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The Roar

Josh Mitchell

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Joined April 2016

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Oh! Right, I get you – yeah, I didn’t think of that side of it. I got caught up by thinking that all a “player cap” does is pull the Suns’ advantage by not allowing them to offer him a higher figure.

It’s an interesting concept, for sure. Would be a complicated system to work out though.

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

lol… Not sure about that, otherwise Tom and I wouldn’t be going hammer and tong at it. 😉

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

It’s also a polite way of saying that you’re not worth the effort of the argument, but since you want to actually have it spelled out.

Your argument is simple. Free agency is a factor because free agency exists. Well, duh. By the same logic, Tom Lynch is a factor because he was born, Richmond is a factor because they’re an AFL club, and Tom Wills is a factor because he’s the guy who actually came up with the concept of what we now know as Australian Rules Football back in the 1850s.

By this argument, well yes, of course you’re right, if there were no free agency, then of course Tom Lynch couldn’t leave the Suns as a free agent. My premise in this article has already commenced with free agency existing, though, so it’s not a point of contention as to whether it does or doesn’t exist, it simply does.

In fact, I mad it very clear from the headline and the first several paragraphs of the article that I’m addressing the drama and conversation that *surrounds* Lynch’s decision (wherever he happens to end up). The media circus surrounding Tom Lynch, though, and the commentary around how free agency is a farce because of his potential move to Richmond, is not caused by free agency itself, and that is the premise of my argument. You’ve got people like Mark Robinson and Kane Cornes (and many others, but they’re some of the big names) saying it’s a joke. Even you’ve said that it undermines equalisation, but even there, that’s not shown by history to date – as I said, dozens of free agents stay right where they are, and the restricted free agents who have left clubs have, to date, a perfectly balanced ledger between moving to clubs above or below them, so the idea that free agency is somehow facilitating ongoing dominance by particular clubs is false, based on the evidence at hand so far.

In fact, again, remembering that I’m specifically addressing RFAs in this discussion, the closest any RFA has gotten to a premiership medal so far is between Danyle Pearce and Lance Franklin, who both played in losing grand finals.

So I stand by my argument. The idea that free agency is somehow unbalancing the game, as demonstrated through the commentary around Tom Lynch, is simply false.

I hope that’s spelled out enough for you now, because I’m done with the discussion. Feel free to post your ‘last word’ to have a final dig, but I’ve acquiesced to your demand to “spell it out,” and that’s as far as I’ll take it.

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

Apparently we just seem to have exceptionally different processes of thinking and viewing the entire situation, because not only was I confused how you seemed to think there was no link between my analysis and conclusion, but I absolutely was addressing your comment, especially given that you seemed to just be using the idea of trading interchangeably with free agency, even though they’re completely different aspects of the broader player movement conversation.

So, I’m just going to agree to disagree, since I’m not even sure what you’re disagreeing with me about.

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

Just as an additional thought – equalisation is achieved through the caps on salary and football department spending. Richmond doesn’t have any more money than anyone else to spend on player payments or football department spending.

What the Tigers do have, as I mentioned in the article, is a culture and a group of players who are willing to receive below their market value in order to cultivate the environment. If anything is undermining the equalisation methods here, is the Tigers’ culture – and I’m not sure you can really put a cap on that?

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

Unrestricted free agency doesn’t hit until 10 years of service, so he’d still be restricted in 12 months’ time.

However, the other point is that matching the offer means matching it. There aren’t going to be too many 1-2 year contracts tabled for RFAs, and if it is, then the destination club is probably not overly concerned as to whether they get their man or not. I’d imagine most RFA offers are at least three years, which means that if the home club matches it, they lock him in.

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

How does that change anything? It’s not money that’s driving players to leave their clubs, in many cases. If it was, then Martin would have gone to North last year; Lynch would stay at the Suns; and Sloane would be getting his bags packed for a move back to Victoria right now.

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

Players demanding trades prior to free agency isn’t the fault of free agency. That’s happened for a long time before FA came in to play. I would agree there’s been a rise in the number of “forced trades” in the past decade, but I’d argue that it’s a coincidence in timing, not that FA is a causal factor.

