The Socceroos need to start attracting Australia’s best athletes

Karlo Tychsen Roar Guru

By Karlo Tychsen, Karlo Tychsen is a Roar Guru

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298 Have your say

    Imagine an alternate reality, in a not-too-distant future. The world game has finally got itself together, and Alex Rance has intercepted the ball, in front of a packed stadium of 60,000-plus spectators.

    Rance looks around, and with another of his pinpoint accurate passes, gets the ball to Patrick Dangerfield, who turns into open space, and runs.

    He links up with Dustin Martin, who muscles two or three high quality opponents off the ball, and gets it back to Dangerfield again.

    Dangerfield has charged toward goal, found an ageing but agile Lance Franklin in open space, and that makes the decision for him.

    Franklin receives the ball, he turns around, lines up, blazes away, and scores the goal.

    It’s early in the game, and Australia are up 1-nil, the travelling fans are in raptures, who by now have seen this all so many times before. It’s almost expected.

    Our opponents, a somewhat confused Italy, aren’t used to this kind of fast, physical, and accurate football.

    It’s 2022, the World Cup has remarkably, and soundly, moved out of Qatar, and the Socceroos are showing the world what we are capable of.

    That is where the dream stops, because obviously the players mentioned are not on the world stage, and have given themselves to Australia’s biggest stage – AFL.

    And good on them.

    But why does the FFA accept that?

    As Australia looks down the barrel of another walk down the plank to World Cup qualification oblivion, something we thought went the way of the NSL and the Howard government, here we are again, with hopefully four more cut-throat home-and-away playoff matches to get us back to Russia.

    What an interesting way to mark 20 years since the Iran match.

    All the focus on our failure to qualify directly (and remember, we are not yet actually out of the World Cup) has been aimed at Ange Postecoglou’s failure to properly coach a team of young players.

    Quite frankly, that is simply and utterly preposterous. But Australia has a long and storied history of blaming coaches.

    In 1997, our inability to convert 17,000 chances wasn’t the problem, it was Terry Venables’ fault for failing to make enough substitutions that cost us on that fateful night.

    In 2001, Frank Farina, you madman, how on earth did you allow us to lose to Uruguay, in Uruguay? Clearly, you can’t cut it.

    Can’t beat Argentina? How did we not sack Eddie Thompson?

    Pim Verbeek left South Africa with a better record than Guus Hiddink on a win-draw-loss ratio, and the same number of wins at a World Cup. But he was to blame for the Germany loss and failing to get to the knockout round.

    And Holger Osieck? He was runner-up at an Asian Cup, and qualified directly for a World Cup, and he didn’t even get to go to football’s showpiece.

    Socceroos coach Holger Osieck issues instructions in the World Cup Qualifer match against Iraq. (Photo: Paul Barkley/LookPro)

    (Photo: Paul Barkley/LookPro)

    Ange should probably count himself lucky that he still (at the time of writing) has a job.

    Mark Bosnich would have made Craig Foster blush the other night, as in his post-game analysis he skewered Ange on live television, accusing him of jeopardising the integrity of the national team with unnecessary experimentation.

    Such superficial examination should not be the case.

    Rather than tying our national coaches to a stake and lighting the torch, why don’t we try something different: let’s look at the players.

    What if, and it’s a big if, but what if maybe our players aren’t good enough anymore?

    Now can I be exceptionally clear, and state that, if I’m going to be remembered for one thing, can it not be that I said our players are not any good.

    Our players are good.

    Tom Rogic is a star, Tomi Juric is pretty decent and Aaron Mooy – that is an example of a god among men. In fact, across the board, any starting 11, I would have confidence in them.

    On their day.

    But 10 qualification matches across the largest continental division in the world over 12 months? That’s a big ask, and perhaps, just perhaps, having the best Australia has to offer might have made a difference, instead of simply the best out of the Australian footballing crop.

    Which brings me back to my fantasy scenario.

    Football, a game that prides itself on being the biggest in the world, and the sleeping giant of Australian sport, must wake up and start making some noise.

    Why is it impossible to think that someone like Lance Franklin can’t leap for headers with Tim Cahill? A midfield comprising the likes of Rogic, Mooy, Dangerfield and Martin would be a frightening proposition for any other team.

    The Socceroos could use Alex Rance or Rory Laird down back, cleaning up alongside Matthew Spiranovic and Trent Sainsbury. Why doesn’t the FFA make this happen? Obviously not with this generation of AFL stars, but why not the next?

