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christy olsen

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Joined October 2017

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They have created the ultimate sport, the perfect mix of skill, athleticism, fitness, action, and beauty. It is called footy.

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Great article, Josh.
For the most part, StK need to be patient at this point.

What are their biggest hurdles…
1. They have no players to trade.
They have only a few good players who would really be valuable to other clubs. They wouldn’t gain anything by trading them, which is true for most bottom-six clubs.
2. They have no money.
Paying huge salaries to keep/attract good players with money they did not have is reportedly what got them into the mess they’re in. They could not afford to keep paying Dal Santo, McEvoy, or Goddard so they had to let them go. Being still greatly in debt, they cannot offer enough to get a first-rate player.
3. No good players want to go there.
Seems like a few clubs can get good players without even trying. Star players don’t even wait for an offer from Hawthorn, Geelong, and Sydney. (Honestly, if Lynch goes to Hawthorn, I might not watch next year.) But I’ve never heard a household-name sort of player say he wants to get to StK.

So what now?
They need to do better in the draft.
History proves this.

From ’98 to ’05, they brought in these players through the draft:
Hayes, Baker, Blake, Milne, Riewoldt, Kosi, Ball, Dal Santo, Montagna, Goddard, and Fisher.

Just think of the quality in that group – that’s pretty incredible.
Everyone of those guys played in the ’09 GF.
That’s how you build a great list at a club like St. Kilda.

They have not done so well at the draft this decade.
But if they start making better choices, and develop them a little better, they can get back to where they were.

Scattergun signings and 'safe bet' drafting will get St Kilda nowhere

Yeah, he and Huddo are great.

Ranking the best AFL commentators

Yeah, I know Peter; that’s because you’re a Pies fan.
You’d be a disappointment to the black and white to say otherwise. 😉

Is winning a premiership really what matters?

Huddo is the best.
He adds five levels of excitement to every game he commentates.

Ranking the best AFL commentators

There is absolutely more to sport than just winning.

It is far more satisfying to lose a very evenly-matched, well-played Grand Final by one point, than to, say, win a Premiership because an umpire makes a terrible call in the dying seconds of the match.
Likewise, I’m always a little disappointed when great players miss a match due to injury, even if that allows my preferred side to win.

Losing is usually a result of poor play, and that is really what stings.
When a side plays poorly, they have fallen short, even if they win.

Winning needs substance and a sense of accomplishment.
When a side plays well, they have accomplished something, even if they lose.

Is winning a premiership really what matters?

Yeah, it was just way too late.
Can’t have that.
Brownie seems a decent fellow, but that was a poor decision.

Brown to go for late bump

I suppose you’re right if the idea is to make the draft a bigger deal to existing fans.

It’s true that ESPN, sports radio, and sports publications are consumed with NFL coverage surrounding the draft.
So it is a huge deal to the sports industry.
But I think that is mostly because the NFL is the most popular league in the US.

I guess I thought the idea was to use the draft as a vehicle to increase the popularity of a sport.
I’ve never heard anyone say something like, “I don’t watch much football, but I always watch the draft.”
The Super Bowl and the World Series, are examples of that.
Huge numbers of casual fans and otherwise uninterested people tune in to those events.
So the NFL and MLB need to consider how to use them to increase overall popularity.

But I can see that the AFL would want more footy fans to follow the draft more closely.

Live trading offers AFL clubs a nifty new loophole to exploit

Sorry to let you down, but the NFL draft is not that big of a deal.
Only serious fans follow it, which is true for every sport.
Maybe you’re imagining everyone in the whole country tuning in with anxious jitters to see just who will be drafted.
But that’s not the case.
Most people just read about it later or pay no attention at all until the next season starts.

Live trading offers AFL clubs a nifty new loophole to exploit

Yeah, soccer has become almost unwatchable because of all the diving and whining.

If the Gaff incident doesn’t change the AFL’s attitude, nothing will

Be careful, people.
It’s one thing to try to get rid of punches, which are not at all part of the game.
But if you start trying to force the game to be played a certain way through an ever-growing rule book, the game will be ruined.

Tagging is a completely legit tactic.
There’s nothing illegal or unsporting about it.
Yes, it makes it difficult for the one being tagged to get the ball.
And, yes, if the tagger is engaging in illegal actions (like obstruction and holding), he should be penalised.

But so often we’ve seen a completely legal tactic become popular, then be banned or regulated, mostly because it’s too effective.
That’s not a good reason to ban something.
If a particular tactic is both legal and effective, then just deal with it.
Overcome it.

It’s very rare to find a tactic in sports that is all reward with no risk.
In those rare cases, it is identified very early on and banned.
Parking a player in front of the goal in soccer is a good example.
There’s really no risk, and every team would do it, if allowed.
Thus, the off-sides rule has been in place for a long time.

