Will the Demons Rise from the Mire?

A few questions / observations.  Please feel free to provide answers / comments.

Let me preempt this that I can handle being an ordinary side for a few years as long as we put in an effort.  And as long as I have some hope and get to watch some promising youngsters such as Jones & Buckley.

1st Question directed to Mr. Dean Bailey:

What is the difference in our game plan compared to last year?


Absolutely Nothing!!!!

*         We still handball forward to a bloke who is on the boundary side under pressure

*         We still handball to blokes who can’t kick

*         We refuse to kick the ball the anyone leading up from CHF

*         We still handball too often all over the ground

*         Our skills by hand and by foot are as bad if not worse than last year

The only difference I can see is that we are looking for different options other than Neita when we are 60-70 metres out and kick to the top of the goal square more often.

2nd Question directed to Mr. Dean Bailey:

Why do we continue to play our number 1 midfielder down back?


Cameron Bruce is an onballer who needs to play on the NUT!!!  Don’t waste him down back.  Lets try to play attacking footy!!!!!!

3rd Question Directed to the MFC players:

Does anyone have a heart?

4th Question directed to the MFC players:

Does anyone know how to man up?

No comments required for either of the above questions?

General Questions:

1.      Why did we hang onto Robbo?  (is good when we are and is bad when we are.  Individual)

2.      Why did we hang onto Yze, Miller, Holland, Carroll?

3.      Why did we hang onto half the list?

4.      Why did we get rid of the reverend?

5.      Why even try to play Davey on the nut?  He is a small forward who is TOO SOFT to play on the footy.  Let him weave his magic like at the start of his career.

6.      When will Sylvia & McLean start becoming our 2 best players????

Closing comments:

As you all know Junior has and always will be my favourite player.  I was disgusted with the efforts put in on the weekend for this bloke.

I sent back my MFC membership in the mail with question # 1 attached.  I only buy the standard membership due to being an MCC member and living in Sydney so it is more of a statement than anything.  They still got my money!!!  (I have asked for a full refund unless they can explain the difference in game plan)

However I will continue to watch and support MFC but I am becoming an angry old man.  I may be up for many TV replacements during the year and my 3 year son is learning some pretty harsh words.

“Disgruntled Demon”


Evolution of the code

Article by Jake Niall –

WITH minutes remaining in the 1989 grand final, battered Hawthorn was running out of legs and players; surging Geelong was running out of time. Yet the Hawks never resorted to what would now be considered percentage football. Would the match be so famous if they had?

Hawthorn was exhausted and nursing many injuries — including Dermott Brereton’s internal bleeding and Robert DiPierdomenico’s punctured lung — but at no stage late in the final quarter did the ailing Hawks attempt to “ice the clock” by chipping the ball sideways and backwards.

George Stone, Hawthorn’s runner that afternoon, recalled this week that he did not carry a message telling the players how much time was left, let alone relay an instruction to chip the ball. Back then, there was no way of accurately knowing the time remaining, since clubs did not have a live television feed into the coach’s box.

Geelong continued to attack and pump the ball forward to Gary Ablett, who in another loaves and fishes afternoon, booted 9.1. Malcolm Blight’s Cats were like sharks — they could survive only through constant forward motion. As Stone noted, had those circumstances been replicated in the present, the Hawks would have played those riveting final minutes quite differently. “In the modern game, someone would have got hold of the ball and they (the Hawks) would have kicked it sideways and backwards,” he said.

Those kill-joy tactics didn’t exist then; they were not even a glint in Kevin Sheedy’s eye. Consider Hawthorn wingman Darrin Pritchard, in possession near the centre, with 90 seconds remaining. He is not hurried by the umpire and could kick in any direction.

Rather than chip sideways, Pritchard thumps the ball long to a contest at centre half-forward, allowing the Cats to regain the ball, score their 21st goal and draw to within six points in the final minute.

It’s what those clubs didn’t do that highlights how the game has changed.

The Hawks didn’t ice the clock, or “drop numbers behind the ball” — the euphemism for flooding. They didn’t attempt to curtail a rampant Ablett by having extra players stand in front of him, as every club would today.

