Here we are in September and my thumbs have blisters from so much twiddling. All this clear air is hurting my lungs. I want to watch some A-League now.
Admittedly there still has been some decent football being played. The streams of the state NPL finals have been great – Tony Tannous, to name one commentator, has done a brilliant job in New South Wales.
Now we have the NPL championship series, and although I had some problems streaming them, they are also good value. Of course we have had the FFA Cup which rarely disappoints.
Yet, top class football is conspicuously absent. Don’t get me wrong, water cooler conversations about a Sam Burgess hit up or a Dusty Martin mark can be entertaining but I feel like football is missing the boat. I think there’s enough room for football to be played as well.
Take last weekend, for instance. There were two AFL finals and one NRL final in Melbourne, played on Friday and Saturday. There was no game at all on Sunday.
The NRL featured just the one match in Sydney, on a Friday. There is plenty of clear air to work around. Plenty of spare football fields too.
In fact, I maintain that we should be kicking off the A-League season at the beginning of September. There wouldn’t be too much tweaking of an A-League draw to avoid a clash in a particular city.
Look at Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. Not much AFL and NRL being played there at the moment.
Last Sunday was a sporting dead zone. I found myself watching domestic one day cricket for the first time since Dennis Lillee ripped through Queensland in the Gillette Cup, many moons ago.
The cricket wasn’t bad, but it feels there was a hole that football could have filled.
It’s not as though our A-League players don’t need the exercise. This year, despite our competition being expanded by one club we are actually playing less rounds than last year.
And with the odd number of teams meaning there will be byes (and I have no idea how many each team has this year), our players are going to be spending a lot of time lounging around.
No wonder Bruno Fornaroli failed the pinch test last year. All that time waiting around for the season to start is enough to make anyone a little thick in the waist – and there’s some mighty fine cake shops in Melbourne I might add.
I remember going to St Kilda a few years back and doing a kind of pastry crawl around Acland Street then rolling back into town on the tram. Forget about the pinch test, I could have caught an anvil on my stomach without feeling it.
But seriously, Australia is so far behind the rest of the world as far as quantity of football goes. I think condition does catch some of our players out when they play in the European leagues and they can take a season or two to acclimatise.
Some can’t make the adjustment.
What I’m saying is that starting the season earlier should not be compensated for by finishing it earlier.
Forget about these 26 or 27-game seasons, we need to ratchet it up to 34 or more. A 16-team competition would be something to aim for but in the meantime we need to bite the bullet and adjust the draw to boost the amount of matches our clubs play.
Our players need a similar amount of game time to the European pros to keep in the best possible shape.
September is the perfect time of year for our top tier football competition to begin. It’s great weather.
There’s enough arenas sitting idle. Many fans of the other codes have already lost interest since their teams have been knocked out of the finals (I’m looking at you Collingwood and Manly.)
I miss complaining about Australian VAR and Australian football referees. I miss marvelling over great Australian goals and praising (and bagging) Australian players.
It’s a big country. Let’s get this football party started.