Tagging has risk.
The tagger is rendered nearly useless as a ball-user, and generally gets run into the ground trying to stay with his man.
The reward is he might limit his opponent’s impact.
As long as there is a risk, let a player or team try to earn the reward.
Let their opponents find a way make them regret it.

If the Gaff incident doesn’t change the AFL’s attitude, nothing will

The problem with deliberate rushed behinds has always been trying to sort out a player’s intent (same as deliberate out-of-bounds).
So I say any time the ball goes through the goal or the behind space when last touched by a defender, then it’s worth two points.
That simple.
The only thing that would ever need to be debated is whether the ball was touched before going through, but that is already a part of the game.

The evolution of the AFL kicking game

Is wining a flag the only definition of success?

StK fielded very good sides for about 6 seasons in a row, mostly on the success of draft picks.
Hayes, Blake, Milne, Riewoldt, Kosi, Ball, Dal Santo, Montagna, Goddard, Fisher… that’s quite a list of really good players all taken in the draft.
That’s the sort of draft success that makes everyone so hopeful the draft will help turn everything around.
And if two of those were priority picks, that’s still twenty percent.
I’d say the priority pick system, and the draft in general, really worked for them.

However, the fact is very few first round picks actually end up becoming bone fide stars, and if so, usually not at the club that first drafted them.
It seems the draft actually has a pretty poor record of significantly improving a clubs fortunes.
Especially if already-developed talent has been traded away for picks.

Exclusive unpublished material: How priority picks made tanking, rebuilding and improving AFL lists a whole lot murkier

Probably the best argument for taking the mature-age rookies seriously is the failure rate of players taken in the national draft.

It’s true that most of the best players in the game were taken in the first round of the national draft.
That’s not surprising.
What is always surprising to me is to look back through the first round picks of the past decade.
Hardly any of the names are recognisable. Maybe ten percent.

What is supposed to be the spigot of talent for AFL clubs is really just a high-risk hedge fund.
So much value is given to high draft picks, yet very few of them end up giving much ROI.
The best older players of the state leagues would be a much safer bet.

In fact there’s a lot of the same talent in the AFL already, not just the state leagues.
I think AFL lists are flush with 23-yr-olds who are not stars, but are solid, consistent players who contribute every week.
Imagine if a club traded all it’s draft picks one year for that type of player?
Everyone would laugh because it seems folly to trade a, say, No.12 draft pick for a 50-100-gamer who is not a household name and was a second round pick when he was 18.
But if that player knows what he’s doing, has not been injured much, and has the potential for improvement, then it’s actually worth more than the draft pick.

I remember I was disappointed when StK gave up their No. 5 pick for Jake Carlisle.
After all, Carlisle was picked 24th in 2009.
But, in reality, it was a good idea. He is already a very high caliber player.
Whoever that lost draft pick might have been, he might never have developed or have left by now.

Why the AFL should focus more on mature-age recruits

According to the fan survey, there’s a lot of support for a team in Tassie.
Might the Suns be a candidate to fill that spot?
Let all of Queensland get behind the Lions and give the Suns a new start.

Can the Suns shine between a rock and a hard place?

Here are two ideas.

I really don’t like rushed behinds. They are lame.
I think they happen so much because the general view is that giving up one point is no big deal.
But what if a rushed behind were worth two points?
Any behind that was touched last by a defender counts for two points.
A behind that last touched by the scoring team is worth one point.
That might increase the incentive for defenders to keep the ball in play.

What if the bench were cut down to one player, with unlimited I/C?
There would be no need to keep track of I/C, and the field time would be shared amongst 19 players.
Teams could have, say, two other players in case of injury.
Those players could replace one the 19 active players, if needed.
Then there is the opportunity for a little rest, but energy would still need to be managed strategically.

It’s a tough call.
Personally, I don’t think the look of the game is really all that bad.
It’s still light-years ahead of the NBA and NFL.
Even soccer has gotten pretty lame with all the diving and whining.
Blowout margins are probably the biggest problem right now.
Overall, AFL is the best game out there.

If AFL rule change is inevitable, don't be hasty

It’s the blistering first quarter that’s the problem.

The frenetic, “pressure” style of play used currently requires the chance to rest.
Because they can rest, players can keep the pressure up the whole game.

Knowing that energy must be conserved, players would use their legs more strategically.
That means not running like a maniac everywhere, but instead making calculated, considered runs when they are most useful.

So while the last term of a fast-paced game tends to get sloppy, it would be less so if the players had been moderating their energy and saving some for the end.
Sustained, ferocious pressure is one thing that would have to be reduced.
This would lead to less congestion.

If AFL rule change is inevitable, don't be hasty

Why does Barrett love the stupid NBA so much?
No one has done a better job than the NBA of ruining a decent sport.
The play on the court is lazy, slow, and boring.
Everything else about it is just a spectacle of out-sized egos.

