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A Lockdown Lesson: Old Footy Was Better

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Give me footy from the 90s and early 2000s was great to watch 

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Interchange makes a mockery of the argument that the players are fitter today than ever. If so why do they need to rest so often. I am exaggerating to make a point but if all AFL players had to be replaced today and 700 odd new players came in, how many would we miss for their run, their leading, their marking ability, or do the spectacular?

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It’s faster now and more handballing than ever.  But the foot skills are not any better and the goalkicking skills today is actually declining.  

It’s actually amazing given today’s footballers are Professional Full Time and have countless high performance specialist coaches.   

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The aim of the game back then was just to get the ball forward and score. You hardly saw any of your best players on the bench unless injured. 

Players weren’t afraid to use both feet and used to great effect, players these days run arcs to get on their dominant side. Skills were so much better, clean pick ups, one grab marks etc etc. 

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Late 80’s to early 2000’s definitely saw the best spectacle. Whilst the kicking looked messier it Is easy to say that when such a low % of kicks these days are actual attacking moves to a target rather than sideways to a static position or to a pack. The reduced coaches that are proposed post COVid I actually worry will lead to a period trying to maintain the current controlled  strategic bent but the game becoming more pack based as teams are less able to embed it. Whilst I am sick of the rule tampering the only way I can see getting back to anything like this style is a move to 16 a side and significantly reduced rotations. All it would take then is a coach to lead the pack with an aggressive scoring game style to see if others would follow. 

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Not since where they first threw a forward pass in NFL has a sport been changed so much by tactics.

We can all look back on the now infamous Bulldogs v Essendon game in 2000 where the flood was first played and say football changed forever. Add in the fitness, the interchange and increased tactical use of zoning and the game is nothing like what it was for over a hundred years.

The other momentous game was the 1970 grand final which saw the famous handball at all cost tactic. It was a positive change at least.

I have now become convinced we should move to 16 players on the ground and 2-3 on the bench. 

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Watching old games over recent weeks I agree that footy was better then.  Of course my judgement may be biased by the fact I only watch games we won.  

It would be interesting to know which Demonlanders have restricted themselves to games we won.  I fear a few may have restricted themselves to games we lost.

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it's easy to watch highlight games and go 'wow, footy was so much better back then!'

show me a dour slog between fitzroy and melbourne in the early 80s and tell me football was better

yes, football has evolved, and become increasingly defensively-focused, but that is typical of the evolution of nearly every sport worldwide

cricket is one of the few games that now favours attacking (batting side) over defense (fielding side) with the evolution of bats >>>>>> non-evolution of bowling and the ball

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People weren't happy in the Electrifying 80s either. Whinging about the quality of footy is the second biggest national sport.

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Aesthetically, football was much better 20 years ago.  

As a spectacle, I find today's football utter rubbish.

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70s and 80s for me.

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5 hours ago, Dee Zephyr said:

Skills were so much better, clean pick ups, one grab marks etc etc. 

In 1987, the average team laid 25 tackles each match. Now it's over 60. 

I think skills have improved (for the most part). It makes sense - full time professional athletes, grounds are in much better condition than in days gone by, etc.

Players just don't get the time and space that they used to. 

 

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3 hours ago, whatwhatsaywhat said:

it's easy to watch highlight games and go 'wow, footy was so much better back then!'

show me a dour slog between fitzroy and melbourne in the early 80s and tell me football was better

yes, football has evolved, and become increasingly defensively-focused, but that is typical of the evolution of nearly every sport worldwide

cricket is one of the few games that now favours attacking (batting side) over defense (fielding side) with the evolution of bats >>>>>> non-evolution of bowling and the ball

Even at a Demond/Lions game there would be some specky attempts, bit of dash with Robbie and Mick Conlan, one on one contests and the odd laugh 

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Watch a selection of the best matches over a 25 year period and yes, you’d probably say football was better ‘back then’.

However through the 80s and 90s they wouldn’t even send a film crew to the bad games and there were even plenty of Melbourne matches you couldn’t even listen to on the radio.

Just like today, the good matches were good and bad were bad (often very, very bad).

