The Roar
The Roar

David Ward

Roar Guru

Joined June 2014









Roar Guru
Roar Guru

Junk mail, Jobe's medal and New York coffee

CEOs of multi-billion dollar sporting organisations are busy people, as a rule. They usually have other people to read their mail for them, and it’s not only because of their totalitarian inclinations and disdain for transparency. It’s because they’re busy people. They need to limit the extraneous demands on their time.

Good article Josh. Hard to know what the optimum premiership model will look like in 12 months time because innovations are superseded within seasons as well as between them these days. But a fit TJ Lynch playing somewhere near his best would give Richmond the tools for both chaos and structure and therefore the inside running – Caddy and Dusty can be midfielders when locking-it-in is the priority and thrown forward if the dam wall starts creaking, for example. The fleet of forward-pressure merchants backed up after a premiership, so there’s no reason for them to get complacent after letting it slip this year. Rioli and Higgins (maybe) are ready for wider duties. The team is ready and able to play a more sophisticated game, and probably sick of the old one.
You’re right about the Tiges’ clearance incompetence – it probably took a shocker from Martin to show how much borrowed time had been used up on that front. Can’t see any alternative to Lynch giving big Toby a chop out when required, for that reason. Hardly the best use of a blue-chip stock, but there can be no more pinch-hitting with Grigg and no room for another tall. In every other respect he looks like a prize-winning recruit to me.

Richmond's ambitions rest on the shoulders of Tiger Tom

Pretty persuasive, Cam. Both Scott boys are a bit too convinced of their own deep-thinking brilliance for my satisfaction. It could be that talking well about coaching and actually coaching well are two different things. Jeans, Sheedy and Malthouse never made a great deal of sense, at the public lecterns anyway. Bomber Thompson was incoherent, publicly, long before he hit the skids. Bart Cummings would have been strapping horses at Stony Creek if verbal elan was a KPI. But their charges all understood them well enough. Geeling players looked like they were guessing on Saturday. Good article.

Chris Scott is to blame for Geelong's mediocrity

Agree. What is good for Richmond is good for footy. I think most fair-minded people accept that.

Delicious! Daniel Rioli's bag of four puts Richmond in the grand final

He should give the medal to Bob Murphy. That’s the convention, isn’t it?

Banned Bombers lose appeal, Jobe's Brownlow in doubt

Agree. Bite the bullett and see what he can do. He might be more ready than everyone thinks. The Dogs have been trying to ease Jake Stringer back into form for weeks by playing him up the ground, getting inconsequential possessions forcing less talented forwards (Redders, Tory Dickson) to play roles they’re not equipped for, and stretching Bont (who is the same vintage as Boyd) thinner than is good for him, gun though he is. At 3/4 time on Saturday night Bevo said: “String, go forward and do what you’re paid to do.” And he did. I’m a Tiger, and it’ll be a while before I venture back into that bearpit of supernaturally persecuted doggy supporters. But he was the difference. Tom doesn’t have to aim that high but, then again, maybe he should.

The Bulldogs' million-dollar problem has a simple solution

His hammy is a definite worry but they reckon they’re getting better intel as far as managing it goes, the longer he plays. And he’s more than a trier. He’s good. Tougher than he looks, knows how to play tight and complement the other backs. That puts him well ahead of Chaplin, unless you value the spare defender/lots of pointing and gesticulating role as highly as the commentators do. If we (Tiges) keep DG it means Rance only has to play two roles rather than three. His hair doesn’t get messed up as much, which is important.

How the trade period should go for the Tigers

I’m with you, Dougie. The master strategist, Dan Richardson, should be the one in the gun. I’d hang on to Grimes, though, and maybe Ty V, unless you want to give us DJ Luke Dalhaus for either or both.

How the trade period should go for the Tigers

If the wind were colours.
If the air could speak

Junk mail, Jobe's medal and New York coffee

Not my job to examine the evidence, Stephen, nor yours. I actually don’t see how any players were supposed to envisage having their fate decided in the Swiss courts when they signed their standard AFL contracts. I don’t think it was a reasonable expectation. I’m pretty sure Jobe honestly doubts it was TB4 he was injected with. Not sure you’ve been treated all that fairly, either, certainly not in the media – you’ve made more sense than others on your side of the abridgement.

But the parties don’t get to decide these things, or decide who does. Some independent authority or other has to be able to compel decent evidence and make a final call. And then the consequences are what they are. There’s no “let’s agree to disagree” about it.

