The Roar
The Roar

Michael DiFabrizio

Expert

Joined October 2008

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Michael DiFabrizio is based in Mildura, Victoria. He has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009, leading to appearances on ABC News 24 and in the Age. Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelDiFab.

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Spot on Brett. I can see it coming together for pretty much every team. Trying to make predictions around that is a bit of a nightmare.

If it’s the week before Christmas, it must be Big Bash time…

JD, I’ll jump in.

Sixers – I think the Thunder’s imports Jos Buttler and Mitch McClenaghan will have a positive impact, but the Sixers are regular finalists and haven’t changed all that much. If anything, they’ll benefit from their imports (Roy and Billings) having gotten a feel for the comp last year.
Heat – After watching a bit of the stream of the Stars’ practice match against Hobart the other night, I was left a bit overwhelmed. Plus this is at the Gabba. Even though it’s Lynn’s first game back, I think the Heat will do enough.
Hurricanes – As I discussed in my other comment, I don’t think they’ll be horrible, and they’re at home, so why not?

If it’s the week before Christmas, it must be Big Bash time…

Good preview Brett.

I’m not 100% convinced it’ll be a disaster season for the Hurricanes. I get that they don’t look great on paper, but with a new coach and a few changes here and there, who knows?

Their bowling attack had the Stars 5-for within about seven overs the other night (including the wickets of Dunk, Wright and Maxwell), so maybe there’s something there.

Batting-wise, I can see some upside with D’Arcy Short (who had a couple of 60-odd knocks last year) and Ben McDermott (who hit a century when brought in late in the tournament). If one of those can step up, it might not be entirely on the shoulders of George Bailey.

Like you, I can see the Strikers being the bolter who jumps up. I like their import picks and I think Head is primed to put them in a good position before heading off for national duties.

Re the Heat, having read a few previews, I’m wondering if there’s been enough discussion about how Lynn is going to go returning from injury and whether that’s going to impact him at all. If it’s the Lynn of last year then they’d have to be a top four lock, but he didn’t play in practice matches so I’d like to see how he looks out there first.

If it’s the week before Christmas, it must be Big Bash time…

Thanks Dexter.

The change over time is another important point. A lot of one-match suspensions today would not have been looked at 20 years ago. Yes, of course change happens and I’m not saying those one-match suspensions shouldn’t exist, but maybe we don’t go and brand players 100% unfair because of them.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Not a bad thought, anon.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Thanks for the comment Justin.

I don’t think it’s unnecessarily complicated. Where today we have an asterisk next to an ineligible player’s name, we have a -2 or a -4. It’s easy enough for punters to wrap their heads around.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Robbie, thanks for reading.

You raise a good point yourself! The Cotchin/Dangerfield one is interesting. Both would start -2 under this system (Cotchin for having two fines and Danger for his suspension). Danger would have the added penalty of being unable to poll votes in the match he missed. That’s a fair representation of how “fair” each of these players’ seasons were I would’ve thought.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

DonsR, thanks for reading. Would love to see a defender win it.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Don’t get me started on the sky, BigAl.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Thanks for the comment Axle and the Guru, and the replies Tony and guttsy. Good points all round.

My view is the fact we’re still here being able to present reasonable arguments both ways as to the merits of Dangerfield’s suspension is another reason we should consider judging fairness with a bit more acknowledgement there’s different levels of it.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Thanks Neil.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Thanks for the comment dangertoy.

I don’t think it sends a message that performance is more important than integrity. It merely accepts that fairness isn’t so black and white. I get what you’re saying that being ineligible means a player has crossed a line somewhere, but players flirt with the line all the time and get away with it. Players who don’t intend to flirt with the line but mistime their tackle can find themselves on the wrong side of it. As another commenter said, it’s not like we are still living in the days when blokes were being rubbed out for clobbing each other. Let’s acknowledge this.

I’d also argue fairness still comes first – indeed, we’d know where a player stands on the fairness count before any votes are read out, so in the literal sense it comes first. But my view is that it would give the fairness consideration more respect and apply it properly in a 2017 context.

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Thanks for the comment Liam.

I’d argue quite strongly that this system would not be taking away the fairest component. The opposite is true, it actually embraces the fairness component by treating it with more respect. A binary system assumes fairness is simpler than it actually is.

As has been pointed out in these comments, Trent Cotchin is eligible tonight while Patrick Dangerfield is ineligible. Did Cotchin, who had two fines but didn’t miss football due to suspension, have an objectively fairer season than Dangerfield? Don’t know about that

What's wrong with the Brownlow Medal - and how to fix it

Fair comments Tom. I didn’t set out to deliberately mislead, indeed the main reason for including the Bombers story was to simply show how long it’s been since teams have had to grapple with multiple weeks off. That the Bombers also struggled with it, and that Kevin Sheedy has also drawn parallels with 1990 and the current system, I felt was relevant.