 

If you’re looking to make a like-for-like comparison, you could look at grand finals.  We’ve been pleased with some great and very close grand finals in recent years.  The 90s grand finals were generally pretty poor spectacles.

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2 hours ago, Accepting Mediocrity said:

Players just don't get the time and space that they used to. 

And this is exactly what has robbed the game,  of those special highlight moments.

The monster high mark,   the 100 goal a season full forward,  the Daicos's,  the Jeff Farmers. etc.

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I have commented after the replays have been shown on how much better the game was then as a spectacle. No rugby style mauls, no tiggy-touch-wood frees for perceived jumper pulls,  quick whistles and ball ups for the game to flow, no silly little requests to nominate a ruckman, no commentary by the umpires, no 30 second delays for goals, no mouthguards in smelly socks or groins, no kick down the line to encourage circular flow, no time wasting, no easy stats, down the guts footy and multiple one-on-one contests, no stupid over the top 50m penalties for having a toe nail over a imaginary line, proper kicks ins to encourage a contest (the current system favours those teams who are favoured by the luck of the scoring kick), ruckman who jumpto tap the ball to advantage rather than manhandle each other for no benefit to either team.

That enough for now but our great game is overumpired and overcoached like all those other inferior sports that are too offensive to be named.

Long live footy.

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Lots more professional coaching now, but kids in the old days learnt their art in primary school, in the backyard and in the street hence the magnificent kicking of footballers in the 60s. The 1973 YouTube game between Carlton and Hawthorn and the '65 GF also on youtube shows much we have devolved into a boring system-based game.

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The first thing I noticed when watching the  Alan Jakovich game from 1991 was just how much more exciting the game was back then.

Unfortunately, the game has progressed, rules have changed, players are trained differently and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever go back to the old days.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2020 at 5:14 PM, TeamPlayedFine39 said:

Watch a selection of the best matches over a 25 year period and yes, you’d probably say football was better ‘back then’.

However through the 80s and 90s they wouldn’t even send a film crew to the bad games and there were even plenty of Melbourne matches you couldn’t even listen to on the radio.

Just like today, the good matches were good and bad were bad (often very, very bad).

 

If you’re looking to make a like-for-like comparison, you could look at grand finals.  We’ve been pleased with some great and very close grand finals in recent years.  The 90s grand finals were generally pretty poor spectacles.

The best games from back then are superior to the best games now. They are also more common. Try and find more than 10 great games from the last 5-10 years. Great games from start to finish not just close finishes.

Edited by Dr. Gonzo
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46 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

The best games from back then are superior to the best games now. They are also more common. Try and find more than 10 great games from the last 5-10 years. Great games from start to finish not just close finishes.

 

17 hours ago, Whispering_Jack said:

The first thing I noticed when watching the  Alan Jakovich game from 1991 was just how much more exciting the game was back then.

Unfortunately, the game has progressed, rules have changed, players are trained differently and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever go back to the old days.

How the AFL has not worked out that the full forward position is unique to our game and should be protected is beyond me. All through the games history exciting full forwards have drawn the crowds and particilarly ther kids. Todays kids have no idea of the excitement of watching the great full forweards execute a lead. Every suburban and junior team has a likely lad who was good on the lead and a deadly kick.  Although we had few star full forwards over the years it was still fantastic hearing how many the stars had kicked and then going home and watching the highlights of a McKenna, Hudson, Lockett or Dunstall.  

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The NRL have led the way with their changes to the game.

It's made a pedestrian game at club level suddenly more attractive.

A few simple changes the AFL could make in a heartbeat but Gill unfortunately needs to consult everyman and his dog.

We all know the rotations are a problem, cut them.

We all know the umpire takes too long to get the ball back in play asking who the nominated ruck is , telling them which way he is going to go after throwing the ball up (I've never seen an ump go forward).

Simple, cut interchange to say 4 or 5 a Q, bounce the ball up straight away( bounce not throw, it brings the unpredictability in and is hard to defend, no call back for poor bounce, play on...it's part of playing a game with an oval ball bad luck), pay free kicks that are there, don't let a scrum develop.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-02/nrl-shows-afl-tired-players-make-for-a-less-tiresome-game/12308318

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