    You see, there has been a significant shift lately in player mentalities, and given that today the professional athlete wants coverage and top dollar, it’s no longer simply the case of playing AFL because that’s all they want to do.

    Franklin is four years into a nine-year, $9 million deal. Dustin Martin has just signed for $9 million for seven years. Modern day players, you know what they want? Maximum dollars, and the way you get that is through maximum coverage.

    Now in this country, absolutely, AFL has it all over the FFA for national coverage. But international coverage? That’s a different story.

    Lance Franklin Sydney Swans AFL Indigenous Round 2017

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    Those $9 million deals for Dusty and Buddy? Those would be good starters in the English Premier League or La Liga, but let’s see what they would earn in Europe in their prime years.

    All those kids that are playing junior football, wearing Lionel Messi’s boots, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirts, where are the scouts getting in their ear, telling them they could be playing in Messi’s boots and against the next Ronaldo one day?

    Which then brings me back to Ange.

    You see, Ange isn’t the problem. He’s the easy target. If anything, in lesser hands, we would have been talking about World Cup failure right now, rather than World Cup elimination playoffs.

    But what if he had been given a Lance Franklin or Patrick Dangerfield, prime physical specimens, with a life of footballing history behind them, to craft a team out of?

    It’s time for football to be bold.

    If Kyle Chalmers can reject being a domestic star in AFL to be an international King at the Olympics, then it’s time for the FFA to start reminding young minds that they can be global gods with the round ball.

    So as we lament failure to directly qualify for a World Cup, I ask you again: is Ange Postecoglou the problem?

    Let us stop blaming one man, and let’s look at how we can get the next 11 men to fulfil Ange’s (and Johnny Warren’s) vision of not only qualifying for the World cup, but winning it.

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    The Crowd Says (298)

    • September 7th 2017 @ 5:16am
      melbourneterrace said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:16am | ! Report

      Not the is garbage again, if every AFL player was instead playing Football, we would still be rubbish. We don’t need more clumsy athletes from the AFL who have no idea of technique, we need better Footballers with actual ball skills and match awareness.

      We have a large grassroots community, our playing numbers are comparable to the Netherlands, despite the competition from other codes.

      The reason we don’t pump out players like the Netherlands is that we have a huge development problem with sub standard coaching, poor pathways and inferior training facilities. Fix that instead and just forget about the other bloody codes.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 5:59am
        Waz said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:59am | ! Report

        Correct. Time the government invested more in the most popular participation sport rather than vanity projects for the richest codes.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 7:46am
        Fadida said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

        Exactly. Matthew Leckie is what you get when you choose players based on phenomenal athleticism. The scenario the author describes has the players so full of power and strength I can even picture them with sleeveless strips, jostling with Messi before jumper punching him, much to be delight of the crowd.

        Playing football requires so much more than the physical attributes that define AFL or league players.

        As an aside, Postecoglu is getting a huge amount of criticism for a tactical approach that doesn’t suit the players, is inflexible and unbalanced, and for choosing the wrong players. Totally justified

        • September 7th 2017 @ 8:08am
          punter said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

          Funnily, one of his former biggest critics, Fozz, is not one of those critics. From the media it’s mainly those tactical geniuses Bozz & Slater leading the way.

          • September 7th 2017 @ 8:14am
            chris said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

            Maybe Fozz still feels sorry for giving it to Ange 10 years ago : )

            • September 7th 2017 @ 8:53am
              Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

              Ange proved Foz wrong and to his credit Foz has admitted he was wrong about Ange, and now supports Ange’s football philosophy to the hilt; ie to say, taking Australian football forward from what it once was; predominately being a defensive football nation—to challenging the elite nations, with a progressive style, of attack minded brand of football. Slater and Bozza, are dinosaurs from the past—where they grew up with that in built defence mind set from their early days, I doubt if they will ever be able to change that trait.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 9:08am
                chris said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

                Fair points Cal but to be fair to Boz he does have some points I agree with. For example expecting a defender to push the ball out from defence after he has just made 3×50 metre runs tracking someone, time after time after time is not good use of the ball. As someone else said, Ryan looks like he’s at a state u14’s selection trial following instructions to ALWAYS play out from the back.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 9:48am
                Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

                Yes true Chris, however, the German keeper in the last Confederation’s Cup always played out from the back even under the most extreme high press. It was amazing how they did it with such ease. Our problem has been we have not mastered the tactic properly yet; there hasn’t been enough options for Ryan to release the ball to. Do we stop? Or do we keep working at it? I believe we keep working at it. Ryan, has to be helped a lot more, by making sure he is given more options to playout from the back than just the two wing backs likely to be receiving the ball.

