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  1. George on the Outer has prepared a "warts and all" analysis of each opposition team's prospects for 2017 ... WHERE IT CAN ALL GO WRONG - THE WARTS AND ALL ANALYSIS OF EACH TEAM'S PROSPECTS [PART 1] With all of the summertime hype in the football news at this time of the year, I thought it was appropriate to temper the high expectations of the fans (not that any of that would happen on Demonland) with some truly deep analysis of the opposition going into season 2017. What I discovered was that, as is customary, every team is “training the house down” and not a single club is dissatisfied with its trades and signings. So I decided to have a look at the real story of what can and should go wrong for each of the sides in 2017. The teams have been selected at random and here are the first five:- Geelong Dangerfield and Selwood. They alone got the pussies across the line in at least six games last year. Without that contribution they would surely have inhabited the lower reaches of the ladder. The Premiership years have now passed by the Cats and whilst they spent up big to lure Dangerfield back to his home territory (who wouldn’t?) the plan didn’t quite get them up last year. I can't see it sustaining them as their list goes into decline and with the likes of Lachie Henderson trying to hold the backline together, it simply isn’t the Geelong of old. Essendon Despite the AFL handing out more of their largesse, in the form of access to additional players and essentially first pick in the draft to the Bombers in last year's draft, so avoiding a collapse following the suspensions for drug taking offenses, few true fans of the game will be hoping for anything good for this club. With an ageing side with a good number of their players sidelined from the game for more than 12 months, they are coming from a long way back. A full forward who can’t find the goals, a captain who can’t find a Brownlow medal, and a club that can’t find its records, they most likely won't find a way to win too many games either. At least Worsfold had all the excuses in the world for poor performances last year but in 2017 there will be nowhere to hide and we might well discover why he was sacked by the West Coast Eagles. West Coast Speaking of the Eagles, I suspect that with the collapse of the WA mining boom, the same downward trend will also affect afflict West Coast. Despite a 16-6 record and a home final in 2016, the Eagles were thrown out in week 1. Probably the loss of Nic Natanui in Round 21 affected them the most his absence for most of season 2017 will continue to hurst. While he is next to useless around the ground, his height and leap give his mids plenty of the ball, so without that, how will an aging Priddis and an aged new recruit Sam Mitchell fare? With a good number of their home games against top 2016 sides, they won’t enjoy the easy ride they have had in years past. And maybe, just maybe the competition can afford to pay for eastern state umpires to control their home games. It will help the locals to understand the rules of the game, which is currently beyond them. Fremantle Oh how the mighty have fallen! The Dockers had been slated as probably Grand Finalists before the season began having made it to the big dance in 2015. But they finished with only 4 wins in 2016! It all went to pieces in Round 3 with the demise of Aaron Sandilands. Without the dominant ruckman (a beanpole of 211cm) the Dockers simply couldn’t get the ball. And it got worse in Round 5 as Nate Fyfe broke his leg again and sat out the season. Mundy also was injured and saw the writing on the wall, along with Ballantyne as they offered their services to anyone who would take them during the trade period. No takers, so they are stuck with Ross Lyon and his coaching plan of stopping the opposition at all cost, without being able to score themselves. Shane Yarran wasn’t keen to stay around either, and dumped on the club as he exited prior to Christmas. It must be a wonderful workplace although in Yarran's case who knows whether his next workplace is going to be much better. No Pavlich in 2017, and with an ageing/old list, there is little cause for redemption. Richmond The Toiyges never fail to disappoint. Despite making three finals series and getting bundled out without progressing any further, they still didn’t recruit the right types to help them take the next step, if there ever was one. Over the years they had built a list around half a dozen capable players, and then imported the likes of Houli, Grigg, Maric and Chaplin to enable them to reach finals. But they stopped building 3 years ago, and all that has happened is every one of these players is just older and slower, or not there anymore. They threw everything at Chris Yarran and Dion Prestia to keep the feral fans happy, but Yarran never made it to the field and Prestia is still running laps in late January. [To be continued ... ]
