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Antony Pincombe

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Joined October 2014

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I have a BA in Writing from MacQuarie University. Crazy Swans Supporter & Member.Live in Sydney. I played Aussie Rules from the age of five, starting in Mosquito Fleet in Broken Hill. I believe in a fair go but also believe that teams have to prove on and off the field they have what it takes. Love the local footy because there is less bull.

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The Black Diamond League is incredibly strong.

A comparison of AFL growth in non-heartland states

Every time the NRL looks to expand to out of NSW & Qld they stuff up. The only exception being Melbourne Storm. But Melbourne is a sports obsessive town that would watch two flies running up a wall if they thought it would be fun. But other than that expanding was not a good look last time. Getting kids to play the bone busting game is also going to be hard as parents are going away from that sort of game.

A comparison of AFL growth in non-heartland states

This is what you say. Prove it. Club participation rates are proven and have to be by registration records. One article where Tomt Harley got the figures wrong about area participation that is all. He gave the Stydney figure instead of the local Inner west figure. you are great at making statements but not so good about backing them up.

You don’t seem to understand that for official figures to be proffered by an organisation like NSW/ACT AFL the state government would have to approve the figure by witnessing the registrations. This is how state sporting bodies get their funding. If they can’t prove the figures the state government does not fund their sport. The sports media in NSW is generally anti AFL so if figures are wrong there will be huge furore in the media. so don’t tell me they are fudging their figures.

By the way why don’t you be honest and tell all of us here what code you follow and have you got anything to do with the running of any part of that code including at junior level. Please declare your sphere of influence and your involvement in the other codes. The other thing is put up or shut up, proof, proof, proof!!

A comparison of AFL growth in non-heartland states

Club participation rates grew by 8.7% in NSW in 2017. There was a 78% increase in female participation. AFL participation overall grew 7.8% to 250,000 third only to Victoria and Western Australia. (NSW/ACT AFL, 30th Nov, 2017).

Add to that a 30.4% growth in AFL ‘9’s and a 9% growth in Auskick. (NSW/ACT AFL, 30 Nov, 2017)

Participation rates have been growing slowly over the years but recently have surged. This can be put down to several factors. The Buddy Factor is a big one but not the major influence even though it is a strong factor.

One of the main driving forces behind the growth has been the way soccer operates in the state. Soccer in NSW run their junior programs to finance the ‘A’ League teams so the cost of junior footy is very high. Not only that, soccer has a coaching creed that if you don’t look like making it by 14, then they don’t persevere with the kid. In other words the kid is on the scrap heap before they even develop their body to it’s fullest potential. The other problem with soccer is the incidence of parental violence on the sidelines.

The other major change has been the way parents see NRL. Most parents these days find NRL too rough and dangerous for their kids. The broken bones, black eyes and parental fights on the side lines also have influenced a slow degradation of Rugby League at junior level. The heartland of Rugby League still remains, the West or South of Sydney. But the other areas, including the bush, are moving away from Rugby League. Even though they are under siege from Soccer in the West and South West. In the East they are well under siege from AFL.

Rugby Union has been the second sport in NSW for a long time but now it would be the last choice in footy. Participation rates are very low. Only private schools have Rugby Union and AFL is taking over in the East and North due to the Swans influence. The Inner West is being slowly gobbled up by AFL & Soccer. Very soon there will be few schools offering Rugby Union. This has a huge impact on Australian Rugby Union. Where are their future players coming from?

All in all, AFL is doing well and due to Soccer policy I see AFL taking over from Soccer in the next 10 years. soccer is imploding like they always do at the national level and that has a great influence on how the game is perceived by parents. If parents see Soccer (I refuse to call it football) Australia as corrupt, which is the picture being painted by the media, then they will start to move their kids into games that have a far better reputation. Parents don’t like paying for other people’s holidays.

A comparison of AFL growth in non-heartland states

It’s quite simple really. The Cats are trying to buy a premiership. They are trading for the now not drafting for the long term. Their window is open but in two maybe three years it will be closed unless they trade out and in to a huge degree. Collingwood, as much as Buckley keeps telling us he is rebuilding, is doing virtually the same as are the Bullies, Adelaide and Port. they are clubs that need success now not later or the moment will pass them by.

What has become of the Geelong Cats footy factory?

Well said Rick I agree with all of that. I’d just add two more items.\.

Make the Deliberate Out Of Bounds & the Deliberate Rushed Behind rules less interpretive.

