without doubt referring to what he has probably seen a thousand times (an incomplete forward pass) as a knock on, or knock back – and not a lay-off where the ball is transferred directly to a player by attempting to place the football on his/her chest.

                You see bugger all lateral passes in gridiron that are not direct lay-offs, and they are usually only used when a team has ran out of attacking options, or in attempt to fool the opposition. Rarely do you see the QB throw the ball to the centre for him/her to make a forward pass.

                By the way, if a player dives for a ball from a forward pass but muffs it, are they then referred to as a muff-diver? 😉

            • February 19th 2017 @ 7:06am
              Slane said | February 19th 2017 @ 7:06am | ! Report

              As usual you are missing the point CS. Wales is probably the only country you’ve mentioned where Rugby is the dominant code snd therefore likely to breed people with the ‘knock-on mindset’.

              All the rest of us who grew up playing literally any other sport don’t have an issue with hitting the ball forward.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 11:01am
                Perry Bridge said | February 19th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                My first introduction to live Rugby League was Melbourne Storm back in 1999 with my soon to be in-Laws.

                My impressions of RL were that the crowd excitement level rose with 2 main scenarios – a ‘contest’ and a line break.

                The ‘contest’ though saw the resounding holler of ‘KNOCK ON!!’ – – people weren’t anticipating a contested ball fight for possession. To me – this was an anticlimax.

                The other – the line break just saw a foot race to the end zone for the touch down. Relatively mundane stuff.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 1:53pm
                Agent11 said | February 19th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                League is a game of possession and territory and breaking the line is not easy. Some people see AFL as messy, haphazard and lacking in strategy. Too much of it is decided by the bounce of the ball imo.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 5:37pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 19th 2017 @ 5:37pm | ! Report


                All the field games are about possession, territory etc.

                The main difference is that the off-side formation games of Rugby (both) and American Football are based on 19th century battlefield of opposing lines across the breadth of the field.

                Australian football is about skirmishes all over the field – however – modern full field defence and the 70m defensive bubble make the search for space and ‘time’ as critical as any of the codes.

                The bounce of the ball – well – it’s certainly a factor. Good players can read it, and control it. The rugby balls are slightly more rounded and their bounce is somewhat more predictable.

                All sport has an element of ‘fluke’ factor. The bounce of the ‘Sherrin’ can produce some ‘unfair’ results in Australian football but generally you hope it evens out over the fullness of the game.

                Soccer is interesting in that one single flukey event can dictate the match where that results in a rrrrr’s more than class goal and if that’s the only goal of the day – well, is that too arbitrary?

                Which ever sport it is though – my preference is for the ref/umpy to let the game flow. Allow for incidental contact and force frees/penalties etc to be earned rather than charitable. Top level professional sport – players should be able to keep their feet and keep in the contest. Going to ground too easily is taking yourself out of the contest – that shouldn’t be rewarded. That goes for ALL the codes.

            • February 19th 2017 @ 12:06pm
              Dean - Surry Hills said | February 19th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

              Holding the ball is a skill that separates the men from the boys.

              AFL has the mark, and likewise in cricket, NFL, and baseball – catches win matches.

              A clean pair of hands is vital to most professional sportspeople – especially the worlds biggest team sport where a single fumble from a goal keeper could cost their team the match.

              • February 20th 2017 @ 10:17am
                Perry Bridge said | February 20th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                #Dean – Surry Hills

                certainly – clean hands are crucial. In soccer too – the goalie can’t just get a finger tip on it, he needs either to hold cleanly or deflect away.

                In Australian Football the ‘clean’ players stand out – usually if you take it first touch then you already have ensured yourself that fraction of a second of extra time to assess options and dispose correctly. That’s just in general play.

                The mark is a little different – the requirement to ‘control the ball’ allows that a mark is deemed to be taken even if a spoil arrives late. That spoil in general play is effectively a ‘strip’ and if that is later in general play then the player with the ball will likely be penalised (prior opportunity). So – the mark is a special case.

                Clearly in cricket completing the catch isn’t putting the catcher against a direct opponent – however – the definition of catch is tested around the boundary rope. ‘Team catches’ are quite in vogue!

              • February 20th 2017 @ 4:24pm
                Slane said | February 20th 2017 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                Clean hands are definitely important Dean. But is there any less skill involved in picking the ball back up under pressure and snapping a snag off half a step? AFL is at its worst when it is kick-mark-kick-mark-kick-mark-goal. It’s what happens between the Speccies that makes the game special to begin with!

          • February 18th 2017 @ 11:47am
            Leonard said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

            A bit beside the point/s, but WTH!

            In some sports the players’ movements are more ‘natural’; take baseball and cricket, for examples – which sport has the more ‘natural’ way of delivering the ball and of hitting the ball? The answers are obvious: baseball – how often do you take a swipe at something like a cricket batsman swings his bat? Or chuck a missile like a cricket bowler delivers a bowl? And yet the ‘unnatural’ cricketer has more chance of hitting the approaching missile because (i) his bat has a flat surface, not a rounded one (which reduces the impact area to a single point), and (ii) moving the bat with a vertical swing gives him an even greater area for the ball to be hit with.

            Some sports have restrictive rules, such as Association Football’s hands-ban and its offside rule (which is as mysterious to outsiders and even many insiders as is Australian Football’s ‘holding the ball’ and cricket’s LBW rule or the Duckworth-Lewis thingy). But were one or both of soccer’s restriction lifted the game would no longer be Association Football. Same with the rugbies’ no forward passing – which is a main reason why American Football is so distinctly different from its parent game. Perhaps one reason outsiders seem to be able to take up Australian Football is that its ball movement is more ‘natural’ (despite its no-throwing rule) and its 360d area of action.

            Outsiders should be able to poke fun at these quirks, and maybe even claim they make no sense – but there’s not much point in getting worked up about them, or denigrating their players for playing something ‘stu-u-u-upid’^. (Besides, one of Commissar Triggs’s little apparatchiks might drag you before her secretive PC tribunal.)

            ^ Isn’t mindlessly calling something ‘stu-u-u-upid’ a sign of a teenage attitude to grown-ups’ business?

            • February 18th 2017 @ 12:43pm
              Dean - Surry Hills said | February 18th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

              Leonard – you hit the nail on the head with reference to the 360 degree area of action.

              This is what separates Soccer, AFL, NFL, Baseball, Cricket, (and Rugby Union in varying degrees) from other codes when it comes to bums on seats.

              They present attendees with far more opportunities throughout each game to see each squad re-position themselves.

              This is something that currently can not be shared for television audiences without two separate images, and no one that I know of likes watching a wide-angled fishbowl shot for any period of time.

              Games of rugby league are played close to the line, with only the fullback of the defending team any real distance from the action waiting in anticipation of a kick, or a line-break . Fans generally need to be close to the action to appreciate the intricacies of the game.