For the reasons you outline, I can see why “AFL era” is a bit of a problematic way to categorise it. I don’t think it’s an altogether irrelevant cut-off, because you start to include factors like interstate travel and modern recovery methods, which are going to impact things, but you’re right to point out the history leading up to that point.

Again, not my intention to mislead. Thanks for adding context.

Prelims are a referendum on the AFL's post Round 23 bye

You sure know how to make a bloke feel welcome, Brian.

The 48-team FIFA World Cup will be a good thing

Thanks for the comment Rick.

My view here is that the change will make qualifying less interesting for some nations (the ones that will have a highly interesting thing called the World Cup to look forward to every four years) while making qualifying more interesting for other nations (the ones that previously may not have had many high-stakes matches at all to look forward to). I call that a win (albeit kinda sucky for fans here in Australia).

The 48-team FIFA World Cup will be a good thing

sheek, thanks for the comment.

Q – Does not a populist bandwagon have to be, by definition, popular? The responses to FIFA through social media indicate that this was a decision overwhelmingly unpopular with the people.

I don’t think of this as merely adding passengers to the World Cup. Quite the opposite, I think it serves the purpose of weeding out the passengers quicker. As I said in the article, 32-team World Cups always tend to throw up a few teams that play like they deserve to be put on the plane after two matches. Now 16 of them will be!

The 48-team FIFA World Cup will be a good thing

Okay, so we’ve narrowed down not giving GWS respect all year to not giving GWS respect after round 21. Cool. Let’s explore that idea.

The power rankings are an analysis of form. GWS at that point were coming off a loss to West Coast and a narrow win over an ordinary team in Gold Coast. Melbourne were coming off a 29-point win over Hawthorn (!) and a 40-point win over Port Adelaide (ie, a much better team than Gold Coast). Is it all that controversial that Melbourne moved a whopping one spot ahead in a ranking based on form???

As for Adelaide, I’ve taken into account their road ahead. I get that Geelong might be ahead of them (as reflected by the fact I’ve put Geelong ahead of them) and the fact I have Sydney one spot behind acknowledges that not even this week is a given. But looking ahead, and taking all that into account, I genuinely think they are the third closest team to the flag right now.

AFL premiership rankings: Giant leap shapes the finals race

Sorry another thing I should add here is that in my view (and I suspect this is how the players would approach it) …. the goal in that situation is to revert as much as possible back to your natural, relaxed kicking style. Hence the comparison has value.

AFL premiership rankings: Giant leap shapes the finals race

Cheers Tom. I’m obviously going all-in on the Swans/Crows side of the draw here but we’ll see. As I say in the article it’s a real concern Hawthorn hasn’t beaten any of the teams that are left by more than a goal.

AFL premiership rankings: Giant leap shapes the finals race

Pete, it’s an interesting argument, re: the Giants in Melbourne. I don’t think it should be as big a factor as it’s made out to be in finals (anywhere, anytime and all that) but then again clubs do place a lot of importance on training at grounds with MCG dimensions ahead of MCG games, so it’s clearly something they value. Against a Geelong it could be an issue. A neutral opponent (Sydney / Adelaide) might take that out of it.

AFL premiership rankings: Giant leap shapes the finals race

Tim, it’s interesting how some of the comments have panned out. You’ve got some placing Hawthorn and Western Bulldogs together above Sydney and Adelaide and others (okay, me) going all in on Sydney and Adelaide. And you know what, I can understand both arguments completely.

AFL premiership rankings: Giant leap shapes the finals race

Birdman, obviously they are completely different scenarios. I thought it worthy to illustrate what his ideal motion looks like and use it as a comparison, because between the images there are a number of contrasts. First and foremost it’s interesting. Here’s what it looks like at training, here’s what it looks like after four quarters of finals football. Here’s the reference point, here it is when the intensity is turned up a gazillion notches.

So I’m with you, although I would add that sometimes players are capable of blocking all that out and just executing in similar moments. This wasn’t one of those times, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be picked apart. I’d wager that the Hawthorn coaching staff and Isaac Smith have done the same already.

AFL premiership rankings: Giant leap shapes the finals race

anon, just had a look back at the power rankings throughout the season. Had GWS in the top four for 13 consecutive weeks. They were in the top two for seven consecutive weeks at one point.They spent two weeks at number one, a ranking only five clubs achieved.

May want to reconsider the statement: “You haven’t given GWS any respect all year”

AFL premiership rankings: Giant leap shapes the finals race

anon, that’s completely untrue. I’ll dig up examples when I get a chance.

AFL premiership rankings: Giant leap shapes the finals race