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The Joy Of X

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Joined February 2018









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@ Nick Symonds and your comment
“The AFL now risks being crowded out”.

The “risk” is very small that any other sport will be able to challenge Australian Football for popularity in Tasmania.
Australian Football has a strong 150 year history in Tasmania, and it is a heartland state. In Tasmania, there are currently 91,000 Tasmanians who are members of AFL clubs (most probably 3 game memberships, I assume).

The AFL has given clear signals recentlty it wants an AFL team based, full time, in Tasmania- perhaps within the next 10 years, when the next Broadcast Rights end. Possibly a 20th team, to deliver a lucrative 10th game each week?

How have you quantified your “risk”? 10%?
Why have you ignored the above link from journalist Caroline Wilson?

Has the AFL lost the code war for Tasmania?

@ Chris

It is quite rare that I comment on Non-AFL tabs.

Sometimes I respond when
. blatantly false comments are made about Australian Football Participant numbers;
. extremely dubious claims that soccer can expect to become the dominant sport in Australia- the antipodean version of “Manifest Destiny”.
. various wild conspiracy theories.
. insulting comments are made about the Australian game

When I challenge such comments, invariably the commentators ignore my challenges; or offer irrelevant diversionary “justifications” for their views

The A-League's divisive nature is harming football in Australia

@ Lionheart

and your comment on relevance (re my citing the proximity of Official AFL and FFA registered participant numbers for 2018).
Follow the thread.

I was replying to Football Is Life comments above, who said at 1.17 pm
“Playing numbers (soccer)…elebenty BILLION kiddies playing football…that’s a threat (How?) to the backyard (gratuitous insult not helpful) codes…”.

I am still waiting for his explanation of his comments that Australian Football, League, and Union “…manufacture bad press…” for the A league and soccer? How, examples of their nefarious plots etc.?

Jimmy, the Article’s author, also wrote in the OP
“…astronomical amount of juniors play the game(soccer)…this suggests that football should be close to Australia’s PREMIER professional code (Really? Why?)”.

Some soccer supporters have been singing these tunes since the 1980’s.

Soccer has certainly a much higher profile in Australia now- but there is very little evidence it will be, in the near or distant future, Australia’s “premier professional code. Au contraire, on its professional metrics, soccer is in a definite decline.

Also, Australian Football community participant numbers are growing strongly throughout Australia, including NSW, ACT, and Queensland. Only male competition numbers in Tasmania are suffering.
Soccer (unlike the contact codes) has the benefit of being played 12 months per year (particularly in schools, and school and community futsal). Good luck for soccer, and its many different formats!
However, soccer (unlike the contact codes) is FAR more likely to have the same player counted two or three times in its Official registered participants. Furthermore, many private schools (and parents!) ban their school contact code playing students from also playing a contact sport for community Clubs- soccer does not have this issue.

The A-League's divisive nature is harming football in Australia

@ Mister Football

I was aware that soccer had the most participants, compared to other sports, in NSW since the 1960’s; and that large scale British migration was constant, throughout Australian history in all States, until the 1980’s.

Re your claim that soccer was the biggest participant sport in NSW from 1910- 1940, any sources or links would be appreciated. I was not aware of this. Many British immigrants also follow/have a passing interest in Union and League also.

Immigration has been a constant “participation burden” to Australian Football since the 1860’s.

The A-League's divisive nature is harming football in Australia

@ MF
and your comment “Soccer has had the highest participation rate in NSW for over a CENTURY”.
This duration surprises me.

Australia had massive immigration from Europe from 1946 to the early 1980’s, mainly to NSW and Vic.
This would have given soccer participant numbers a massive boost in those States, up to the present (as many persons, who were born to European soccer-following parents, also were attracted to soccer).
From the 1980’s, European migration significantly declined- replaced by migration from NZ, Asia, and the Middle East (And these areas are less likely to be soccer participants, compared to European migrants).

Anecdotally, many kids in Australia, whose parents are UK migrants, are more likely to follow Australian Football, League, or Union- compared to kids with migrant parents from continental Europe.

Long-winded introduction!
What are the grounds for your belief that that soccer had the highest participation rates in NSW
, for the periods:
. 1910 – 1940
. 1946- 1970

Any links would be appreciated.

The A-League's divisive nature is harming football in Australia

@ Football Is Life
and your comments “Playing numbers…point to elbenty BILLION (?) kiddies playing Football…thats a threat (?) to the backyard codes…(who) manufacture (?- how ?) bad press”.