“They would drop an extra man behind the ball and front of Ablett,” said Stone, now Sydney’s full-time opposition coach, projecting how modern tactics would have been used. “I reckon that happened in 2006 (grand final) — (David) Wirrpanda dropped back in front of (Barry) Hall.”

Gary Ayres, five-time premiership Hawk and now Essendon assistant coach, concurred with Stone: “There’s no doubt there would be numbers behind the ball, trying to clog his (Ablett’s) space.”

Blight, asked this week how he would coach Geelong in that thrilling grand final if he could travel back in time, suggested that he would not flood or use the present armoury of defensive tactics. Those strategies require 2007 skills and fitness, and it’s by no means certain that Blight’s Cats, or Allan Jeans’ Hawks, could have executed them with only two interchange players and several injuries each.

“You only go with what you’ve got,” said Blight.

It is possible, however, to analyse that gladiatorial contest using statistics. In employing Pro-Stats to treat the 1989 grand final like a present-day game — breaking it down into contested and uncontested possessions, short and long kicks, turnovers et al — The Age this week sought to measure the difference between football then and now.

To get the most accurate and revealing insights into the game’s transformation, a statistical comparison was drawn between 1989 and the 2006 West Coast-Sydney grand final, matches that were decided by a kick.

The data demonstrates that the relationship between game styles is almost unrecognisable. If 1989 football is the parent, its 2006 offspring seems a distant relation.

Was late ’80s football really as we imagine it, with longer kicking, more contests, superior high marking and more forceful contact — but less skill? Did it truly showcase what former player-coach and now media commentator Tony Shaw has referred to as “the four cornerstones” of Australian football that must be protected — high marking, long kicking, physical contact and free scoring?

Yes, it did. What emerges from the data is a contrast between chaos (1989) and control (2006). Whereas 1989 was an anarchic game, notable for its violence, heavy scoring and unpredictable, broken patterns of play — in which the ball was up for grabs and mistakes frequent — 2006 is highly controlled.

The 2006 grand finalists have set patterns of play. They are loath to kick to a contest.

Control the ball, control aggression, control the tempo. Even the hairstyles — nary a mullet among the 44 players — are more restrained.

The game has become less spontaneous but more tactical, with far better skills, particularly kicking.

Coaches exert more influence over the contest, as do the fully professional players themselves.

The 2006 grand final had 35 per cent fewer one-on-one contests than its ’89 ancestor. The percentage of long to short kicks had declined by 19 per cent; long kicking, indeed, dropped by 47 per cent once handball was taken into account. West Coast had an unusually high handball tally last year, an apparent response to the Swans’ grungy style.

Contested marking — arguably the game’s most thrilling and endangered “cornerstone” — declined by 37 per cent from 1989 to 2006. There was no flooding in ’89, and there was still some semblance of traditional positions. Teams had neither the kicking skills, nor the endurance, to play the modern possession game. All of Brereton’s four marks in ’89 were contested.

Here’s another striking difference. In 2006, six holding-the-ball frees were paid. In ’89, the tally was zero, despite a higher number of effective tackles. Diving on the ball was then permitted. Cabs were seldom hailed.

“They actually gave a bloke a chance to get rid of the footy,” recalled Blight. “That annoys me now, that rule … It does reward the tackler too much.”

Perhaps the most startling differential, however, was use of the interchange bench. West Coast had 61 interchanges, Sydney 57, their midfields a blur of rotations. There are no records of the 1989 interchanges, when each team had two fewer on the bench, but Blight estimated Geelong had no more than four or five for the duration of the game; Stone guessed that Hawthorn could not have exceeded six.

The bench was almost akin to handball, pre-1970. It was used sparingly, and for emergencies.

There were emergencies aplenty in 1989. Hawthorn’s John Platten was concussed early and did not return to the field after quarter-time. Geelong’s Damian Bourke (knee) was a similar story.

Ayres, who sat out the entire final quarter with a torn quad, recalled how Platten was so out of it he didn’t know the scores. “Are we still in front?” he kept asking.

