Six big questions for the AFL in 2018

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor


102 Have your say

    The clock has struck midnight and calendars are being changed all over the nation – it’s officially the new year, and a new AFL season is just months away. Here’s six big questions that 2018 will give us the answers to.

    What impact can Gary Ablett have at Geelong?
    The cat came back. We’ve known for more than a year that Gary Ablett would likely return to Geelong for the 2018 AFL season, it became a reality in October and now he’s on the verge of pulling on the hoops again for real.

    I’ll admit to being a little conflicted about all this. On one hand, I feel Mark Thompson was right in his biography when he said that it was wrong of the AFL to tear apart the romance of Gary and Geelong just to feed the expansion machine. From that angle of thinking, it warms the heart to see Gary come home.

    However for similar reasons, it makes me a bit uneasy that Geelong’s end-of-first-round compensation pick – which surely no sensible observer could feel wasn’t an unreasonably high level of compensation for Steven Motlop leaving the club – found its way to Gold Coast in the trade.

    The whole thing reeks of the AFL pulling strings to achieve the desired outcome. Maybe that’s a necessary evil but it’s something I’m uncomfortable with at the best of times, much moreso when it is a helping hand to a club that has played finals in ten of the last eleven seasons and won three premierships in that time.

    However I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the result I’ve been barracking for since it first became a serious possibility, because once the idea of a midfield featuring three all-time greats in Gary Ablett junior, Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood burrows into your brain, it’s impossible to get out. I’ve gotta see it!

    Gary Ablett is 33 years old and has missed 39 of his last 88 possible AFL games through injury. He is also one of the top three players of the modern era, maybe the best of the modern era, maybe the best of any era.

    That presents a wide spectrum of possible results to come out of his return to the club where he and his father made the Ablett name famous.

    If his body fails him he could retire this year contributing little to nothing and the misadventure could derail the Cats’ 2018 season – on the other hand, if he, Selwood and Dangerfield all fire at the same time the Cats may very well be unstoppable.

    It’s a trio with the kind of scary, old-testament vibe that could melt your face clean off, ark-of-the-covenant style. As Belloq said to Indiana Jones: We are simply passing through history. This… this is history. You want to see it open as well as I.

    Gary Ablett AFL Geelong Cats

    Am I crazy, or does AFLX actually have potential?
    I know any mention of AFLX is unlikely to elicit anything other than a chorus of groans among footy fans right now, and fair enough. I’ve been among that crowd more than once as the concept has gradually grown legs.

    That said… maybe it’s just the fact that the eye-catching and entertaining Big Bash League is on right now, but I’m starting to feel like it might not be the worst thing in the history of the world if AFLX became part of the sporting schedule around this time of year.

    There were a few remarkably dull weeks in December before the BBL got underway where the calendar seemed wide open for something with a bit more pep than the A-League to occupy our attention in the gaps between Ashes Tests.

    On evenings like that if there was an AFL-lite competition with quick and entertaining matches, plenty of goals, featuring beloved recent retirees and state league stars, are you really telling me you wouldn’t tune in?

    Maybe I’m just grasping at straws in search of a way, any way at all, to get Boomer Harvey playing football on my telly again. Still, I’ll be watching the first real trial run of AFLX this preseason with interest.

    Tom J Lynch – stay or go?
    In 2018 Tom J Lynch is going to make the biggest decision of his career – will he remain with the Gold Coast Suns for the long term, or will he seek success at one of the AFL’s seventeen other clubs?

    There are a lot of factors that will come into play here and it’s a question which I’ll be looking at in more depth in the coming weeks – but let’s take a quick squiz now.

    Gold Coast have been around for seven seasons now and are yet to play a finals match. They’ve only had one season where they came even remotely close, and they sacked their coach after it.

    Are the Suns realistically going to play finals in 2018, or anytime soon? You would never say never given the curveballs this beautiful game loves to throw at us, but all signs point to no.

    That would seem to make the scenario pretty straightforward given Lynch’s manager suggested in October that the prospect of success will play a central role in the decision to be made.

    Complicating this however is the fact that the AFL have already publicly made it known that they’d be willing to back up whatever contract offer the Suns make with a hefty ‘ambassador’ bonus outside the salary cap to keep Lynch at the expansion club.