  2. My trip back in time continues ... 1956 - WHEN THE DEMONS RULED (PART TWO) by Whispering Jack Round 10 1956 Saturday 23 June at MCG Attendance 36,361 Melbourne 5.1.31 8.4.52 11.7.73 12.10.82 South Melbourne 2.1.13 3.7.25 6.10.46 8.11.59 Goal kickers Frank Adams 3 Denis Cordner Robert "Bob" Johnson Ian Ridley 2 Tony Bull Peter Marquis Athol Webb The undefeated Demons continued on their winning way with a comfortable 23 point victory at home against the Swans after leading at every change. Round 11 1956 Saturday 30 June at Glenferrie Oval Attendance 15,500 Hawthorn 3.4.22 3.7.25 5.10.40 5.12.42 Melbourne 1.1.7 6.7.43 8.7.55 11.14.80 Goal kickers Clyde Laidlaw Ian Ridley 3 Ron Barassi Athol Webb 2 Robert "Bob" Johnson After a slow start, Melbourne got into gear in the second quarter against Hawthorn at Glenferrie Oval, keeping the hosts to two goals after the first break and winning by a little over six goals. Future coach Dennis Jones made his debut in this game. Round 12 1956 Saturday 7 July at MCG Attendance 26,772 Melbourne 1.6.12 4.9.33 8.12.60 11.13.79 Richmond 2.0.12 3.1.19 5.1.31 7.3.45 Goal kickers Robert "Bob" Johnson Ian Ridley Athol Webb 2 Ron Barassi Brian Dixon Dennis Jones Laurie Mithen Stuart Spencer In a milestone game Geoff McGivern (100) and Ron Barassi (50), accurate kicking for goal kept the Tigers in the game for most of the first half but the Demons were far too strong in the end. It was Richmond's lowest score against Melbourne since 1925. Round 13 1956 Saturday 14 July at MCG Attendance 46,022 Melbourne 5.7.37 8.8.56 12.10.82 14.10.94 Carlton 4.1.25 6.4.49 9.7.61 12.7.79 Goal kickers Stuart Spencer 5 Ian Ridley 4 Peter Marquis 3 Robert "Bob" Johnson 2 The Blues put up some stiff resistance but the Demons, with their rovers Spencer and Ridley dangerous in front of goal, held sway by 15 points. Round 14 1956 Saturday 21 July at MCG Attendance 47,956 Melbourne 0.5.5 3.10.22 6.14.50 7.17.59 Footscray 1.4.10 4.6.30 7.8.50 10.12.72 Goal kickers Stuart Spencer 3 Peter Cook Robert "Bob" Johnson Ken Melville Athol Webb Melbourne lost its first game for the season and only its third in 12 months after a tight tussle with Footscray on the MCG. Scores were level at the final break but the Bulldogs were too strong and drew away to win by 13 points against the inaccurate Demons who hit the post four times during the game. Round 15 1956 Saturday 28 July at Brunswick Street Attendance 13,000 Fitzroy 2.2.14 4.6.30 5.9.39 7.11.53 Melbourne 1.4.10 3.7.25 8.12.60 11.15.81 Goal kickers Stuart Spencer 3 Terry Gleeson Ian Ridley 2 Ron Barassi Brian Dixon Noel McMahen Laurie Mithen Melbourne started slowly against Fitzroy but took over after half time to get back on the winning list. Round 16 1956 Saturday 4 August at Kardinia Park Attendance 29,687 Geelong 0.5.5 3.9.27 5.9.39 8.10.58 Melbourne 2.3.15 3.5.23 3.8.26 8.8.56 Goal kickers Robert "Bob" Johnson 3 Ian Ridley Stuart Spencer 2 Peter Cook After going thirteen rounds without a loss, the Demons suffered their second defeat in three weeks at Kardinia Park. The home side dominated for most of the game in the centre of the ground but when Melbourne kicked four goals in eight minutes at the start of the last quarter, it set up a grandstand finish. The Cats regained composure to just hold on to draw a game behind the league leaders. Round 17 1956 Saturday 11 August at MCG Attendance 16,186 Melbourne 5.3.33 10.6.66 12.10.82 16.18.114 North Melbourne 3.2 8.3 11.4.70 11.5.71 Goal kickers Athol Webb 6 Ian Ridley 4 Robert "Bob" Johnson 3 Ron Barassi 2 Stuart Spencer Stung by two defeats in the space of three weeks, Melbourne blasted North Melbourne to the tune of 43 points at the MCG on a day when full forward Athol Webb booted six goals. Round 18 1956 Saturday 18 August at Victoria Park Attendance 31,089 Collingwood 4.1.25 6.1.37 7.2.44 9.6.60 Melbourne 1.1.7 6.5.41 7.10.52 10.13.73 Goal kickers Stuart Spencer 3 Ron Barassi Robert "Bob" Johnson Ian Ridley 2 Brian Dixon The Magpies on their home turf held the early ascendency but the inaccurate Demons took control in the second quarter to win by 13 