Some delusions of, contradictory, grandeur and paranoia here. The reality is that soccer has had very large participant numbers for about 50 years- and has probably been the major participant sport, by far, in NSW since that time.
The longstanding and continuing predictions (including by author Jimmy) that soccer would become the dominant sport in Australia are yet to eventuate, and appear unlikely.

Australian Football (AFL registered official 1,649,178 participants in 2018) has probably overtaken soccer (FFA registered official 1,851,683 participants in 2018) on this metric.
The FFA counts all volunteers, referees, and coaches- the AFL does not. The AFL had about 200,000 volunteers alone in 2018; and soccer is far more likely to have the same player counted two or three times, compared to the more physically challenging/more injury prone contact sports.

All sports’ official numbers should be treated with a high degree of scepticism- since a majority of all their registered participants are in one-off Gala Days, very short term programs/”community events” etc. ie not playing Club or school competitions.

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA’s participation rates?

The A-League's divisive nature is harming football in Australia

My mistake- of course, an extra 9th game p.w.

Want to to change the rugby league world? Cite the AFL first

@ RandyM
Factual, Official information provided by the FFA and AFL (and the AFL’s are independently audited) on their REGISTERED participant numbers.
Anecdotes/unsubstantiated generalizations, re participant numbers, by anonymous internet posters.

Who s the most authorative and credible? We all know the answer.

Incidentally, in Munro Mike’s thoroughly researched and detailed Roar Article on 4.4.2019, I asked you, and other naysayers, a series of questions on the AFL registered participant numbers. You, and others, did not specifically answer my questions.
Why not? Would you care to answer them now?

Want to to change the rugby league world? Cite the AFL first

@ Jimmy

E. Perez, above, said there MIGHT be a 3rd AFL Club, eventually, in NSW.

My comments/links on the possibility of a 3rd NSW AFL Club (and implications of record Australian Football growth in NSW/ACT/Qld; and 2018 Australian Football Official Registered record participant numbers) were to challenge Steve Mascord’s comments.

Re E. Perez, S. Mascord said “I couldn’t find anyone since Kevin Sheedy in 2013 suggesting a third NSW AFL Club”.

My comments were not addressing the issue of League teams in NYC and Ottawa.

Want to to change the rugby league world? Cite the AFL first

@ max power
and your comments “…the second ( ie GWS AFL club) is probably a fail. Same goes for the second Qld team (ie Gold Coast AFL club) Qld)”. Your comments are incorrect.

(1) The 4 AFL Clubs in NSW and Qld have, in recent years, established elite junior Academies. These Academies, together with the local prestige of these 4 AFL Clubs and their role in expanding the local community footprint of Australian Football, are having great success in producing record numbers of young NSW/ACT/Qld-origin players being drafted into the AFL. See my post above to Steve.

These U18 Academy teams are also having increasing success playing against Victorian elite teams in the U18 NAB Cup. The NAB Cup is the elite U18 competition in Victoria, from whence AFL players are drafted.

NAB League: GIANTS secure first win

How do you think these record numbers of AFL recruits have been achieved?
What are the implications for the AFL, and a possible 3rd team in NSW/ACT, if these record AFL Draft trends- and record community Australian Football participants- continue?

(2) GWS is on track to have close to 30,000 members in 2019 (which includes about 5,000 from the ACT). Its presence is also a major reason for the booming, record numbers of Australian Football registered participants in Sydney’s western suburbs.

GWS and Gold Coast have also created a 10 th game for the AFL each week. The AFL has said this has greatly assisted it in achieving its record $2.53 billion broadcast deal.

Do you deny these points?

(3) When the Gold Coast was very competitive in 2014, it had several crowds over 21,000 at Metricon- great crowd figures for the Gold Coast.
When it again becomes regularly competitive, it is likely these crowds will, slowly, build to these 21,000+ levels.
Brisbane has been successful in 2019 (after a long period of poor performance), and it’s membership is about 26,000 currently. It is predicted the Gabba might be a sell-out this week (probably biggest crowd since 2010).

Do you deny these points?

Want to to change the rugby league world? Cite the AFL first

@ Steve Mascord

Re E.Perez’s reference to the possibility of a third NSW AFL team, E. Perez has a very good knowledge of the general Australian sports’ landscape. Perhaps he is aware that:-

(1) In 2016, AFL Commission Chairman M.Fitzpatrick said, re Australian Football “We’d like to be the number one code on the entire East Coast…its a 20 to 30 year view…its tough but manageable etc”.