              The same is true of hockey – whether its played on ice or turf. This is what makes both League and hockey games better viewed on television or watched live in the smaller suburban stadiums.

              Ask any fan that attends a ground (as large as Homebush or The MCG) how much time they spend watching the big screen rather than field.

              I personally dislike attending huge grounds to watch rugby league.

              By the way Slane – I spent my early years in Adelaide.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 8:57pm
                northerner said | February 19th 2017 @ 8:57pm | ! Report

                Dean – I have to say, I’m struggling with your comparison of Ice Hockey to League. Hockey is most definitely a 360 game, with movement in all directions, off the boards, and behind the nets – it is not at all the rigid forward/backward game you seem to think it is.

              • February 20th 2017 @ 12:29am
                Dean - Surry Hills said | February 20th 2017 @ 12:29am | ! Report

                “Fans generally need to be close to the action to appreciate the intricacies of the game.”

                That is the line that I used to bring hockey into the equation.

                The size of the puck and small field obviously determines how large of a crowd can watch with the naked eye, rather than being glued to a big screen. The average crowd in The National Hockey league is 18,000 which is similar to NRL attendances.

                I’d rather watch at home, or a pub, than the back of any stadium – as do most rugby fans, unless it’s a match of special importance and one cares to take in the atmosphere.

      • February 19th 2017 @ 8:31am
        Norad said | February 19th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        If AFL was really as big as Mr Mitchell has pumped it up to be here, there would be no one left around to hate it.

        • Columnist

          February 21st 2017 @ 8:59pm
          Glenn Mitchell said | February 21st 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

          Not ‘pumping’ it up at all Norad. The figures I quoted a fact.

    • February 17th 2017 @ 9:13am
      Ahmed said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      This article is downright offensive.
      Our sport (Australian football) is called football by many, but this article had once again shown the bias of The Roar by exclusively referring to one sport as football, within an article about many football codes. And it’s not the football that is top dog, like one would think.

      I’m happy that the author clarified the ‘AFL’ naming confusion, but perhaps he could prevent confusion when discussing multiple football codes as well.

      “One of the great attractions of sports like football, cricket, basketball and the rugby codes is that they have all have an international flavour – none more so than football with the ‘world game’ having a strong footprint in over 200 countries.”

      • Columnist

        February 17th 2017 @ 9:25am
        Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        Sorry Ahmed, I have read your post several times and I am not actually sure what you are getting at.

        • February 17th 2017 @ 9:36am
          Ahmed said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

          Sorry for the confusion.
          But when you are writing an article about one football code (Aust. Football). Why would you refer to another one as ‘football’.

          Like in this quote:

          “…none more so than football with the ‘world game’ having a strong footprint in over 200 countries.””

          Surely the main sport of the article (Aust. Football) can referred to as football, and the others can use their disambiguation names of rugby league, soccer, American football, Union etc.

          Here is another quote, which makes it confusing:

          “There is no doubting that Australian Football is being challenged by football and that will continue to be the case.”

          • Columnist

            February 17th 2017 @ 9:41am
            Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

            Honestly Ahmed, it is impossible to win.

            Call it ‘soccer’ and you often get pilloried. Refer to it as ‘football’ – the universal name – others aren’t happy.

            Sorry, but pleasing everyone is clearly impossible, and to be honest, I truly do not understand why so many people get upset about it as we all know what we are referring to in the context of the article.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 9:51am
              c said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

              glenn about 6 billion people understand you

              • February 17th 2017 @ 10:53am
                Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

                lol – great response

            • February 17th 2017 @ 9:52am
              Ahmed said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

              My point was that this article is clear about one sport. So refer to that sport as football.

              When Mike tuckerman writes articles about soccer he refers to that sport as football.

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2017 @ 9:58am
                Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

                Ahmed, I am sorry but I see it as nitpicking.

                Anyone reading the article is left in no doubt as to which sports I am talking about.

                It amazes me at times the level of preciousness that fans hold toward their respective sport.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 11:17am
                az said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

                your point sucks though

            • February 17th 2017 @ 10:52am
              Perry Bridge said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report


              Simply ensure – in a multi code article/discussion – that you apply a common sense rule of ‘disambiguation’.

              Especially in this case where the parent code of the article is ‘Australian Football’ and you HAVE made the distinction between the code and the ‘AFL’ business.

              You’ve referenced a whole bunch of other sports including the NRL and soccer – and Australia IS the worlds most crowded/competitive professional football market place with 4 football codes.

              So – in the context of this article – no one code should or can seriously expect to be refered to as ‘football’. Try ‘Soccer’ or ‘World Football’ or ‘Association Football’.

              I had to work out just what you meant – it IS disrespectful to followers of the 3 other professional football codes in Australia in favour of what appears to be a Sydney centric phrasing.

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2017 @ 10:58am
                Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

                Terribly sorry Perry that you struggled to understand the article.

                I thought that referring to the indigenous code as ‘Australian Football’ throughout it would have helped you to understand that when I said ‘football’ you would understand it related to the round ball game.

                Clearly not.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 1:40pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report


                Not trying to offend you Glenn and I apologise as it appears I did.

                I just feel that ‘football’ describes any of a number of games.

                And as I mentioned – the variety in Australia means that disambiguation is more crucial than ever.

                And I don’t believe that ‘common usage’ should allow one particular code above the others to be referenced simply as ‘football’.

                The irony is – if ‘football’ is used for ‘Association Football’, then when Australian fans of this game refer to ‘Australian football’ – to what are they referring? The game once known (even after WWII) as ‘British Association Football’ or the game that plays by the Laws of Australian Football.

                So – at least, perhaps ‘Australian Football’ both capitalised, or to appease those in Sydney ‘Australian (Rules) Football’.

                It’s murky – because a lot of people in the non-core Aust Football states believed the game to be ‘Aussie Rules’.

                Most of the issue here though evolved because soccer fans suddenly decided the term to be an insult. ‘Soccer Australia’ and the ‘NSL’ were trashed. ‘Socceroos’ remain but to the annoyance of many. Ironically in England the magazine ‘World Soccer’ continues as one of the most respected publications for that game.

                So – – allow us (Australian Football fans) some defence of our code. We’ve worked too hard to get it here (even me with Danish parents).

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2017 @ 5:56pm
                Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

                No need for an apology Perry. Welcome your feedback.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 4:08pm
              steve said | February 17th 2017 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

              Glenn, its soccer in Australia, always has been, always will be. Ask the average punter in the street what do you call the sport that Manchester United plays and the answer will invariably be soccer. I know the people over on the football tab will try to convince you otherwise though. Gee, even the national team is called the Socceroos.

