The Roar
The Roar

Munro Mike

Roar Rookie

Joined September 2018









He also guided them home with aplomb last night to make the final.

Handy player that guy.

Always astounds me how some players get picked (for national duties) on far less potential and less performance. The curse of the white ball.

Glenn Maxwell's disciplined destruction wipes out the Sixers



I found the Hunt-Folau thing an interesting sporting experiment. In the case of Hunt – he’d already flown the coop to RU so I found it interesting the manufactured rage over him. Hunt has since come to grief off field.

Folau has shown his true colours subsequently.

AFL are better off without them and it was a hugely expensive exercise – – again an interesting cross code experiment but I was more interested in the initially lower profile Mike Pyke (exCanadian RUWC rep) who sought out the AFL and started with little to no fanfare. The negative flip side was it highlighted for the players how much money might be floating around that they hadn’t bargained for… they did. That ensured less money for the AFL to look internationally.

The irony over the Nathan Hindmarsh furore was that I suspect Kevin Sheedy was being a bit cheeky – but gee look at the vitriol that came back the other way – I suspect the Daily Telegraph was just itching to blow the powder keg.

The other main Sheedy comment in part in jest but in part very true and a shared concern for AFL and NRL is the notion that immigration to Australia is most commonly of people for whom their idea of ‘football’ is soccer. Nothing new there. That’s been the case for 100 years. Again – it was the faux outrage that was humorous to follow.

But Sheedy can agitate and aggravate – and is part of the reason that I as a North Melb supporter do NOT like Essendon. (google marshmallows and Sheedy).

Is the North American sports model the right one for the NRL to pursue?

…..alternatively – were ALL the eggs effectively stowed in the FIFA WC basket?

New football is beginning to resemble old soccer


I gather the public areas – stands – are dry zones. Puts a dampener on things. So you can only get served alcohol in the corporate tents and gotta stay there to consume it……and as a neutral you’d need to be topped up to enjoy Port v Suns over there!!

Just for my benefit – what were some of the “hostile moves towards the NRL and it’s fans”.

I’m curious.

Is the North American sports model the right one for the NRL to pursue?


I’ve been to enough events to know that the proximity to and location of the bar for the ex-pats is the most important factor!!

Seriously though – the Port Adelaide are the driving force behind these games via David Koch and others seeing the international trade/business opportunities. The fact that the Victorian minister was keen for a Vic side to go over (St Kilda doing so this year) to help structure a Vic delegation around it – illustrates that there is a sense of worth about the exercise.

Beyond that I don’t know much.

The NRL and the Giants – that was interesting watching play out. The Daily Telegraph and Roy Masters in the SMH had a field day. I felt at the time they were missing the point – that the AFL weren’t in battle with the NRL but with the FFA/A-League. The NRL media cheerleaders perhaps though were helping try to rally the NRL cause via portraying the AFL as enemy #1 but in reality to firm up the defenses for the real first against soccer (the real enemy #1 on the ground in Sydney and West Sydney in particular).

Surely they’ve moved on since then?

Is the North American sports model the right one for the NRL to pursue?


Thanks for your considered reply.

Part of the reason I was curious on this is that back around 2003 – well, the ARU was in a rude state of optimism – and that hasn’t evolved all that well for them.

This article begins with “….what was supposed to be football’s ascent to the pinnacle of the Australian sporting landscape”.

Was that ever seriously on the cards? Perhaps it was? Perhaps the newly established FFA thought they could sweep all before them?

If so – then certainly the Australian domination plan needs revisiting. The growth strategy – needs to be suitable, realistic, patient, tailored, and necessarily flexible.

And this gets back to your point about around effectively too many coals in the fire. Core strengths. The FFA seemed to attack the Australian market hoping to be all things for everybody – – that’s expensive.

Granted the summer time slot for the domestic league avoids too great a head to head with the established domestic league market leaders (NRL and AFL). Obviously the A-League hasn’t hit expectation across its summer slot – revenues from all sources are likely to be below let’s just say the optimistic projections that were likely made. Via theRoar we’ve seen a lot of blame….Blame the BBL, blame the broadcasters, blame the Euro snobs, blame the heat, blame the rain, blame the WSW, blame the media……..there is a trend here.

