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Munro Mike

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Joined September 2018

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Pre WWII the “Assocation Football” game was known in Australia as “British Association Football”.

And of course the English own familiar terms for Rugby Football and Association Football were “Rugger” and “Soccer”.

“Soccer” definitely – – is “English”.

The irony in Australia is that only once the Britishness of the white Australia (1901 Immigration Restriction act) was diluted to encourage greater more general European migration – – then “Soccer” became characterised here – as we know as a game of European migrants.

That’s all interesting because the Australian perception is a very filtered one.

The very early days of codification were oddities too. Dominated as it were – by schoolboy games. England had variations on a theme across schools such as Marlborough, Rugby, Eton, Harrow etc.

The big evolution was breaking out of schools and into community and required a funny little thing called “a weekend”. This always reminds me of the Maggie Smith line from Downton Abbey “What’s a weekend?”.

Effectively the earliest clubs generally represent an urban middle class – – and then subsequently factory workers with at least a half day holiday on a Saturday.

And…..a common set of rules………well……….cricket and hockey managed that but football had a distinction or two……….based around to handle or not to handle. And in some cases that distinction became a socio-economic one too.

Sorry England, football isn't coming home

That’s okay – – just being picky.

Kinda torn watching……..we don’t really need “W”s; kinda like the idea of a #1 draft pick but in reality #2 or #3 is still pretty good and reduces pressure.

Very happy with our progress – – and just want the kids managed through the year.

Larkey and Zurhaar are actually coming good in their own right – – in recent years they were at their most dangerous with Brown as a valid #1 forward. Obviously Larkey is growing up – – but we’re using the forward structure a smidge better but still one tall short – – even when pushing Goldie or Xerri deep forward.

Very happy with Tarryn Thomas – – lost a lot of development last year with his ankle. Hoping very much for Garner to return again now after his rolled ankle and finish off the year ready to hit next year off a full pre-season.

Backline is interesting – – McKay coming along great; Walker a bit of a stop gap – and Tarrant near the end. Clearly Corr and Bonar need to get right…..probably give up on 2021.

Each AFL team's burning question after Round 15

Ah…..just reading through – as a North Supporter………..and kinda feeling you’ve gone more negative on us than you ought to:

“Despite that, they lost a game that appeared to be unlosable. Clearly, the influence of Robbie Tarrant, who has come back from injury, has added to the group and they are more resilient.”

Not sure a “win” counts as losing a game.

Just sayin’.

I’m not really looking for too much credit but wouldn’t mind just that smidge of credit.

Each AFL team's burning question after Round 15

The Rohan one always troubled me – – in that the ruling they came up with didn’t specifically cater for what Thomas did in that Thomas didn’t go sliding past the ball. The reality was Rohan was in no mans land – – not sure what he was doing. Thomas really had no option (can’t risk bumping him) – so Thomas goes in low; turns to get side on and ultimately back towards his opponent (protecting himself and the ball).

Good – classic footy – – putting your body on the line. Celebrated for decades.

Rohan……what was he doing?? He wasn’t going low for a clear contested; he was almost just running with the ball…….his poor positioning was the bigger issue.

And this is the problem in a lot of cases – players not positioning themselves well enough and for the high contact they often put their head in a vulnerable position as they search for a free kick.

AFL full of hypocrisy and mixed messages on concussion

The plot has been lost this season earlier than you think.

Check out Selwood on Mansell (round 8).

The MRO let him off – – and astoundingly did so by presenting the case for the defence (rather than the case for the prosecution).

The assessment by the MRO as below:

Contact between Geelong Cats’ Joel Selwood and Richmond’s Rhyan Mansell from the third quarter of Friday night’s match between Richmond and the Geelong Cats was assessed. Selwood approaches the loose ball after it is handballed behind Richmond’s Mansell. As Mansell attempts to retreat for the ball, he is held by Geelong player Shaun Higgins in an attempt to allow his teammate Selwood to contest the ball. As Selwood approaches the ball, he turns side-on and lowers his body to take possession as Mansell reaches for the ball when high contact is made. It was determined by the Match Review Officer that Selwood was contesting the ball and his actions were not unreasonable in the circumstances. No further action was taken.

So…………actions “were not unreasonable in the circumstances”.

Then to contrast to the following week – Tarryn Thomas got whacked straight away by the MRO for this contact with Jiath.

The assessment in this case:

Tarryn Thomas, North Melbourne, has been charged with Engaging in Rough Conduct against Changkuoth Jiath, Hawthorn, during the first quarter of the Round Nine match between Hawthorn and North Melbourne, played at University of Tasmania Stadium on Saturday May 5, 2021.