    Would the guarantee of a gargantuan payday be enough to convince Lynch his future lies on the Gold Coast? If not, then the Suns will also face a hard decision on whether or not to match an offer for the restricted free agent.

    If they happen to finish the year as 2018’s wooden spooners – not an unrealistic scenario – then letting Lynch go via free agency might well see them hold the first two picks in the supposed “superdraft” of 2018.

    There’s so much more to be considered here, and we don’t even know yet just which clubs might be the frontrunners in the race for Lynch’s signature if indeed he decides to move.

    All that can be said for certain is that he is the biggest talent on the table in 2018 and the decision he makes will shape the fortunes of the clubs involved for years to come.

    Tom Lynch Gold Coast Suns AFL 2017

    Will Port and Essendon’s busy offseasons pay off?
    Undoubtedly the two clubs making the biggest splashes at trade time in 2017 were Port Adelaide and Essendon.

    Port signed two free agents in Tom Rockliff and Steven Motlop, traded in Jack Watts, picked up three delisted players in Trent McKenzie, Jack Trengove and Lindsay Thomas, and even recycled a former AFL player through the draft in Dom Barry.

    Essendon secured a former All-Australian and premiership player in Jake Stringer and two very handy talents in Devon Smith and Adam Saad.

    It’s fair to say that my decision to give Port Adelaide a ‘D’ on my trade period report card was a controversial one. It even inspired some legend on facebook to shop together this timeless image of me in a dunce cap, which I will treasure as long as I live.

    In a nutshell my concern with Port’s offseason is this: they were a better than average but not elite team in 2017, and they’ve added a few players who are better than average but not elite to that (as well as some who are clearly just mature stocking stuffers). To me that math just doesn’t add up to any kind of significant improvement.

    Port still have to be considered potential contenders though when you look at the way the last two years have gone, and I look forward to seeing whether or not they can make me eat my own words in 2018. I love it when teams do!

    As for Essendon, they have gone the longest without winning a final of any club in the league (bar Gold Coast who have never played one) so the pass mark for them in 2018 is desperately simple: taste success in September, or we’ll be wondering if it was all worth it.

    Will the new MRP be as good as it looks?
    In an almost unsettling display of common sense the AFL gave the match review panel a significant overhaul just a few weeks ago.

    A quicker turnaround for incidents that occur on Thursday or Friday night games is something I’ve wanted to see happen for a while – it’s by no means a huge change, but it should save a couple of players per year from ‘trial by media’ over the weekend.

    I’m also a big fan of removing some of the barriers that made clubs less likely to challenge a ruling at the tribunal. There’s no longer any penalty in terms of player availability for doing so, and hopefully it will lead to us getting the right decision more often than not.

    As written by Ryan Buckland, the changes made look set to be an improvement across the board. Generally speaking I believe we’d all agree that a match review panel, like an umpire, is an essential part of the game but one that we’d like to notice and talk about as little as possible, and the changes made do, at a glance, look like ones that can help that be the case.

    If so it might be a good omen for great and sensible things to come under the tenure of Steve Hocking as the AFL’s GM of Football Operations.

    That said I feel like unbridled optimism about the MRP is a trap that even a particularly thick-skulled mouse would be smart enough not to run into, so personally I’ll be keeping a lid on it for now and waiting to see what happens when what looks good on paper is put to the test in real life.

    Steven Hocking

    Who’s going to win it?
    The biggest question of all, of course, is which of the AFL’s 18 clubs will be holding the premiership cup aloft at the end of 2018.

    The last two years have surprised perhaps as much as any in history, and they’ve lead to a landscape where the AFL doesn’t seem to have that one obvious power team head and shoulders above others entering 2018 as favourites.

    It’s only fair in fact that those managing the league get some credit – I like to take pot shots at them as much as anyone (like, at least three or four times in this article alone) but other sporting competitions should envy the competitiveness and eveness of the AFL.

    Sixteen of eighteen teams have played in a grand final inside the last 20 years (the two that haven’t being expansion teams who have existed for less than half that time), and 13 of those teams have won a premiership in the last 25 years (only St Kilda, Melbourne and Fremantle have missed out).

    It’s a great time to be a footy fan, fans of just about every club (not you Gold Coast) should believe they’ve got a chance at winning a flag in the next five years. As much as half the competition, or maybe even more, is potentially ‘in the mix’ this year.