points. Ruckman Denis Cordner celebrated his 150th game as he neared the end of a stellar career. Future skipper John Beckwith played his 100th game for the club. Melbourne finished the season three games clear of their nearest rivals Collingwood and Geelong with the latter suffering a late season slump missing out on the double chance with a final round defeat at the hands of Essendon. After looking like the Demons' biggest threat for the flag, the Cats were out of the race a week later when they lost the first semi-final to the Bulldogs. Ladder W D L % P Melbourne 16 2 - 146.0 64 Collingwood 13 5 - 125.9 52 Geelong 13 5 - 121.9 52 Footscray 11 7 - 114.2 44 ---------------------------- Carlton 10 7 1 113.7 42 Essendon 10 8 - 95.8 40 Hawthorn 7 10 1 88.9 30 Fitzroy 7 11 - 89.3 28 South Melbourne 6 11 1 88.1 26 Richmond 6 12 - 86.8 24 St. Kilda 4 13 1 88.0 18 North Melbourne 3 15 - 69.6 12 Second Semi Final 1956 Saturday 1 September at MCG Attendance 91,680 Melbourne 1.4.10 3.6.24 8.9.57 11.14.80 Collingwood 1.4.10 3.7.25 8.10.58 8.16.64 Goal kickers: Robert "Bob" Johnson Stuart Spencer 3 Ron Barassi Clyde Laidlaw Noel McMahen Ian Ridley Jim Sandral A crowd of more than 90,000 watched as two traditional rivals in Melbourne and Collingwood slugged it out a close game in windy conditions on the first day of spring at the MCG. Scores were level at quarter time and the Magpies held a one point lead at each of the next two breaks before the Demons kicked away in the final term to win by 16 points. The first half was dominated by the defences of both sides with the highlight for Melbourne being a 65 metre goal from skipper Noel McMahen. The lowlight was the injury to Geoff McGivern following a collision with John Beckwith during the second quarter. He played on to the end of the quarter with ankle and knee injuries but was unable to reappear for the second half and did not play in the grand final. This was therefore his last game. The team had to be recast after the main break with McGivern's replacement Jim Sandral playing an important role as the game's tempo increased dramatically. The teams booted five goals each in a high quality third quarter, but the fast-fading Magpies managed just 0.6 in the last to allow the fitter Demons to take control of proceedings. Rovers Spencer and Ridley, who had dominated their opposition all day, opened the last quarter with Demon goals before the Pies put in a period of sustained pressure which only netted them four points. Bob Johnson kicked his third goal, and his team's last, from a difficult angle after a 40 yard dash by Ian Ridley make the result safe. Best for Melbourne were Spencer, Johnson and Cordner. GRAND FINAL DAY 1956 Saturday 15 September at MCG Attendance 115,802 1956 Seconds Grand Final 1956 Melbourne 4.6.30 9.8.62 11.12.78 16.14.110 South Melbourne 2.2.14 8.4.52 8.10.58 10.12.72 Goal kickers Ben Crameri 8 Terry Mountain 3 Tony Bull 2 Peter Brenchley Longney Dick Atkinson Brian Collopy It was a big day for the Melbourne Football Club. In the hours before the senior team ran out for their clash against Collingwood, the Seconds team was in action against South Melbourne and thanks to an eight goal haul from rookie Ben Crameri they were never seriously challenged. The Demons' led by 20 points at three quarter time and smashed the opposition in the final term to win by 38. Best were Crameri, John Lord and Carlton recruit Graham Kerr. Seniors VFL Grand Final 1956 Melbourne 2.4.16 6.11.47 10.16.76 17.19.121 Collingwood 3.3.21 4.3.27 5.6.36 6.12.48 Goal kickers Stuart Spencer Athol Webb 5 Ron Barassi Robert "Bob" Johnson 3 Ian Ridley Collingwood won the right to challenge Melbourne in the Seniors Grand Final with an emphatic 39 point victory in the Preliminary Final against Footscray but the Demons were still hot favourites to go back to back as premiers, having already beaten the Magpies three times during the season. The Melbourne team sheet read: B: John Beckwith Peter Marquis Trevor Johnson HB: Don Williams Noel McMahen (captain) Keith Carroll C: Frank "Bluey" Adams Ken Melville Brian Dixon HF: Jim Sandral Clyde Laidlaw Laurie Mithen F: Robert "Bob" Johnson Athol Webb Ian Ridley FOLL: Denis Cordner Ron Barassi Stuart Spencer 19/20: Terry Gleeson Ralph Lane COACH: Norm Smith The premiers out-matched the Pies in skill and ability and eventually won their second straight flag comfortably - sealing their status as one of the greatest teams in VFL history. Collingwood’s Bill Serong kicked the first goal after three minutes and, despite the