In summary, he can accept a one-match sanction with an early plea.

Based on the available evidence, the incident was assessed as Careless Conduct, Medium Impact, High Contact. The incident was classified as a one-match sanction as a first offence. The player can accept a one-match sanction with an early plea.

Justice was served – Thomas got off at the tribunal.

However – – just how Selwood was deemed not unreasonable just because he turned side on – – to approach a contest – a player who was head over the ball and approach him from front on/head first. How that was not deemed unreasonable where as Thomas vs Jiath, both approached on an angle to each other, like the two arms of a “V” with very limited awareness if any of the other player and the contact was not seen to be high; play on – Jiath was winded and played out the game with no concusion concerns at all. So………how was that even worthy of review let alone a sanction.

SO – – that showed a massive level of confusion. Let alone – I still feel that the Mitch Duncan “attempted” smother that knocked out Aaron Hall earlier in the season at least deserved to be tested as an unreasonably reckless/careless action. This again was the case for the defence presented by the MRO.

The assessment deemed “Player Duncan, who is positioned in front of Hall, runs quickly towards him and leaps in the air in an attempt to touch or smother the ball. While in the air, Duncan turns his body and his momentum carries him into Hall making high contact with his back. It was determined by the MRO that the action was not unreasonable in the circumstances. No further action was taken.”

The vision of this incident that is best is the initial long view – which shows Duncan launching from about 48m out at the same instant that Hall launches into his kick around 52m. As the MRO refers – Duncan runs quickly towards Hall and leaps with his momentum carryinghim into Hall……..and Duncan has gone right over the 50m arc and is still in the air as he crashed into Hall who was just touching down…..still outside the 50m arc.

That to me was always an unreasonably reckless/careless act – – the attempt to touch/smother the ball is one thing (that’s more a vertical leap) – – but Duncan did something we do NOT see every other week – – he launched at the ball carrier and knocked him out.

So…….just how from the above Duncan and Selwood were let off and Thomas was the only one hit with a suspension – – just beggars belief.

The irony though – I DO believe Mackay should’ve been suspended – because – unlike Thomas vs Jiath; Mackay had a clear view of the player and the ball. And he attacked with a level of recklessness – – however the mitigation was the slight nudge from his Adelaide teammate that may have propelled Clark forward just the smidge sooner than was anticipated.

AFL full of hypocrisy and mixed messages on concussion

#JGK…..try these instead. That’s a bit better….Viv was better than that!!!

Anyway – largely still holds – – the Vengsarkar best 20 vs the M.Clarke best 20 and the impact of those really, really big scores. Clarke I felt at the time was feast or famine. Vengsarkar just hit a golden 20 test run where he was ultra hard to get out full stop.

20 52 career
V.Richards 75.71 61.89 50.23
G.Chappell 68.52 58.00 53.86
Gavaskar 77.03 57.70 51.12
M.Amarnath 61.52 48.92 42.50
Vengsarkar 96.11 55.18 42.13
M.Clarke 75.59 57.76 55.92

Cricket’s debatable statistics: Whole career versus peak performance

ooops….I was doing this quickly and forgot to factor out the “DNB”……

Cricket’s debatable statistics: Whole career versus peak performance

There’s a definitive “era” factor here.

Having a look at a few of the 70s into 80s players (a couple snuck into the early 90s). Batters – just the 20/52 and career.

20 52 career
V.Richards 63.43 53.74 50.23
G.Chappell 64.10 54.67 53.86
Gavaskar 77.03 57.00 51.12
M.Amarnath 54.93 45.78 42.50
Vengsarkar 91.30 51.35 42.13

In the case of Vengsarkar it was tests 80-99; batted 29 times for 10 not outs. 8 centuries in that run but 166 was the highest tally. He DID score these runs predominantly in India plus success in England, and 3 tests in Australia for limited returns. Vengsarkar also passed 50 7 other times (including a 96). So – excellent consistency. 4 of those centuries were not out but they were 102, 102, 126 and 164. Very good – but never able to go seriously big.

It could be easy to dismiss this 20 test effort on the basis of too many not outs; or too many games on home decks.

However – – in recent years we’ve seen some very big scores made; Michael Clarke for example – had a 20 test peak of 75.51. He scored 7 centuries. This streak kicked off with 329*, there follow knocks of 210, 259* and 230 – and all 4 of these BIG scores were on home decks. He was able to go big, real big and with 2 big not outs. That was from 36 hits with 5 not outs. Interestingly only passed 50 on 5 other occasions.

