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Gordon P Smith

Roar Guru

Joined February 2017

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

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PS – the more I look at the outs for Fremantle, the more I’m leaning towards Port winning this weekend. I’m not very confident about the Essendon pick, either.

18 facts for 18 teams: AFL by the numbers

Hard to take any AA team seriously that doesn’t include Patrick Cripps, no matter what the Carlton record is.

My All Australian side after Round 11

Since nobody else has called you on it – yes, you’re insane. Sydney can’t keep up with any of the top few teams this year for four quarters. No upset brewing there. (Having said that? Your usual excellent work, AD. Thanks.)

2019 AFL Power Rankings: Round 10

Is it too cliche to start my comment with “I am OUTRAGED at your article!”? (I’m not, I promise! You did your usual superb, erudite job!) Seriously, as an American who’s inundated with political outrage over the cheese-puff-in-chief we somehow allowed to assume the Oval office and the politics of outrage his people have embraced, it’s fascinating to read the very same issues affecting my friends on the opposite side of the globe. It either means that human beings are generally getting more “trigger-happy”, or the worldwide media connections are spreading the disease globally.

Outrage is ruining our game

EXCELLENT analysis! I hadn’t looked as carefully at the Giants’ MCG opponents, and your argument is hard to refute – as is your caveat. Superb points in the final game as well. Great breakdowns throughout (and your record’s better than mine this year, so while that’s faint praise this season, it means I have to listen!). Thanks.

AFL Round 10: Tips and thoughts

Congratulations on completing your half-marathon! That’s only about thirteen miles more than I could complete!

Five talking points from AFL Round 9

I wrote a piece for the Roar recently that suggested on average that at the 8-11 week stage of the season, at least six and more likely seven of the eight eventual finalists were already in the top eight. A better question might almost be: if you’re not in the top eight will you even win a game in September? The answer is about as definitive as the one asked here.

LISTEN: If you're not in the top eight after Round 11, is there any hope of a flag?

OK, if you two are done… TBH, I pay more attention to the percentage than I do the records at this stage. To me, West Coast is 12th in the league, for purposes of comparing the relative strengths of teams through the season (without going into the detailed breakdown of who they’ve played and not played so far). Mind you, having five wins out of the first eight is a valuable commodity. But their play hasn’t inspired confidence that they’ll get five out of their next eight games. (Our ELO numbers have them sixth, which seems high to me; the combination rating also has them sixth, up two spots from last week.)

I'd rather watch Carlton work hard than Collingwood coast

Good selection. Hard to see how Pendlebury gets left off completely, when Sidebottom and Stephenson make the team, but otherwise it’s a hard list to be too in arms against.

AFL Team of the Week: Round 7

Doran, we may have criticisms about your choices, but that’s immaterial. The purpose of lists and choices in articles in a wiki-zine like The Roar is more to open the conversation around the topics we choose to write about. I had disagreements with your AA list; I have very few with your list here. But both articles did exactly what they should have: provoke conversation. So congratulations – you’ve accomplished precisely what you should have with these articles.

AFL coaching ladder: Rounds 1-6

Any AA team without Patrick Cripps on it is either a joke or woefully unobservant – and it can’t be that you haven’t noticed the Blues, because you’ve included many of their other studs in there (especially Walsh and McKay). But Paddy’s the single most important member of that team, almost to the level Ablett was on Gold Coast for their formative years. Without him, both Carlton and this team are simply dead.

My All Australian side after Round 6

Format – I change my column up each week, so why not just write yours the way you see fit to that particular week? This works well, and your “other” format works well. It depends on whether you’ve got specific topics to expand on or not, I suppose. TL:DR, don’t fear to be flexible and just do what feels right that week. Your writing’s good enough to make it work no matter what.

Winners and losers from AFL Round 6

Ken, thanks for the comment. It does sound like I’m defending the condemnation of homosexuality through the technicality of a theological definition. I wish I could give you a cut-and-dried answer to your point, whether defense or rebuttal. The truth is that while the Lord is clear, this is still the issue that I struggle with mightily as a Christian. I’ve gotten past the idea of “how can it be a sin if we were created with these desires?” – Many were created with the wandering eye that “forces” them into adulterous activity, too; it’s up to us to resist those desires with the help of the Holy Spirit. But as I’ve said, I’ve got many friends and former students who have same-sex relationships. It’s hard for me to look at a consenting relationship that (unlike adultery) has no victim as inherently harmful. Its “punishment” is built in through the relative lack of procreative options and the still-prevalent discrimination they face. I understand how it flies in the face of what seems to me to be “the way the system was designed”, but it doesn’t make sense that it ranks as high (or “as low”, perhaps) in the pantheon of holy offenses as it does in (some) people’s minds. And that prevents the healing that so many families of homosexuals need – tolerance becomes so much harder to come by, and Christianity should be about tolerance as much as anything. (“Love the sinner, hate the sin”; “Always speak the truth in love”.) In the end, my goal here was to provide the theological background to ground the debate, and if I was successful in that, it’s all I could ask for. I deeply believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord, but I also know from Scripture that I will continue to be in the minority.

Israel, Gazza and the controversy

(Thank you to our wonderful editors for updating the numbers following Geelong’s victory last night! You don’t get enough praise for making us all look good!)

My white flag AFL predictions

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