Change the umpire’s timing on calling a stoppage. In SA they whistle up far quicker and throw up immediately. Too bad if the ruckman isn’t ready. The game flows immediately and there are far less stoppages from a throw up than in the AFL. With AFL set plays from a stoppage everyone is ready and waiting for the umpire to throw up so you get lots of extra stoppages.

How much can we really learn from the AFL players survey?

Bucks getting reappointed? A premiership in 3 years? In your dreams sunshine. As to fitness being the only problem. Too simplistic. How about a combination of factors. bad recruiting leading to shallow depth. Some erratic coaching. Stars being injured, Pies need every best 22 on the park due to the fact the replacements are not that good. Overconfidence. Simple really.

Collingwood lacks the fitness to be a force in the AFL

Most sporting teams have at least one native born player. The Gold coast has seven Queensland players, one on the Rookie list. The Swans have a few more local players with eleven, one a Rookie. I could go on but I doubt there is one AFL team without a local player playing for them.

The fact is with the expansion of the old VFL to the AFL and a national competition the local tribal nature of footy has changed. I don’t think you can equate modern royalty to tribalism. Modern royalty is based on inbreeding whereas tribal culture was very aware of inbreeding and sought ways to eradicate it. Whether by war to enslave other tribe’s people or by negotiate intermarriage inbreeding was controlled. This is not so far from the sports culture we have today.

The old VFL were not beyond buying premierships and the South Melbourne team of the 1930’s was called ‘The Swans’ not because Swans were prevalent in Albert Park Lake but because they had so many Western Australian players in the side. The Swans literally bought a premiership. That became the norm in the VFL. players from all over the country have played VFL footy. In many cases being required to play interstate footy against their home state for the Big V.

You’re not from here... Why support a club when no players are local?

I agree with you Lethal. I am a Swans supporter and think the umpiring in the last few years has been nothing short of a disgrace. I’m not talking about just against my team I’m talking about the standard of umpiring. what has made it worse is that we get four umpires and they are ten times worse than three. They get in the way, double decision, off play decision and they still manage to miss 98% of incorrect disposal. But then again the AFL wants throws because Gillon thinks it makes the game quicker.

I am going to make a big statement here. I think the umpiring is the worst standard since televising of the game and back then there was only one umpire.

Hawks coach sorry for umpire comments

So agree and so do the coaches. The other one getting the coaches upset is the DOOB

AFL rules should only be changed to improve the game

So agree and so do the coaches. The other one getting the coaches upset is the DOOB

AFL rules should only be changed to improve the game

No Kris he mentions that in his discourse. But it is rules like the deliberate out of bounds rule that confuse players, coaches and fans due to umpire interpretation. Another rule that seems to be interpreted instead of just paying the free on sight is that of incorrect disposal. This is the most controversial rule due to the fact that players are being allowed to throw and drop the ball without being penalised. This goes against one of the great features of our game, the handball, that makes it different to any other game. This should be sacred as far as I’m concerned. In fact I am not the only one who thinks so as the majority of coaches and players who have been interviewed on this subject agree. Even Beverage made the comment after the 2016 GF that if the umpires were going to allow incorrect disposal his players would take advantage of that. He must have known pre-game this was the case because they did it all game and got away with it.

Gillon McLachlan has said and I quote ‘Incorrect Disposal is too difficult to clean up’. Several coaches were furious over these comments and again the CEO of the AFL shows his inability to bring people along with him on key issues. He also made a definitive statement on a key issue concerning every sector of the AFL community without even consulting umpires, coaches or players. Again, like the Sydney trade ban he fails in his communication and negotiation skills. This is a very great concern and many fans are beginning to get jacked off with his glib treatment of key issues. The game has to evolve but not at the expense of the key elements. The AFL should be protecting all the elements of our game that ensure it is unique, not trying to turn it into a hybrid of Rugby Union.

If you have rules that are highly interpretive then the umpire’s job is far harder. Other problems also ensue like difference in interpretation of the three umpires on one day and a variety of interpretations over a weekend. This is not good for the game as it frustrates players, coaches and fans alike. At the moment the whole issue of interpretation, especially of deliberate out of bounds and incorrect disposal is a powder keg waiting to go off. Beverage likened the deliberate out of bounds interpretation to Morcombe and Wise or Monty Python as it has become a very bad joke. I think there will be far more vitriolic coaches’ comments in the weeks to come on both rules. Other silly rules are the player kicking in having to get the ball from the bag, so stupid. The third up rule, which has been confusing at times and sometimes left teams with nobody up. The holding the ball interpretation, again a high degree of interpretation needed, where a player tackling holds the ball in is another contentious interpretation. In fact there is a rule that could penalise the player tackling and deliberately keeping the ball in, it is called ‘Deliberately wasting time’ . This is a rule rarely used but could definitely be used in this context as the player being tackled does not have possession of the ball the player tackling does. In fact technically if a player tackled the tackling player then that player would have to be deemed as in possession.