Clarke averaged 135 in home tests and 42.75 away in that burst.
contrasted to….
Vengsarkar average 103 in home tests and 80 away in his burst.

How do you weight those?? Haven’t looked at ratio of wins/losses/draws. Nor % of team runs.

Cricket’s debatable statistics: Whole career versus peak performance

When I read this sort of thing I think of the “Good sports” program – re alcohol/drugs.

Many a sporting club thought the bar was their primary source of revenue and so focused on a blokey/drinking culture.

Along came “Good Sports” and those clubs that re-evaluated found that becoming more family friendly proved a master stroke.

Take that as you may.

There's a fine line between active support and anti-social behaviour

I’ve been to Storm on and off since they started……….the thing that still catches me out at an NRL game……every time……is suddenly the game starts.

Last game I was at on Good Friday the rolloed up banner was still being walked along the sidelines and hadn’t left the field (out of bounds yes….but still inside the arena/fence).

I was astounded when – with the music still playing – – suddenly the ball is kicked.

There’s absolutely zero “theatre” about the beginning of an NRL match.

AFL of course has a neutral 50/50 contested start……hard to beat the theatre of that first ball up.

But NRL……please make the start of the game somehow ‘iconic’ rather than just ‘happening’.

Why are we so obsessed with crowds in rugby league?

A major reason the expansion AFL teams (Suns/Giants) were badly beaten early on was that they were massively oriented to drafted young players. That gave them very tradeable commodities as time progressed – however – they’ve rarely attracted quality established players.

So that’s with a regulated workforce – – drafts, free agents, trading window.

I’m not sure how the NRL would manage it??

And you’re right – the “top down” model has no guarantee of a pay-off in junior participation.

re the Swans – – there’s a few layers there. The old South Melbourne that moved to Sydney already had the Riverina region of NSW in their recruiting “zone”. That meant they came to Sydney with about 10 NSW born/bred players and a NSW born/bred coach.

Over the time – the vast majority of Swans captains have been NSW (and/or ACT) products. Yes – many from Wagga to Albury; however retired captains in Jarrad McVeigh and Kieran Jack were Sydney products.

A lot comes down to the structures in place – there was a Sydney scholarship program running previously – and ‘graduates’ of that include ruckman Jarrod Witts (Sydney born/bred) who was picked up by Collingwood and now plays on the Gold Coast. Not so obvious a Sydney product. The Swans now have a very, very good academy program running – – – however have also made massive gains in access to schools including a lot of the traditional Rugby private schools.

Sydney doesn't hurt NRL expansion, it helps it

Dots on a map.

Sydney doesn't hurt NRL expansion, it helps it

I’m glad you’ve put a bit of perspective on the NRL memberships (relative to AFL).

Think along these lines – the TOTAL Sydney NRL club membership tally is less than the combined Richmond/Collingwood alone.

The NRL and AFL have a commonality – – a (said by many to be over supply) majority of teams in the home city of the competition (Sydney, grown out of the NSWRL; and Melbourne, grown out of the VFL).

However the AFL pretty well “owns” Melbourne; and for that matter Adelaide and Perth. The NRL doesn’t “own” Sydney. Soccer dominates participation; Union owned private schools; the AFL via the Swans have the biggest attended side. The “Home bastion” of Sydney is a watered down version of the AFL’s “Home bastion” of Melbourne.

So…..the challenge for the NRL is to “own” Sydney. This is where I always suggest they are too far behind to try to go fully national (and don’t have the participation base to do it anyway). The reason I say this (“to far behind”) is that the AFL has a minimum 2 teams in each mainland market. The NRL really needs to edge out Union and Soccer in Sydney and for that matter S-E Qld. Both Union and Soccer at gettable at the moment.

Sydney doesn't hurt NRL expansion, it helps it

“I am not convinced that a German-style 50+1 membership, fan-owned model would work. For starters, that type of fan culture is not ingrained in Australia. ”

Ahhh…….not quite.

That’s a very Sydney-centric comment I suspect.

In the Australian context – the AFL is mostly built around 100% member owned model with a board answerable to the members; where upon any group of members can run for the board or push for an EGM.

The big difference – – the Sydney NRL clubs total combined membership is less than the combined membership of Collingwood and Richmond.

The AFL has a boradcast revenue centralised revenue model; in addition to the clubs generating vitally large revenue via memberships.

There’ve been rumblings back in the ’80s and even ’90s around some form of “super league”. The ’80s was forecasting a true national competition……in the end; that became an expanded VFL. Economic pragmatists at the time would probably convince us that an expanded VFL based national league could never work…….but it has. Largely because loyalty/tribalism sometimes trumps “marketing”.