Dipper, thus, was compelled to stay on with his deflating lung, Dermie with the internal injuries (courtesy Mark Yeates under instructions from Blight). Geelong’s Steve Hocking played much of the match with a split testicle. Hocking’s brother, Garry, was himself knocked out by Dipper as a square-up for Platten. Michael Tuck split the webbing in a hand early in the final quarter. Others from both sides were limping.

“We had six who would have struggled to play if it had been a draw,” said Blight.

If interchange provides the greatest disparity between then and now, Blight regarded the 2006 kick-in rule as revolutionary. It’s extraordinary to consider that more than 76 per cent of kick-ins in the 1989 grand final were long kicks, compared with 24 per cent last year. The numbers serve to confirm what we suspect about modern footy, and are grist to the mill of those who despise the possession game.

The glaring upside is improved skill. Thrilling it might have been, but the 1989 grand final contained 37 per cent more turnovers than the 2006 game. Richmond, circa 2007, would own better skills than Hawthorn’s 1988-89 super-team. Really.

Blight believes the possession obsession might have reached its end point, and that there has been a “marginal” trend back towards longer kicking to contests this year.

Not that he minds the modern game.

“Geez, what about when the ball doesn’t touch the ground and goes from one end to the other with swift precision? That’s pretty exciting, I reckon. We just need to get a few more marks back into the game.”

The numbers tell a story, and at their heart is a question for the AFL — is the game better now than in 1989?



8.4 12.9 18.13 21.18 (144)


2.0 7.2 13.7 21.12 (138)



4.2 8.7 10.10 12.13 (85)


1.4 4.6 8.11 12.12 (84)

Written by in: West Coast Eagles | Tags: , , , ,

Round 12: Richmond v Melbourne

You’d think I’d be happy about the tigers first win…Well I am! However; it doesn’t stop the utter frustration from the abysmal umpiring…wait, let me clarify…the abysmal rule interpretation that these poor guys are made to enforce!!! Surely the umpires of the AFL have a legitimate case to put to Workplace Relations for unfair working conditions???

The 3rd quarter was the worst with 11–1 free kicks (or thereabouts) there was no more than 30 seconds of genuine play in between each free kick given…What I would give just to see a contest again!!! There are clearly too many rules, if you wanted to be pedantic, you could quite easily pay a free kick at every single contest! To have that potential clearly means that the AFL is over umpiring the game!!!

Back to the game… Finally something to smile about – the tigers have found some form of late, with the greatest losing margin in the last 5 rounds being no more than 21 points which was against Fremantle last round. Excluding that, 9 points is the next best (or worst) depending on how you look at it, against Adelaide in Adelaide.

The young tiger cubs are really starting to take the next step and become exceptional footballers. With the likes of Deledio, Foley, King, Jackson, Pattison & Polak who just turned 23 last week.

Nathan Foley was outstanding again, he just gets so much of the ball and his skills have improved dramatically over last year. He just hits a target consistently, a real highlight of the year watching him thrive. With 12 kicks and 11 handballs, he was instrumental in driving the tigers forward at the stoppages. In addition to Foley, Brett Deledio has also been outstanding this season. Although he has been quite in a few rounds, his good games have been outstanding. Friday night was no exception, taking contested marks, out running opponents with the ball and hitting targets with each of his 23 disposals, he has really shown that he was the number one draft pick in 2004. Finally Richmond used their priority pick with diligence!
Will Thursfield was outstanding as well finally getting back the form he had built up prior to doing his knee against St Kilda last season. He just smothered Robertson and clearly came out the winner in that contest. Although he didn’t have many possessions, he kept Russell Robertson to a measly 11 disposals.

Jake King, playing only his 9th career game is a rookie who has just taken to the game without a problem. Although he started the season slowly, struggling to keep up with the pace of the AFL, he has quickly slid into the groove and on Friday night, repaid the faith that Terry Wallace and the match committee has shown in him with an outstanding game. He is not afraid to take them on with plenty of run and finishing the game with 16 kicks and 5 handballs, he was everywhere the ball was.

Other notable mentions go to Graham Polak who was simply awesome with his 28 disposals and 11 marks, quelling many forward thrusts by Melbourne and stabilising a once fragile backline. Daniel Jackson is maturing, Greg Tivendale showed experience, Shane Tuck worked as hard as ever, Chris Hyde is very polished with his skills and Chris Newman just continues to show composure when under fire.

