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The Joy Of X

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Joined February 2018









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Your article said James ‘Tuck’ Metherell was born in 1869. Do we know when his brother Bill started to play adult football? It is possible it was the 1890’s.

If the Sporting Globe article is correct, and Bill taught his son, Len, to kick drop punts, this could indicate drop punts were being regularly kicked by Bill much earlier (around 1890’s to early 1900’s). This is earlier than many believe for regular drop punt kicking.

More details and information on Hugh Hinks and Nipper Truscott’s claims to being the first to regularly use the drop punt would be appreciated.

From West Devon to Geelong, via the cape

Interesting article.

Date of the Sporting Globe article?
Do you know approximately when, and where, Bill and Len Metherell played adult football?

Have you seen other, unreported, articles referring to very early players kicking drop punts?

From West Devon to Geelong, via the cape

I’m surprised, given the success of previous Australian punters, the US Colleges or NFL don’t recruit more Australian punters; or, at least, test them in Combines here.

Revolutionary Aussie punter Dickson thriving in the NFL


You wrote, re incidence of violence ‘….Many Australians have been in denial on this topic for some time conveniently calling hooligans “unaustralian” and linking it to “the sok-ha”….everyone really knew, its not a football (ie soccer) problem its a problem for society’.

You are incorrect. Crowd violence is definitely MUCH more of a soccer problem, compared to other sports.
This may be because the very low (or no) scoring -or the sometimes very lengthy periods of no realistic shots on goal- makes soccer fans very frustrated. Possibly, with this lack of scoring etc., a small minority of fans want to create their own ” entertainment” by chants etc. (sometimes insulting and threatening to the other team/its fans); or to vent their frustration by damaging property, violence or threats of violence.

It is false for you to simply assert that, if there is violence in SOCIETY, it will also automatically be reflected in sports’ fans violent behaviour. You are incorrectly denying that violence is an INHERENT aspect of soccer (admittedly, for a very small minority soccer fans).
As proof your assertion is false, there are many countries which have very low violent crime rates, yet regularly have large scale soccer-related violence eg Sweden

An opportunity for football to lead in the battle against domestic violence


You stated above “….yet the 2018 A League Grand Final was comparable with Game 2 of the State Of Origin series, the Australian Grand Prix, and the Australian Open Men’s Final” (re incidence of domestic violence).

As the A League Grand Final has a far smaller audience (TV and/or crowd), the fact that the incidence of domestic violence “….was comparable with Game 2 of the State Of Origin series, the Australian Grand Prix, and the Australian Men’s Final” is proof that soccer fans have a far greater propensity for domestic violence.
Do you agree?

An opportunity for football to lead in the battle against domestic violence

I challenge your comment that “….violent attacks and brawling becoming a SIGNIFICANT problem in Australian Rules football….”. This is factually incorrect, and demonstrates ignorance and/or an agenda on your part.

7,100,000+ fans attended AFL games in 2018; and 250,000,000+ in the last 50 years (VFL/AFL).
The number of brawls or individual assaults inside or outside Australian Football stadia is miniscule, there is no “significant problem”. One brawl or assault, however, is still unacceptable.

How many brawls or individual attacks do you claim to have occurred over the last 50 years?
How do you justify your ridiculous claim of a “significant” problem for Australian Football?

The police in the various states consider it necessary to allocate far more police, pro rata of crowds, to soccer matches than to the other codes of Australian Football, League and Union. This proves that soccer is the biggest miscreant regarding violent and anti-social fan behaviour.

An opportunity for football to lead in the battle against domestic violence

Your above comments “….crowds are low and there is no atmosphere….Some of that is right ground right game policy because people don’t like ANZ and Allianz”, are curious.

If you are correct (and you probably are), how can the LNP Government justify spending about $2 billion demolishing Allianz, and reconfiguring the 18 y.o. ANZ (which already has the ability for rectangular seating mode)?

What will the possible ALP State Government do?
(It is doing well in opinion polls)

What do you think most voters who live in regional/rural NSW think about the LNP intending to spend $2 billion on these 2 stadia? Is it REALLY needed?

Why Australia's sporting competitions need fewer teams

I have asked you questions about the net losses, since 1997, of Newscorp; and the NRL’s own funding (which may have been recouped by extra, SIGNIFICANT media Rights) for the Storm?
Your reply would be appreciated.

My understanding is that League tackle participation numbers in Victoria have been very small (less than 1,000) since 1997. Your estimate of these numbers?

The answers to these questions must focus attention on RA’s losses ($30,000,000?) on the Rebels; and whether RA’s Rebels’ funding can be considered a good, long term investment for Union in Australia?
(I am aware that Union tackle participation numbers are fairly healthy in Victoria -but it produces few Victorian- born Test and Super players)

The Wrap: No Super Rugby off-season while World Rugby gathers in Sydney


Melbourne Storm have been the most successful professsional team in Australian sport since 1997. Are you saying that Newscorp had net losses of about $75,000,000, supporting Storm, up until end of season 2012?

The NRL would also have been making the normal distributions to Storm that all NRL clubs receive. Do you know the total, approximate, NRL funding between 1997-2012?