Core strengths though. Leading in – coming out of the NSL era – the Socceroos were building through the ’90s. National representation is a big deal. The ARU knew this via the Wallabies. I look at both codes and consider neither got the domestic feeder tier quite right.

First and foremost cricket teaches us that if the domestic comp is generally missing the national stars then don’t expect crowds challenging the national side in the domestic comp. The BBL is the almost exception – but, it still relies on some big names,….marketing…..summer school holidays… season. (which returns to the question – is summer really ‘football season’? – or – is summer more of a ‘frivolous’ season?)

The A-League competes against the Socceroos. That is illustrated in the same way that during the NRL SoO period the NRL H&A season competes against – and loses out to – the SoO. Obviously the SoO stars return to the NRL the rest of the time. Not so for the Socceroos and the A-League. That = trouble.

The AFL recognised this years ago and gave up on the SoO and focused on a decent national league (retaining ‘fortress Melbourne’). AFL = focus on core strength. I’ve said before – their lack of international dimension is both weakness and core strength. The AFL works of a fairly straight forward year on year seasonality model.

The problem about international competition is it’s not all as compelling as one might hope. Not every test series is an Ashes series – Australia vs Sri Lanka or Bangladesh just doesn’t quite resonate as much. For the Socceroos not every game is a WC battle. The Asian Cup thrown in – does that matter to the broader community??

Can the FFA have their cake and eat it too? But – how to monetize the product and sustain so many levels of national representation. Lucky Olympic gold medals are up for grabs (= access to Govt funding).

And can the FFA keep all the fans happy even some of the time. (= nah, not possible!!). Can enough people be content enough of the time?

New football is beginning to resemble old soccer


The AFL game in China isn’t about the crowds in the stands….it’s more like a ‘trade show’ going on down on the ground in the marquees (where the alcohol is served!!). Success in this match will look different to most other matches!!!

The AFL has the opportunity to throw some serious money and effort into the Pacific – the foundations have been laid. I just don’t think the AFL know what the next step is. They have a tendency to dabble a little here and there without making overly rock solid commitments.

The AFL South Pacific pathway has been running for 10 or so years now – Tonga for example won the tournament in 2009 and the senior squad that came to the 2011 IC tournament was pretty well the squad that had competed in 2009. But what next? The star player (Peni Mahina) has been living in Sydney pretty well since then – and playing with Campbelltown (B&F in 2015 and played his 100th game for them in 2018). He’s a lovely fellow. A very good player but at 6 foot he’s in competition with many, many players for the higher level. The Pacific breeds a lot of fellows of ideal build for the Rugby codes. The AFL aren’t crying out for such body types. It’s the quality athletic talls that are always sought after – by the AFL, basketball and cricket as fast bowlers.

This is where the NRL and AFL could potentially work together in the Pacific. It’ll never happen.

Is the North American sports model the right one for the NRL to pursue?

#Train Without A Station

Ah – I did limit my commentary to the Victorian clubs – alas, the VFL is butchering the old and historic VFA (from which the 1897 VFL was a break-away).

Certainly – it’s far from a move to a national reserve grade and I’m not envisaging that any time soon. Certainly the costs of such were prohibitive and there was a time where my club – North Melbourne – couldn’t afford to have their full compliment of ‘rookies’ whilst affiliated with Port Melbourne and famously missed out on Aaron Davey.

My assertion was more around the club structure that has been returned to – as compared to a stand alone ‘franchise’ elite squad. The US model of farming the squad out to the ‘minor leagues’ – well – in this case the Vic based AFL clubs are running a ‘minor league’ team as their ‘2nds’ however have little real benefit regarding the non senior listed players other than getting to know them.

Is the North American sports model the right one for the NRL to pursue?


I do wonder – if the A-League were being set up now – what would be done differently.

The wrapping up of the NSL in the early 2000s was a ‘time and place’.

Had the NSL have survived another 10-15 years – how do you think the A-League might have come about differently now compared to then.

And – would you still envisage employing people from the ARU, AFL and NRL to head up the FFA?

New football is beginning to resemble old soccer


Ice hockey is a nice example too of neutral restarts.

The reality is that most of the individual concepts predate all the organised games.

It’s the way it’s bundled together.