    Can the addition of Bryce Gibbs balance out the loss of Jake Lever, Charlie Cameron and Brodie Smith and help Adelaide to complete the tale that so few teams do, bouncing back from a losing grand final to win one the next year?

    Could Sydney or GWS, both sides arguably underperforming in 2017 given the depth and quality of the talent available on their playing lists, rise to the occasion and bring the premiership cup back north of the Barassi line?

    Or perhaps the top shelf superstar talent at Richmond or Geelong could see the Tigers go back to back, or the Cats claim their fourth flag in twelve years? Port Adelaide and Essendon will both believe they are going to improve this year – can they rise all the way to the very top?

    Perhaps maybe even as in 2017, a club could come from outside of the top eight to win it all. As a new year dawns, anything and everything is potentially on the table.

    Welcome to 2018.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (102)

    • January 1st 2018 @ 9:14am
      Mattyb said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      The big question for me in 2018 is how much longer can we keep giving the VFL clubs the enormous advantage of a home GF despite where they finish on the ladder?
      The MCG is obviously a wonderful ground but the advantages given to the VFL clubs is surely hindering the games growth nationally and will eventually need to be seriously addressed.

      • Roar Guru

        January 1st 2018 @ 12:15pm
        Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

        How much longer?

        At least until 2037, obviously.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 12:26pm
          Mattyb said | January 1st 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          I think the game will go truly national before 2037 and I’d assume the MCG will need upgrading before that date also.
          I can also remember talk about contracts and such things when the VFL clubs were also gifted home Prelim finals despite ladder positions which has thankfully now changed.
          Nonetheless,we will be living in a far different world by 2037,one I don’t think we can even really imagine 20 years before our inevitable advancements.

          • Roar Guru

            January 1st 2018 @ 2:46pm
            Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

            Going by your definition of ‘truly national’ there isn’t a sport in existence, in any country, that has ever been ‘truly national’; therefore, I think you are aiming for the impossible just to make some inane point.

            • January 1st 2018 @ 3:56pm
              Pokémon said | January 1st 2018 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

              Ah cat

              U r not as smart as others .

              National sport in Cuba Boxing , Ethiopia and Kenya running , England football , the list is endless but way too hard a concept for someone like yourself.

              • Roar Guru

                January 1st 2018 @ 4:10pm
                Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

                You use ‘U r’ and call me ‘not smart ‘ … right /eyeroll.

                Thought it would be obvious we are discussing team sports but then again my earlier point …

              • January 1st 2018 @ 4:36pm
                Mattyb said | January 1st 2018 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                He did mention English football which is a team sport.
                Maybe it’s just me but I’ve always considered boxing a team sport when being specificly spoken about in relation to Cuba,but I’d consider it an individual sport in relation to Australia.

              • Roar Guru

                January 1st 2018 @ 5:04pm
                Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

                Boxing a team sport? Is it like tag team wrestling but boxers instead? It’s 1 v 1 in the ring making it a solo sport.

                English football isn’t a league. It’s like saying Aussie rules versus AFL. The league is EPL and they do not have EPL teams in every part of England; therefore, it fails your ‘truly national’ definition.

              • January 1st 2018 @ 6:09pm
                Nev said | January 1st 2018 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

                I feel dumber after reading these comments

              • January 1st 2018 @ 5:55pm
                Mattyb said | January 1st 2018 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

                Where have I stated what I think is a truly national completion? You seem to be putting your interpretation onto me.
                A truly national competition for me would be more about giving all participating sides a fair chance at winning the premiership not based on giving sides from one specific state the enormous advantage of playing the championship match on their home ground or home state despite ladder finishes. I’m not overly fussed about Tas or NT but if you’d like them in the league I’d be supportive of that notion.

                For the game to go national I’d also like to see the participating states all reckonised equally and have all the awards renamed,rather than the continued Victorian centric nature of Brownlow,Smith,Coleman,Matthews,McLelland etc all being old VFL types while the game ignores Todd and Hodges at a national level for example. If people would like a player from Tas or NT to also be honoured with an award I’d again be supportive of such a notion but would prefer awards named after people from participating states.

              • January 1st 2018 @ 6:12pm
                Mattyb said | January 1st 2018 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

                They do play home and away games in Tas,NT and the ACT though which is something and I guess people could interperate that in different ways.
                I generally spend a couple of weeks relaxing in Cairns each year and watch an AFL game during my annual holiday up there,not so this year but there will still be a game for the locals, but I do acknowledge their local side will only be participating in the curtain raiser as opposed to the main game itself.

