Brodie Grundy, one of the most recognizable stars of the AFL: a two-time All Australian ruckman and a two-time Collingwood best and fairest winner.
And yes, his 2020 season was one filled with inconsistent playing and just generally poor form for the star ruckman. But his 2021 season has got off to an amazing start. Even though his club has been on the wrong end of a 1-6 start to the season, Grundy has been one of the few shining lights for lifeless Magpies.
But after watching yesterday’s game of Collingwood against the Suns and most of Collingwood’s other games this season, it is fair to say that the media and commentators need to change the tone or just probably get a better understanding of football as a sport.
In the 3-2-1 article from the Collingwood vs Gold Coast game on Fox Footy, the second point was titled ‘Woeful stars smashed by young Suns’. The point then went on to list Grundy as one of the stars in this conversation.
“He (Grundy) shouldn’t be getting pushed out of the way by an amateur ruckman in Chris Burgess,” Johnathan Brown said while commentating on the game. This quote however is missing what Brown said before this, as he said, “Grundy probably deserved a free kick there”.
This is the type of narrative changing that has been the problem. Do not group Grundy with some of his teammates who are not living up to their usual expectations. Great players like Grundy can still play great and their teams do not perform well.
Numerous times throughout the game against the Suns the commentators, led by Dwayne Russell, spoke of Brodie Grundy’s game and his lack of hit-outs to advantage, a stat that is often brought up by Grundy disputers when debating his impact. Grundy today got 37 hit-outs and 15 of those were to advantage, the next highest on the ground was three by a Collingwood player. Now if you want to go and say that 15 is not many then look at the stats.
Before I go on with this point, I am in no way taking away from the other ruckmen mentioned, they are multiple-time All-Australians for a reason. Grundy is often compared to Nic Nat and Max Gawn, who average ten and 12 hit-outs to advantage, respectively. Grundy averages 14 and has 23 more hit-outs to advantage than the next highest, Gawn. In terms of total hit-outs, it is not even close, an area Grundy has completely dominated, like dominating the hit-outs to advantage.
In terms of disposals, Grundy averages one less than Gawn (before Gawn’s game today), that being said he does play 85 per cent of game time compared to Gawn’s 92 per cent. Grundy, Gawn and Naitanui are three of the best ruckmen to ever play the game so this is not a ‘Grundy is a better player’ argument, more of a ‘please stop using false information and a false narrative to take away from what has been an amazing season by Grundy’.
The AFL media just needs to start watching the games maybe a bit harder and stop trying to chase a narrative that simply does not exist. If Grundy does start underperforming then so be it, go after him as hard as you clearly want to, but when he is playing out of his mind, commentate as if and write articles as if.
Thank you, Damien Barrett, for being one of the only AFL media personalities who is telling it how it is with Grundy.