(2) Australian Football, at community level, is greatly increasing its Official registered participant numbers in NSW, ACT, and Qld.- whilst male League and Union tackle participant numbers are in a long term decline there.

Australian Football has been growing strongly in recent years.
In 2018, Australian Football had 1,649,178 Official Registered participants. This, almost certainly, does not include its Volunteers (estimated at about 200,000+), Coaches and Umpires.
The FFA, in its 2018 Official Registered numbers, stated it had 1,851,683 participants- BUT the FFA INCLUDES Volunteers, Coaches, and Referees. If the AFL categorized these as “participants”, then it would likely surpass the FFA numbers.

It should also be noted there is a much stronger possibilty of individual soccer participants being counted two or three times, compared with Australian Football.
Soccer is played 12 months per year (especially in schools , and indoor futsal/soccer programs). Also, as soccer is FAR less physically demanding/less prone to soreness and injury, a player can easily play school and Club/different formats within a few days of each other.

The Roar Article on 4.4.2019, by Munro Mike, has provided an extensive, detailed analysis of the AFL and FFA Official numbers.
It should be noted that the AFL, FFA, and all other sports’ Official numbers are rubbery- the majority of participants are not actually playing in school or Club competitions with at least a duration of 6 weeks- most are one-off Gala Days etc.
Also, no sport Officially cross-references individual players’ names across its different formats- so all numbers are inflated.

(3) There are, in 2019, an AFL record 62 drafted players who are originally from NSW/ACT. Players who have originated from Qld. would bring the total to over 100- the AFL has said it is very pleased about this trend, and expects the record to continue to be broken.

Want to to change the rugby league world? Cite the AFL first

@ Daniel
Having a regular general sports’ podcast, with sports’ experts, on a digital platform, is a clever innovation- well done! I suspect it will be very popular, and a great success.
Why hasn’t it been done before?

A suggestion.
On sports’ websites, the punters often pronounce broad generalizations- but, if dubious, with no attempt at facts to support their subjective ruminations.
Hopefully, the expert commentators will have a “standard”: mentioning some facts to support their views, when the view are highly contentious.

This will be a great development for The Roar.

Introducing The Roar's brand new podcast - Game of Codes: Australia's biggest sporting debate

@ Chris

(1) You said “I recently did a search on clubs in NSW to join to play AFL. There were probably 20-30 all up?…This was across all age groups”.
You know Australian Football Club numbers are FAR higher, and that your comments above are false.

How many junior and senior Australian Football Clubs are there really in NSW in 2019. And in Sydney in 2019?
How many were there in 1982?

(2) @ 10.43 am on 5.4 you said ” AFL will never have a serious footprint in Sydney. And I suspect in Brisbane as well”.
There are currently a record 100+ AFL players who were originally from NSW, ACT, or Qld. The AFL Commission and the Clubs are very happy with this rapidly increasing trend, and have stated this trend will only increase further.
How has this record been achieved; and is the confidence of the AFL and its Clubs justified?

(3) At the Big Footy link (3rd AFL Team Eventually in Sydney) I have provided above, there are many recent links and direct quotes from multiple ex Union/ League/soccer players and Officials- and mainstream media Union/League etc. journalists- stating that community male Union and League numbers have had a serious decline in Sydney; and that community Australian Football is having strong growth in Sydney (and NSW), as well as the AFL generally.

Are all these people lying also- and besmirching their own preferred sports (non-AFL, obviously)? Can you specifically rebut their claims? Why would they lie?

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

@ Munro Mike
Good Ratings’ analysis.

It should also be noted that Roy Masters has written/stated numerous times that NRL referees have a very long history of “evening up” NRL matches by deliberately allocating more ’50/50′ decisions to the team that is behind its opponent.
He said they do this to increase the chances the game outcome will be more uncertain- and it is predicated on the correct view that ‘close’ games will average more viewers than one-sided games.

Fox NRL commentators have made similar comments to Masters- but I can’t remember their names.

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

@ Munro Mike

Re the current VERY small numbers of Asian-Australians engaged in/playing Australian Football, I am not aware of any evidence that supports your view that “…there are examples of engagement with these communities that suggest ‘SUFFICIENT’ (engagement) can again be satisfied”.

Lin Jong is the only AFL player we have from an Asian background.

You have not challenged my point that the average height of AFL players has increased significantly since about 1980; and play is far more congested now (including in community competitions) – both major impediments to short/light weight Asian Australians being able to be safe/succeed in the AFL.