Junk mail, Jobe's medal and New York coffee

Neither an integrity issue nor deserving of an apology, certainly not the latter. The world is what it is, Dougie – there might be another football universe where a 17 to 1 differential doesn’t automatically guarantee an outcry, but not ours. It wouldn’t matter if all 17 were cut and dried reportable offences. I expect even a measured statesman like Luke “mens rea” Beverage might raise an eyebrow over a disparity like that. I’m pretty sure Doggy fans wouldn’t be too philosophical if the count had gone the other way. More likely the umpire would have needed an armed escort to a safehouse. The president would have sought an urgent injunction, probably from a foreign tribunal. He’d have threatened industrial action.He’d still be talking now.
Bevo looks like the real deal as a coach but the quality of his indignation is laughable. He’s been taking lessons from the younger of the Scott twins, apparently. For godsake man, get a grip.
As for the Bulldogs being everyone’s second team, that’s no more true than the everybody-loves-Bob slushfest that reached such intolerable proportions this week. A little bit of Bob went quite a distance with some of us already, believe it or not. Chris Judd managed to exit the arena in comparable circumstances without it becoming an occasion for such relentless, cornball melodrama. As far as I can see, the only one to have taken anything approaching a mature perspective on this act-of-God tragedy is little Jarvis, Bob’s 8 year old son – he didn’t care!

Can Troy Pannell umpire another Western Bulldogs game?

It’s probably incidental to this discussion but the observation correctly made of Bolton – that he had all his players on the same page and adhering to an identifiable game-plan almost immediately – is a pretty sound measure of any coach. I’d say it’s an indication that acquiring and developing new young talent is still the policy absolute. The young benefit from coherence and it seems to be BB’s particular gift that he can impart it. His appointment was a vote for the long term and nothing he’s done since suggests any wavering on that front. But winning is a function of education, too, so if the future is starting earlier than most expected it might just be that he’s a very good teacher, of the young and the older. I don’t see it as an either/or equation – win now, lose later or vice versa – and I doubt that a couple of places higher or lower on the draft order of merit will make much difference to their fortunes. But I expect Blues fans can rest assured that if it even comes close to a choice between the longterm and the short, SOS and Bolts will stay the course.

ROSE and RYAN: Are Carlton winning too much?

Absolutely agree, and we may well have got it across the line if Demetriou was still running things. But the current CEO is more your collegial, peer-persuasion kind of operator, as far as I can tell. He’s not big on mandates, even when they make as much sense as your suggestion, Audrey. And more’s the pity.

Explaining AFL's Saturday night fever

Pretty much what I set out to achieve, Paul.

Explaining AFL's Saturday night fever

Pride myself on it, Jen.

Explaining AFL's Saturday night fever

You’re quite right that boards are a more appropriate target for criticism as far as excessively generous contracts are concerned, Geck. I think I mention that it’s probably a flawed example. The people who make the decisions that result in these extortionate payouts should be more liable, in my view. They’re not backward in rattling tins and tugging at the heartstrings of the faithful when it suits. But the idea of moral hazard, which is itself open to question, is generally a reference to the example rather than the individual. Pretentious or not, it’s directed at the public good. And being so cavalier with such large amounts of other people’s money, with a recession possibly on the way, is a bad public example.
I don’t know Mick so the potshot isn’t personal, although I do have a well-grounded personal wariness of hand-on-your-heart patriots who tend to be prominent on certain days of the year. For a more objective and balanced assessment see ‘Malthouse: A Football Life’. I dare say that’ll give you a more realistic portrait of ‘the devoted family man; the practical joker; the philosopher and author; the loyal friend; the lover of humanity; and the mentor who turns boys into men.’ It’s by Christi someone-or-other, from memory.
I expect longevity has more to do with success than integrity.

Alastair Clarkson's contract sacrifice

Good call, Geck, and good article, Cam. Not normally a coach basher but I have to say Dimma’s natural penchant for low-skilled hardnuts like Morris, Townsend, Hunt (and Thomas and Lonegan before that) in a team light-on for skill is beyond justification by now. It appears that he’s just not a good coach of talent. Eddie Betts or Cyril will kick 15 on Morris some day.

Groundhog Day, Richmond style

You have sound judgment, Audrey.

[UPDATE] No surprises, ASADA and Bock's case to answer

I’d stick with Astbury for the year because he’s a reasonable talent and hasn’t had a decent run at it due to injury. If he comes through his conservatism will be the right sort of counterpoint to Rance and allow Chaplin to be consigned to the strictly-as-a-last-resort category. Speaking of Rance, his last two games have been right out of the vault, circa 2011-12. I’ve been having flashbacks to the days when he and Luke McGuane would calmly assess their options like Ayres and Langford in their prime, and then loop one of those long, slow, high handpasses to an encircled team-mate in the goal square. He’s had to play multiple roles to compensate for the deficiencies of others, and the strain is showing. He and Bachar had a decent old set-to on Saturday, for example.
Good analysis though, Cam.