              • September 8th 2017 @ 9:53am
                Post_hoc said | September 8th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

                Well said, agree 100%

          • September 7th 2017 @ 8:34am
            Fadida said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

            Agree failed to qualify us automatically. We ended up behind a poor Saudi side. Half way through the campaign he changed the system of play, without any friendlies. Results and performaces have fallen away since.

            He chose players out of form, fitness and position. Ange said that we’d qualify and then impress at the WC.

            He also said he’d welcome and encourage conversation around systems and tactics. He should have qualified that by saying “only when it’s positive and we win”

            We want to be taken seriously as a football country. Serious football nations would have axed Ange after failing to qualify automatically, particularly given that it was because of his poor decision making that we haven’t.

            I still don’t listen to Robbie Slater’s opinions though.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 12:07pm
              Realist said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

              Is Lippi available now that China didn’t qualify?

            • September 7th 2017 @ 1:57pm
              punter said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

              So now we are getting to the crux of it all. It’s not the method that is wrong, it’s the implementation of it all, how he tried to implement it, the players he choose & the expectations he set.
              This is where I see where we go wrong, as you mentioned as a non footballing nation.
              Some of media cannot see this, they blame the method.

              I can say I agree with what Ange is trying to do, it’s just how he is going about it that is the problem, plus the expectations.

              But then some loonies think it’s because the best athletes playing another sport.

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 8:24am
        Karlo Tychsen said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        I take your points on board melbourneterrace.

        And can I be clear, I’m not talking about poaching, per se, and I completely agree with you about the grassroots development area, that needs huge overhaul, what I am saying though is that athlete talent scouting starts from a young age, and they need to be turned into professional footballers and socceroos.

        It’s not so much about focusing on the other codes, but just being aware of them.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 9:10am
          melbourneterrace said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          But that is still nonsense, we have enough players and we don’t need more “Athletes,” we just need our own players coached better.

          Common Football coaching knowledge is that must people can be trained to reach the physical standards of professionalism but basic football skills must be ingrained into players by the age of 12. If you aren’t skilled by then, then you have no hope of making it.

          You can scout athletic talent all you want but it is utterly pointless because by the time they’ll have been noticed, they’ve they’ve missed the window of opportunity for mastering the basic skills.

          • September 7th 2017 @ 9:20am
            Fadida said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

            Spot on MT. It’s a hard put to get across, simply because the other codes in Australia have such a focus on athleticism

          • September 8th 2017 @ 9:55am
            Post_hoc said | September 8th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

            Tom Byer philosophy and what he see’s in Japan. You coach everyone better, not just the elites. You coach grassroots better, you push the medium players higher, they in turn push the elites to be better. You build a bigger pyramid by building the base bigger

        • September 7th 2017 @ 5:13pm
          The Auteur said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

          It starts with having more teams for these young footballers to play for.

          You think 9 Australian-based teams is enough?

          • September 7th 2017 @ 6:22pm
            vin said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

            exactly! been saying this for years

      • September 7th 2017 @ 9:30am
        pacman said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        Spot on!

      • September 7th 2017 @ 5:12pm
        The Auteur said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

        An entire country’s national team players based on pure athleticism and raw power is England.

        And they’re not going anywhere on the international stage.

    • September 7th 2017 @ 5:58am
      Waz said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:58am | ! Report

      The problem is the athletes mentioned in this “fantasy land” aren’t the best athletes in Australia, they’re the best athletes in their respective sports codes and that’s it.

      AFL is the best professional footy competition in the world – but because it’s the only one that makes it also the worst and if I had a $1 for every time one of my AFL mates lamented the poor standard of play (too many teams, not enough good players, too much concentration in Melbourne etc) then I’d be retired now.

      NRL isn’t much better either.

      If you’ve followed this qualification campaign then it’s clear the coach is culpable – Ange is to be commended for his perseverence with a major change in philosophy but he’s done it at some cost to his reputation and team performance.

      And to your point – Ange’s mistake has been not playing the best athletes in Association Football available to him, he set clear selection rules a few years back (must be playing regularly, be in good form, playing in a decent competition etc) which he has recently ignored and his teams perfrmance has suffered. Start with the basics not some fantasy that the best athletes are all playing some other code – they’re not!

      • September 7th 2017 @ 7:03am
        Onside said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:03am | ! Report

        But undoubtedly WAZ, the cream of young athletes are attracted to AFL .