Without many more ‘Jong’ role models, I doubt the AFL will be able to maximize Asian Australian engagement with Australian Football.
It has regularly been stated by experts that the major boom in female Australian Football participants since 2017 is primarily because of the high profile/creation of the AFLW in 2017. Role models!

We had a record female stand alone, club only, AFLW Grand Final crowd of 53,034 2 weeks ago in Adelaide (which also outrated most AFL matches, over many years, also played on weekend mid-afternoons). Without the high profile AFLW role models, it would have been impossible for a State League women’s Grand Final to achieve numbers remotely similar.

Whilst some Asian Australians do go to AFL matches and play at community level, the numbers are far below their representation in Australia.

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

@ Munro Mike
Your above linked 2018 FFA National Participation Report reveals a national total of:

.36, 252 registered coaches
. 11,205 registered referees
. 19, 417 Volunteers (but no Volunteer figures provided in the Report for Qld., WA, SA, NT, or ACT)
This is a total of 66,874 (INCLUDED in their national total of participants 1,851,683 in 2018)

The AFL rarely provides details of its national Volunteer numbers- the 2008 Annual Report stated about 100,000.
What evidence have you been able to ascertain of current, national Australian Football Volunteer numbers?
(I have heard of recent references of about 200,000)
The 2018 AFL Annual Report states there are a national total of 1,649,178 participants- which doesn’t include Volunteers, and is unclear if it includes coaches and umpires.

What are your national totals, using AFL and FFA Official numbers, for each sport respectively- including volunteers, coaches, and umpires?

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

@ MF

In my view, AFLW goaless halves are completely unacceptable (fortunately, very rare).

Australia has the most competitive sporting environment in the world, and the AFLW is in the entertainment business. Also, advertisers want lots of goals, for lots of ad breaks- and will pay handsomely for the Broadcast rights if this is achieved.
We will probably never win over the neanderthals on women’s sport- but we must try to convert fair-minded people who only have a very casual interest in the AFLW at the moment.

We must more than “hope” that the high knee/concussion rates are reduced.

2019 AFLW Grand Final: Talking about the football, and talking about the future

@RandyM, Chris, MaxPower, Brainstrust, Josh, Brian, Nemesis, Punter, Midfielder, Fadida, Waz, Redondo- and others who might believe the AFL is behaving illegally, and lying in its Official Registered Participation Reports it provides to governments etc. (the participant numbers are also independently audited).

From about August 2018 in this Big Footy Thread on the possibility of a 3rd AFL team being eventually established in Sydney, there are multiple links and direct quotes from the mainstream media detailing the decline of community Union and League in Sydney; and the rise in Sydney of community Australian Football, and the AFL generally.

These recent links and quotes are from ex Union and League players and Officials, from ex soccer Officials, and from media sports’ journalists.
(They include a SMH League/Union/soccer Walkely-Award winning journalist describing Sydney as “an AFL town”; and the Daily Telegraph main League journalist saying ” AFL has a footprint in Sydney almost as big as Rugby League”- referring to Australian Football’s strong community growth)

Are all these people lying also? Why would they besmirch their (non-AFL) preferred sports?

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?


Thanks for your expert AFLW analysis each week- you easily surpass anything available on mainstream media.

A few questions. Your views on:

(1) With 4 new teams being added next year, do you expect the average standard drop?
(I know you said in a previous article that the net, accelerated, benefits for the growth of female football outweigh any possible negatives)

(2) Should there be any AFLW-specific rule changes to minimise the much higher female rate of serious knee-injuries? If so, what?
( I know, due to biological reasons, they will always be much higher rates than compared to males)

(3) Should there be any rule changes to increase the average number of goals being kicked, to improve the game as a spectacle (particularly with “non rusted-on, fair minded” persons who could develop an interest in the AFLW)?

(4) Any other rule changes you would like to see/”experiment with” to determine their efficacy?

2019 AFLW Grand Final: Talking about the football, and talking about the future

@ Redondo

(1) I accept your account of Australian immigration statistics is factual, and you are probably correct that the AFL would be aware of, and have concerns over, these demographic trends.
They have, possibly, negative implications for future Australian Football participation numbers (both % and quantum of players)

The biggest challenge for the AFL would be Asian immigration, which is booming, and is likely to continue. About 13% of people living in Australia come from an Asian background, and this is very likely to continue to rise. Most reside in Sydney and Melbourne.

Asian Australians contribute enormously to Australia and, of course, are good citizens.
Very few, however, on my anecdotal observations, either play community Australian Football, or attend AFL matches. The AFL, Richmond and Essendon have tried many programs to engage the Asian-Australian population, but appear to have had very little success.