answering goal from Athol Webb, they were full of running and held a slender lead at quarter time after a late goal for the Demons from Bob Johnson. After the break, the tide turned. Webb booted his second thirty seconds into the quarter and Stuart Spencer pounced after a ball-up in the goal square for another. From then on, it was one way traffic. Every Collingwood player was beaten in his position and Melbourne was in control with Denis Cordner dominant in the ruck and Laurie Mithen brilliant at ground level. The Demons held a 22 point lead at the half time siren. The Demons came out and did all the attacking with Spencer and Johnson dangerous in front of goal. The match was over at three-quarter time with the Pies trailing by 40 points but the ruthless Demons went on their merry way with Webb helping himself to three goals in the last term to make the match a rout. The only thing the Magpies won was the free kick count (32-24) but otherwise they were smashed everywhere on the ground. Stuart Spencer was best on ground with his "powerful" roving and five goals. Ron Barassi and Ken Melville were also amongst the best. Athol Webb also had one of his best games. Keith Carroll suffered a broken nose and concussion after being struck with an elbow in the second quarter. He was already being operated on by the time the game ended. Unsurprisingly for such a large crowd the match grossed an all-time VFL record crowd and gate receipts to match - raising £19,718. The match was to be the final game for four excellent footballers in Denis Cordner, Noel McMahen, Ken Melville and Stuart Spencer who had won the last two best and fairests. The fear was that with the loss of so much experience and talent, the team would be unable to maintain the momentum and possibly even fall by the wayside but the team was up to the task and won the flag again in 1957. The Demons were entitled to be called the champions of the nation as they also recorded wins against Port Adelaide (SANFL), East Perth (WAFL) and Tasmania’s North West Football Union in exhibition games Stuart Spencer capped off his carry with a second consecutive Keith “Bluey” Truscott Memorial Trophy for the club’s Best and Fairest player. Voting 1st Stuart Spencer 87.5 2nd John Beckwith 87 3rd Ron Barassi 50 Other Awards Best Clubman - Ralph Lane Outstanding Service - Brian Dixon Most Unselfish - Athol Webb Best First Year Player Jim Sandral The leading goal kicker was Robert B Johnson (43) Off the field, the club made a profit of £1,268 for the year. The dominant Demons of sixty years ago could truly lay claim to the mantle of the greatest ever sides produced in VFL/AFL history.
  3. 1956 - WHEN DEMONS RULED (PART ONE) by Whispering Jack The year 1956 was special one for many Australians. It was the year when for the first time a Summer Olympics were staged outside the Northern Hemisphere. The Games of the XVI Olympiad were predominantly held in Melbourne and from 22 November until 8 December, 1956 Australia held centre stage on the world scene, probably for the first time ever. During the Games, even the country's most popular sport, Australian Rules football was given a place with the playing of a game between amateur footballers on the MCG. A month or so earlier, the football club that bore the host city's name won its eighth VFL premiership with a dominant performance in the grand final. This is the story of that team's glory year. The Demons were already a club to be feared among the VFL's then twelve teams. Under coach Norm Smith they had risen from second last in 1953 to a grand final in 1954, a game in which they were comfortably beaten by Footscray. A year later, the team skippered by Noel McMahen were premiers. They were young, talented and driven, inspired by a man recognised as a master strategist of the game. They were hungry for more. Melbourne was left homeless in the early part of the season when the MCG was rendered unavailable due to preparations for the Olympics. They trained at alternative venues; Olympic Park during the brief preseason period and then, from the start of the season, to Albert Park. They were only able to unfurl their premiership flag from the previous year when they returned to their home ground, the MCG, in Round 5 against Geelong. A lesser side might have struggled in those circumstances but not Melbourne which was unbeaten when it stepped into the MCG for the first time and maintained that status for the first thirteen weeks of the season. The young side that Smith and club secretary Jim Cardwell