The presence of absence of ‘off-side’ is an oddity. To my mind it’s the difference between a defensively geared rule book and a game more about scoring to win. The irony of which is that soccer has retained it and to this day has too high a ratio of low score drawn and even nil score matches.

The Rugby codes via their more advanced methodology found it so hard to score goals that they gave up and made the touch down/run in/try the major score and the kicking a goal becomes an after thought.

So – yes – Australian Football is somewhat unique – it’s still about kicking (actually kick, as distinct to soccer – scoring) a goal (the major objective – ‘goal’ – of the attacking team). Yep ….. there’s evolution and devolution.

Is the North American sports model the right one for the NRL to pursue?

I do feel this article is a ‘cry for help’ by someone disenchanted with the economic rationalist ‘franchise’ league that was established – the A-League. The name says it all really.

The NSL – okay – that was connected to the grassroots – ethnic based grassroots in many ways.

So – the author doesn’t like the ‘soulless’ A-League. But the alternatives provided a light on for detail and very much ‘touchy-feely’. The ‘fans’, the ‘passion’, the ‘soul’.

It seems to me that the push by many for a P&R system, and more grass roots etc would be for a move back to more of an NSL ‘environment’. The main impediment is the current business model and the corporatised franchise clubs – SFC, Victory…

Would I read it this way. Dismantle A-League as is; rebuild as A1-League with ‘community clubs’.

However – for all the ‘nice’ intangibles of community clubs – the problem to me is that self interest will deflect the love from the current top tier sides to instead focus on the local club that one might be nurturing in the hope of it getting promoted to the top.

Perhaps you just have to accept the black suited franchise system. It provides stability to allow a business model to be built around (just don’t take a former boss of the NRL to drive your code!!) and it means you can support your Green Gully Utd and buy an MVFC shirt and not be in an ethical conflict.

New football is beginning to resemble old soccer

This is a very limited via of the ‘American Sports model’.

The American market is so very interesting.

The professional sports market actually looks under saturated compared to Australia – in particular the Sydney-Melbourne markets.

The US is characterised by many ‘one team towns’ (although that may include one team for each of the major sporting codes). The main competition is the fight to lure a privately owned franchise.

The AFL has taken direction from the US – via drafts and salary caps. The AFL moved more to a ‘single team’ franchise (even if not privately owned) model – removing the old U19s and Reserves (2nds) club structure. The openness to media is modeled on the US too.

The irony is – and I’m pleased to highlight this – is that there has been a ‘rejection’ of that single team franchise model. AFL clubs in Victoria have been moving back to a 1sts and 2nds structure (stand alone ‘VFL’ teams take the form of the ‘2nds’) and along with this the AFLW – allowing a broader ‘club’ with community hub training venues. Very different to the US model.

The US model of course includes college sports and that’s a whole other area that Australia can’t really mimic. Our pathways are quite different and hugely competitive across multiple codes to secure talent. The AFL though still regulates the pathway and draft system.

So – to the money – well clearly the USofA has got that in spades at the top level – private ownership, huge TV rights, marketing/merchandise around the world and almost closed shop stadia. Arguably too much money. Again – the US markets aren’t nearly as saturated as the Australian markets are.

So for the NRL – there is an element of financial burden via the ‘regional’ markets and a question of nurture or pillage of the Pacific outposts. Nurturing is likely to be more a cost center than a profit center in financial terms.

Is the North American sports model the right one for the NRL to pursue?

“Maybe the NRL could do what the AFL has done and rewrite history to pretend it was invented here”

Firstly – isn’t that what the author indicated that the NRL already does –

“even though history dictates rugby league is a European sport, the NRL like to think of it as a shag-on-a-rock indigenous sport and of themselves as guardians of such.”

Secondly – Australian Football WAS invented here. ‘Football’ wasn’t. However, in 1859 when the game was devised it was due to an inability to utilize any one set of school rules as known from England at the time (including the school rules of Rugby which were in part trialed and dismissed).

Thirdly – “The oldest and most primitive form of field football that resembles what was played in Europe before the 19th century is AFL”

In suggesting that Australian Football has not evolved is somewhat misguided. Resembling what was played in Europe before the 19th century??? What was that? Mob football on the ‘highways’? Calcio Fiorentino in Italy? These are far more akin to the Rugby games who retain the 18-19th century military style opposing forces at either end of the field and inclusive of the military mentality of the day to enfore “Off the strength of your side” as an ‘off-side’ rule.