              • February 18th 2017 @ 12:35am
                Angela said | February 18th 2017 @ 12:35am | ! Report

                Until the round-ball game was pushed by people who really want it to be a major form of football in Australia it was always called ‘soccer’.
                In countries around the world where it is the main code (most of europe, south america, russia etc) soccer has traditionally been called ‘football’.
                If you are living in or visiting those countries there is ‘football’ (soccer), rugby union and rugby league.
                In the US the NFL is the main game and it is referred to as football. Other codes in the US are called by their distinguishing names – soccer, rugby etc.

                So, whichever code has the largest number of followers is referred to as ‘football’ and other codes referred to as their distinguishing names.

                As part of the push to make soccer the ‘main’ code in Australia there has been a self-conscious effort here to rename the round-ball game ‘football’. Or ‘fooball’ as I hear it pronounced by players, coaches and management.
                You wil never hear soccer devotees refer to their game as soccer. Devotees of soccer say that it is the only true ‘fooball’ because, unlike other codes, it is the only game played solely with the feet.

                Traditionally, ‘footie’ in Australia has meant rugby league, rugby union or AFL depending on which state you live in. Until recently soccer was never referred to as ‘footie’ or football in Australia.

                Personally I can’t stand soccer or the culture (all that mad jumping up and down by the spectators and chest-thumping by players when they score a goal puts me right off). I refuse to be influenced by the push to make it the main game and will always refer to it as soccer.

                I love AFL, the skill, the speed and the fact that it is our own game.
                For mine soccer will always be soccer (a cousin-come-lately into our fair land) and footie will always be the AFL.

              • February 18th 2017 @ 10:52am
                c said | February 18th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

                angela fair summation apart from your reference to fooball

              • February 18th 2017 @ 7:54pm
                Angela said | February 18th 2017 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

                Reply to C:
                Listen carefully and you will hear fooball not foot ball.
                David Gallop is the worst offender followed by Tim Cahill.

                Fooball is great, fooball is the game, fooball is what the Socceroos play.
                Never footie, alway fooball.

          • February 17th 2017 @ 9:57am
            clipper said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

            I can see the point, put you have to realise, Ahmed, than in NSW and QLD it’s marketed as AFL. I think this is wise, as Soccer is becoming more popular you don’t want to put their fans offside by insisting you call AFL football when it has only become popular in the last 30 or so years in Sydney. As Sydney is an all code city now, you need to be considerate to other codes.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 11:15am
              Go warriors said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

              Clipper you often refer Sydney as an all codes city but isn’t that the same with most cities around the world. I am not sure what point you are trying to make.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 11:24am
                Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

                In Sydney we refer to
                * soccer as football.
                * league as the ‘footy’
                * union as union or ruggers
                * Australian Rules as AFL.

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2017 @ 11:56am
                Magnus M. Østergaard said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

                In SEQ we have:

                – Assoc. As football or soccer

                – League as League (commonly) or rugby league/footy

                – Union as Union, rugby

                – Australian Football as AFL, aussie rules or aerial ping pong and seagulls fighting over a chip at the beach.

                Oh and yes, toungue in cheek with the last 2.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 12:37pm
                clipper said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

                Yes, most cities are multi code cities, the point I make is that there is no one dominant code in Sydney, and yes I know league is the biggest code here.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 12:38pm
                DB said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

                In Melbourne we have

                Australian Football = Football or Footy
                Rugby Union = Rugby
                Rugby League = Rugby
                Soccer = Soccer

              • February 17th 2017 @ 2:25pm
                I hate pies said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                Wrong DB. In Melbourne there is:
                – Footy
                – daylight
                – daylight
                – cricket
                – tennis
                – horseracing
                – soccer
                – daylight
                – Rugby (I don’t know which one, aren’t they the same thing?)

            • February 17th 2017 @ 12:15pm
              Slane said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

              You love calling Sydney an ‘all-code city’, Clipper. Maybe you can employ the same metrics you use to come to that conclusion on any other city in the world. I wonder how Melbourne would rate? They have the largest football team(Victory), the richest(Melbourne City), the biggest 2nd tier club(South Melbourne), the 4th most attended NRL club(Storm). Does Melbourne miss out on the ‘all-code’ tag because the Rebels only get as many people to their games as the CCM or Newcastle?

              • February 17th 2017 @ 1:07pm
                Kevin Malone said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

                Throughout their history the storm rank 11th in attendance

              • February 17th 2017 @ 1:18pm
                Slane said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                And last season they were ranked 4th.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 1:46pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:46pm | ! Report


                Good work.



                And in Ireland,

                Gaelic Football = Football

                Soccer = British Imperial evil

                Rugby Union = British Imperial evil

                Rugby League = British Imperial evil

                International Rules = P!55 up

                Australian (Rules) Football = working visas

              • February 17th 2017 @ 2:02pm
                clipper said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

                Think you’ll find Storm being 4th most attended had to do with them having one of their ‘home’ games in Brisbane – despite getting to the finals all those times, they’re still way below any AFL VIC team in attendance.
                Do any of those teams get bigger attendance numbers than a Melbourne AFL team?
                I do believe Soccer is the biggest threat to AFL dominance down there, but think it’s a fair way off before AFL isn’t the dominant code there.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 3:29pm
                Slane said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

                So the only way to get ‘Clipper’s all-code city badge’ is to have a larger crowd for secondary code than the worst performing team from the primary code?

                Victory, Storm, City and the Rebels could all sell out every seat at every game for the next 200 years and not get a bigger crowd than the Victorian AFL teams simply because their ground isn’t big enough. If the NRL had a similar ground rationalization policy as the AFL then the Swans, GWS, SFC and Wanderers would be in the same boat as all those Melbourne teams that don’t play AFL.

                As for Storm’s attendance being boosted by a Brizzy game, the difference between being the 2nd most attended NRL team and the 10th is only a couple hundred extra people per game. With 75% of the competition sitting between 13,000 and 18,000 I don’t even know why the NRL bothers to count. You could throw a blanket over most of the teams in the comp.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 4:11pm
                Slane said | February 17th 2017 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

                Just so you know, the two Melbourne A-league teams are combining for an average of 34,925. The two Sydney teams manage a combined average of 34,750. Considering one of those cities is an ‘all-code city’ and the other is constantly refered to as ‘insular’ or ‘brainwashed’ you would think more people would be going to all those freely available codes in Sydney.

          • February 17th 2017 @ 10:01am
            Mango Jack said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            Glenn is following the protocol, introduced a few years ago, and adopted by the media and schools, in calling association football simply “football”. The reasoning is that this is the term used throughout most of the world, but I think it just results in confusion locally.