had built over the past year was beginning to mature into a very special combination with some outstanding players like Ron Barassi, John Beckwith, Robert "Bob" Johnson and Athol Webb. Their only losses for the season were the return game at the MCG against Footscray in Round 14 which was the only time they lowered their colours at home and a fortnight later against Geelong at Kardinia Park. The depth of the side was evident when the seconds won the curtain raiser to the Grand Final before a then record crowd of 115,000. The seniors then came out and crushed traditional rival Collingwood to win their second consecutive premiership with a team hailed as the best Melbourne side ever to take the field. Here is how the season unfolded. Round 1 1956 - Saturday 14 April at Punt Road Attendance 25,000 Richmond 2.1.13 4.4.28 5.4.34 8.7.55 Melbourne 4.6.30 6.8.44 10.14.74 12.16.88 Goalkickers Robert "Bob" Johnson Stuart Spencer 3 Ron Barassi Laurie Mithen 2 Ralph Lane Ian Ridley The Demons were untroubled against the Tigers who were unfancied against the reigning premiers and that is exactly how things turned out at Punt Road in the season opener. The visitors led at every change with 6'6" big man Bob Johnson and clever rover Stuart Spencer each booting three goals. Round 2 1956 Saturday 21 April at Princes Park Attendance 18,656 Carlton 1.0.6 1.5.11 1.7.13 6.11.47 Melbourne 5.5.35 8.9.57 10.15.75 12.18.90 Goalkickers Athol Webb 4 Ron Barassi Laurie Mithen 2 Robert "Bob" Johnson Ralph Lane Ian Ridley Stuart Spencer The team was far too strong for the Blues at Princes Park keeping the home side down to a single goal for the first three quarters. Round 3 1956 Saturday 28 April at Western Oval Attendance 33,265 Footscray 2.6.18 2.8.20 5.10.40 5.11.41 Melbourne 1.2.8 3.4.22 5.6.36 9.13.67 Goalkickers Stuart Spencer 3 Robert "Bob" Johnson Ian Ridley 2 Ron Barassi Athol Webb The Bulldogs challenged strongly and led at the final change before the Demons powered home with a dominant last term aided by a strengthening wind. Round 4 1956 Saturday 5 May at Punt Road Attendance 23,000 Melbourne 3.8.26 5.10.40 6.16.52 10.19.79 Fitzroy 1.1.7 4.3.27 4.4.28 9.6.60 Goalkickers Ian Ridley 3 Robert "Bob" Johnson 2 Ron Barassi Peter Cook Brian Dixon Laurie Mithen Athol Webb The Demons held sway for most of the game and recorded a comfortable win despite some poor kicking for goal. Round 5 1956 Saturday 12 May at MCG Attendance 47,130 Melbourne 2.7.19 3.13.31 5.18.48 6.20.56 Geelong 2.2.14 5.5.35 5.7.37 6.12.48 Goalkickers Ron Barassi Ian Ridley 2 Robert "Bob" Johnson Clyde Laidlaw Melbourne was finally able to unveil its 1955 Premiership flag and it was before a big crowd in a clash between the VFL's only two undefeated sides. The game was marred by heavy rain with much of the ground under water. Stuart Spencer kicked 0.11 an equal AFL/VFL record for inaccuracy. Most of his points were from kicks off the ground. The team trailed at half time but a powerful third quarter saw the team draw clear and record an 8 point win in the end. Round 6 1956 Saturday 19 May at Arden Street Attendance 11,000 North Melbourne 4.2.26 5.3.33 5.6.36 6.6.42 Melbourne 1.2.8 3.6.24 6.9.45 11.18.84 Goalkickers Ron Barassi Stuart Spencer 3 Athol Webb 2 Robert "Bob" Johnson Laurie Mithen Ian Ridley The Kangaroos wrested the early lead at Arden Street in a game in which their spearhead kicked all but one of their six goals for the day. His opposite number at full forward for the Demons, Athol Webb kicked two before severely bruising his chest and shins when he ran into a goalpost at full-speed. Despite being nine points behind at the main break, the Demons controlled the second half to run out comfortable winners and doubling North's score. Round 7 1956 Saturday 26 May at MCG Attendance 46,868 Melbourne 1.1.7 5.8.38 7.10.52 11.13.79 Collingwood 4.5.29 6.5.41 9.6.60 9.7.61 Goalkickers Ian Ridley 4 Stuart Spencer 3 Ron Barassi Robert "Bob" Johnson 2 This was the first of four clashes for the season for traditional rivals Melbourne and Collingwood. It was a tense, close encounter with the Magpies holding the ascendency at three quarter time but the home team was up to the challenge with their roving division led by Ian Ridley and Stuart Spencer dominant in front of goal to run out victors by 18 points. Round 8 1956 Saturday 2 June at Junction Oval Attendance 26,300 St. Kilda 1.7.13 1.9.15 4.11.35 6.11.47 Melbourne 1.2.8 5.3.33 7.5.47 9.7.61 Goalkickers Robert "Bob" Johnson Ian Ridley Athol Webb 2 Trevor Johnson Jim Sandral Stuart