The Roar
The Roar


Damian Barrett scores 7/10 in his ways to fix footy

Carlton Blues fans celebrate a goal. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
7th June, 2018

Saw an interesting article on the AFL site, it listed ten ways to fix AFL football for the fans.

It was interesting because it was about addressing the off-field economic and social malaise for spectators, and interesting because, unlike his ‘sliding doors’ dross, Damian Barrett can articulate some very good points of view when given more than a single sentence of snark to summarise with.

I’ll just add my own thoughts to some of these and then throw the floor open below

No. 1 and No. 2 are basically a combined point – float the fixture, and much better Friday night footy, restricted only to probably an elite of 8-10 teams.

As Barrett says, there are way too many mediocre undeserving clubs playing Friday nights and it is killing it as must-watch TV.

A floating fixture with say, a six-week lead-in, would give the AFL back some tactical flexibility, for lack of a better term, to react to unexpected storylines in the season.

Without it, we currently have outstanding clashes between high-quality sides played at 1:45 on a Saturday arvo in Ballarat, while the previous night’s Carlton IV – The Neverending Rebuild screens to a dire audience both at the ground and on TV.

The AFL does get a lot of the fixture right, and we have seen this with some really high-quality match-ups in prime time towards the tail end of most seasons. But, if the fixture is floating, there’s an element of competition amongst the teams as to who is getting the choice TV slots.

Something to inspire and add more meaning to things, perhaps. Right now it does all seem a bit too comfortable.


When it comes to players on social media, I don’t really have a view on this.

I think they’re all adults and can make their own choices. Clubs shouldn’t have any power to restrict a player’s social media interactions, really, unless they feel it’s interfering with their job as a footballer.

I think the importance of comments on social media is vastly overinflated anyway, but that’s me. Some of the stuff here is hilarious though, including that drawing of Nic Nat…

Injuries are a tricky one as, understandably, some clubs wish to not lay out all their cards, but I am inclined to agree that injuries should be fully disclosed – if only to prevent the situation becoming farcical.

The Crows appear to be lying about injuries and it’s making the game look bad. Other clubs do it too from time to time.

[latest_videos_strip category=”afl” name=”AFL”]

This is one of those instances where the AFL needs to step in and protect the game from the coaches who, in their quest to win, don’t mind trampling on a few things along the way.

As far as off-field apparel goes – I thought Nat Fyfe looked great at the tribunal. More of this please.


Those polo shirts are garbage and I’m sure the players hate looking like walking billboards on and off the field. Save the sponsors for game day.

Coaches speaking publicly, however, is the first one I’m marking Barrett down for simply because it’s bubble commentary.

Outside of a few thousand diehards, no-one gives a rat’s clacker about what the coaches have to say before Wednesday each week or ever. Also, If you start making coaches do this each week they’re just going to trot out a standard formulaic spiel after a while and, in a few years, you’ll be complaining about wanting to change that too.

Sounds like North Melbourne are ahead of the curve yet again in terms of point no. 7 (having a media-savvy representative on the bench). I think this is a great idea.

There’s far too much psychological warfare in AFL as it is (mostly from Adelaide, and mostly ineffective) and I think clubs need to be reminded that at the end of the day it is just football.

Plus, having a regular club media person as the face of the bench and the club on game day will help build rapport between TV spectators and the club.

Point 8? No, no, no. I don’t want players mic’d up and I don’t want microphones in huddles.

Let them have their privacy in their workspace. It’s voyeurism. That’s my view, anyway, I don’t need to hear what’s going on, I have no envy or desire or wish to know what it’s like out there. Not my life.


I kinda liked curtain raisers at first but then thought – nah. I don’t think it really adds anything and seriously, a game of footy is long enough at the stadium as it is, not many people are going to be wanting to turn a three-hour session into a five-hour session just to see a game of juniors.

Point 10 – yeah, I agree. Closed training sessions are crap. If you want privacy, train on private land or indoors. Again, it’s psychological warfare nonsense. It’s unnecessary and it makes the game look like it’s getting a bit self-important.