As I said in the article, dozens of free agents have elected to choose where they’ve played their entire careers, so FA isn’t a driving force behind player movement, it’s just an option for players who’ve served above and beyond to make their own choices toward the end of their careers.

For all the talk, though, of clubs being held to ransom by “free agents” (when what most of these conversations actually mean, is “out of contract player”), we have seen clubs play hard ball. Gibbs didn’t get what he wanted in 2016, nor did Ablett. Freo forced the Suns to pay overs for Lachie Weller last year, and I’d imagine that Brayshaw/Cerra (can’t remember which was GC’s pick) will still turn out to be a fair trade in six-eight years’ time.

The number one thing I’d put into place to strengthen the position of the clubs in negotiating with players who get drafted and then demand to be traded or they’ll walk, is an automatic 12 month exclusion period. If you walk out on your club, then you’re eligible for next year’s draft, but not this one. Not that the AFLPA would probably ever let that get through, but it’s still not FA’s fault.

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

Something that I keep seeing in discussions around player movement is what appears to be a complete misunderstanding of the differences between trading and free agency. The point I’ve been discussing is addressing the arguments of media pundits like Kane Cornes or Mark Robinson who are arguing that Lynch “shouldn’t” be able to end up on a Premiership list through free agency. That in itself is absolutely ridiculous.

Lynch has served eight years at the Gold Coast Suns. The average AFL career is six years in length, which means any player who reaches free agent status has already served above and beyond what was expected of them at the time of drafting. Any player who has reached that status, I believe, is fully entitled to dictate their terms for what is highly likely to be the final contract of their career.

Is the Lynch saga the fault of free agency?

In recent years, Super Bowl half time performances have been given by such greats as Madonna, Springsteen, The Who and the Rolling Stones. Jimmy Barnes is a great choice for the GF, and far better than what happened with Slash – did you even see that “performance?”

Barnes will go down well. Big, classic, Australian voice singing anthems that every crowd member will be able to join in with. As long as he’s better prepared than Meatloaf, he’ll be fine. ????

The AFL is officially out of touch with grand final performers

I’m a bit confused, because you seem to be interchanging the idea of free agency with being out of contract. The very essence of free agency is that a player is entitled to choose their destination club.

The entire system has become a mess through want-away players requesting trades, but how does one set a market value? Even with used cars, the market value is only a guide and, like anything, a player is “only worth what someone is willing to pay,” as my father always said.

Market valuation doesn’t provide the best system, though. Last year Weller wanted out to GC. The Suns paid overs because they really wanted him, and Freo ended up getting two highly prized young recruits for it.

Free agency is a different matter, though. After eight years of service at a club, I think a player is quite within their rights to call their own destiny. The average AFL career is around six years, so they’ve played above and beyond for that club, so why shouldn’t they be afforded the choice?

And as I alluded to in my article today, as well, the majority of free agents actually stay where they are. It’s just that we don’t hear about all of them because it doesn’t sell as many clicks.

Could a 'black book' fix free agency?

From the perspective of a Tigers supporter, Kevin, I can assure you that yes, there’s a very special feeling on that day. I have never had the emotions in a football game that I did when I realised Richmond were going to take the cup home last September. To finally have a chance to see that, to touch that premiership cup…

From a grander point of view, yes, you are correct. We don’t love our teams just for premierships – otherwise I’d never have made it to 2017. There’s so much more to it, but when your team does hit that peak? It’s special.

Will it be the same if the Tigers go back to back this year? I don’t know… But I’m sure when the Dees get their moment at the top, it’ll be a day you’ll mark in the lifetime highlights list, too.

Is winning a premiership really what matters?

Well, Cam had a laugh at Josh the other day for creating a Richmond article that’s 50% about North. Now we have the other way around, a North article that’s 50% about Richmond.

But seriously… Is this a joke?

Are North Melbourne the second coming of Richmond?

Can’t say I really agree with you, Nicholas. Zones will create a very different spectacle, but I don’t think that it means we see an inability to play an extra man behind the ball or anything like that. If you want an extra man back, then you just have him playing off the back of the square at a ball up, and then hold position – and perhaps have your “sixth forward” sitting a metre or two back having to sprint in to the centre from the 50 arc.

