We’re just past the halfway mark of the 2019 AFL season, and it looks like being one of the least satisfying seasons of the modern era.
The hype teams, Melbourne and Essendon, are dismal failures.
The Demons seem to be sadistically torturing their own fans, seducing them into believing their premiership drought is about to end, then doing their darnedest to get another wooden spoon.
Given that torture is against international law, a few tanks full of UN peacekeepers might have to roll onto the MCG at some point to put an end to the whole sorry affair.
The Bombers haven’t won a final since Mark Latham was leader of the Federal opposition, and may not win another until he is Prime Minister.
At the other end the ladder, the ‘good’ teams don’t appear to be that good.
Richmond have been completely exposed without champion backman Alex Rance, conceding nearly 100 points in two quarters against the Cats. A similar story emerged at the SCG, with the West Coast Eagles – without Shannon Hurn – conceding 18 goals to a Swans team which had been impotent in attack in their first 11 matches. Both appear to be making up the numbers in 2019.
The two teams who might challenge Geelong for the title, Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney, have also been flaky. No-one in their right mind would trust the Giants to win a final at the MCG, which they may have to do twice to win this year’s flag. The Magpies have been winning without impressing, and have no chance at all if Brodie Grundy were lost to injury.
The worst stagnation is among the competition’s head coaches. The unsustainable stasis in coaching ranks has ended, but both Brad Scott and Brendon Bolton should have already been sacked.
Alan Richardson has absolutely no right to still be coaching St Kilda, and will surely be moved on at the end of the year. Essendon were right to appoint John Worsfold after the supplements crisis, but why he is still coaching there is a mystery – it may even be a mystery to the man himself.
Ken Hinckley is a dull coach, and Port Adelaide are going nowhere with him at the helm. Ross Lyon is a dinosaur. John Longmire is as stale as a month-old loaf of bread.
The biggest disappointment may await us on grand final day. Geelong appear certain to score a runaway premiership triumph, which is great news for their fans, but not so great for the competition.
There is no satisfaction for a neutral fan in this result, nor for the game’s administrators. All we can hope for is a repeat of 2008.
2019 promised much, but will, it seems, deliver little.