Storm’s home crowds have averaged about 18,000 in 2018.
What do you believe will average if they have a lengthy period finishing in the bottom 5? And their average net losses?

Do you agree that
. the number of male adult League player in Victoria is about the same now as in 1996.
. there is only a minute Junior League competition (I am not including Tag or Touch players).
Does this suggest that RA’s costly policy to support the Rebels is unlikely to result in significant financial benefits for Rugby; or significantly increase community tackle Rugby numbers (where it is likely Victoria will regularly produce Test and Super players)?

The Wrap: No Super Rugby off-season while World Rugby gathers in Sydney

A Qld. RL Official recently said that the NRL is a “diminishing” market in Sydney. Do you agree that the NRL is losing popularity in Sydney, compared to its more halcyon days?

Its good to see that the NSWRL, for 2018, has reported an increase in its “participants”, to about 101,000 (includes CRL). The NSWRL said this is the first official increase in in NSW participants in 5 years.
Of the 101,000 NSW participants, how many of these, approximately, are playing Tag or Touch etc.?

You say “there has been strong growth in Victoria and WA”. The NRL’s Peter Beattie and the NSWRL also specifically praised the strong League growth in Victoria and WA.
What are the actual numbers of juniors in Victoria and WA playing League (this includes Minis modified rules jnr. League etc. -but not Tag or Touch etc.)?
And adults in Victoria and WA (but not including Tag or Touch etc.)?

Since the Melbournee Storm started, how many juniors, who were born in Victoria, have been recruited from Victoria, to play for the Storm?
What have been the net losses, approximately, incurred by the Storm since it started?
And payments made to it by the NRL and News Ltd etc?

You mentioned 2 women were punched at AFL games in “recent times”. These shocking assaults, of course, were reported.
About 7,100,000 fans attend AFL matches per year in recent times Over 40 years, approximately 200,000,000+ fans have attended VFL/AFL matches.
Approximately how many other female fans have been punched or assaulted at VFL/AFL matches over 40 years? Any?

The smaller NRL crowds confirm the AFL is the superior code? Rubbish!

I have previously said on The Roar that there are fluff figures in ALL sporting organizations’ figures (including AFL and NRL), due to the multitude of programs and experiences offered.

Of course AusKick is included in Australian Football participation numbers of 1,550,000. AusKick was started and fully implemented/funded by the VFL/ AFL about 30 years ago, and has been continuously controlled/modified by the VFL/AFL from its onset. and It is the AFL’s official introductory program for young kids, where they are given group & individual skill acquisition activities -then later play a small match.

As for your suggestion that the NRL/NRLW is a better standard or spectacle than the AFL/AFLW, I disagree.

As for your suggestion that NRL/NRLW players are more skilled than AFL/ AFLW players, I again disagree (leaving aside the obvious fact they are different games, requiring different skill sets).

What do you believe are six of the most difficult skills in League? And how difficult is it to master these six skills?

From the age of 16-18, how many hours pw (on average) do League players spend on strength and conditioning if they are playing in a high level competitions? And how many hours pw does each actually HANDLE the ball?

Same question for professional adult NRL players?

For League players 10-18, how important is strength in affecting the likelihood of winning a match?

Why has there been a big decline in males playing League from 14-18?

Why has there been a big decline in adult males playing League?

The smaller NRL crowds confirm the AFL is the superior code? Rubbish!

The 2017 AFL official Participation numbers of about 1,550,000 are not “bogus”. The names of the participants are recorded, and these records are independently audited (and are available to the Aust. Sports Commission; and are open to scrutiny from ASIC, where large penalties can be applied for providing false information).

For Australian Football events (eg Gala days, school visits etc.) where no participant/player payments are required, these are NOT included in the 1,550,000. These types of participants are recorded by the AFL separately as Community Programs, and are noted (with an estimated number of those participating) separately.

There would be some double counting -all sporting Organizations simply add up the numbers of partcipants in their various formats, none cross-reference names. Soccer would have the most double/triple counted -it has many different formats, including in summer; and its participants can play 2 games pw, as it is a FAR less strenuous game to play, compared to the contact codes.

Australian Football has huge numbers playing in both primary and secondary schools throughout Australia, including Qld. and NSW.
It is expected there will be another large increase in 2018.

The smaller NRL crowds confirm the AFL is the superior code? Rubbish!

Rugby League is a body contact sport.
Tag and Touch etc. are non-body contact sports, thus their players are certainly NOT playing Rugby League!

The smaller NRL crowds confirm the AFL is the superior code? Rubbish!

You are incorrect in your comment that “The contact codes have all had drop-offs in male numbers…”. This only applies to League and Union.

Australian Football 2017 official registered participation number show Australian Football male numbers are growing in nearly all areas of Australia, to record levels. The exceptions are male participants in Tasmania, and some rural/regional areas in Vic., WA, & SA.

The smaller NRL crowds confirm the AFL is the superior code? Rubbish!

You said above “Look at the numbers playing rugby in Oz, 85,000”. How did you ascertain this number?
How many adult males are playing competition 15’s; and 7’s (minimum 6 weeks for both)?
How many junior males are playing competition (Club or school, minimum, 6 weeks) 15’s; and 7’s?