              • Roar Guru

                January 1st 2018 @ 9:35pm
                Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

                You’ve previously stated a National game is one played in all states and territories. I’m surprised you can’t remember considering how many articles you interject this same ‘white whale’ into.
                You have previously stated we need to cut Teams from Melbourne, at least partially because they cannot support themselves. Do you honestly think an NT team would be able to? Do you think Tassie and ACT could support full time teams? I do not think any of them could. NT would also need a domed stadium or the side would have some severe heat climatic issues or possibly an outrageous advantage.
                Again I will ask, can you name a single team sports league in the world that fits whatever your current definition of ‘truly national”?

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 1:38pm
                The Original Buzz said | January 2nd 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                I live in the NT and can tell you it would not be sustainable for a team to play here every second week. The stadium would need to be upgraded for a start and the travel alone would be too expensive. We have the highest cost of Air travel in Australia and the smallest population of any capital city..

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 4:08pm
                Alicesprings said | January 2nd 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

                Would love to see an NT team in the AFL. Have the talent up here thats for sure. Also the number of exAFL listed players up here is crazy (Most of whom quit due to being homesick).

                With a population of only 250k its hard to see it happening for a long time. Maybe in 50yrs? That said our GDP is basically on par with Tassie – which probably says more about Tasmania’s chance of getting an AFL team than it does the NT.

          • Roar Guru

            January 2nd 2018 @ 10:29am
            Paul D said | January 2nd 2018 @ 10:29am | ! Report

            Presumably we will still be living in an age where contract law exists.

            The grand final will leave the G maybe for a year if a state government (probably WA) offers to buy it for a year, but I highly doubt it, given the inevitable inflated price tag it will come with

          • January 2nd 2018 @ 8:17pm
            Tricky said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

            If you can convince the paying public which by the way the overwhelming majority are Victorian then you can talk about a truly equitable and national comp. Until such time as the other footy states match the attendance and participation rates in the AFL then it is as you regularly spruik an uneven comp which by the way is far more a level playing field than leagues that don’t salary caps and the like.

            I get your beef with the MCG but it is the only appropriate stadium because of capacity and it certainly does not help with SA redeveloped the AO to 50k and the new Perth stadium at 60k. The mind boggles on those, perfect opportunity to have a bargaining chip to have the GF played in those stadia and they blew it

            • January 2nd 2018 @ 8:53pm
              The Original Buzz said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

              Have to agree with you on Adelaide Oval. A world class stadium with 140,000 memberships in SA alone and they make it for 50k fans. Missed a massive opportunity there.

              • Roar Guru

                January 2nd 2018 @ 8:59pm
                AdelaideDocker said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

                Without building tall stands on the ‘Hill’ side of the oval, I’m not sure how they could’ve made it more than, say, 55,000 fans. It’s not like they have the space, either.

              • Roar Guru

                January 3rd 2018 @ 7:16am
                Cat said | January 3rd 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

                Well said AD. I never understood why some people continue to spruik lines like ‘why didn’t they make it bigger, how dumb’ when they can easily answer the question themselves.
                The only way to fit 100k seats is to have a big fat wide oval like the MCG. The problem is not everywhere can fit that size/shape. WA, because they built a brand new stadium in a new location, may be the only one who could have done it but unless Freo and WCE are going to draw 85k+ every week all those extra seats would have seen them make less money.
                AO was and is constrained by the existing footprint as well has the heritage listing of the scoreboard on the hill. Kardinia Park in Geelong couldn’t be widened without doing all 5 stages at one time and making the ground unavailable for 2+ years AND bulldozing several other facilities and parking lots (and adding the cost of rebuilding them elsewhere).

              • Roar Guru

                January 3rd 2018 @ 10:23am
                AdelaideDocker said | January 3rd 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

                “AO was and is constrained by the existing footprint as well has the heritage listing of the scoreboard on the hill.”

                Yes, precisely! They literally couldn’t make Adelaide Oval bigger. They’d either have to: demolish a heritage listed scoreboard to the north, extend it towards one of the cities busiest road’s to the east (not possible), demolish the tennis centre to the west, or extend it towards a road and a river to the south.