            Association football is not the dominant code in Australia at the moment, and may never be. We have Australian football, rugby union, rugby league, and all of them are generally referred to as “football” by their fans. “Soccer” is a derivative of “Association”, and, despite links with “the bad old days”, I think it make sense to use it as a distinctive term for the game. In the US, where it is also not the dominant football code, the elite competition is called Major Soccer League.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 10:48am
              Celtic334 said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

              Nitpicking alright.

              I didn’t even realise this article referred to such things as football etc. until Ahmed mentioned it. This is probably because as Glenn mention it was pretty obvious which code he was talking about.

              In my world i refer to the different codes as;

              “I am going to watch the Rugby” = Rugby Union
              “Are you watching the League tonight” = Rugby League
              “Did you play AFL on the weekend” = Aussie Rules
              Footy is never soccer – the term is used to who ever i am talking to, if they are an AFL fan, it means AFL, likewise with League.
              Football is generally soccer

          • February 17th 2017 @ 4:24pm
            MacKenzie said | February 17th 2017 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

            It’s not called Union, Ahmed, it is Rugby Union which is the original rugby code. Call the minor rugby code, league, as Rugby League by all means but the term Rugby is generally considered to be Rugby Union.
            Unfortunately for league and the AFL, they are major codes in Australia only with a tiny footprint outside our shores so they are dependent for survival by home town appeal.
            It is somewhat precious of the AFL and Soccer to claim the term football belongs exclusively to them.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 9:38am
        Sean said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Your post does not make sense

      • Roar Guru

        February 17th 2017 @ 10:14am
        mds1970 said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        You can get bogged down in semantics over whether to call the game where round balls get kicked into nets soccer or football. But in the end, that’s not important.
        Although it is interesting that an article that goes significantly into whether the game with four upright posts at each end is called AFL or Australian football immediately gets into discussion over what another sport should be called.

        But what is important is the growth in our code. AFLW has started better than anyone could have expected, and there’s plenty of female sportspeople for whom playing our game is now a realistic professional option.
        There’s strong crowds and more TV dollars in our game than any other. And the AFL is able to invest that money in growth of the game.
        We’re seeing results. At my club, GWS Giants, membership has passed the 15,000 mark already; up from zero in 2010. And, thanks to the Giants Academy, parts of NSW/ACT that had under-performed in producing AFL-standard players is now getting talent to the elite level, to the extent that GWS are now a net contributor to the talent pool.

        • February 17th 2017 @ 11:14am
          Beny Iniesta said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

          How long until the Giants overtake the Lions for membership?

          Bottom 6 Club Memberships (2016)

          13. Western Bulldogs (39,459).
          14. Melbourne (39,146).
          15. St. Kilda (38,009).
          16. Brisbane Lions (23,286).
          17. GWS Giants (15,312).
          18. Gold Coast (12,854).

          (Oops, silly me, in the first version of this I quoted 2015 figures).

          I’ll make the rather bolder prediction that all 3 of the Melbourne clubs cited above will have over 40,000 members in 2017, perhaps even over 45,000. Saints at least are aiming for 42,000+.

          It’d be good to see the Giants at least get more than 20,000 members. If they’re already at 15,000 that seems almost guaranteed.

          Time to start making plans to expand Spotless to 35,000 seater?

          • February 17th 2017 @ 11:23am
            Brian said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

            The membership figures include 3 game members, interstate members, overseas members etc.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 1:49pm
              Perry Bridge said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report



              Not everyone lives within easy access.

              Not everyone can afford a full membership (let alone a reserved seat on the 2nd level!!)

              Not everyone can attend more than a handful of games

              The point is – the other codes also have 3 game memberships, interstaters etc.

              So – I’d rather my club have 50,000 members of all bands rather than 8,000.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 2:33pm
                Brian said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

                So you don’t go building or renovating stadiums because you have 35,000 members when your average attendance is still 12,000.

          • February 17th 2017 @ 12:03pm
            Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

            Where do all the GWS members go on the weekend? They dont seem to go to watch their team?

          • February 17th 2017 @ 3:03pm
            Republican said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

            ……remember Beny, half or just over half of GWS member ship is from Canberra.
            Time to move the whole outfit lock stock and barrel to the Nations Capital I say……

          • February 18th 2017 @ 12:32am
            Leonard said | February 18th 2017 @ 12:32am | ! Report

            “Spotless” – Boo! Hiss!!

            “The Showground” – Yes!!!

            Can these corporate ‘brandings’, please.

        • Roar Guru

          February 17th 2017 @ 11:24am
          Magnus M. Østergaard said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

          MDS, did the Giants ruin Swans membership numbers like the suns did for the lions?

          • February 17th 2017 @ 11:35am
            Alicesprings said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

            Well the Swans had 50k+ members last year while GWS had 15k.

            This year you’d expect the swans to again be 50k+ and all reports have GWS headed for 20k.

            I think the totals have more to do with the performance of the respective clubs. When the QLD decide to perform again their membership totals will no doubt rebound as they have definitely bottomed out.

            That said theres no doubt the many Lions members jumped ship which supposable didn’t occur to the same degree when the Giants entered the comp..but then again you could put that down to the form of the Swans.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 3:47pm
              Republican said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

              ………I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more Canberran Swans members than there are GWS ones……

          • Roar Guru

            February 17th 2017 @ 11:36am
            Paul D said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            No because Swans fans think the world ends at Bankstown

            No-one from western Sydney was a Swans member anyway, it’s very much a club that’s the preserve of the effete eastern suburbs brigade

            • Roar Guru

              February 17th 2017 @ 12:01pm
              Magnus M. Østergaard said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

              Good point, obviously the AFL hadn’t calculated on the amount of Gold Coast members for the Lions. I am supposing that they would have hoped that the new rivalry would have increased Lions memberships as well.

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2017 @ 12:12pm
                Paul D said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

                Yeah, the fact that both Queensland sides have both been terrible at the same time has stymied any progress that was being made in Queensland, at least at the top level.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 12:42pm
              clipper said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

              PaulD, you will find Swans fans think the world ends way before Bankstown – that’s the outer west to them. Agree that Eastern Suburbs is one of the strong areas, but the inner city and North Shore have a few fans as well.
              But, as others have said, quite different areas, one of the main reasons there was no drop off in the Swans base.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 6:17pm
                spruce moose said | February 17th 2017 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

                Quite right…Haberfield is outer west sydney to those who live in the inner city or east.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 1:00pm
              Pope Paul VII said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              Anzac Parade Paully

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2017 @ 1:04pm
                Paul D said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                I prefer the Red Rooster line myself

            • February 17th 2017 @ 5:24pm
              Republican said | February 17th 2017 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

              …….mmm building on the old Silvertails v………?
              Australian Footy hasn’t existed in GWS long enough to push that barrow surely?