Spencer A vigorous but inexperienced St. Kilda team took things right up to Melbourne at the Junction Oval come away with the victory. They were undone however, by poor kicking for goal in the early part of the game. Athol Webb moved to a half-forward flank and his speed was a major contributing factor in the victory as were the performances of rovers Stuart Spencer and Ian Ridley. Round 9 1956 Saturday 9 June at MCG Attendance 32,543 Melbourne 2.3.15 9.10.64 13.14.92 15.17.107 Essendon 0.4.4 0.7.7 1.11.17 4.15.39 Goalkickers Robert "Bob" Johnson 7 Ron Barassi Stuart Spencer 2 Brian Dixon Ian McLean Ian Ridley Athol Webb Big Bob Johnson was in sensational form up forward with seven goals in a 68 point demolition of a poor Bomber combination at the MCG in the last game before the mid-season bye. Over the next fortnight, the Australian National Football Carnival was held at Subiaco Oval in Perth with the Victorian team running out easy winners. Ron Barassi was the only Melbourne player to gain All Australian honours at the end of the Carnival. (to be continued)
  4. AFL HANDOUTS by George on The Outer Are some more equal than others? Between the clubs themselves and AFL House, it is difficult to get a true appreciation of the financial well-being of individual clubs. The annual reports take well into the New Year in some cases and the AFL doesn’t produce its own report until May the following year! Even then, it seems to be un-published for months afterward. Perhaps it is planned that way, in the middle of the new football season, when no-one cares what happened last year. Regardless, it is interesting to extract the information from all these data-bases and put them together. It is worth noting the absolute financial support that the AFL is providing to the Northern state clubs, outside of draft picks, additional salary cap space and cost of living allowances. Here are the results for the 2015 Year: 2015 Base Bonus Additional Total Profit/Loss GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS 7,890,840 1,200,000 11,490,642 20,581,482 -529,000 GOLD COAST 7,890,840 1,200,000 8,854,524 17,945,364 -300,000 ST KILDA 7,890,840 1,200,000 8,337,466 17,428,306 -848,000 BRISBANE LIONS 7,890,840 1,200,000 7,349,619 16,440,459 -681,000 WESTERN BULLDOGS 7,890,840 1,200,000 6,640,343 15,731,183 388,000 NORTH MELBOURNE 7,890,840 1,200,000 5,492,480 14,583,320 530,000 MELBOURNE 7,890,840 1,200,000 4,909,031 13,999,871 562,000 PORT ADELAIDE 7,890,840 1,200,000 3,795,418 12,886,258 211,000 RICHMOND 7,890,840 1,200,000 3,416,500 12,507,340 459,000 HAWTHORN 7,890,840 1,200,000 3,267,685 12,358,525 3,300,000 SYDNEY SWANS 7,890,840 1,200,000 3,144,805 12,235,645 300,000 ESSENDON 7,890,840 1,200,000 2,737,272 11,828,112 -1,300,000 FREMANTLE 7,890,840 1,200,000 2,570,346 11,661,186 763,000 CARLTON 7,890,840 1,200,000 2,495,684 11,586,524 -2,700,000 WEST COAST EAGLES 7,890,840 1,200,000 2,386,781 11,477,621 5,500,000 COLLINGWOOD 7,890,840 1,200,000 1,904,152 10,994,992 850,000 ADELAIDE CROWS 7,890,840 1,200,000 1,542,653 10,633,493 1,400,000 Some of the outcomes are explainable, such as Geelongs loss resulting from a building programme at Kardinia Park. Others such as Carlton seem to have arisen purely from spending more than they earn, particularly when the on-field results continue to be mediocre. What is truly amazing is the extent of support provided to St.Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, when compared to clubs like our own. Similar membership bases, similar fixtures, similar ladder positions and yet St.Kilda were gifted an addition $3.5 million dollars more than Melbourne. The Bulldogs were given an extra $1.5M. Worrying signs for the AFL is that despite all this additional money thrown their way, the Saints still lost nearly $850,000. Not all that can be as a result of a lousy fixture, Etihad stadium or a lowly finishing position. The other point to note is despite these individual anomalies, the extent of support from the AFL is probably about right. Take away the outliers and 12 of the teams receive monies within a $4 million range. What is galling for a many fans is that the likes of Richmond, Essendon, Carlton and Collingwood are receiving nearly as much support financially. Yet these same clubs demand priority in fixturing and TV slots. These are the clubs who claim others are held up by their largesse. As Julius Sumner Miller used to say “Why is it so?” Perhaps it’s because some clubs are more equal than others, in the socialist Animal Farm known as the AFL.