You stated “….good ones (Union junior players) are playing both league and union (in the same week….)” -approximately what percentage?

If your 85,000 figure is correct for male contact Union players, this probably dooms Union to being permanently uncompetitive against the much bigger Union nations.
How likely could a mutually agreed amalgamation eventuate between Union and League in about 10-20 years (ie Australia plays only Union internationally; and only League played in an elite national home and away competition in Australia)?

Fan abuse is never great, but the message to the Wallabies is clear

Why is AFL growth inevitable?
And what are the driving factors for its strong registered participant increases in NSW, Qld, and the ACT?

As most observers (including Union fans themselves) agree that Union is now in a very poor situation (compared with its high point about 2003), and that its significant decline in male participation, Ratings, and Test/Super Rugby crowds is likely to continue, can it be expected that League will be the logical, and main beneficiary, of Union’s discomfort?

The NRL has, for the first time, a pro rata TV/Foxtel deal equal to the AFL. It also made an excellent surplus of $45,000,000 in y/e 2018, and is now flush with funds.
Can it be assumed that it can use these funds to significantly bolster its male contact participant numbers?
Can the NRL halt the Australian Football participation juggernaut (in 2017, the AFL had about 1,550,000 registered participants, with large increases in NSW, Qld., and the ACT)?

As for your claim that soccer will become the 2nd most popular sport nationally, soccer is now only very strong in registered participation numbers (The FFA official figures show about 1,600,000 participants in 2017). Soccer has been very strong for DECADES -but the AFL, helped by its booming female participant numbers and NSW/Qld. growth, is rapidly closing the gap.
Official registered ‘participant’ numbers for all sports (including Australian Football) are very rubbery -only a minority of the ‘participants’ are crucial club and school competition (minimum 6 weeks) players.

Soccer’s current participation strength has not transferred to its wider support in the national consciousness/the ‘watercooler test’.
The A League ratings are miniscule, and are declining -in 2017/18, it averaged a national total of about 85,000 per match (ie combined FTA and Foxtel). Crowds are also declining -but are OK at about 10,900 per match.

What is the basis for your claim that soccer will become the 2nd most popular sport nationally, on most metrics?

The smaller NRL crowds confirm the AFL is the superior code? Rubbish!


You are certainly correct when you say “….the NRL is doing just fine….its not (in) the dire situation that people are making it out to be”.

I think you have been attacked unfairly for making a simple error in your data selection -anyone can make an honest mistake. I find your articles usually interesting and well informed, and you have a balanced and reasonable approach when discussing League and Australian Football.

NRL ratings are (and have always been) excellent, and were greater than the AFL in 2018. To my knowledge, no one from the AFL has challenged Masters’ recent views on League 2018 ratings’ supremacy. The AFL, I assume, would be worried about their decline.
League, on most metrics, is clearly a very healthy sport in NSW and Qld -and is strong in the ACT. It is undoubtedly the dominant sport, by far, in NSW and Qld -but its position is being slowly eroded.

Your specific responses, on my statements to you above, that League registered male contact numbers are in serious decline would be appreciated; and why is this happening? Is this serious decline reversible?
Also, how strong will Australian Football likely become in NSW, Queensland, and the ACT in the next 20 years; and why is this happening? Is this strong growth reversible?

The smaller NRL crowds confirm the AFL is the superior code? Rubbish!


Your argument that Australian Football attracts far greater crowds (compared to Sydney League crowd averages, which have scattered NRL venues) is because it has 2 centrally located stadia, is fundamentally flawed. History disproves this theory.

The VFL/AFL has ALWAYS attracted far greater crowd averages than League averages. Until recent times, all 12 VFL clubs played their home games at their divergent, suburban home grounds (including distant Waverley Park).
These grounds would require many fans to travel by two public transport modes, requiring considerable time/inconvenience -but still VFL/AFL crowd averages were double (or more) League averages.

Furthermore, strong Australian Football crowds are not unique to Melbourne. Per capita, Perth, Adelaide, and Tasmania have had also very large crowds (possibly bigger than Melbourne, on a per capita basis).

Why are the Swans’ crowds so large, if ‘the tyranny of distance/inconvenience’ is such a problem in Sydney?

You have also made no mention of the major growth in Australian Football official Regd. participant numbers, in nearly all parts of Australia -including in NSW and Qld. By contrast, male League contact numbers are declining -and Australia’s population has boomed in recent decades.
Why did Graeme Hughes lament, in June on Foxtel Controversy Corner, about the serious decline in League playing numbers in western Sydney?
Why was Junior League forced to combine in 2017 , from u 14 upwards, the elite comps. in Canterbury DJRL with the Western Suburbs DJRL?

Finally, Roy Masters (over a long period) and Foxtel League commentators have claimed that League referees deliberately make 50-50 calls favouring the losing side -because they know that the NRL wants close games, to improve Ratings and crowd averages.
Why are League afficianados making such claims?

The smaller NRL crowds confirm the AFL is the superior code? Rubbish!