Adam Pattison still has a long way to go however, continues to show promise.

The true heroes of the night were the dynamic duo Matthew Richardson and Nathan Brown. Browny just showed he has still got it after nearly two years out of the game. His polished skills just shone through with precision marking and kicking. He rarely fumbles or miss-kicks and he frees up Pettifer to roam and kick his required 2-3 goals. Richo was outstanding with his 16 marks and 23 disposals – He was everywhere. Unfortunately his poor kicking for goal let him and the team down with a below par 3.6. This does not include the 3 other opportunities that were rushed through and the 3 that he gave off as assists to team-mates. If he had capitalised on his opportunities, he could have easily kicked 12 goals and the margin would have been far greater. If this guy could kick for goal, I truly believe that Richo would be pushing the all-time goal kicking record that Lockett holds of 1357…

On a not so positive note, Andrew Raines was disappointing. He has so much promise and can be so exciting however, his decision making and disposal just continually lets him, and the team down. A few times on Friday night he blindly turned into trouble or just didn’t even look at his options before disposing and he continually disposes to players who themselves are under immense pressure. There is still a lot of room for improvement in this kid and hopefully we can persist with him and help him hone these important skills.

Next week we face a depleted St Kilda after the long trek across the nullabor. Hopefully we can continue the winning run and turn one win into 2 and hopefully Nathan Brown can just continue to get better as the year draws to an end.

Written by in: Richmond Tigers | Tags: , , , , ,

Demetriou – The rule is NOT WORKING!!!

Kevin Sheedy, Shane Crawford & Nathan Buckley have all come out in the Herald Sun and agreed that the push in the back rule is an abysmal failure and it needs to be revoked ASAP. The issue is, as I eluded to in my previous letter, the AFL are to stubborn and obnoxious and simply refuse to admit THEY GOT IT WRONG!!!

Andrew Demetriou and Kevin Bartlett – Get over yourselves and admit you got it wrong! If you love our game you will put aside your own personal pride for the greater good of the game! You just know Demetriou is sitting back rubbing their hands thinking “attendances are up, profits are up, What problem? The fact of the matter is that the AFL is now a corporation and are only interested in growing revenue instead of preserving our age old game…

Written by in: Andrew Demetriou | Tags: , ,

Are channel 7 & 10 in cahoots with the AFL?

the new rule changes, and the overall poor umpiring witnessed this year has only been worsened by Channel sevens commentary team’s apparent apathy as to what has been happening. This year has been quite extraordinarily poor in umpiring decisions, so much to the point where i believe that poor decisions have actually affected the result of games ( i think Essendon could have an extra 12 points on the ladder this year due to this). However i have been stunned at Tim Watson’s, Bruce Macavaney’s, and-most disappointingly- Dennis Cometti’s ignorance as to what the umpires are doing to games. Rather than showing empathy to the player wronged, we hear laughter to the players reaction, or at best, a slight hint that the umpire might have got it wrong. Don Scott used to show his anger, however he does not call games anymore. Are our current commentators simply towing the line? Has the AFL ensured these commentators arent to be too critical? Its hard enough to watch an injustice on the field, but for it to go unnoticed by these experts makes watching the game painful. Listening to the Rich v Freo game on ABC radio, a commentator expressed utter disappointment at a decision. He also went on to illustrate just how much it effected the game. Richmonds Shane Edwards was tackled high, but was pinned for holding the ball, resulting in a

Freo goal. However the ball should have ended up in the opposite goalsquare. it was a massive injustice resulting in a big turnaround in scores in a crucial time of the game. As a listener, sure i was annoyed, yet i was properly informed by the commentator. i cant speak the same for those on commercial television. These callers should call the game democratically and with diplomacy, but not in a fashion to paint the game as its not. im fed up with not having umpiring decisions corrected, or of hearing reports of a “great game”, when it was anything but. Our teams and players are fair game to intense criticism, what about the state of the game and its umpires too?

Written by in: AFL | Tags: , ,

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