          • Roar Guru

            February 17th 2017 @ 11:53am
            mds1970 said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

            It’s interesting you mention the Suns & Lions.
            The Lions lost 8,000 members when the Suns started, and has never got them back. Without question the Suns have cannibalised the Lions’ support.

            In contrast, when the Giants started, the Swans’ membership went up, and has continued to increase every year since.
            The Giants haven’t hurt the Swans at all (except for that epic qualifying final at ANZ last year).

            • Roar Guru

              February 17th 2017 @ 12:02pm
              Magnus M. Østergaard said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

              It is interesting. How many Giants members are from the ACT?

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2017 @ 12:55pm
                mds1970 said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

                I don’t have the numbers for this year. It was about 4,000 last year.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 3:05pm
                Republican said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

                …..half I believe, while the ACT actually produces some of their talent pool.

            • Roar Guru

              February 17th 2017 @ 1:38pm
              Cat said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

              Correlation does not prove causation. How many Lions members would have dropped their membership even if Gold Coast hadn’t popped up?
              Not having a go at Brisbane at all but the so called ‘paddle pop lion’ debacle and Fevola ordeal certainly didn’t increase the number of supporters looking to sign up.
              I don’t doubt some members were lost to the Suns, but to unilaterally say it was all 8k without a shred of actual evidence is just folly.
              I think it will be more telling when Brisbane starts to perform on the field.

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2017 @ 1:45pm
                Paul D said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                Cat, I assure you the Lions lost thousands of members to the Suns. Maybe not every single one of the 8000 but it was close to that. Membership dropped from around 29,000 to 20,000 from 2010 to 2011.

                Fevola and the paddle pop lion were secondary issues.

                I only know of one member who swore they’d never support the Lions after they signed Fevola – am still hoping I can get mum to come back to the club one day, although Contract Bridge appears to have utterly captured her attention in recent years

              • February 17th 2017 @ 2:47pm
                Celtic334 said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

                There is a massive population of ex pats from Melbourne and Perth on the Gold Coast. Most of them fans of other clubs, but love the game that much they purchase memberships just so they can go and watch games live. So when the option to not have to travel an hour up the road to watch a game became available, obviously these fans took up this option.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 17th 2017 @ 11:48am
        josh said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        Ahmed, you are wrong.

        The sport you are referring too is actually Association Football.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 2:27pm
        Republican said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

        ……..we grew up referring to ‘Football’ as Soccer to distinguish it from other brands.
        All Footy codes have a brand name in this market, that distinguishes them i.e. League, Union, Australian Footy as well as Soccer.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 3:53pm
        SonOfLordy said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

        Not sure about that.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 4:15pm
        steve said | February 17th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

        Ahmed, its Soccer in Australia, just as its Soccer in the USA and the MLS, you know the Major League Soccer. Football in the USA means NFL. Football in Australia generally refers to the AFL, RL etc. The club my son has played at for 15 odd years is called soccer club, all the opposition teams he has ever played against have been soccer clubs. None have been ” football ” clubs. Even our national team is the SOCCERoos!.

        • February 19th 2017 @ 2:04pm
          Floreat Pica said | February 19th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

          I found it interesting in Japan that it is referred to as ‘Saka-‘ (soccer) there despite obviously being the dominant football code- perhaps the US influence.

          Even when I attended regional tournaments as a player I was surprised when a Britsh friend of mine referred to it as ‘futobo-ru’ (football) and our Japanese friends didn’t understand what he was talking about until he switched to labelling it ‘saka-‘

          To me this really highlights the revisionists in our own country insiting we change our parochial references to our own dominant codes- something that I find disrespectful.

          • February 19th 2017 @ 4:02pm
            Leonard said | February 19th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

            Like the idea of saki at the saka.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 6:56pm
        Gus Paella said | February 17th 2017 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

        Offensive? Put the victim card back in the deck.

      • February 18th 2017 @ 12:44pm
        Bored said | February 18th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        McDonald’s is also in 200 countries, maybe that should become the world’s diet from now on by your rationale.

        The Euro cheeseburger that is soccer.

    • Roar Guru

      February 17th 2017 @ 9:14am
      sheek said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Yes Glenn,

      Australian football is the best team sport in this country. Most spectacular, best attended & promoted.

      It doesn’t matter the game isn’t played anywhere else. As long as the AFL gives its fans what they want here, that’s all that matters.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 11:01am
        Agent11 said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

        Well thats very subjective isn’t it. Obviously a lot of people don’t find AFL that spectacular and prefer other codes.

        • February 17th 2017 @ 2:33pm
          Republican said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

          …….in terms of the majority. Of course there are those who do not engage with the indigenous code at all and prefer competing brands of Footy.
          Variety is the spice of life……..

      • February 17th 2017 @ 11:07am
        Perry Bridge said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        Sheek –

        “It doesn’t matter the game isn’t played anywhere else.”

        That’s professionally.

        As once again this year, is the 6th instalment of the AFL (their ruddy branding!!) International Cup, (held 2002,2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014).

        No expat Aussies. Vast majority of the players across the teams are making the trek out although a number who have settled in Australia can qualify for their nations.

        One reason I mention this is that the last 2 tournaments included a womens division – getting in ahead of the AFLW. I know of one at the time recently arrived Irish lady who was a student teacher with my sons in prep – she has settled permanently in Australia however qualified for Ireland and has played in 2011 and 2014. At age 33 she is a footy veteran now and got the #11 jumper (a nice touch) for Melbourne in the AFLW.

        There were a number of other players from US, Canada and Ireland in particular who would have been fine additions however those not currently based in Australia – it would be a massive ask for a 3-4 month relocation (not yet enough money on offer). Actually Americans Katie Klatt, Kim Hemenway (played in last years Swans v Giants match) and Canadian Kendra Heil made themselves available. Unfortunately – after being picked up by Collingwood Kendra Heil injured her ACL.

        • February 17th 2017 @ 11:20am
          az said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report


          • February 17th 2017 @ 11:27am
            Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

            its sad but i think hes quite serious

            • February 17th 2017 @ 12:43pm
              clipper said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

              At least it’s better than not having one player that was born in Scotland play for Scotland in the 4nations!

              • February 17th 2017 @ 2:47pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report



                Being of Danish heritage (both parents came here in the ’50s and my 2 oldest brothers were born in Denmark) – I’ve observed both Danish cricket and Danish AFL.

