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May 11

RAW: AFL Round 7 Wrap

They're Standing Behind Their Man, They're Just No Longer Interested

By The Silver Bullett

Seven rounds in (or six for some and who knows exactly nowadays when rounds start and end) and the pressure is starting to mount on more than a few coaches and administrations.

As predicted pre-season, the School girl and related incidents were symptomatic of a St Kilda club that has lost its mojo (the footballing one at least.) With just 1½ wins from six rounds and its two best players in Nick the Dick and angry Brendan Goddard hopelessly out of touch and their next best, Lenny Hayes, out for the year, things look bleak.

Now they face charges of being ‘un-Australian’. I mean how low can you go – what’s un-Australian about bumping a guy when he is injured after their off season hi-jinx?

The history in the next year of sides that get to two (or their case three) grand finals and can’t bring home the bacon is not good and the Saints look like being another entry added to its annals.

Not so predicted is the slump of the Western Bulldogs. With Rodney Eade being somewhat from the rant and rave school, history is also against a comeback for the Dogs. When players tire of that bullsh*t, there is no turning back and the only way forward is a fresh start. David Smorgan needs to talk to his number one ticket holder, the PM, about how to unexpectedly end the pain now. If Richmond wins on the weekend, the dogs fans will be after blood.

Speaking of fresh starts, the Lions might as well concede now that the Voss experiment has been a complete disaster with the rebuilding club he inherited gutted by the pursuit of one big punting, big drinking dick head. If this wasn’t Voss’ decision, preference or choice, then stay the course, but if it was then, with his contract up at season’s end, you might as well get rid of him now and start again.

What delicious irony that the mercenaries stuck it up their old team.

In Adelaide, while the cricket and football elite voted to gorge themselves on half a billion dollars of other taxpayers’ money, the harsh reality is whether Port is going to survive long enough to ever play on a redeveloped Adelaide Oval. Other than their Showdown home game, their three home attendances to date have varied by a mere 1,927 people – from 21,287 to 23,214 – a set of numbers you would have to admit are of stunning consistency.

While always fielding the developing squad excuse, Port needs to face the reality that their team , talent wise – is the weakest in the AFL. With a major sponsor, My ATM, now on the financial ropes, one wonders how Port will manage to sustain itself for the three years necessary to the time those rivers of gold associated with an average projected attendance of 50% greater than these current (oh yeah, for sure) rolls up.

The Crows face not much better prospects, though their financial position is steadier. That mauling by Melbourne, no stranger itself to being (and still being) a thoroughbred or twoshort of a stable when it comes to talent, must have sent shivers down the spines of SANFL and Crows administrators. With Crows CEO, Stephen Trigg, acknowledging that football as a business in Adelaide is in decline, again the thought of two and half more years of this before those projected rivers of gold arrive on the banks of the Torrens must be sending the number of mogadon prescriptions soaring in the city of churches.

The art of goal umpiring has always been one of the great fascinations of our national game (and oh how we miss the good guy in the white lab coats.) The cock up in the Pineapple Bash has always been coming since the goal umpires started relying on their judgment of the line of the ball before dashing to the side to watch action on the goal line. A swirling wind will one day have the ball clearing the post the other side altogether and still twin calicos will be signalled. It is remarkable how many games this season are coming down to very bad decisions – St Kilda v Richmond in Rd 2 kicked things off. You have to think video refs are necessary, at least for behinds called goals.

Finally, I was fascinated by the events surrounding Nick the dicks’ dazed state against Adelaide last week. Having hit the ground hard, he was removed but not substituted and despite the game being in the balance and Nick himself remonstrating about coming back on, he sat out the last quarter on the bench.

Now this concussion rule is wholly designed to stop concussed players doing more damage to themselves either in that game or the next by playing when they shouldn’t be, whether the damage becomes obvious then or some years later. Full marks to the St Kilda doctors for not putting him back on but no marks if by not declaring him concussed their thoughts were only about his availability the week after. Ask any doctor about a concussion incurred in a parklands match and they will always recommend taking the next week off.

Yeah, footy is big business and these guys are big boys, but with the scent of litigation already hanging in their air for past medical mistakes, the AFL needs to make sure its message is actually being heard and acted upon. Still, their cant on respect for the fairer sex hasn’t got far.

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