I’d like to see what it looks like, but the commentary coming out of the experiments has actually sounded pretty good. Like anything, it’ll come down to coaching.

Personally, though, I think the number 1 reason we’re struggling with so much congestion is the over-umpiring of the game. There are far too may unnecessary frees paid, and it’s only when the umps should just get on the whistle that they seem to put it away.

Zones will not reduce the number of mediocre games

I think you’re running a stretch at a 2020 flag. The Lions have looked good this year as a young side, and the potential they have in the lineup is great, but a 2020 flag would be very premature. Give them 5-8 years and see where they are around the mid-2020s.

Fagan flag in 2020 vision

Nah. Even as a Tigers fan, I took a look at the email today and questioned the editorial decisions, Peter.

Is the Tigers-Swans clash a grand final preview?

I honestly think that the disarray in AFC is a mental thing. We don’t know what went on at this pre-season camp, and there’s a good chance we never actually find out the truth, but key players at Adelaide have been broken since the Grand Final fallout.

Adelaide waltzed into Melbourne last year expecting the Premiership to be handed to them on a silver platter. From the parade right through to the great stare, you could see entitlement written all over Tex Walker’s face. Richmond were just in their way, and didn’t deserve to be there – the cup was Adelaide’s for the taking.

They spent the pre-season languishing over this, and then decided they needed to be mentally tougher to take the next step. The question I’m asking of AFC this year is whether they’re trying too hard? Are all the soft tissue injuries a result of players feeling the need to push harder, when perhaps they need to take the opposite tack and lighten up a little bit. It feels like they’ve done this year, the opposite of what the Tigers did last year: Richmond came out of 2016 and said, “Okay, let’s just pull things back a bit, go out and play football, enjoy it,” and they won a flag. Adelaide seem to have turned a really impressive 2017 into, “We were useless for the whole season, we need to be harder, stronger, faster,” when the reality is that they just didn’t turn up to play on the one day that it mattered most.

A bit of humility will fix most of their problems, I think. Sadly I don’t think humility is a word that fits into their current culture.

Should the downtrodden Adelaide rebuild? What an idiotic line of thought

From my perspective, the biggest issue here is the same one that they had in the early stages of the cricket review systems. On the one hand you’re making claims about how you want to avoid “howlers,” – the bad decisions that just drive everyone insane; but then you find a video umpire spending several minutes bouncing between 2-5 frames of blurry footage trying to interpret whether the last three millimetres of the ball is actually across the line when it maybe touched the defender’s left fingernail.

It’s been mentioned before, and I really think that it’s the best fix – if you can’t get a conclusive overturn of the umpire’s call in 20-30 seconds, then the decision stands. It’s not a “howler” if you need to spend five minutes analysing three frames of footage from 97 different angles, either it’s blatantly obvious that the decision needs to be overturned, or we back the umpire in.

And stop making a big deal about it – don’t do a big scoreboard animation about the video umpire’s decision. If it’s overturned, tell the field umpire and let them call it on the field.

Captain’s call: A solution for the AFL goal review system

Agree with much of what you have to say here Ryan. However, I would argue that 39 days of cricket is far better than anything else Channel 10 has in their library. At least it’s a month and a bit of something actually worth watching on a channel otherwise devoid of anything remotely reaching a label of ‘entertainment.’

On a more serious note, I’ve wondered whether the summer of cricket has been reaching the point of oversaturation. We have three different formats of the sport, at both domestic and international levels being played. When T20 first showed up on the scene, commentators asked the question whether three different formats was going to be too many, and that has managed to be staved off for a few years thanks to the novelty factor that T20 still had. I’m not sure it’s going to last – eventually, you would think, something has to give.

I watched the Ashes with real interest, and like you, started out this BBL season really into it, before letting it drift away a bit. I’m still keeping up with the scores, and just barely avoided being scolded by a date the other night after I drifted away from her during a walk through Brisbane’s mall because the Scorchers/Heat game was being broadcast on the big screen and I needed to see where the score was at, but as a whole, my interest has waned a little with the longer season.