So highly interpretive rules are a blight on the game and continue to frustrate everybody. Gillon McLachlan and your other glib mates please do something about this situation as you are ruining our great game.

AFL rules should only be changed to improve the game

no they are not!!!

The arguments for and against Jack Watts

Oh dear. It seems for a boy who grew up with racism that you haven’t learned much. As you certainly have presented us with one of the most racist little pieces of the year. Don’t please tell me that just because you are Asian you can’t be racist. I used to hear this from a Greek friend of mine every time she would call an Asian a ‘Slope’ on stage. I would get so angry with her. but more importantly Jack Watts was really good Anzac Eve after having to play in the ruck. He was a trooper. He did what needed to be done. But earlier he was really good anyway. His movement of the ball was super. He rarely wastes a kick. I am not a Melbourne supporter by the way.

I find your whole article offensive, racist and demeaning.

The arguments for and against Jack Watts

You and a lot of others would love to think you are right and Hawks & Swans are on the ropes and the elevator has only one way, down. But you are wrong about the Swans at least. The Swans list is young and really strong. When the young guys mature, in 1-2 years if given game time, we will be on top again. You make wild assumptions on 4 injury riddled games all of which the Swans could have won if not for running out of legs. Fitness and form are more the key here not the list or recruiting. Injuries and the form of senior players have played a part even though Cameron Rose doesn’t seem to think so. Don’t assume that as soon as the swans injury riddled senior players are back, in the next two weeks, that things won’t turn around. That means we can rest an injured Hannaberry and get him scraped (knee).

Our footy club has recruited very well. But due to a 2 year trade ban we have had to recruit young. This we have done and since those two years we have brought, Heeney, Mills, Papley, Newman, Hayward (remember that name, because when he wins the goal kicking you won’t soon forget), Jones, Hewett, Florent, Fox, Robinson (injured), Marsh, Dawson, Naismith, Aliir, Lloyd & Rampe.

There are players playing reserves like Rose, Fisher, Ronke, Maibaum, Talia, Cameron, O’Riordan, Melican, Edwards & Pink who are all a bit handy. I bet you don’t know that Toby Pink, a CHF, played full forward in just his second NEAFL game and kicked 6 goals. Or that Maibaum has played so well his opponents have yet to hit the scoreboard. Or that Lewis Melican, he has kept all opponents this season to less than a hand full of disposals, is so close to senior selection he has been upgraded from the Rookie list. Fisher is an ex-GWS Academy player and he could turn out better than the draft picks they got if NEAFL form is any indication (30+ both games).

So no I can’t agree with you re Swans. I don’t think you have a clue about our list at all. Otherwise you wouldn’t make sweeping statements.

Swans and Hawks both face the beginning of the end

I agree Andrew. John, the game changes with the good rule changes but there are several rule changes and interpretations that are ruining the game for me. Especially the interpretation of the incorrect disposal. Far too many throws and dropping the ball go un-adjudicated. this is turning the game into a form of Rugby Union. Now Rugby Union is a dying game so why would you try to emulate it? Beyond me.

The powers that be in the AFL are just children anyway or att least their attitude is childish. When I hear a CEO say ‘get over it’ I know we have an immature person running the show. ‘Get over it’ is a saying used by people who have no idea of the issues that are being put to them or have trouble empathizing with other people and seeing the opinions of others as valuable and viable. The AFL will never conquer the world with this administration because they are inwardly focused and basically seem to be penalised with narcissistic personality disorder. They are more focused on the rules of the game than growing the game. The biggest growth could be in poorer countries but of course this administration doesn’t think that is viable. In years to come they will be proved wrong.

In other words they have absolutely no vision for the future of the game, only their own self interest.

The AFL needs to fix itself before it takes on the world

Yeah i said to my nephew, a Hawks member, now you know what Mitchell’s problem is. His handball is super, his kicking is sus if not dreadful.

Injuries no excuse for flailing Sydney

As I keep saying who’s injured at Adelaide. Crouch is not. Cheney is a journeyman. Thompson is way past his best which was always just good. So you are comparing Rampe, an All Australian, to Cheney. HAHAHA. What a bloody joke. The rest on their list are up & comers. We have lost far more experience.