I suspect the AFL itself is partially responsible for these failures, and lack of Asian-background players playing in the AFL (currently only one, at Western Bulldogs); or community football. If the AFL had many Asian-background players, it would provide a massive boost in its efforts to engage with this community.

This is the problem the AFL itself has created, by rule changes/introduction of the interchange/heavy constant congestion/much less open space for the short/light weight player to run into. The average height of VFL/AFL players has, since the 1970’s, increased from about 180 cm to about 187 cm now.
It is, therefore, extremely difficult for “short” people to become professional players. Up until about 1980, VFL teams had about 4 players below 177 cm per team (rovers and pocket players, usually)- now the AFL might have one per team.

At the community Australian Football level, where average heights are much lower, it is very disappointing there are so few Asian-background players.

Anecdotally, apart from players from a sub-continent background where large numbers play cricket, there appears to be a smaller passion for sport generally in Australia for persons from an Asian-background.

With immigrants from other ethic backgrounds, however, after the second or third generation, Australian Football has been very successful in the southern/western states in having a good % following Australian Football (but not in NSW, ACT, or Qld.).
Who knows what will transpire in the future?

To counter-balance this participation problem, Australian Football female participation has had, surprisingly, a HUGE boom since the 2017 AFLW creation, all over Australia.
This participation boom is expected to accelerate when the high profile, big powerful Clubs join the AFLW. West Coast and Richmond will both join in 2020; Essendon, Hawthorn, and Sydney (big for NSW) are likely to join by 2024.

(2) Yesterday, at 4.23 pm, I posed 6 questions to the many people here who said the AFL was lying about its Official 2018 registered participant numbers. It appears none of them wish to specifically address these 6 questions.
These questions canvassed the horrendous consequences of, ILLEGALLY, supplying false numbers to SA/ASIC/other government agencies, major reputational damage for the AFL and its Commissioners/other Officials (and their future job prospects in the corporate sector etc.), inevitability of leaks, and the willing complicity also of the independent Auditors of the figures, and Sporting Pulse.

Would you care to answer my questions?

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

@ Munro Mike

Great research.

For an ‘apples with apples’ approach/consistency with the FFA, it would be apppropriate to add Australian Football volunteers, coaches, and umpires (properly delineated and separated) to the TOTAL AFL Official participant numbers since 2017. Do you agree?

Do you consider a paradigm shift is occurring in community Australian sport participation?

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

@ RandyM
(AND Chris, BrainsTrust, Max Power, Josh, Brian- and others here who reject the veracity of the AFL’s Official registered participant numbers)

(1) I directly put 6 questions to you today, at 4.23pm above, concerning the extremely unlikely proposition (in my view), posited by you and others here, that the AFL is lying about its participant numbers- and the horrendous consequences for the AFL if it were to lie to Governments etc.

No one has challenged my 6 questions/arguments.

I request you answer these questions. If you decline, or don’t genuinely address these questions, a reasonable assumption can be made that you, and others, are tro!!ing on this issue.

(2) Also, do you accept that the creation of the AFLW in 2017 has VASTLY increased female Australian Football participant numbers (school and club) in NSW/ACT; and all over Australia ?

(3) How accurate are the sentiments and trends expressed in this link on female growth in Sydney?

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

@ Alicesprings
and your comment that (re government spending on Aboriginal development programs) “…literally billions being wasted up here with but a fraction hitting the ground”. Where are you referring to as “up here”-only NT, or all of northern WA, NT, and northern Qld.?

I am aware of various reports of the Productivity Commisssion, to the Federal Government, that VAST amounts of public funds are being spent on Aboriginal programs, but very little objective progress (by measurable outcomes) is being made.
Do you believe it is really in the “billions” being wasted? Examples?
Who funds the Clontarf Program, associated with Australian Football and school attendance etc.? And amounts pa?

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

My completed sentence, from my 7.59pm comment, should have stated
-and its Official registered “participants” would increase enormously.

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?

@ Munro Mike

Are you saying that the FFA includes volunteers, coaches, and referees in its Official registered 1,800,000+ “participants”? How do you know this?

I don’t believe the AFL includes volunteers in its Official registered “participants” of 1,649,178 in 2018. I don’t know if it counts its umpires and coaches as Official “participants”. Your views?
Australian Football would easily surpass soccer numbers in these 3 areas.

If you are correct, then the AFL would be entitled to follow accordingly- and its Official registered

What can we learn from the AFL and FFA's participation rates?