        If the analogy was put in a different perspective, the Socceroos don’t have
        enough fast athletic BIG blokes.

        The big athletic blokes end up in other arenas . But the time will come …….

        • September 7th 2017 @ 7:13am
          Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:13am | ! Report

          “But undoubtedly WAZ, the cream of young athletes are attracted to AFL .”

          Sorry, but that statement is just pure nonsense. They may be good with their hands, but not with their feet.

          • September 7th 2017 @ 8:27am
            Nemesis said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

            From what I’ve seen they’re not that good with their hands.

            Rugby & League players seem to be more skillful at catching an oval ball & better at wrestling an opponent to the ground.

            Fair play to AFL players they are definitely the best athletes in Australia for throwing coward punches.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 9:44am
              Deir-ba-zor said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

              Do you have anything better to do other than talk $@&/ about the AFL for something that results in 6-game suspensions Nemesis?

            • September 7th 2017 @ 9:46pm
              Kangajets said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

              Hey nemesis

              How’s Ange the genius going
              Egg all over your face now

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 8:31am
            Karlo Tychsen said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

            Hi Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football,

            Have you seen footage of Daisy Thomas flicking the ball up with his feet and kicking it through the posts from the corner pocket at 30 metres? Trust me, these guys have foot skills.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 8:40am
              Nemesis said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

              Flicking the ball up with his feet?

              Heck, you go on Youtube you can find thousands of guys who are great at ball juggling. Can they play football? Well, the fact they’re only juggling balls on Youtube tells you that’s the extent of their skill set.

              So, good on Daisy Williams. Foot skills are the foundation for a footballer but you’re not going anywhere just juggling a ball.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 9:05am
              melbourneterrace said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

              Any half decent football playing teenager could kick a ball to himself and kick it through two posts with no cross bar . The most mundane of skills in football are considered extraordinary by AFL standards, there is a reason professional athletes from other codes can walk into the top tier of Australian Rules Football but it does not happen in the other direction.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 9:15am
              Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

              Karlo – trust me, I was flicking the ball up with my feet at 12 yrs of age and hitting the goal, but I never came close of being an elite footballer. Party tricks are one thing, but playing with real ball control and skill at football’s highest level, is a level well beyond any AFL player.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 9:23am
                Fadida said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                Agree Caltex, Fuss and MT. AFL commentators still become orgasmic whenever a player kicks a goal “soccer style”, even though it’s something any 10 yo kid can do. Their heads seem to explode when it’s a volley

              • September 7th 2017 @ 1:10pm
                Lionheart said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                teaching my three year grandson to do this now, and use both feet
                I saw an AFL fan rave about the skills to pass with both hands – huh? and punt kick with both feet – double huh?

        • Roar Pro

          September 7th 2017 @ 7:20am
          Ben Sewell said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:20am | ! Report

          But undoubtedly WAZ, the cream of young athletes are attracted to AFL .
          In Melbourne maybe but come a few states north and that statements is just utter garbage. The best athletes play whatever sport they’re brought up with, whether that be cricket, NRL, Rugby, Football or AFL. You cannot just say that anyone who’s anyone goes into AFL.

          • September 7th 2017 @ 8:11am
            chris said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

            Haha exactly what I was thinking! Seriously people in the southern states need to come to the northern states and see how insignificant AFL is. How brainwashed are you people down there?

            • Roar Pro

              September 7th 2017 @ 8:45am
              Ben Sewell said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

              I mean AFL is played and it’s there but people certainly don’t plan their life around the Lions / Suns and the AFL grand final. State of Origin on the other hand is the religion of choice.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 9:11am
                chris said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

                lol…you must be from Qld : )

            • September 7th 2017 @ 1:14pm
              Lionheart said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

              populations – Australia 24.6 mil
              NSW – 7.6 mil
              QLD 4.8 mil
              That’s about half, Victoria’s 5.7 mil.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 2:01pm
                Grobbelaar said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                more than half

        • September 7th 2017 @ 7:49am
          Waz said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

          The participation numbers would dispute that. Kids are choosing where they go to play, often strongly influenced by their parents, but they’re not picking codes based on where “the best athletes play”. See Sam Kerr as just one example.

          And there is no evidence that AFL or NRL has the “best athletes”, if you want to build that argument then look at the Olympic team maybe as the standard of skill and athletic ability in AFL/NRL is way lower than that required in most Olympic sports – and they at least get to test themselves against the best athletes in the world and not a small participation base in two states of a small country at the bottom-end of the world.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 9:32am
          pacman said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          Highly unlikely in NSW and Qld.