I find the conservative, focus-on-the-game attitudes of footy very refreshing.
It would be sad to make the AFL more like American sports.

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

I disagree.
Expectations were too high.
A close look at this list reveals they simply don’t have the talent or experience to be a top-four side.
Are they playing below their potential? Certainly.
But if they were consistently doing what they are capable of, they would be about at good as they’ve been the last two years.
That’s the talent part of the equation.
However, young players don’t play consistent footy.
The Saints are the 15th and 17th in the league when ranked by average age and experience, respectively.
That’s pretty significant.
With that in mind, the expectations were too high.

Inconsistent Saints 'pretty ordinary': coach

I think it’s funny that the entire concept behind a penalty for “holding the ball” is to keep the game moving.
Theoretically, to avoid giving away a free kick, players will dispose of the ball before getting tackled.

The other thing that must be considered is the excitement of a player getting out of a tackle.
I love watching certain players who are very difficult to tackle.
Every week they find a way to break free from what appeared certain doom.
It’s beautiful to watch.
The umpires need to wait a moment to see whether the tackle is successful before blowing the whistle.
If they don’t, no one will get a chance to break a tackle.

Furthermore, what constitutes a complete tackle?
Grabbing the guy around the waist?
Pinning one arm down?
Stopping the guy from moving?
Bringing him fully to the ground?
Unless there is some standard for when the tackle is complete, there’s going to be a lot of inconsistency.

Its time for umpires to pay the damn free kick

Roberton and Webster are hurt. When they are right, they’ll play again.

Saints storm home to snatch first AFL draw

Please, please hear me on this.
You DO NOT want mid-season trading.
I am an American, and I’m telling you it’s horrible.
Baseball is probably the worst, but all the leagues have it.
Free agency is bad enough.

In America, no clubs put much effort into developing mid-tier players.
Once a guy starts to get good, he leaves for more money.
Poor clubs can’t afford to keep their best players.
The rich clubs simply buy the best players.
So there’s very little long-term investment in development.

It does make sense, though, that if a player wasn’t drafted, he can sign with anyone.
Also, why not let clubs find replacements for injured players up until R1?
Then every club starts with forty healthy players.

Loyalty or fairness: The solution to the player movement conundrum

Yes. What are you hoping for?
There’s not a lot to argue with here.

The Saints are a hard team to figure out.

Nine years ago, they were arguably the best team in the league.
Even in 2010, they were oh so close to a second flag.
Then came the precipitous fall back to the basement.
Everything fell apart.

Since then, they’ve built themselves back into a respectable side, but that’s about it.
The tend to surprise everyone, in both wins and losses.
They take down a ladder leader, then get blown out by a peer.

For four years they’ve had a list full of potential talent that seems to never materialize.
Jack Steven appeared to be on the verge of stardom, but for two seasons his impact has diminished.
Bruce, McCartin, Billings, Acres, Gresham, Dunstan, Savage, McKenzie, Weller, Webster, Newnes… they all have talent.
Yet, one doesn’t really have any confidence they’re about to bring it to the next level.

In my view, Ross, Roberton, and Carlisle are the only players who are actually growing into their expectations.
Will others be able to follow?
Or will Richardson be able to win a flag on grit, fundamentals, and passion (a la the Western Bulldogs, ’16)?
I don’t think anyone can say yet.
But it seems they need form we haven’t seen from them so far.

So there we are.
We just have to watch them.

AFL preview series: St Kilda Saints - 12th

Those of you calling for in-season trading do not know what you are asking for!
Let me tell you that in-season trading is an abomination.
I’m an American, so I can tell you first hand how it destroys the culture of a sport.

Professional sports is, ultimately, about winning.
But footy has been able to hold on to at least a little bit of the old days of nostalgia.
It seems like players still like to stay at a club for a while.
Being a “3-club player” is not a complement.
That’s a beautiful thing, and it’s almost completely gone in other sports.
In North America, no one values the one-club superstar.

This is partly due to free agency, but in-season trading is a contributing factor.
It’s rare for a superstar to be traded mid-season, but all the lower tier players just turn into short-term commodities.
Once a team’s finals prospects are gone, they just look at how they can save money for next year.
It has a really shallow, empty feel to it.
Consider how wonderful the culture of footy still is, and please don’t let’s ruin it.

Why this year’s quieter AFL trade period is a sign of things to come

No venue compares to the MCG when it comes to selling tickets for the GF.
It’s hard to justify selling half as many tickets for the biggest game of the year.

But to even out the crowd a bit at the G, what if the AFL reserved something like 40k tickets for each of the participating clubs to sell to their members?
If they can’t sell them by a certain date, the seats could be offered to the general public.

Another fake news flag for Victoria unfairly won at the MCG