GWS have more depth than anyone. So they bloody well should. So would we if we had most of the first and second round draft picks for 3 drafts and were allowed an extra 10 players first year, 6 second year and 5 third year. Then sold lots of players for more first round draft picks. Gee I think any club in that position might just have a bit of depth and talent running around in the twos. They can also cover a lot of players because of all the draft picks they got as compensation for trades and then traded in lots of top flight senior players. Funny though their twos are third last I think. They have 8 injuries just like us but have many more experienced players to call upon now as they have traded or list managed. We couldn’t trade remember.

By the way GWS lost to the Crows. they beat Power (a good side), Norf (not a good side) & Suns(were putrid, even the U10’s could have beaten them that week).

Injuries no excuse for flailing Sydney

Crouch is not injured he is playing reserves and can’t get a game because of lack of form. Cheney was a journeyman, not unlike Laidler a player with limited skills, and even though he has been consistent is not a top player by any means. As for Scott Thompson he’s basically finished. I can’t see how you can compare an All Australian backman with Kyle Cheney. How you can compare the quality of player we have missing to their players who are almost all either finished, cusp players or journeymen. Crouch might be a good player, the fact is he’s not injured though and he has not consistently proved to be a good player.

Injuries no excuse for flailing Sydney

COLA does and never did help us pay more players or better players. It is paid directly to the players as an extra by the AFL. It does not affect how much we can pay players at all. It is simply a cost of living allowance because it is 25-35% more expensive to live here than there. Depending on where you live in Sydney. Take Bondi for instance. Rentals in Bondi, 2 beds are $1,273 on average. A loaf of bread there is $6. Rump steak $26-45/kilo depending on butcher or supermarket.

In other words if we don’t have it players want to go home. Simple. that will happen again and already has. See Darrin Jolly.

Injuries no excuse for flailing Sydney

Eski took a retirement package at the Suns. He wouldn’t have played any better for us. He was baked and the club knew it.

White showed glimpses, but very few, at the Swans and twice wanted out before and wanted to be traded to Crows as part of the Tippett deal. He wasn’t happy at the Swans.

Membrey & Biggs were victims of the Tippett & Buddy deals as you say. Biggs especially hurt.

Mummy was reportedly offered a over $800,000 by GWS. I’m not sure that even in ordinary circumstances we could have or would have matched it.

Toby was a plodder at our club. Not particularly quick, a good kick, but a plugger. He is playing better footy than he ever played at the Swans.

I notice you didn’t mention Lamb, who also went to GWS on reportedly $600,000. What a joke. He was never worth that. I’d say whatever pick we got in exchange was a step up. Oh dear was it Isaac Heeney?

The list management hasn’t been bad at all. A form slump by the experienced players like Smith, Parker, Hannaberry, Grundy, Cunningham, Tippett, Naismith (only half fit), Rampe (in the first game he was woeful) has been the problem.

Injury doesn’t hurt Adelaide or other sides you say? I’m sure it will when the injuries get over 8 or 10. They hurt every side when it gets to that stage. It is also who is injured that counts. the whole ruck division was injured for the Eagles game, except of course Sinclair. Naismith did his leg at trainig. Tippet didn’t come up from an ankle. Cameron, who is a mature ager not a 19yo by the way, as you seem to think, and will play this year, injured his shoulder in the NEAFL match two weeks ago.

The injury list;
Rampe 5 weeks
McVeigh 2 weeks
Tippett test
Naismith 2 weeks
Heeney managed due to illness, maybe 2 weeks
Rohan 1 week
Cameron ?
Robinson 7 weeks
Johnson 8 weeks

Robinson has been a very good and much underrated player for us. Basically the whole ruck division and half the mids. That hurts.

While injuries are not the only reason swans have lost games they have been a contributing factor. As has the poor form of the experienced players. Bad drafting has absolutely nothing to do with it. The young blokes have been very good with little or no help from the experienced players. Hewett has taken more responsibility, Lloyd is our best player. Only buddy, kennedy & reid have played well in any game. Parker was ok in the last game.

Form, not list management, is to blame for our downfall this year. Players who were expected to step up are in diabolical form. Cunningham, Towers, Brandon Jack (can’t kick), are simply playing woeful footy. They were all good for us two seasons ago but now struggle. But so are all the players who were at the Swans during the two GF losses. Only two players who played in both final series are even performing at all. Robinson was playing very good footy when injured against Port.