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 8:26am
        Karlo Tychsen said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        Can I say Waz, and maybe I wasn’t clear, I agree that AFL don’t have the best athletes, but by players preferencing their game over football, it ultimately means that football doesn’t always get the best athletes.

        A good example would be the NFL in America. I have no doubt that American MLS players are magnificent athletes, but a lot of the time they’re players left over who weren’t chosen to play NFL professionally.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 9:12am
          melbourneterrace said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          Geez this is worse than the yanks who reckon they’d dominate football if they had LeBron James starting.

          • September 7th 2017 @ 5:14pm
            The Auteur said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

            LeBron would be too slow and cumbrous due to his size.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 9:13am
          chris said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

          huh? MLS players are failed NFL players?
          That statement is even more ridiculous than your article.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 11:21am
          Waz said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          Fair enough. But with 600,000+ registered players we have more than enough to work with. As MT points out our challenge is to coach these kids from 6 to 16 and beyond which we don’t currently have enough facilities for, enough coaches, and enough money to do.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 9:19pm
          Mad Dog said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

          Comparing the NFL and MLS in terms of athleticism is like comparing wrestling and cricket. Im pretty sure Steve Smith isnt playing cricket just because he didnt get a WWE contract

          • September 8th 2017 @ 8:00am
            chris said | September 8th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

            Agreed Mad Dog. I think this article should have had the “HA” in its header.

    • September 7th 2017 @ 7:37am
      Mall top said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      What frustrates me is Australia’s lack of ability upfront. Cahill aside, we have failed year on year to fill attacking positions with any real attacking quality: players who show up with a strong physical presence and consistently threaten opposition keepers. Sure, we have scored some memorable goals notably through moments of individual brilliance, but real consistency from a large component of our crew is not there.

      So is the idea of unearthing, or attempting to unearth a VERY SELECT few who are heading in the direction of other codes totally out of the question? If nothing else but for widening our attacking options. Not every emerging AFL player would be clumsy with the ball. Some may have strong ball skills and other abilities needed for a football targetman: battling defenders, attacking the ball, holding up play. During recent times our attacking options have fallen short on carrying out these key requirements, let alone outmatched physically and skillfully. How can we compete against the worlds best? Look at the reliance in the premier league on physically dominant frontman: Lukaku, Zlatan to name a few. Now I am not saying the AFL is teeming with players such as this, or ever has or ever will have a player who could excel in football as those names in question, but perhaps it is not beyond reason to broaden our search.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 9:16am
        chris said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        Mall Top we arent the only country lamenting the lack of world class strikers. They are very few and far between and why in the main they get the big bucks. Even Japan with all their wonderful technically gifted players have never really produced a genuine striker of world class.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 9:32am
        Fadida said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Sorry mall top. Unless those AFL players have been playing football all of their lives, and identified by the age of 14 as talented, they’ll be useless as footballers.

        Target men have a much greater skill set than physical attributes. Battling for the ball is pointless without technique. It is easy to improve physical attributes at any age, impossible to become a quality footballer unless learnt when young.

        There is a reason why rugby players can switch codes and why AFL recruit teenage and young men from other countries who have never played the game (or even seen it), but why noone becomes a professional footballer without a lifetime of development

        • September 7th 2017 @ 9:35am
          pacman said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report


        • September 7th 2017 @ 10:07am
          Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          “Life time of development”. Yep, spot on Fad!

          • September 7th 2017 @ 10:43am
            Sydneysider said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

            Well said Fadida. Complete bollocks that having the best athletes would make a difference.

            The difference is in the coaching and technical development from a young age. If you don’t the skills by age 12 (Arsene Wenger has said this many times), then you won’t ever have the skills.

            We need more qualified youth coaches and that in itself is a problem because the FFA needs money to fund these things.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 12:26pm
              Waz said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report


              • September 7th 2017 @ 1:58pm
                Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

                Not another disgruntled Gunner!

        • September 7th 2017 @ 11:22am
          Jack Russell said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          This is spot on. It’s a game with very unique skills that aren’t replicated in other sports. Someone that grows up playing basketball, Aussie rules, cricket etc will be good at catching, throwing, kicking etc but won’t be much good at dribbling or heading a round ball. Thats why it’s not easy to transition into soccer from other sports. What other sport has those basic skills?