                Danish cricket used to be pretty good – back in the late 70s and early 80s they were contending to sneak a WC berth. In 1979 Denmark lost the semi to Sri Lanka – granted, they got smashed. Ole Mortensen – born in Vejle was the rising young star but the side from that semi was distinctly Danish:
                OH Mortensen; K Kristensen; Claus Morild; H Mortensen; Carsten Morild; K Buus; TS Nielsen; M Petersson; S Thomsen; OB Andersen; B Rossen
                Contrast to the Danish side last November:
                Aftab Ahmed; SA Ahmad; HAM Shah; FA Klokker; Zameer Khan; Yasir Iqbal; A Bulow; RB Javed; Omar Hayat; A Khan; Bashir Shah

                And while Anders Bulow and Freddie Klokker appear the only ‘real Danes’ – skipper Amjad Khan was actually born in Copenhagen – ironically, many of the traditional Asian cricketing names were now born in Denmark. 10 years ago – they were born in Karachi or Lahore or Madras. It’s a game that currently grows or exists based on expats and their children from traditional cricketing nations.

                Danish AFL – the victorious Danish Vikings from the 2014 Euro Cup (9s tournament) included:
                Mikkel Kjoge; Troels Ottesen, Mathias Biron, Nicolai Secher, Thore Lauritzen, Jens Djenes, Victor Petersen, Morten Engsbye, Jakob Oversgaard, Aksel Bang, Jonas Niesen, Morten Meroj ….oh….and Nathan Campion (although a duel citizen, has lived pretty well all his life in Denmark)

                What am I saying? Clearly the Danish AFL side isn’t relying on expat Aussies to field a team. Nor even Danish raised children of expat Aussies (just one in the group above).

                I personally don’t see it as grasping at straws but rather as celebrating those who have adopted our game on the other side of the world.

                The challenge for other Australians is to ALLOW this to spark some sense of national pride in them. Many choose not to.

                So – if that’s considered grasping at straws then I guess consider me firmly clinging on.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 2:54pm
                Cathar Treize said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

                Matty Russell was born in Irvine, North Ayrshire. Do you do any research?

              • February 17th 2017 @ 3:04pm
                Edward Webeck said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

                Um Matt Russell was born in Irvine which is in Scotland

              • February 17th 2017 @ 3:44pm
                clipper said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

                Well, I stand corrected! One player out of the squad of 24 was born in Scotland, the rest elsewhere (although some may have had a deep fried Mars bar, some may have seen Trainspotting). Quite a difference from the Danish team above, thanks to Perry Bridge for the details.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 3:48pm
                Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

                Perry can you let us know when Bein Sports is televising the Danish AFL? Cant seem to find it on the TV guide

              • February 17th 2017 @ 4:18pm
                Edward Webeck said | February 17th 2017 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

                I guess that proves AFL is now more internationally renowned than rugby league. The Danish AFL team has more naturalised Danes than the Scotland Rugby League team has Scots.
                Would they refer to themselves as the Denmark Australian Football National team?

              • February 17th 2017 @ 4:46pm
                clipper said | February 17th 2017 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

                I think the point is that the Denmark AFL team is far more Danish than the Scottish league side is Scottish.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 5:41pm
                Edward Webeck said | February 17th 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

                Is it just the one national team? if we were to go like for like would the French AFL national team be more french than the French XIII team? Is this across the board, do many nations field more naturally born players, in their Australian Rules Football side than their rugby league side?

              • February 18th 2017 @ 10:49am
                Slane said | February 18th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

                Yes Edward, it is across the board. This is because the AFL world cup is an amateur competition with no expected standard and no Australians playing in it. The RLWC is played by NRL players.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 12:29pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 19th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report


                Check the DAFL website – it’s long, long since moved on from being an expat Aussies domain – the front page: DANSK AUSTRALSK FODBOLD LIGA.

                The national mens team are the Vikings, the womens the Valkyries.

                #Slane –

                Need to stress – it’s not an AFL ‘World Cup’ – it’s the AFL International Cup. I think the distinction really is 2 fold – one being Australia hosts but doesn’t compete – meanwhile – the other being that it’s all amateur as pointed out but also that Australians either expat in other countries or Aust based with parentage claims do NOT qualify which is very different to all the ‘World Cup’ football events.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 12:44pm
                Leonard said | February 19th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                Yes, a valid, useful and deliberate distinction. Any claims that it’s a ‘WC-equivalent’ is dumb, and any dissing the distinction is moronic. Of the five types of Foot-Ball, only Association Football and Rugby Union can validly claim to have ‘World’ Cups; Rugby League’s use of the term looks pretentiously silly, and it deserves all the mocking it gets.

              • February 20th 2017 @ 9:25am
                clipper said | February 20th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

                I think Slane says it all – the RLWC is played by NRL players!
                Think we can conclusively say that far more home grown players play in world AFL teams than do league teams, bar perhaps the French or English.

              • February 20th 2017 @ 10:00am
                Agent11 said | February 20th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

                PNG, new zealand?? World AFL teams lol please

              • February 20th 2017 @ 11:16am
                Perry Bridge said | February 20th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report


                PNG and NZ are far (and in some respects not so far) from being AFL standard. They are though vastly improved on the standard of the first AFL International Cup back in 2002. The contrast of the PNG v Ireland GF in 2002 to the standard in 2014 is miles apart.

                That’s largely due to the coaching and exposure to higher standard competition that has occurred. PNG and NZ also benefit from the proximity to Australia.
                The first NZ graduate to a senior AFL list is plying his trade at Hawthorn – Kurt Heatherley. Ironically Shem Tatupu (son of an NRL player) was coming through the system and looking okay – has opted to revert back to RL and is on the list at Melbourne Storm. At St Kilda NZ’s Joe Baker Thomas is still listed (#46) as an international rookie.

                PNG have had a number of players playing at the 2nd tier (VFL, NEAFL etc). A number have been international scholarship or rookie at a variety of AFL clubs. The result of that was about 10 players with very, very good experience and you’d have to allow that the best PNG outfit on the paddock would mix it with most footy clubs outside of the AFL but lack a little for size.

                The best ‘world XVIII’ out of each tournament would make a very, very good team – would it, with a pre-season together – be able to seriously compete at VFL/WAFL level? Perhaps. Clearly the Irish side with Gaelic up bringings always provides quality talent and the Great Britain includes much improved talent these days.

                That’s pretty well where it is at currently. Key challenges have been to up skill coaches/umpires etc to help the standards improve.

                Back to somewhere like Denmark – and the DAFL is more established than for example Danish RL. RL has a clear advantage anywhere though that if there is already an RU presence then, anyone unable to make the ‘national’ RU team can try out for the ‘national’ RL team!! Seeing on their facebook examples such as the query about which club Mads Hansen plays for and the response that he’s mostly a Union/7s player for Frederiksberg RU club and doesn’t actually play for the Copenhagen RLFC.

                That is an advantage of sorts for RL that Aust Footy doesn’t have.

              • February 20th 2017 @ 12:58pm
                Agent11 said | February 20th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                That’s all great but I was replying to clippers silly statement – “Think we can conclusively say that far more home grown players play in world AFL teams than do league teams, bar perhaps the French or English.”