  5. UPSETS IN TAC CUP by Whispering Jack TAC Cup Semi Day was a day of upsets with the more highly credentialed teams in both games bowing out of the finals series. The wind was occasionally swirly but the conditions at IKON Park were fine enough to have suited good football. However, the standard of both games never reached great heights, leaving one to wonder whether this marks a general downward trend in the junior ranks of the game where other sports are attracting greater numbers or whether it was simply the pressure of a tough, hard elimination series. At least the tussle between the Murray Bushrangers and the Oakleigh Chargers was close with the Chargers winning by a solitary goal although they were in control after the main break after a close first half. The Bushies were coming back strongly at the end and goaled on the siren but they were outplayed in the third quarter when it really counted. Oakleigh deserved the win because it came up with a great team effort in which very few players stood out but they all combined to produce a winning outcome. The Chargers' on-ballers Kade Answerth and David Cunningham looked the best of the bunch but I'm not certain whether they're draftable. Diminutive Lachie Byrne-Jones showed great pace but at 170cm he will also struggle to attract support from recruiters. On the other hand, there were some outstanding individuals in the losing team. We all know Josh Schache is a leading contender for the #1 draft pick in November and that his reputation is partly built on straight shooting for goal but that wasn't in evidence early when the big key forward kicked three behinds in the first half. The left footer was played all over the ground and was more comfortable up forward in the second half when he finally rammed home a couple of goals. Morrish Medallist Clayton Oliver is a 187cm midfielder who has played senior football in the country as well as a couple of games for Richmond's VFL team as a 23rd player. In one game for the Bushrangers this season he booted six goals from the middle picking up 27 disposals and six clearances. He is strongly built and plays in the style of another Oliver - Wines from Port Adelaide and the weekend's events should see him move into the top twenty in draft calculations. Murray Bushrangers 2.4 3.9 5.12 9.13 (67) Oakleigh Chargers 2.4 4.6 7.10 10.13 (73) GOALS: Murray Bushrangers: Oliver 2 Schache 2 Smith Tiziani Payne McMullan Smith Oakleigh Chargers: Phillips 2 Walker 2 Byrne-Jones Thompson Kerr Ridley Lane Cuningham BEST: Murray Bushrangers: Tiziani Oliver Waite Schache Payne Brodie Oakleigh Chargers: Byrne-Jones Answerth Beddison Walker Phillips Firns The second game was disappointing as a spectacle and once again it was won by an underdog that played consistent team football but this time the Ranges took the lead early and dominated throughout to win by 10 goals. I came to the ground expecting big things from Falcons players Darcy Parish, Charlie Curnow and Rhys Mathieson who are all high in draft calculations but they were overshadowed by a dominant performance from Ryan Clark of the Ranges. The midfielder was in everything, tackling hard, running hard and leading the team both inside and out. Considering that I haven't seen him in top 20 draft calculations, he was something of a revelation. He was good enough to make it into TAC Cup Team of the Year so it's clear that he's had a consistent season. Medium/small forward Blake Hardwick kicked three goals and always looked dangerous in front of goal. Darcy Parish wasn't prolific but he is all class, can play inside and out has a great future in the game. His partner in crime Rhys Mathieson has great presence, works hard and can hold his head high despite his team's loss. Although they played in a losing team, I've seen enough of them in the middle for Vic Country in the Under 18 National Championships to be able to say that, along with a couple of northern academy midfielders (Mills and Hopper), they are the cream of the crop in this age group. The third of the noted Falcons Charlie Curnow had a poor day after a solid start with some early marks but his kicking let him down. Geelong Falcons 1.4 3.6 4.12 6.14 (50) Eastern Ranges 4.0 7.3 10.8 15.14 (104) GOALS: Geelong Falcons: McCartney 2 Kol Mathieson Blair Wagener Eastern Ranges: Hardwick 3 Brolic 2 Stephenson 2 Collins D Clarke Mitchener Cerra Cotte Gallucci Cyster Hannon BEST: Geelong Falcons: Doedee Witherden Wagener Connors McNamara Kershaw Eastern Ranges: R Clarke D Clarke Maibaum Collins Mitchener