        • September 8th 2017 @ 10:04am
          Post_hoc said | September 8th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          Perfectly said

        • Roar Rookie

          September 15th 2017 @ 11:45pm
          esko said | September 15th 2017 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

          So, how do you define talent at 14?

    • September 7th 2017 @ 7:55am
      Web said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      What would be nice, to raise the idea of football being a professional pathway in Australia for the young kids, is for the media to get behind it. In NSW you open the Daily Telegraph to find at leats 6 pages about NRL and that is in their off-season. In VIC, those pages are dominated by AFL. Those pages don’t necessarily cover games either. A-league, or any other football is lucky to get a page, page and a half at best. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake one morning to find those 6 pages covering all the A-league games (not just the team in your state) as well as the Socceroos, with the NRL recieveing only 1-2 pages (there’s still bound to be a player in trouble somewhere), particularly during the A-League season.

      If would also be a wonderful thing if we inundated with free-to-air games, that we can spend more time as a family watching and learning. Not everyone has, or can afford Foxtel.

      The game is simply not promoted as well as it’s rivals and although we’ve come a long way, Johnny Warren’s words still stand to some degree.

    • September 7th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Agent11 said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      seriously, did the AFL pay you to write this?

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 8:26am
        Karlo Tychsen said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        Why would the AFL pay me to say they’re players are better off playing football?

        • September 7th 2017 @ 12:13pm
          Agent11 said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          I think it’s more about the AFL wanting to remind everyone that it has a monopoly on all the best athletes in this country (which it doesn’t) and therefore we should follow it and not bother with other sports.. .

          • September 7th 2017 @ 1:21pm
            Lionheart said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

            yes, why is it the AFL fans who come to football blogs and talk about afl? It’s not rugby or league or cricket fans, who can talk about football, but the afl fans just can’t help themselves, they really do want to be part of our show.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 1:45pm
              chris said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

              I know right? And a whopping big picture of a swans player on a football tab showing us the way lol

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 2:03pm
                Grobbelaar said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

                did Holger Osiek play for the swans?

              • September 7th 2017 @ 2:29pm
                chris said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                apparently he was good enough and was offered a contract but turned it down as he couldnt commit to Saturdays.

    • September 7th 2017 @ 8:00am
      punter said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      There is no doubt that if football was the no 1 sport in Australia, we would have a greater choice of the best athletic sportsman in this country, however, the Socceroos are already known as a very strong athletic team, it’s the technical side we lack.

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 8:29am
        Karlo Tychsen said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        Agreed, but it is then interesting that Ange is being singled out for failing to adequately coach the team, yet he wants to bring in a very technical type of play.

        Hence why I’m arguing that maybe better athletes, with a technical football background, would take our football to the next level.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 8:39am
          punter said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          The argument against Ange is that he is trying to implement a technical type of play with players not capable of playing it.
          A Socceroos team with strong technical background, with the best athletes would definitely improve the team. It could also go the other way. A highly talented sportsperson (child), who can choose between being a Ronaldo or a Nick Fyte, one a huge star worldwide the other a huge star in parts of one country, not to mention the money difference, well you must come from a strong AFL family to not choose football.

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 9:07am
            Mango Jack said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

            But the chances of becoming a Ronaldo are far less than becoming a Fyfe. Easier to be a big fish in a small pond….

            In any case, kids don’t choose a sport based on potential money that might be earned as a professional player in 20 years time. They play a particular sport because that’s what their friends are playing or watching, or what their parents follow.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 2:11pm
              punter said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

              20 years time?

              Most kids play all sports till about 10 years old, unless they come from real diehard AFL, RL or Football families. They play all sports & then choose, most normally the sport they are better at.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 2:31pm
                Mango Jack said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

                Most kids never rationally weigh up which sports would best match their physical attributes. They play a sport because their friends are all playing it, probably based on family/cultural influences and media attention. If they end up choosing one to continue with because they’re good at it, it’s because they’ve played a lot of it.

                The point is, a 5 year old is not thinking about the earning potential of any sport when deciding what to play.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 8:15pm
                Waz said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:15pm | ! Report

                Punter, I’m not sure most kids play all sports until they’re ten anymore, but they should.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 8:43pm
                punter said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

                Waz, maybe not most kids, but I suppose I was thinking most kids that had potential to play for the Socceroos or put on a Lions jersey in the AFL.
                I was reading about Kyle Chalmers, the 100 freestyle Olympic champion, he also loves playing AFL, football & Basketball. He is a sports nut. I’m maybe assuming most kids with the potential to be best athletes in Australia, the majority are sports nut.

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