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.



Our AFL Round 12 picks and burst ratings

Given that the fixture for Round 12 is as fluid as the entire season’s schedule was last year, we’re not only late this week, having waited for the final decision on sites, but we’ll be really quick about our picks this week because we still don’t trust what the weekend will look like and also […]


“Seed” isn’t the exact right word, I know – I just get tired of using the same terms over and over! And frankly, I think it’s because they’ve stopped trying to BE a Ferrari and started working on being more of a workman’s vehicle that got them here. But you’re right that there are significant differences between how this team’s assembled and how it functions, compared to the Bulldogs circumstances.

No sixth seed has ever won the grand final. Can GWS buck the trend?

It’s been the apparent cause of rust in several cases, AA. It’s cured the issue it was put in for – R23 “Dockering” – and given the AFL the chance to party for a week in between, but the second week off for QF winners has done them no favors over the last four seasons. I don’t know which is worse. At least coaches can plan for this and make some accommodations, though I’m sure Buckley tried. All I know is that I’ve tipped against the Giants thrice and been wrong thrice, just like I was with the Dogs three years ago. Not sure if I’m taking the 11-game-winner season favorites or the fairy tale that keeps writing itself in toughness next Saturday.

Giant result: GWS into grand final after beating Collingwood in a preliminary final thriller

The whole article has tongue slightly in cheek, so I’m not overly concerned about matching up the rest of the schedule – of course we’re not really going to flip a home game arbitrarily.

But on that topic, does everybody who shares a stadium get more than eleven home games anyway? Richmond had games against Carlton, Collingwood, and Melbourne in the MCG – did they have 14 home games? Or were some of their actual home games really “neutral site” because their opponents were also MCG tenants? It’s always going to be slightly imbalanced and odd in an arrangement when there’s more than one and fewer than 18 stadiums in use.

The AFL's alternative scheduling in 2019 is a success

Absolutely agree. There isn’t a sport short of the round football that doesn’t just keep playing something vaguely resembling the sport itself – and a super over isn’t so taxing or drawn out that you couldn’t play a second one – or even a third or fourth – if necessary. (And the idea that you match run totals over fifty is wild enough, but the chances of another tied super over in our lifetimes at a CWC is next to nil, anyway.) Counting boundaries, wickets, singles, dot balls, any of those only reward teams who play a style of cricket that’s relevant to that particular stat. PLAY THE GAME. And keep playing until there’s a winner. [Having said all that – holy catfish, that was the most fun I’ve ever had watching cricket. Ever.]

World Cup final a game for the ages

Two? Some of us still think Al Gore rightfully won back in 2000 and will defend our right to say it to the death! 🙂

Final outrage valid, but also a veneer for the bitter

Daniel – great article. This American’s slowly coming around to a better understanding for and appreciation of cricket – forced into it by the delay in the footy season in ’15 with the World Cup in Australia. Have to admit that several of the games kept even me alert and amazed, the final most of all, of course. What are the chances of installing a better emergency tiebreak system (a second Super Over seems the most logical to me, but what do I know?) – knowing that the odds are it’ll never need to be used again?

The Roar's 2019 Cricket World Cup awards: Player of the tournament to biggest disappointment and everything in between

Surprised to see Carlton behind the Swans after defeating them handily.

2019 AFL power rankings: Round 17

Ironically, I would disagree with the “conservative, hysterical attitude towards gambling” as descriptive of America. What the US has is a hypocritical, bipolar attitude towards gambling – to delve deeper into it would take a full article that would best be classified under “black comedy”. The gambling industry is probably the second fastest growing industry in the States, behind pot dispensaries. (THERE’S a hypocritical topic – states can legalize pot, but it’ll still be illegal under federal law. How cocked up is that?) But the one thing that is consistent among all the different types of gambling – lotteries, casinos, machines in grocery stores, sports betting, whatever – is the idea that those running the game have the appearance of legitimacy. (Emphasis on “appearance”. Read the history of Las Vegas for details.) For anything that smacks of contamination of the “fairness” of the game, the punishment is going to be severe, at least in the sense of working within that business again. (And by the way, my personal aversion to gambling has nothing to do with my Christianity – the Bible is actually pro-gambling, especially in the OT – but rather with my background in mathematics and the subsequent knowledge that most gambling is simply a disguised tax on the mathematically uninformed. It’s why I enjoy sports wagering – it’s the one place to have a fair shot at winning over time.)

I'm astounded Jaidyn Stephenson will ever set foot on an AFL field again

OK, this is the only comment I need to address. The sentences “America is more open minded when it comes to Christians” (ignoring the insult) and “Australia has a more forgiving soul” are contradictory. You seem not to have any idea what actual Christian faith is, or you’d have realized that. Maybe your only exposure to what you think of as Christianity is televangelism. If you have an actual interest in finding out, let me know. If not, nothing I can do for you.

I'm astounded Jaidyn Stephenson will ever set foot on an AFL field again

(To clarify the last paragraph, I’d originally written that “as a Christian”, I’ve already forgiven him, but “even we Christians” chain up our dogs for safety. I know why the first phrase was edited out, but it made the second one seem out of place as written.)

I'm astounded Jaidyn Stephenson will ever set foot on an AFL field again

“It was yet another close contest between the Suns and the Saints, and once again the Suns were victorious.” — I’m curious whether this is a straight up typo (the SAINTS were victorious), or you mean the Suns SHOULD have won, or outplayed St Kilda or whatnot. It’s a strange partnership of teams, like the way Brisbane currently owns the Hawks. It’s hard to fathom how the Suns have lost any of those games, let alone ALL of them.

What happened? AFL Round 13, 2019

Agreed, Peter. When the famously Christian Gary Ablett spends part of every game chicken winging opponents, there’s something wrong with the culture of the game. We’ve been focusing so much on the behavior in the stands at games that it’s spilled onto the field – or perhaps it went the other way around in the first place…. I don’t like the idea of changing the game in such a fundamental way as sending players off the field for offenses, but you’re right: the quickest way to securing adherance to the appropriate code of behavior is a punishment that’s clear, consistent, and punitive to the player. Penalty boxes might be required.

Professional sports versus schoolyard games

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