                None of those were viable options. For mine, 50/55,000 is fine. And if anyone asks why we didn’t just build a new stadium, there’s no where to put an entirely new stadium unless we built it in the far north or south extremes of the city, in my perspective.

              • Roar Guru

                January 3rd 2018 @ 10:51am
                Paul D said | January 3rd 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

                Small matter of the extra hundreds of millions if not billions that sort of extra capacity would cost too. Even splash happy state governments have to pretend they’re budgeting properly.

              • January 3rd 2018 @ 7:39pm
                Leonard said | January 3rd 2018 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

                “Even splash happy state governments have to pretend they’re budgeting properly” – reckon that most of them have given up that pretence by now.

                The current NSW government seems to be at sixes and sevens (as in billions) about which of three stadiums to start on; the 1990s administration lost a hance for a central mega-stadium at Moore Park – instead they did a Waverley / Football Park / Bellerive Oval (which is on the ‘wrong’ side of the Derwent estuary).

                Remember that nonsense from a colourful Collingwood identity about building a 60000-seater across the tracks from the MCG?

                Good to read some local Adelaide knowledge in other posts.

              • January 3rd 2018 @ 6:00pm
                GJ said | January 3rd 2018 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

                The reasons as to why the redevelopment of Adelaide Oval is not as simple as it seems. Firstly, the SACA and the SANFL fell out in the 1970’s, which was the reason football moved out to West Lakes (AAMI Stadium / Football Park). Then all of the SACA members had to vote to approve the return of football to Adelaide Oval and also the redevelopment of the oval.

                There was almost no room to extend the ground to the south, due to Memorial Drive and the river. There was no room to extend the ground to the north due to the commitment to keep and maintain the historic scoreboard as well as the Moreton Bay Fig trees. Some extra width was added (approx 6-8m from memory). Again, land and space was an issue.

                Another major contributing factor was that the redevelopment was largely funded by the state government and there were limits on how much the government was prepared to spend.

                Adelaide would occasionally get bigger crowds with extra seating for block buster games, Port are averaging around 37-38K crowds.

                The cricket only pulls 50K+ crowds during the ashes with most of the overflow in the members area in marques behind the western stand.

                At this point in time having a much larger capacity seems pointless.

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 1:18pm
        Macca said | January 2nd 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

        Why on earth would shifting the GF from the MCG be anyone’s big question for 2018? The MCG has a contract for pretty much the next 2 decades and the discrepancy in seating capacity between the MCG and the next biggest stadium is far to big for the AFL to consider paying up to break the contract. perhaps you thought it was the big questions for 2038?

        The other point is what interstate club is seriously blaming the opponents “home ground advantage” for losing the GF?

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 1:30pm
        Macca said | January 2nd 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        Just one more thing, given your big winner of 2017 was James Hird, your big question for 2018 is playing the GF at the MCG and you spend more time discussing Carlton than your own team the question has to be asked, do you even like football?

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 9:40pm
        Kurt said | January 2nd 2018 @ 9:40pm | ! Report

        And the big question for me is will Matty adopt a reasoned, well thought out position on anything, as opposed to going on endlessly about non-existent home field advantage in the GF, or boring us all stupid with his opinions on Carlton. Who am I kidding, that’s not a big question as we already know the answer – i.e. – NO.

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 10:25pm
        Martin said | January 2nd 2018 @ 10:25pm | ! Report

        Simply there isn’t another venue that holds 100k people. And so even though there appeared to about 70k Richmond supporters at the MCG last year, it nevertheless is up to the Adelaide players to learn how to put noise from the crowd out of their minds. If the GF had been in Adelaide they still would have lost.

        • January 2nd 2018 @ 11:36pm
          Crowbot said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

          Hmmm. So Adelaide would’ve lost even if the Grand Final had been played in Adelaide. Makes one wonder why Victorians felt the need to cheat in the first place.

          • January 3rd 2018 @ 1:13pm
            truetigerfan said | January 3rd 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

            Sore loser? The ‘best team all year’ should be able to win anywhere, any time, any place. And yep! Tigers would have pumped the Crows wherever and whenever they played that game. You should be looking internally for answers rather than finding external excuses. But that’s the South Australian way . . . isn’t it? Straight out of the Graeme Cornes playbook!

      • January 3rd 2018 @ 12:42am
        truetigerfan said | January 3rd 2018 @ 12:42am | ! Report

        Seriously? That’s your big question, Mattyb? What a joke! Move to SA or WA. Sick of your whining and lack of credible and intelligent commentary.