Parsons My take from my limited viewing of the 2015 draft pool to date (the Under 18 National Championships matches shown on Foxtel, a streamed game on the AFL site and these two games) is that I would not be surprised if Melbourne was to trade away its first draft pick if the opportunity arose to pick up a quality player by way of trade. It's not so much that the players mentioned in dispatches around the mark where the Demons' first choice is likely to be aren't of interest but because you might not lose a great deal going down the order a dozen spots. With names like Oliver, Clarke, Bonner, Milera and Weideman available a little later in the order, we could be looking once again at a trade like that which brought Dom Tyson and Christian Salem to the club two years ago. TAC Cup Finals Wrap: Week Two Review
  6. DEMON SELECTION CONTROVERSY ADDS TO AFL WOES by a staff reporter The AFL is confronting yet another crisis at the weekend in the wake of its endorsement of decisions by both Fremantle and North Melbourne to "rest" players for its final round leading to allegations that the moves might alter the course of the finals series and seriously compromise the integrity of the competition. The new controversy came to light when the Melbourne Football Club mysteriously omitted fan favourite Jack Watts from its line up to play the GWS Giants at Etihad Stadium on Sunday raising allegations on national television by a Fox Football panelist that the Demons were not taking their final round match seriously in the hope of falling to 15th place to improve their draft position and their chances of selecting a highly fancied midfielder in this year's AFL National Draft. A Melbourne Football Club spokesman told reporters that his club was angry at the claim and said that Watts would be of more value to the club and to the AFL's cause sitting in the stands at Etihad because this game was in desperate need of having as many "bums on seats" at the ground as possible in light of fears that the final round fixture had the potential to highly embarrass the competition with a record low crowd. The official added that Watts was face of a club promotion to help make the ground look at least half full by giving away life size cardboard cut outs of human figures to be strategically placed on seats around the stadium. A local business has also joined in on the promotion by providing 500 plastic inflatable ladies which can later be used for other purposes. "The AFL allowed Port Adelaide to do the same thing for years, so I don't see what their problem is," said the club official who preferred to remain anonymous. He also said the club will be pumping crowd noise recorded in last year's AFL grand final through the ground's PA system to add atmosphere to the occasion although there was some concern after a rehearsal yesterday failed to co-ordinate the crowd's roar with several Jeremy Howe screamers. Meanwhile the AFL's Integrity Office is poised to launch a tanking investigation into the Gold Coast Suns who are likely to finish the season in 16th place if they lose tonight's game at the SCG against the Swans. Allegations of bringing the game into disrepute arose against the northern franchise team which is likely to have third or fourth selection at this season's AFL national draft after critics cited this 2013 article in which their captain Gary Ablett claimed the club was "on track to win a premiership by 2015" - Suns on track for 2015 flag, says Ablett. When questioned by Brett Clothier of the AFL Integrity Unit on Friday afternoon about his club's failure to live up to his prediction, Ablett is reported to have told him that he was "joking at the time". Clothier immediately contacted the Gold Coast Suns to inform them that he expected charges to be laid against the club early next week. Eric Blair, the AFL spokesperson on these matters said the leagues policy was not to comment on integrity-related issues but in this case he was able to say that the AFL was gravely concerned that a senior player had the temerity to take these things lightly. "There's too much of this hilarity going on and people need to realise that football's a serious business," he said. Former Purana Taskforce detective superintendent Gerry Ryan who joined the AFL last year as part of its beefed up integrity unit is likely to head the investigation and also report on the cardboard cut out situation to his boss Gillon McLachlan before the next AFL board meeting due in October.
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