How not to overreact: Early AFL season declarations

Yes, Dusty and Rance, 2nd and 1st in last year’s B&F, and both with their best footy still ahead of them. And the two players Daniel Richardson went within millimetres of losing with his prudent, steady-as-she-goes approach to list management. War chests don’t win premierships, Dan. Nor does self-congratulation. Pretty simple equation – get us a young midfield gun in the next off-season, or clean out your desk.

The Great Dusty hope in the Richmond wilderness

Good work, Jay. Dusty actually was dishing out don’t-argues as a 17 year old – it was to the hard bodies of the Hawthorn midfield in a pre-season game about 7 years ago, the first time most of us had seen him play. We got a 70-plus point flogging and he was among the best few afield. Played then pretty much as he plays now, with neither fear nor malice. About 6 weeks later the rumour mill had it that GWS had offered him 700K and the keys to the Rooty Hill Plaza. I tell you, you’ve never seen so many mild-mannered, well-spoken, skivvy-wearing, Blue Nile-loving Tiger fans – the majority of us – ready to take up baseball bats and march on AFL headquarters. For some reason we thought the AFL might not be above engineering a bit talent-diversion to the expansion clubs.
No one at Tigerland has ever doubted his abilities. He’s been remarkably consistent given his reported struggles with the professional disciplines, the most consistent in my view.
But the aggregate stats lie about Dusty. He needs to relieve his captain of some hard ball responsibility, and he should kick a lot more goals – he kicks three or four in half a quarter and then averages about one every 8 quarters for the next couple of months. With his capabilities he should be kicking 40 plus, even as a part-time forward. The clanger count wildly overstates his profligacy, too. He and Deledio are the only two who can kick long and creatively to position, so I expect they’ve got a bit of licence to be speculative. Minders willing, he’ll get better yet.

The Great Dusty hope in the Richmond wilderness

Show cause notices re-issued on October 17. I’m still a few days out, though, so thanks for the maths lesson. Appreciate it.

Essendon and James Hird's four lost months

Middleton judgment September 19, SC notices reissued October 17. ASADA waited for Essendon’s appeal period to expire, for the same reason it waited for the trial to finish. Pretty routine stuff. No idea why ASADA didn’t wait for Hird to exhaust his appeal rights. It may have been looking for a reason not to make it more protracted than it had to be, and Essendon’s decision provided that. Not sure ASADA would feel obliged to be breaking any land speed records, by that stage.

Essendon and James Hird's four lost months

Apologies again (see above). The story was done a few days ago now but it’s relevant because the fate of the tribunal hearing, which began before the legality of the investigation was established and is currently underway, largely depends on the Federal Court judgment. If the court rules that the investigation was unlawful and decides that none of the evidence obtained from it can be used at the tribunal, it’s hard to see how the tribunal hearing could continue. And with the court sitting year starting next Monday, there’s a reasonable expectation (though nothing more) that the Hird judgment isn’t far away.
It’s quite possible you are no better off after reading it, but to some extent that’s the point. The court can make a range of declarations and orders – the above scenario is probably the least likely – and whatever it decides won’t be directed purely at this case. Its effect may not be as cut and dried as much of the football public, or at least that part of the public that isn’t heartily sick of the whole affair, expects and wants it to be. So it was written to provide advance notice of that possibility.

Hird judgement could change everything or nothing

Apologies for the less-than-prompt reply, Mr Football – I had an extended long-weekend away, out of Roar-range. Details of the tribunal hearing are pretty sketchy, but you’re correct that some of the evidence will be new and therefore (probably) unaffected by any Federal Court ruling on the legality or otherwise of the investigation. The argument about admissibility that has apparently just concluded would have been directed at new evidence that emerges or may emerge in the course of the current hearing.
But the amount of evidence obtained during the 18 month investigation was absolutely colossal (which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all good or even relevant), so we can assume that’s the bulk of it. And it would be surprising if none of it has been presented in 12 days of hearing.
As for the conclusion, that’s the stated position of both sides. Hird’s lawyers say if the investigation is declared illegal, everything obtained from it is a legal “nullity” and can provide no basis for a tribunal decision. They say if ASADA still wants to investigate it will have to “start again, and do it legally this time”. ASADA doesn’t accept the merit of such a finding but has made it clear, in court and on the record, that it will do it all again if that’s what it takes.

Hird judgement could change everything or nothing

It’s premature to be speculating on who the Swans will or won’t play in the first or third week of the finals, and where. They’ve got a tooled-up juggernaut from Tigerland to get past first. In my view the shape of the 2014 finals hinges on two words: Dusty’s hammy.

The stage is set for a blockbuster final round