Last year, when it looked like we were are real chance of making finals, facing Carlton in round 22, we lost the free kick count 5/20. Yeah... 400%. No team can overcome that. "No finals for you!"
I unhappily predict that Collingwood in round 23 will get as many free kicks as they need to beat us.
Because Melbourne don't generate strong television ratings.
"AFL" is a corporation selling an entertainment product.
A few years ago (Hinkley's first year, i think) Port Adelaide were red hot and every chance to grab the flag. When they beat Collingwood in their first final, Gil said "that cost us a million dollars". The next week Port were put out by Hawthorn on the back of some truly outrageous umpiring (anyone remember those last few minutes? i do).
I was a Juventus fan when Serie A exploded. It shocked me deeply. I denounced my team and fairly quickly lost interest in Football. It is well worth noting that the Serie A referees who were done for match fixing would never have gone as far as AFL umpires go week in week out.
Our game has become deeply corrupted by its too-close relationships with television and gambling corporations. It's not hard to see... if you care to look.