Sport AFL In footy, things ain’t what they used to be

In footy, things ain’t what they used to be

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Footy is barely upon us, but I’m already having some dire premonitions about the latest buzz words and statistics that will greet me the first time I switch on the telly.

As footballer’s pay packets have increased, so too has the lexicon become more bloated.

Australian rules football smacks of a sport that has been given a big promotion, and is doing its best to prove to the nation it deserves it.

What was once a beautifully simple game has been corrupted.

Who knows what the latest trend will be, what new terms will take their place in the hall of fame alongside beauties like the ‘fat side’, ‘contested ball’, the ‘flood’ and the ‘press’.

It’s not enough to have a captain and vice-captain anymore – we need a ‘leadership group’.

Chopping dead wood and replacing it with promising youngsters is known as ‘list management’.

When once it was enough to be committed, now we need ‘buy-in’.

There are no players anymore – only members of the ‘playing group’. Why use one word when two or three will do? Sides used to score, now they ‘apply scoreboard pressure’.

How did footy teams stay hungry before Leading Teams came along? What did we do before rotations?

Does the game look or flow any better now than it did 20 years ago? Maybe, but I’d put it down more to the quality of ground drainage and decreased rain levels than the plethora of line coaches with laptops.

Fantasy football competitions have a lot to answer for – no one cared how many contested possessions a bloke got until they came along. And like a lot of crap (the Kardashians, baseball, Robin Thicke) you can do without, they originated in the US of A.

You don’t need a number beside every single thing a player does. You know he’s having a good game by watching it, not refreshing a screen on your phone.

Quick blokes still run with the footy, big blokes still try and grab it. It’s not rocket science, but they’re trying their hardest to make it so.

Of course, one of the benefits of the over analysis is that it makes it easier to turn off Fox Footy and get to games – lest I have to listen to ‘Kingy’ or ‘Johno’ in the ‘War Room’.

I’ll be the bloke in the outer, undisturbed by what my colleague Patrick Smithers refers to as ‘the deadening hand of statistics’, enjoying the contest sans commentary and doing my best to make this beautiful game simple again.

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