The Roar
The Roar

Gordon P Smith

Roar Guru

Joined February 2017







I'm a Yank who stays up Friday and Saturday nights from February through September to get my fix o'footy.



AFL Round 4-casts

If you flipped a coin, had your six-month-old choose teams by red or blue coloured bottles, or picked the teams whose mascots most resembled the random Wikipedia entry chosen for the game, you’d most likely have hit either 13 or 14 of the 27 games played so far in the AFL season 2019.

Animal Planet runs a “Puppy Bowl” at halftime of the National Football League’s Super Bowl here in the states that’s similar to what you’re describing, albeit with something vaguely resembling an actual scoring system. It’s been a success in the sense that it’s continued for many years now…

Plans revealed for new AFLB league to begin in 2020

Roctod, I think your reference to the Myths is particularly prescient here. Nice article, Ben. More “coverage”, please.

Local footy team's unusual sponsorship deal with restaurant, Pho Shizzle, will not be renewed

I’m particularly impressed by the subtle, gradual reveal of how far the tongue was firmly planted in the cheek throughout the article. This was gauged, I can exclusively reveal, by the subtle yet steady and gradual growth of the wry smile creeping across my face as I began to realize exactly what the target of the needle was. Outstanding work, Ryan.

Plans revealed for new AFLB league to begin in 2020

Doctor Rotcod is answering the very first comment, from “Enigma”, about the supposed lack of such injuries. So, Dr. R is supporting Ryan’s position against a contrary one from the top of the pile. (Just a FYI.)

Ten significant digits three rounds into the 2019 AFL season

That was my best guess too, but it didn’t fit the pattern of the other “errors”. But thanks for the confirmation, Cat.

Ten significant digits three rounds into the 2019 AFL season

Sorry for the length of that story, friends – but without that story, the entire premise of the article is lost. This is a different situation than those other six years, in my opinion. THESE Suns have a shot to stay afloat in August. I don’t know that they will, but they’ve got a better chance than their predecessors.

Is the Gold Coast surge another mirage?

To complete the thought about the parallel to my band teaching career:

The Suns have done something that I accidentally did as a young band director taking over a dysfunctional school program back in 1992. There were about thirty kids in band in a high school of 600 – a small but serviceable number. Ten were good musicians, and twenty were relative novices. My insistence on treating everyone like they were important to the program irritated many of the already good musicians, who had basically run the ship under the previous milquetoast director. (No offense meant to him – he was a wonderful human being who had no degree in teaching and had been drafted to babysit the program after the previous instructor vanished unexpectedly. A long story; moving on.)

So, many of the seasoned musicians quit after my first year there. What I was left with were about four of the “good musicians”, but the vast majority of the novices with a year under their belts, plus a host of “recruits” I’d trained from the junior high school program who were now first-year high school students. The key was that every one of them WANTED to be there and had “bought in” to what we were trying to accomplish. We ended up with about the same sized band, but suddenly the program was significantly better and achieved a great deal more, despite the apparent loss of talent, because now every member was “rowing in the same direction”, so to speak.

In a typical locker room or clubhouse, you have about ten percent who lead WITH the coach; ten percent who lead the rebellion AGAINST the coach, and eighty percent who decide which set of leaders to follow. The numbers may vary, but the principle stays true. After that first year, my rebellious leaders were gone, and suddenly, the team was freed to accomplish so much more than when people were pushing in different directions. I look back on the 1993 year as one of the most successful programs I taught in my thirty-year career.

Last year (and maybe ALL of the years before that), there were key players who simply didn’t want to be in Queensland. Now, I can’t think of one. And it shows in the way the play this year – unselfishly, making the extra pass to a player who can do more damage or score more easily. They throw their bodies into the fray, they fight for every inch of grass. The only team I can absolutely say they won’t outwork this season at this juncture is their neighbor up the coast – and I cannot WAIT to see the next Q-Clash in round six!

Is the Gold Coast surge another mirage?

I can verify that in principle your suggestion is correct. In practical terms, I don’t know what the critical number of “exceptional” players would be – it probably depends on the definition of exceptional. I can tell I’m a math geek, because I’m excited at the prospect of crunching the numbers to find out! Thank you uoy knahT, Doctor Rotcod!

Rating individual players after Week 3

Ryan – excellent article as always; insightful as usual; and discussion-provoking as preferable.
But frankly, it reads like some of my wife’s texts when she’s driving and having to use her speech-to-text software. “Charters” instead of quarters, “abstracting” instead of subtracting, and I don’t know what “It had to rip it” was meant to be.
I hope this isn’t like the old joke about the small town with two barbers, where you check which one has the better haircut and go to the other barber to get yours done. I know you’re not the only good editor on staff, so somebody missed the ball this one time. (Translation: it stands out because The Roar is usually top-notch about catching these things. I speak from experience, as my writing isn’t nearly as good as y’all make it look.)
Melbourne’s 30/52 numbers are frightening. I don’t see them recovering from this in time to make finals.

Ten significant digits three rounds into the 2019 AFL season

It does seem like, more than any other teams in recent memory, the Demons and the Suns are proving this early season that there really isn’t much difference between the top and the bottom of the league. It’s mostly a matter of the mental things that lift a team up or knock them down.

The Demons take another step closer to hell

What do you think of Kane Cornes’ comment last night that Carlton has gotten too accepting of “respectable losses” to do what it takes to get over the hump and beat teams like a weakened Sydney at home? I don’t personally agree with him – if they continue along the Brisbane arc this season, I can see them moving into the win column on a regular basis in 2020, as I said in the article – but I think his point is at least surface legit.

Sydney's experience comes to the fore

As always, great writing. Love the GF angles. I didn’t know about the bloodbath game back in WW2.