Lessons for Australian sport from the Super League debacle

What is astounding – that list of Sydney based memberships……is covered by Collingwood and Richmond combined.

And expansion……to Tassie or anywhere outside of NSW-QLD would be a FIFA enterprise.

The Storm has been in Melbourne for over 20 years and there’s stuff all RL no the ground and the Storm are effectively the most successful Queensland side over that timeframe.

You’ve got to be very, very careful about following “imagined” scenarios of rivalry and the like. Does the AFL strongly benefit from any NSW-QLD rivalry? Does the Rugby Australia strongly benefit from any Vic-NSW rivalry?

And going into Tasmania…….at any time is really, really tricky. If you base the side in Launceston than people in the south will ignore it; and vice-versa.

And WA….a one off SoO match; first then factor out how many people travelled in especially for it. Even NSW-QLD expats over in WA say in the mining regions; are far more likely to make a once off effort to get to the SoO than be relied upon as every 2nd week attendees at a regular season match of a fabricated new entity when they could much more easily tune in on Kayo and watch the teams they’ve actually supported since childhood.

A simple plan for NRL expansion

re soccer…..at the top end…..a few of those players might need to learn to get by on a couple of million a year instead of 50mill!!! We know the only real reason any EPL side isn’t profitable is player salaries.

It is interesting though – – in the midst of the Covid crisis…….to put forward something like this proposition. We saw in Jan KPMG estimate (as sample of ) twenty of Europe’s biggest clubs lost more than €1bn in revenue over the past year while almost 10% has been knocked off players’ average values.

I do wonder about whether the positioning is based a smidge on sports-covid forecasting.

How the European Super League can be good for football

All good.

Like anything – it’s interesting to observe.

We’ve seen a variety of sports….tennis…golf….and in this country the Packer Cricket revolution. There’s often a some point where there either is or at least a threat of a “break away”.

We even had that in Australian Football back in the VFL days…..pushing for a national super league type scenario. While that particular one didn’t happen – – it’s interesting revisiting the possibilities at the time and relating that to what DID actually pan out. That’s the main reason I asked…….as I’m pretty sure something will come of all this.

How the European Super League can be good for football

#Punter

I’m actually trying to work out what Rellum’s scope is.

The assertion ” industries eat themselves alive till there is only one left”……is only so true. That’s the law of the jungle survival of the fittest……but a superficial take on it – – in that the natural world/the law of the jungle rarely sees one species decimate another (unless it’s by the hand of humankind).

So the human approach to sports? I figured Rellum was focussed on the Australian context to a fair degree via this statement:

“In time the only sports they will be high profile will be the NFL, Euro Top League(what ever that is) and the NBA. Maybe Cricket will stick around with the IPL and the NRL and AFL might maintain some presence but down the road the massive media pull of these few mega comps will destroy all the others, through fans and player talent.”

And so we came to my discussion from the Australian context of an industry eating itself.

The “soccer” industry in Australia seems to feast on itself. The A-League is the latest incarnation…..it feels like the local instance as with many nations is backwater stuff….the pointy end of the pyramid (of the world game) attracts all the money to a small number of leagues and in some respects a smallish number of mega clubs predominantly with-in those leagues. Which is where this notion of the “SuperLeague” feels like a natural evolution of an unregulated “industry eating itself”.

Btw – I fully understand the distinction between the AFL, THE AFL and Australian Football.

What I do wonder……this latest “SuperLeague” proposal…..getting shot down now…..but is it just the opening gambit. What’s the end game and when and what will the next move be? I’d be interested in what you feel is likely to happen? Is there a “revolution” to come??

How the European Super League can be good for football

It’s a nice story – – alas my North Melbourne side jsut couldn’t combat her influence – she was a major factor in Collingwood getting to the prelim – that’s for sure.

Thankfully the AFL have gone aggressively on establishing the AFLW – there were so many footy loving girls playing basketball or soccer because that’s all there was for them.

AFLW award vindicates sport switch for Brianna Davey

#Rellum

I’d argue however – – this is the dilemma for soccer.

The problem has ALWAYS been that the A-League is not just fighting the other 3 pro football codes in this country; and not just that over summer they suddenly found themselves up against and losing the broadcasting battle with the BBL cricket offering……no….the real issue for soccer in Australia is that the international market is saturated.

In basketball…..it’s really just the NBA……there’s other Euro leagues etc but in reality it’s the NBA or bust. The NBL can muddle along and has found a niche for young players seeking a pro-contract prior to NBA eligibility.