                I was saying what about the NZ and PNG national League teams, they are 100% home grown players. clipper must have forgot about those…

              • February 20th 2017 @ 1:16pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 20th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report


                Ah, no worries then!!!

              • February 20th 2017 @ 2:49pm
                clipper said | February 20th 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

                Yes, my mistake, with talking of European sides, I naturally compared like to like and left out NZ and PNG – although you are incorrect as well, both the NZ and PNG sides are not 100% homegrown, at least 4 NZ players were born overseas and at least 3 PNG players were born and bought up in Australia.

              • February 20th 2017 @ 5:34pm
                Agent11 said | February 20th 2017 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

                so what, Australia had a Fijian born player play for them last year. Usman Khawaja is born in Pakistan. Hakeem Olajuwon was born in Nigeria and played for the dream team.

              • February 21st 2017 @ 10:23am
                clipper said | February 21st 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

                Fair enough, but your statement that NZ and PNG teams are 100% homegrown is incorrect.
                The whole point of this argument is that more international teams in AFL are filled with homegrown players than league teams, which is the case, thanks to the very, very lax eligibility rules league has.

              • February 21st 2017 @ 12:55pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 21st 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report


                Part of the issue here is that some people (seemingly) in NSW and QLD claim AFL is not representative of them, it’s all expats etc and NRL is their game.

                However – it’s then suggested even NRL is more international than AFL and that to me seems based in some respects upon hypocrisy.

                And the recent ‘World’ team against the Indigenous All-Stars was a case in point.

                Ironically this morning the French national team for this years AFL International Cup was confirmed – no expat Aussies who have moved there and no Australian raised players with French parents or grand parents.

                (Players from Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes, ALFA Lions, Bordeaux Bombers, Paris Cockerels, Paris Cockatoos, Perpignan Tigers, Toulouse Hawks & Blagnac Aviators. The 2 from Blagnac; Anthony Girard and Sylvain Maylie become the first ever Blagnac team players to represent their nation.)

                So – again – at what point is a game international with amateurs in other countries – it reminds me in part of what the Olympics originally represented – y’know, amateur contestants.

                And this is why an event like the AFL International Cup is a really cool atmosphere – no professional egos and pressure. The interaction of players and (not nearly enough) fans is greater and more real than can happy around the professionals (if only due to security!!).

        • February 17th 2017 @ 1:08pm
          Kevin Malone said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

          Dream on perry

        • February 17th 2017 @ 1:39pm
          Lesterlike said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:39pm | ! Report


        • February 17th 2017 @ 2:34pm
          Republican said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

          ………cringe evident here.
          Perry, are you suggesting that you would value our code more if it were truly international and as such compromised beyond recognition?

          • February 19th 2017 @ 12:45pm
            Perry Bridge said | February 19th 2017 @ 12:45pm | ! Report


            Interesting question.

            I value the code for several reasons that I won’t go into here.

            The ‘truly international’ concept – I suppose by that you mean fully professional outside of Australia and in more than 1 country such that Australia might be struggling to exert unalienable control over the game – it’s a long, long way from the game being so international that it be compromised in Australia. I have neither the ambition nor the anticipation for the game to be like that.

            What I do love though is that the small organic growth internationally has illustrated that people who have not grown up supposedly ‘brainwashed’ on the game are able to fall in love with the game even from as far away as Europe, North America etc.

            What I have enjoyed is the level of international spread has allowed me to meet people from around the world and see things that I never thought I would. Much of which is ONLY possible in an amateur environment anyway.

    • February 17th 2017 @ 9:18am
      scrum said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      AFL administrators are miles in front of the other codes. I always thought the saviour of the NRL the independent commission was about channelling more of the pie into the NRL clubs- in other words more money for the players. Consequently less money for grassroots.Plain greed by NRL clubs. And as for my favoured sport Rugby the word incompetence and detachment from grassroots springs to mind.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 2:40pm
        Republican said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

        …….I have long advocated that our code remain Domestic because therein lies its strength. We live in a global world that values quantity over quality. Our sporting markets are saturated with international sporting brands, so our code is advantaged commercially and culturally by remaining focused and loyal to its domestic appeal and true to its DNA.
        The day the AFL bankers decide to create an illusion of international or pseudo international status for our game is the day it will cease to be defined as a cultural institution and compromised, beyond all recognition.

        • February 17th 2017 @ 10:26pm
          Rilo said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

          I think it’s a pretty safe bet it will remain domestic.

          • February 18th 2017 @ 3:14pm
            Republican said | February 18th 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            ……..I hope so but I am not confident……

    • February 17th 2017 @ 9:26am
      Jeff dustby said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Yeah right – why would anyone call basketball nbl or soccer a-league ?

      Because they are played in more than one country

      That’s not marketing

      • Columnist

        February 17th 2017 @ 9:36am
        Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        As I used in another example Jeff, in the United States kids don’t say the play NFL, they refer to ‘football’ or ‘gridiron’.

        Likewise, in Ireland they don’t say they play GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) but refer to either ‘Gaelic’ or ‘football’.

        Both those sports are only played in a serious sense domestically.

        So, in essence, the using the name of the elite league – AFL – when people refer to what they are playing I believe is unique and I don’t know if any sports that are referred to in such a way.

        • Roar Guru

          February 17th 2017 @ 9:43am
          Magnus M. Østergaard said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

          Its the Elite League and the Only elite league in the world for the sport. Every Australian I know calls it NFL. I dont know whether its through lack of knowledge about the game of good branding. In any case, the AFL is the leader in year on year branding and does have the biggest sporting brand in Aussie sports.

          • Columnist

            February 17th 2017 @ 9:52am
            Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

            Vincent, I am referring to the fact that a youngster in the US if asked what it is he plays does not say NFL.

            Kids and parents offer refer to playing the elite league rather than the sport itself when referring to Australian Football. It is an oddly unique thing.

            I trust you do understand what I am saying.

            • Roar Guru

              February 17th 2017 @ 9:59am
              Magnus M. Østergaard said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

              I do understand, and I will trust you, I have never asked that question of an American kid before.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 10:02am
              BigAl said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

              . . . and furthermore Glenn, that youngster would NEVER say gridiron !

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2017 @ 10:07am
                Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

                Well, I have an American godmother and when I asked her son what sports he played at school he said ‘gridiron’. Perhaps he is an exception,

              • February 17th 2017 @ 10:38am
                northerner said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

                Have to agree that an American or Canadian kid would just say he plays “football.” Gridiron is not a term you hear much in either country.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 3:18pm
                Jaime O'Donnell said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

                Isn’t Gridiron reffering to the playing field?

                I.e. you play American Football on a Gridiron.