      • January 3rd 2018 @ 2:28pm
        Leonard said | January 3rd 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

        What ‘VFL’ clubs?

        • January 7th 2018 @ 8:18pm
          Reservoir Animal said | January 7th 2018 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

          The ones he wants to get rid of. If MattyB had his way then all Melbourne clubs except Collingwood would die, and over 60,000 seats would be removed from some grand finals. All in the name of what he calls ‘national.’

    • January 1st 2018 @ 9:18am
      Kangajets said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report


      While Boomer Harvey could probably play until he is 45 …. can you tell me the heck is afl x ?

      • January 1st 2018 @ 1:22pm
        Mattyb said | January 1st 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

        10 players per side,seven on the field plus 3 interchange.
        Played on a rectangle soccer sized field.
        No throw ins,free paid against the side that was last to touch the ball.
        Fullback kicks in from a goal and a behind.
        Free kick for a rushed behind.
        No marks paid if the ball goes backwards.
        10 points for a goal kicked from outside 40 metres.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 4:50pm
        I ate pies said | January 1st 2018 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

        To put it bluntly, utter garbage.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 9:41am
      Gfox said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      Excellent read for the 1st day of 2018, Josh!

    • Roar Guru

      January 1st 2018 @ 10:49am
      Wayne said | January 1st 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      After reading your review of Port Adelaide versus other media, I’m inclined to agree with you. It’s all very much more or the same. Which will get them into finals, maybe a semi. But would have beaten the eventual premiers, the prelim chockers or the Power Rangers? Probably not. Will these players being added change that… probably not.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 11:32am
      FrustratedCat said | January 1st 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

      After Geelong’s non competitive performance in the 2017 finals against Richmond and Adelaide it is astounding they would recruit a 35 year old who has missed 39 of the last 88 games.
      Clearly the Cats were shown up for pace, pressure and tackling.
      Surely they need need to develop some young talent.
      In football terms Ablett is an octogenarian and thinking he will overcome a whole raft of problems the side has is bizarre.
      The one real positive however will be merchandising and attendances.
      The Cats have a history of good recruiting – but not this time!

      • Roar Guru

        January 1st 2018 @ 12:13pm
        Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

        No one, except you, has claimed Ablett is the cure-all for all of Geelong’s issues. He clearly isn’t. He also clearly isn’t the only change to the team.

        Here’s Ablett’s AFL rankings for last year.

        – Ranked 2nd in Inside 50s Per Game
        – Ranked 3rd in Kicks Per Game
        – Ranked 2nd in Disposals Per Game
        – Ranked 1st in Centre Clearances Per Game
        – Ranked 9th in Contested Possessions Per Game
        – Ranked 5th in Effective Disposals Per Game
        – Ranked 1st in Clearances Per Game
        – Ranked 5th in Stoppage Clearances Per Game
        – Ranked 10th in Metres Gained Per Game

        So clearly, even in a very weak Gold Coast side, he is still quite capable of seeing ball, getting ball and carrying ball.

        Yes, getting Ablett onto the park consistently is the main concern. However the price the club paid to recruit him (We dropped back 5 slots in this years draft, BFD! and still got the player we really wanted and needed, Kelly)

        If you actually followed the Cats last year you’d have notice one of the glaring issues was a lack of small forwards. Gregson was injured. Cockatoo was injured. McCarthy was injured. Those are the three smalls that have provided Geelong with the forward pressure that was dearly missing. Obviously the Cats will be hoping all three find some fitness in 2018, but in case they don’t they also recruited some young talent in Kelly, Fogarty and Miers who can all bring that tackling pressure, as well as kick goals.

        Geelong was at its most dangerous when Dangerfield played forward last year. He kicked 45 in limited time. If Ablett can stay fit, Dangerfield could play forward even more. Crameri could also slot in and be that point of difference to Hawkins the Cats have lacked. If Danger stays in the middle, Ablett could go forward and be as damaging as Danger was last year.

        The Cats forward line will be much different from last year. It will have the potential to be dynamic and pressuring. Something it barely showed last year.