Soccer though……there’s the EPL, there’s the Bundeliga, Serie-A, Spanish, French……and then the UEFA Nations and Champions leagues…….and that’s just Europe.

I can see your concern specifically for the world of soccer…..but there’s more to the world than that.

And the internet??……the internet actually allows people to follow their team(s) better. Streaming Kayo…..as an example…..allows AFL followers to specifically follow their team irrespective of what Ch.7 has on. Very few people have so much spare time to fill with watching heaps and heaps of other sports………..there’s more to life.

How the European Super League can be good for football

Were that to happen then it already would have.

Australia is like a microcosm of the world. Austraila is arguably – per capita – the worlds most competitive domestic football market (4 pro leagues including one local code). But also up against so many other sport, Olympic and otherwise including cricket.

Back in the late ’80s/early ’90s I thought American sports were going to take over…..in particular basketball.

Why hasn’t it? Why hasn’t soccer taken over?

Using the Australian microcosm…….the biggest viewership and association with sports is the AFL. 100% local. Cricket……largely only take real close notice of the home series and less so the away series. Why?

Local is still prefered.

A Europ ‘mega league’…….will be big in Europe. For those who care. But unless there’s a game in town every week then it’s too distant to dominate and kill off all opposition.

We’ve seen that in the Australian microcosm. The code with the League with the best mainland cut through is the AFL; mainly because of a minimum 2 clubs/teams per mainland state……..there’s a local game every week. You need that local presence.

And why do the Matildas struggle for recognition in AFL states? Because the AFLW girls are more local; more available for media and promotion and more visible via the profile of the regular league matches.

So……..don’t worry……the sky won’t fall in on you anytime soon.

How the European Super League can be good for football

I do think there’s too many people with 19th century romantic associations to the game.

You’re absolutely right about the business side of it.

We need only look at how centralised the talent and money in the game becomes. Private ownership is part of but not the entire problem.

Looking around the top 20 leagues for average attendances and outside the top couple of leagues is astounding how quickly it falls away.

Largely because most leagues have one or two powerhouse clubs (where all the money is). Is there serious league competition? No. Are there equalisation measuures? No. The top clubs need to have free reign to compete in the champions leagues etc. So…..why is a huge club playing ‘local/park’ sport against some 2 bit club with a 2nd rate ground able to fit 5,000 standing? It makes no sense.

A super league is somewhat a logical progression.

The interesting question would be – – would such a league become too big; to powerful; to big a money spinner that international representation would take a serious hit? (even if no bans imposed). Ultimately it’s the club paying the bills…..not the national representation.

How the European Super League can be good for football

The irony of this situation is it illustrates how via private ownership that big soccer has sold its soul.

Seriously – when you go so far down the money line……..where does the train end up at??

Soccer already is awfully ‘biased’ (in the sense of a lawn bowl). A small number of big leagues and even in the leagues such as Italian and Spanish; there’s a peak couple of BIG teams and the rest are really just peripheral (get to bask in the glow of their mightier – better funded – opposition).

In too many cases the fans have long since gone from being fans to being ‘subscribers’.

The ‘Super League’ is everything that football isn’t

When you watch the initial long vision – – note the point at which Duncan leaps. About 48 metres?

Hall was kicking from about 53 metres?

Where did the contact happen? Around 50-51 metres. Duncan lept not just up but at Hall. That’s what should have seen him done for.

He’s smashed into Hall and landed behind Hall (such was his momentum).

Note that Duncan was still in the air as he hit Hall and Hall had only just landed on his feet after the act of kicking.

So……..anyone suggesting Duncan innocently jumped “up” trying to touch the ball is forgiving his recklessness just a smidge too easily.

Duncan provided the momentum (the force for the severity of what should be labelled “high impact”).
Duncan jumped and in doing so – that’s why it was “high contact”.
Was it careless? Damn right it was. He specifically launched himself with his moment straight at the kicker. And then turned his back as he realised how much he’s stuffed it up and was about to smash into him.

Should it have been cited…Damn right it should’ve.

Let Geelong appeal and go to the tribunal if need be.

There’s a reason we don’t see this happening every week……..because all the other players get it right the vast majority of the time. Duncan got it wrong…..the outcome is there to be seen……he has effectively run a red light and cleaned someone up. It’s not defence that he was going quicker than he realised and didn’t mean it and couldn’t stop!!

Should North Melbourne have received a free-kick after this collision?

……says he due to the absence of a meaningful life to distract from such banality.

Gambles backfire for Blues as Queensland take charge in Shield final

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