I’ve always envisioned the possibility that we eventually lose the Matador Cup from domestic cricket, leaving us with Shield and BBL, and then pull back T20I cricket to exhibition games rather than a stand alone tournament. The other option that I’d almost prefer is something CA have started experimenting with bringing back the tri-series competition, but I’d love to see these sorts of competitions begin to include one or more associate nations. Sure, we expect to see Australia v England in the final, but why not have the competition as a mix of double-headers and single matches between England, Australia, and two associate or affiliate nations?

I know it won’t happen, but a man can dream..

It's time for Cricket Australia to decide what the Big Bash League will be

Haven’t read all the comments, so apologies if this has already been broached. But 13-minute quarters shortens the game a LOT. As in, almost to basketball-length games. If a 34-round season was to be brought in, then perhaps the other consideration hangs around whether game frequency can be increased. You still play over 23 week’s or so, but play a game every, 4-5 day’s rather than every weekend. The NBA does this, with even less gap between games, so if you were going to totally rebuild the game with 13-minute quarters, perhaps you just start playing more often…

… Hypothetically, of course! :p

A nine-month AFL season? I'd like to see that

Pretty much calling the obvious here, I would say. The only reason Cummins is first change is because Starc is in the lineup. The surprise of the test would be if Smith went Hazlewood/Bird as the opening combo.

Cummins will easily move up a place on the lineup, but he’s not displacing a fit and firing Starc from the number 1 spot any time soon. Starc/Hazlewood is our best opening combination at the moment.

Time for Steve Smith to promote Pat Cummins across the board

Has been thrown about most years since Free Agency was brought in, but it’s once again demonstrated here, that clubs need to have some power given back into their hands. What even is the point of free agency, if a player can strongarm their club the moment they come out of contract before eligibility anyway?

The AFL implemented free agency because of watching how it worked in US sports. What they didn’t also bring in is the ability for clubs to get the best for themselves out of the situation as well. Adelaide should have the right to tell Lever he’s going to Collingwood, or the Bulldogs, or even Gold Coast if one of those clubs offers a better trade for him. Trades should be dictated by the clubs, not the players.

The Jake Lever trade is guaranteed to get ugly

If I’m Richmond, I’m watching that quarter footage closely. Shiel continued to play out the quarter, and there was at least one more pretty heavy clash that I saw that he had with Ellis on the wing after the contact with Cotchin. Given that it was a delayed concussion, one can’t necessarily confirm that it was the contact with Cotchin that contributed – either solely or in part – to Shiel’s final position.

It might be a long shot, especially given the way the MRP has interpreted things this year, but it might be at least a narrow lifeline.

MRP and AFL caught in a Cotch 22

Not totally sure about the Cats v Swans. On form, sure, but I think Geelon could well easily pull something out of the bag, and Sydney have to stumble eventually… My gut’s telling me Geelong gets this one.

AFL preview panel: Finals Week 2

Reality is that there have been 15 Grand Finals held between Victorian/Interstate competitors, and it’s split almost 50/50 with 8 games going to the ‘Visitors’ in those games and 7 going to the Victorian clubs – and four of those Victorian wins have been in the last four years, so the scales have only just started to balance after being heavily weighted in the favour of interstate teams.

I think we need to get this ‘Home Ground’ attitude out of the MCG. It’s a marquee ground, and not a home ground in the same sense as Kardinia, or Spotless, or Adelaide Oval. Richmond, Melbourne, Essendon, Hawthorn and Collingwood all have it as their primary ‘home’ ground, which removes a huge part of any ‘home ground advantage’ they might get by playing there.

It’s a national game, yes, but the heritage of the game is that its origins are in Melbourne, half of the teams are still based in Melbourne, and it makes sense for the grand final to be played at the “home” of the AFL.

And that’s before you talk capacity. 100k in the MCG, and it sells out, 85k if you host it at ANZ in Sydney, so you lose 15% of your crowd capacity, and to go anywhere else you’re dropping close to half of it.

There’s no logical argument to say the GF needs to be moved or shifted around.

Five talking points from Richmond Tigers vs Geelong Cats second qualifying final