Australian Football left that well behind – as it was not designed for school boys of the 1800s who were being groomed for military service. As even while Australian Football originally began with opposing sides and a kick off – by 1891 the centre bounce was introduced and that alone is such a variation (a 50/50 neutral restart) from the ‘turn based’ mantra that is retained to this day in the other major football codes. Tell me again which is primitive?

Is the North American sports model the right one for the NRL to pursue?

There is stuff that seriously only he can do.

Even after seeing the Heat a couple of nights ago – there’s still stuff that only Maxwell can do.

Glenn Maxwell's disciplined destruction wipes out the Sixers

Many Australians spent an awful lot of time discounting the wickets of Murilitharan in contrast to Warne based on opposition played against.

All I’m suggesting is that it is naive to believe that all the batting woes are suddenly fixed.

And – MORE to the point of batting concerns is that despite the 4 centuries scored – it doesn’t instill an awful lot of confidence given:
-3 wickets fell for around 30 at the top of each innings in Canberra
-Sri Lanka’s ‘pace’ bowling attack in Canberra was pretty well the most inexperience line up they’ve put forward since playing England at Colombo in 1982 when everyone was on test debut!!
-The Sri Lankan attack clearly struggled to sustain their performance

It reminded me of Dean Jones speaking about scoring heavily against Tasmania many years back. He spoke about how against the top bowlers you’re looking out for the one bad ball an over. Against the lesser attacks you might be looking out for the one good ball per over.

Which brings me back to Mitch Starc…..has he really turned the corner? Or – is he just becoming a tad bit too fragile over the last 2.5 years?

Dismissing Test runs against 'easy' Sri Lanka is a mistake

Let’s keep the powder dry on that just a tad.

Look at Hazlewood – had back issues across winter – 4 tests struggled v India and out with back issues again.

Starc has struggled now for the last 2 years due to a series of leg/ankle issues. He’s now managed to get ‘up’ for one largely meaningless test (SL were never going to level the series 1-1) against a very week foe.

It’s a shame he wasn’t able to get ‘up’ for any of the 4 tests against India (because even at 2-1 going to Sydney there was a chance to level the series.

So – let’s see if Starc can back this up – is this a return to fitness and form? Or is it one out of the blue? And if it is a return to fitness and form then clearly he was performing (vs India) with sub standard output whilst lacking in fitness and form – – – in which case he owes us!!!

What does Mitchell Starc have to do to be dropped?

#Matt H

And certainly – you can only play the opposition you come up against.

Therein lies the issue.

Khawaja ton an Ashes boost for Australia

There’s such a large and parochial Tongan expat population they’d be mad not to.

Which reminds me – – how long since Greece played a soccer match in Melbourne?

Two codes a world apart

NZAFL playing up at Albany-North Harbour and the outer oval up there has been transformed (it’s a hybrid grass surface) – and can now handle almost 4 times the traffic than before.

However, the main QBE Stadium itself looks likely to cater to baseball and potentially AFL moving forward. Interesting times.

Two codes a world apart

If we think back to the last of the Bulldogs vs Melbourne ‘exhibition’ all star matches in 2016.

It’s worthwhile remembering how good that quality across the field was. That was the best of who was available. Not saying games will be of that standard every week – and that was before the coaches got to have their way with respect to defensive game plans – how – presently we’re seeing a diluted skills base however an all-stars game now would be a step up on that last one in 2016 and perhaps that’s what might be a good outcome – the 2 conference system to provide an all-star play off game just to remind us of what the best can do when on the field all together.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.3 5.3 10.5 14.6 (90)

MELBOURNE 1.2 3.7 4.8 7.9 (51)

Western Bulldogs: Hope 6, Vescio 3, Ashmore 2, Brennan, Lambert, Jakkobson
Melbourne: Harris 2, Frederick-Traub 2, Marinoff, Foley, Eva

Western Bulldogs: Hope, Blackburn, Brennan, Chiocci, Vescio, Davey, Lambert
Melbourne: D.Pearce, Paxman, Foley, Harris, Donnellan, Antonio

More respect is needed for AFLW

Sometimes it’s hard watching senior AFL matches because of the standard. Port v Gold Coast in China for example has been one for the Port fans only to relish and a turn off for everyone else!!