        Ablett looks happy for the first time in years.He is having fun. He reported to preseason training 2 weeks early and has taken to mentoring the younger players. The weight of an entire franchise has been lifted from his shoulders. He is also at a club that has a far superior history of injury management than GC has had. Is that enough to guarantee he’ll play 20+ games and lift the club all on his own? No, of course not. He doesn’t have to do it alone and any player can get injured at any time.

        Ablett has a role to play. If he plays it well the Cats will be better than last year. Enough to go all the way? Time will tell.

        • January 4th 2018 @ 11:11am
          Matto said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Distorted averages “per game” when you only play every second week at home with a team of spuds.

      • January 3rd 2018 @ 2:35pm
        Leonard said | January 3rd 2018 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

        Didn’t Hawthorn just win two flags after recruiting two old blokes?

    • January 1st 2018 @ 1:21pm
      Pokemon said | January 1st 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

      Seriously what is this afl x ??

      Haven’t heard of it yet north of the border

      • Roar Guru

        January 1st 2018 @ 2:47pm
        Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

        If you cared, you’d know. Obviously you do not. So move on and enjoy whatever it is you do enjoy that I probably have never heard of.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 3:53pm
          Pokémon said | January 1st 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report


          Obviously u have no social skills or lack intelligence. So I won’t bother to put you down in response .

          It does sound similar to the afl 9 s I’ve played after reading Matty b comments earlier. I’m sure I’d be happy to give it a go if it comes this way .

          All the best cat .

      • January 1st 2018 @ 3:46pm
        Norad said | January 1st 2018 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        AFL played with four bonus 90 degrees corners. There’s a reason AFL is played on a oval but the clever bods at AFL House know better and are just focused on getting AFL played on NRL & NFL grounds, Wembley, Twickenham, Westfalenstadion, Mars.

        • Roar Guru

          January 1st 2018 @ 3:55pm
          Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

          Nothing you just said is accurate at all. In any way.

          • January 1st 2018 @ 3:58pm
            Norad said | January 1st 2018 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

            Sorry Cat but it is what the AFL said.

            AFLX is designed to increase Australian football’s profile internationally as it requires less players and translates to rectangular fields.“AFLX has been created,” says AFL game development chief Andrew Dillon, “to provide us with the options to play a form of the game in places where oval grounds are limited and to showcase our game internationally at a point in the future.”

            • Roar Guru

              January 1st 2018 @ 4:07pm
              Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

              I’m well aware. It isn’t NRL grounds, as you originally claimed, that the AFL would be aiming for. It would be the millions of soccer and gridiron fields the AFL cares about internationally. There are 9 full-time cricket pitches (and a couple of baseball stadiums that have been temporarily converted) in the entirety of the US. Compare that to the tens of thousands of gridiron and soccer fields available. My High School in the US had 6 gridiron fields and 4 soccer fields. Not a single cricket pitch.

            • January 1st 2018 @ 8:22pm
              Martin said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

              Showcasing “our game” internationally?

            • January 1st 2018 @ 9:26pm
              Republican said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

              …….thin edge of the wedge.
              This wont be Australian Footy anymore than T20 is Cricket, 7’s is Union et el.
              This will evolve a whole life of its own, so attract a niche athlete for a specific skill set.
              Not interested……….

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 11:30am
                Martin said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                I agree it won’t be Australian football, the rules are too different for that.

              • January 4th 2018 @ 11:15am
                Matto said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

                *just like T20 cricket isn’t cricket to dinosaurs.

              • January 4th 2018 @ 12:48pm
                Leonard said | January 4th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                Or to adults.

            • January 4th 2018 @ 7:27pm
              Leonard said | January 4th 2018 @ 7:27pm | ! Report

              How big is its playing area compared with the standard Gaelic Football pitch?

      • January 1st 2018 @ 3:57pm
        Norad said | January 1st 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

        AFLX is a custom design solution to remove the need for drop in pitches on cricket ovals.

        • Roar Guru

          January 1st 2018 @ 4:08pm
          Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

          Yeah … no. As above, it is meant for international markets where cricket pitches do not exist.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 4:45pm
          Aligee said | January 1st 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

          Footy in a variety of formats has for years and years been played on non oval grounds, maybe your problem is you listen to the AFL for your info, indoor footy (5 a side) has been played for at least 20 years as well.

          AFL9’s has also been played on soccer/rugby grounds for years, it ‘s not such a huge jump, but maybe its weird for novices like yourself who have limited knowledge of the different formats Australian football has.