Sport AFL Nathan Burke: Pondering the AFL oddities of 2019
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Nathan Burke: Pondering the AFL oddities of 2019

Angry Gary Ablett: The Geelong superstar got his first suspension in 2019. Photo: Getty
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So far AFL season 2019 can best be described as … well … nothing short of odd.

There have been more strange events and happenings than an episode of the X Files – and that’s even without considering AFL X.

The halfway point of the year seems the best time to take stock of these oddities and ponder what is going on. So, let’s take a look.

1. What’s up with 666?

This new rule continues to divide the football world. Those on the Competition Committee (who agreed to the rule) think it is a great idea.

Almost everyone else thinks it is useless. I am in the latter camp.

It hasn’t led to an increase in scoring like they promised and it takes away a strategic element of the game.

Worst of all it opens the door for further restrictions like keeping players inside 50 for all stoppages. Mark my words, they are thinking about it.

2. What’s up with AFL smoke screens?

Anytime there is a real issue to deal with in football it seems head office trots out a misdirection David Copperfield would be proud of.

So far the AFL has offered red herrings like that hardy favourite, putting player names on backs of jumpers, along with wild card rounds, changing logos and including VFA Premierships in record books.

These are all nonsense topics designed to take our eyes off the real issues and so far the public are not falling for it.

Oh, and we all know the league isn’t serious about a team from Tasmania

3. What’s up with sacking coaches mid season?

Two have gone already, although for apparently different reasons. Forget what we are fed, the real reason is the win-loss record. It’s that simple.

I guarantee you that several other coaches are now decidedly nervous heading into the second half of the season.

4. What’s up with ‘angry’ Gary Ablett?

Conspiracy theorists think he was unhappy with Selwood and Danger getting rests and wanted one of his own.

If the coach didn’t give him one he would get the MRO to do the job.

Thankfully, despite the idiotic booing of the champ, a few indiscretions will not diminish his greatness at this late stage.

5. What’s up with score reviews?

We should understand that it will never be perfect as long as we have humans involved and cameras are fuzzy. For a better view, employ goal umpires who can climb posts Dane Rampe style.

That idea couldn’t hurt as the current system makes us look cheap and incompetent.

6. What’s up with pre-game entertainment?

With great fanfare and hype we entered season 2019 with the promise of fireworks, music and innovative Marvel-inspired gizmos.

Yet, so far there hasn’t been a single lycra-clad hero in sight.

My advice to clubs regarding entertainment? Bring back the curtain-raiser and we will all be happy.

7. What’s up with banning fans that yell at umpires?

The latest was a Carlton supporter who called an umpire a ‘bald-headed flog’ and was removed from Marvel Stadium. This followed after the ban for a fan who called an umpire a ‘green maggot’.

The umpires are now out of bounds for fan abuse. Photo: Getty

Some may say it was more an observation than abuse. But seriously, have we become so precious that these catcalls are now out of bounds?

8. What’s up with kicking for goal?

For goodness sake, boys, you get paid lots of money and have lots of spare time so learn how to kick straight.

Every other part of our game is better than 20 years ago, other than goal kicking.

The fans deserve better than to see their team lose because you are mentally weak in front of the big sticks.

9. What’s up with Friday night TV commentary?

It’s not a horse race, you don’t have to mention every single aspect of the game. I love Bruce McAvaney, but enough with the constant rhetorical questions; no one is answering you.

And for the experts, tell us ‘why’ things happened, not ‘what’ just happened. We are watching – we can see what happened, it’s not a radio broadcast.

10. What’s up with second half of the season?

Perhaps because of all the aforementioned oddities, I am looking forward to what should be a spectacular second half.