More respect is needed for AFLW


“This argument that the quarters only go for 20 minutes”

Well – it’s actually only 15 minutes with time on only added as generated in the last 2 minutes.

It is a key point.

In Mens AFL too – with so much coaching focus on defensive strategies, running and fitness – it is generally later in a quarter that fatigue can allow a game to open up.

The AFLW though – because it’s played in Feb/March has unlimited interchange with 5 on the bench.

It’s a trade off – player welfare against wanting players to fatigue (as has been a major talking point in mens AFL).

I umpire a lot of juniors up to U19s. What is clear is that while teams can hold their defensive shape then scoring is very difficult. I’ve seen many games in juniors where scoring is extremely difficult. But generally in juniors you’ve got a couple of ‘gun’ players and usually it’s the top age kids who are dominating and the bottom age kids making up the numbers.

The AFLW is open age so what we currently do see is there are only so many absolute ‘jets’ out there. Tayla Harris for Carlton is certainly one – and good to watch – but gee – when you consider that the top players still haven’t played the equivalent of a full (22 game) AFL season at this level and given we generally give new players to the AFL about 40-50 games ‘grace’ before we seriously expect them to develop proper competition toughness and consistent outputs.

So – I can’t help but admire what these less than semi-pro athletes are producing. But I also have great anticipation what will unfold in the next few years too – but for 2019…..carna Roos!!

More respect is needed for AFLW


A great contest makes up for a lot. 4 of the 5 games were great contests and the 5th saw the predicted top team stamp their authority (which is a validation in part of the anticipated standard of that team).

Definitely within 10 years the standard will be quite different – with better depth of quality with players coming through the system. The growth of the depth and breadth of womens footy not just in Victoria has been massive and is continuing to grow (sure – it must peak at some point and that will be a challenge too if it all levels off). However – the programs have been put in place; the pathways defined; the quality coming up through the ranks is clear to see and is beginning to filter in.

The contest should hopefully still be great.

More respect is needed for AFLW


2 questions.

Firstly – do you know how long the quarters are in the AFLW?

Secondly – do you know the time on rules in AFLW?

And 2 statements.

The AFLW is played with 16 aside on full size ovals by the ladies who we know aren’t – on the whole – able to kick quite as far. That alone makes the game quite different – all you have to do is consider the International Rules games with the round ball – it’s hard to get 60m penetration, it’s generally in golfing parlance a short game contest rather than a long game.

The other statement is the AFLW is kicking off in the first week of February – it’s hot – damned hot. That does make a difference. We know in AFL that to get an uncontested kick or free up the loose player can require an awful lot of running just to make something ‘look easy’. And that’s for full time professionals.

More respect is needed for AFLW

Ah gee the problem with Starc…..he’s got an early wicket the over before – ball still pretty new – and he should be running in full of steam ready for the next breakthrough – and he delivers this drivel. This is why Starc is so frustrating – his inability to bowl test cricket standard even most of the time. Yep – he can pull out the odd ripping ball – and even in this brace of 6 he beat the bat once but 4 of the rest were no threat and the other too straight and played through mid-wicket without risk.

(Starc’s 6th over – went for 1 run…..but…..):

1. Starc to Chandimal, no run, full outside off, left alone
2. Starc to Chandimal, 1 run, back of a length, straight, worked into midwicket
3. Starc to Thirimanne, no run, beats the outside edge as he aims to play a forcing back foot drive against a short-of-a-length delivery
4. Starc to Thirimanne, no run, that’s a bit wayward, a short delivery which is pushed a long way down the leg side
5. Starc to Thirimanne, no run, fuller, very wide outside off, carries low through to Paine
6. Starc to Thirimanne, no run, very full, wide outside off, passes the batsman as a full toss and he misses the drive

But – this Sri Lankan outfit is so ordinary that not only does Starc get away with it – he’s gone and snagged himself another wicket the next over.

The problem is against India it wasn’t good enough but against these guys it is. That’s the dilemma.

What does Mitchell Starc have to do to be dropped?