So in some ways I agree with you but in others I disagree entirely. We will bounce back this year and may even make the finals. but it seems to me you love putting the boot into Sydney. In fact I don’t remember a positive article about Sydney ever being written by you.

Injuries no excuse for flailing Sydney

Yes GCS are a bloody joke. Gazza doesn’t want to be there and he’s playing like it.

It might be the game's new buzzword, but rebuilding an AFL list ain't easy

The Swans have never really had a choice. After the early ’90’s it was apparent that if the Swans bottomed out the membership base and support dried up. So the Swans couldn’t bottom out and rebuild. They had to find another way and they did, trades and canny deals that got them better picks in the draft. I call this REGENERATION. As soon as the list starts to look old, players are put up for trade or in some cases encouraged to take a retirement fund at another club, see Nick Malceski.

Whether the introduction of GWS will change that I don’t know but knowing the Sydney penchant for winners I doubt it. AFL is a corporation and it’s member clubs are corporate entities within the much bigger Octopus that is the AFL. Clubs need to make profit to survive. Although I’m not so sure Gillon McLachlan is big on Sydney survival. I’m damned certain he’d like to have a club that didn’t question him so much. Corporate Psychopaths are like that. For evidence you only have to look at the stupidity of the AFL in it’s dealing with the AFLPA. That deal could have been done long before it was, if the AFL were not so childish in refusing to even meet. That to me was not good bargaining it was churlishness. In business you try to keep your key employees happy, not to do so is economic stupidity.

Will rebuild be a word used in Sydney? I doubt it.

It might be the game's new buzzword, but rebuilding an AFL list ain't easy

Thanks Skip you are a sport. Josh you are quick to point out the Hawks and Swans are 0-2 but then laud the Roos and Saints and yet they are both 0-2 also. North were finalists last year as well if you hadn’t noticed. Gee I forget you are a Norf supporter. The opposition the swans played was just a bit better than average I must say. You mention the Swans lack of depth but it wasn’t the young inexperienced players who let the Swans down last week, or the week before, it was the senior players. All the debutantes played well and Hayward and Newman were exceptional. The indifferent form of Hannaberry and Parker is worrying but depth worrying… please! The Bulldogs had well over 200 games up on us last week. They had no players in the 0-20 game category we had six.

That lack of experience is telling in big moments if your senior players are not performing and showing an example. For instance that Bontempelli mark in the goal square over Harry Cunningham was an example of the mindset of the experienced players at the moment. Cunningham, while a fringe player, has been in our system long enough to know an effort like that is unacceptable. If this is the sort of example the seniors continue to show the young players then there is indeed reason to panic. But I’m sure there will be some players who will come in to replace the likes of Cunningham, the same as replaced Towers, that will perform in a much more swans way.

Darcy Cameron was injured the first round but played NEAFL last week and kicked two while Jordan Dawson kicked three. I’m sure they would perform well if given a birth as Cameron is a mature age recruit from the WAFL and Dawson is just a talent (probably the only player to be able to match Bud for big kicks). I don’t think we lack depth at all I think our experienced players are down on form and need a good kick in the proverbial.

The other thing you haven’t mentioned is that if you take 82 goals over a season out of a side you are probably up against it. Between Heeney, Papley & Rohan they kicked 82 goals last season. Their goal assists were invaluable too. It will take the newbies a bit of time to settle into the rhythm of the forward set up but they are doing well so far.

If your mids are way down on output, all the Swans mids are down on average output by at least 20%, then you are always going to struggle.

The upshot is stop blaming the swans lack of depth because it doesn’t exist. It is their lack of senior player involvement in the game that is the problem. Especially in the mids. Add to that trying to battle unfair umpiring in the Doggies game, Port were just too good on the day, and it is a recipe for disaster.

Nine quick takes from AFL Round 2

JPK will have a little help think. Luke Parker was after all the runner up in last year’s Brownlow. But as to whether we should give Port a hiding? We are very young and have quite a few players out. We have opted for a small backline and Port will have plenty of talls. This could make a huge difference. Last year’s form means nothing. This is a new season. We all start on no points. Port will be keen to break that dreadful SCG drought today. The Swans will have to be on their game. Rider back makes a huge difference, even if he isn’t one of the best players as yet he will be after he gets some continuous game time. But he will do stuff that hurt you especially when resting.

Port have drafted very well, especially their Rookies. The Swans have also drafted well. This should be a better game than scribes are predicting. Much closer I bet.

Four questions for an AFL Saturday, Round 1