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2017 @ 11:27pm
                Cat said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:27pm | ! Report

                As a born and raised American who spent my first 34 years there, I can assure you Americans never refer to NFL as anything other than playing football. The only time we use ‘gridiron’ is to appease foreigners. Aussies have a natural ability to understand that football applies to several sports; however, nearly everyone else just wants to argue what sports has the right to be called football. To Americans NFL Is Football and soccer is soccer, never football.

        • February 17th 2017 @ 6:19pm
          spruce moose said | February 17th 2017 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

          Actually Glenn (and definitely not wanting to be drawn into a nitpicking debate with others on this), but I’ve never – ever – heard an American refer to American football as anything other than football.

          Gridiron is an Australian term for it.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 10:02am
        I hate pies said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        It’s only referred to as AFL in the non-footy states. They call all of their local leagues “AFL” too. For example, the Hunter Australian Football League would be the Hunter AFL. In the footy states they drop the “Australian” bit, so the Hunter league would just be the Hunter football league. This naming convention helps to perpetuate the playing “AFL” bit.

        • Columnist

          February 17th 2017 @ 11:03am
          Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          IHP, I coach my son’s 11yo footy team here in Perth and almost universally the parents and kids refer to the game as AFL.

          • February 17th 2017 @ 2:31pm
            I hate pies said | February 17th 2017 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

            There you go, it’s spreading. There certainly used to be a discernible difference between NSW and QLD and the rest of the country. Although, I’ve live outside of Vic for a few years now. What do they call the league? Is it an “AFL” or just a football league?

          • February 17th 2017 @ 7:52pm
            Joe B said | February 17th 2017 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

            I am from Perth, and I’d say the majority call it football, footy, or aussie rules… it is often referred to as AFL by kids to be fair. Most people call soccer “soccer” though… it isn’t a derogatory term, it is just called that. It is disappointing that you chose to refer to Association Football as football, and not the widely accepted term of soccer, in an article on the Australian Football League… it is hard to tell if you are kowtowing, or just antagonising.

    • February 17th 2017 @ 9:27am
      Jeff dustby said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      I couldn’t care less about what people in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth follow
      I look at my own city and world cities

      • February 17th 2017 @ 9:36am
        northerner said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        I have no idea what your point is, but if you’re trying to say that you only follow sports played in “world cities” you’re going to have to get up to speed pretty quickly with NFL and baseball. Unless you think New York isn’t a “world city.”

      • Columnist

        February 17th 2017 @ 9:36am
        Glenn Mitchell said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        And that is your choice Jeff and nobody is decrying it.

      • February 17th 2017 @ 10:04am
        Mango Jack said | February 17th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        As Pauline would say, “please explain”

      • February 17th 2017 @ 11:09am
        Perry Bridge said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

        #Jeff Dustby

        And you came onto this to tell us that – why??

      • February 17th 2017 @ 11:18am
        Beny Iniesta said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        Hello Cultural Cringe!

        What’s so great about so-called “World Cities” anyway?

        • February 17th 2017 @ 11:30am
          Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          Money! Something the AFL love but will never really be with the big boys.

          • February 17th 2017 @ 11:50am
            northerner said | February 17th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

            The whole point of this article is that, in Australia, AFL is/is the big boy. No, it doesn’t compete with the global power of football or wealth of football, but yes, it does compete with the national power of quite a few individual football leagues. I frankly fail to see why a successful sport in Australia should be disparaged just because it isn’t international. National, regional, international, it doesn’t matter so long as the game is a good one and the fans enjoy it.

            • February 17th 2017 @ 12:07pm
              Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

              Oh apologies Northerner. I was just responding to the post regarding whats so important about global cities. Is that ok?

              • February 17th 2017 @ 1:52pm
                northerner said | February 17th 2017 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

                Oh, I think the AFL is doing pretty well in comparison with the big boys. Not in the class of the big European football leagues, but then, with the exception of the EPL, the big European football leagues aren’t in the class of the big North American leagues either. No league comes close to the NFL, after all. And most of the cities that the NFL plays out of aren’t “global” to my mind. The game certainly isn’t. Oddly, the next biggest league for revenue is another North American product, baseball, again played out of such non-global cities as Tampa Bay, Milwaukee and Cleveland. Global coverage doesn’t necessarily equate with buckets of money.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 3:52pm
                Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                Northerner you are as delusional as Perry Bridge. Are you really going to compare AFL with the NFL or MLB? Come on be serious.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 4:50pm
                northerner said | February 17th 2017 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

                Chris – the issue was “world cities” – and your argument was that the AFL could never aspire to the big sporting revenues that those “global cities” can offer. I was merely pointing out that you don’t have to be a global city or a global sport to enjoy very high revenues. My example was the NFL, which is not a global sport and which is played in many non world-class cities and still has by far the biggest revenue of any sports league on the planet.

                Do I compare the AFL with the NFL – only in that they each play a locally popular game with no international presence to speak of, and that many of their teams are based in non-“world cities.” Of course the NFL is far bigger by far than the AFL will ever be. The point, however, is that a well-managed league operating in smaller cities or with a smaller scope can do very well financially. Global presence, or playing in “world class” cities, is not required.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 4:59pm
                Chris said | February 17th 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

                Only so many cars and beer you can sell in the southern state cities.

              • February 17th 2017 @ 5:23pm
                northerner said | February 17th 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                Just as well then that AFL sells so many tickets, isn’t it? And quite a few cars and quite a lot of beer in Sydney and Perth.

            • February 18th 2017 @ 5:38am
              jeff dustby said | February 18th 2017 @ 5:38am | ! Report

              it is not a big boy in the city where i grew up – sydney. it is in adelaide, melbourne and perth, 3 places i have no interest in going to. i look bigger and follow global games as well as the main game of my city – NRL

              • February 18th 2017 @ 10:58am
                Andy og said | February 18th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

                Then Jeff you are missing out on a magnificent part of the world. I’ve.done.a lot of travelling and lived in Sydney for a couple of.years. The southern coast of Australia is a must.see.

              • February 18th 2017 @ 11:55am
                northerner said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

                Jeff Dustby – nothing about that comment suggests you “look bigger” if you won’t even visit other parts of Australia.

                I’m kind of appalled, actually, by the parochialism that’s presenting itself here: Melbourne vs Sydney, Queensland vs everywhere. I’ve actually travelled to and lived in genuine world cities and I have no difficulty at all following a whole range of games, from football to AFL to baseball to ice hockey. Most people with a genuine global worldview understand the importance of celebrating difference.

              • February 18th 2017 @ 1:30pm
                Slane said | February 18th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

                One of your saddest comments to date. You should google the ‘Barassi line’ and see how much of this wonderful country you are writing off.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 1:02pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 19th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                #Jeff dustby

                Agreed with the other comments. You really paint yourself as the insular one. And deliberately and proudly so which is just all the sadder.