2019 AFL season: Round 3 preview

Liam Picken was always one of my favorite Dogs. But I’m happy for him that he’s getting out while he still has his faculties intact. That’s far more important than our entertainment. Thanks, Liam.

Picken retires from AFL after concussion

I think they’re taking this too seriously, AD. Don’t sweat it. Keep up the conversation starter!

(Although they may be right about the term “power rankings” – that’s not what these really are… I don’t have a great alternative for you off the top of my head, though, so no worries for now.)

AFL Power Rankings 2019: Round 2

Great article, Josh. Lots of detail, lots of accurate analysis across the board.

Although I contend that even once you DO look at the numbers, you should still say, “they really miss Alex Rance”…

Ten talking points from AFL Round 2

Because if the Magpies continue to play the way they did last night, they’ll be getting far more than their share of love this season. A strong Collingwood team is a mammoth media presence – they won’t be forgotten. Richmond, on the other hand, may now be four weeks away from being ignored the rest of the year, primarily because of one injury. (And if Jack’s out, too? Done.) If I seemed to contradict by saying a non-competitive game would have been competitive, so be it. They didn’t have a chance to win last night after halftime; they would have with one change. That’s my position, although admittedly I didn’t want to denigrate Collingwood’s performance in saying so.

Thursday's great game exposed the genius of Alex Rance

Hard to argue with any of your predictions, and I’d push the margin higher myself. Thirty, perhaps.
I do have a point of order about it being the biggest turnaround in AFL/AFLW history – because this is only a ten-team league (and was just eight last year), Carlton’s only moving up at most nine places, and more accurately seven from their eighth place finish last summer.
By contrast, Richmond jumped from 13th place in 2016 to the premiership the next season. Geelong went tenth to title ten years earlier. (And if you want to get really weird, Fitzroy jumped from the wooden spoon to the title IN THE SAME SEASON back in 1916.) So I’m not statistically impressed by the Blues’ jump this season.
I am, however, VERY impressed with their game plan change and addition of speed and skill that’s allowed them to implement that change. As badly as I feel for the missing 6-1 teams, I’m glad Carlton gets the chance to show this off against the best on Sunday.

2019 AFLW grand final preview

A quick postscript: after I sent this in for publication, one of those eight rating systems made a secondary adjustment that flipped a couple of the closest pairings in the meta-rankings: GWS slipped very slightly above Richmond (for now); Port and Melbourne switched positions, barely; and Brisbane jumped up two spots up to 10th past Adelaide and Essendon. [And none of that will matter 22 weeks from now…]

The weekend in review and the weekend to come

THANK YOU for pointing out what I had thought was bleeding obvious – all of us who self-medicate our mental health issues do so in different ways. Alcohol is probably the most common, but all sorts of medications, legal and illicit, are also typical for a class of people dealing with MH issues. High-achievers who deal with mental health issues (I include myself in this category) often do so through overwork and internal demands of perfection, which when we can’t achieve it force us to take drastic measures. Why are ANY of these better or worse than the others? It’s no different than judging cancer patients because their symptoms show differently than others. (“How dare you get colon cancer! Don’t you realize it’s pancreatic cancer that’s trendy this season?”)

The symptoms of mental health issues may be all you see, but the underlying problems are all deserving of our support.

AFL fans can't pick and choose when to care about mental health

Welcome back, AD. Glad you’re back at the helm, although your sub performed admirably. (And I’ll need to rename my fledgling ranking system. A small price to pay, though – I’m just glad to have your input on line again!)

And Gold Coast deserved to be higher.

AFL Power Rankings 2019: Round 1

If we learned anything from this weekend, it’s that NOTHING is set in stone this season!

Eight talking points from AFL Round 1

You just saved me the work of putting this material together together myself! Thanks! Great work – and smart not to jump to more detailed conclusions.

How will my team do this year? A historical comparison of past performances

It won’t post in any readable form here, but as part of the article I just posted with the meta-predictions for the season to come, I gathered the fan polling from the Age and as well, and they lined up along the same lines as ours does. The only differences when averaging the three polls together would be that Collingwood’s second to West Coast’s third on the other two surveys; and Sydney’s 11th place on the AFL site balances out the two ninth places to make it equal to Hawthorn’s one ninth and two tenth places. Otherwise, the average of the three polls matches our survey. (Whoops. Forgot – Fremantle and the Dogs tie at 14.7 on average because the Dockers were 16th in the Age’s survey.)

The Roar's 2019 AFL ladder prediction - as voted by you!

To me, THIS is the comment of an impressively mature and thoughtful young woman:

“I can see in people’s profile pictures that they have kids or they have got daughters, or there are women in their photos – and that is the stuff that I’m worried about.

“So perhaps this is an issue that might even have to go further because if these people are saying things like this to someone they don’t know on a public platform, what are they saying behind closed doors, and what are they doing?

“These people need to be called out by the AFL, yes, but also taken further – maybe this is the start of domestic violence, maybe this is the start of abuse.”

When SHE was the target of the verbal abuse, and felt the pain inflicted by those reprehensible trolls, and yet the people she’s concerned about are the women in those homes affected by the mouth-breathers? THAT is more impressive to me than her already prodigious talent on the field.

Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States, once said, “When they go low, we go high,” and Ms. Harris has proven herself the epitome of the class Mrs. Obama exudes.

'The comments were sexual abuse': AFLW star Tayla Harris

I want to take a moment to thank the editors at The Roar – you always make my articles look so much better than they do coming off my computer! Thanks for the care you give our work, and the opportunity to share our thoughts with the sporting public.

AFLW meta-player of the year and finals preview