Indigenous Round. Multicultural Round. Community Umpiring Round. Add to that games that feature a cup or a trophy and where teams wear different jumpers to support a charity and you’ve got one very saturated market. You’ve got games that delve into major political issues and matches where teams wear outfits that make them unrecognisable.
It won’t be long before there is Nick Xenophon Round and Pauline Hanson Round because apparently that’s what Australia wants right?
Things got so out of hand a few years ago that umpires wore a blue shirt to support a particular charity, which made them become invisible because it was such a dull colour and clashed with other teams jumpers. Ridiculous.
Right now the charity to normal game ratio is unbalanced. All this does is numb the ability to promote a cause, because people become immune to it and begin to stop taking notice.
Now nobody is saying that these are not great causes and deserve support. But there is simply too many of them. The focus should be on supporting a few causes well and ensuring the league’s fans are wanting to turn up and watch the game of footy in the first place. Without fans, there will be no rounds. Themed or not.
Here are five rounds I’d like to see implemented to keep the fans happy:
Umpire get it right round.
Ideally this would be a year long round that’s broken up into 22 weeks. Four umpires needs to never be discussed again. Didn’t work. All it achieved was to have more people to make more interpretations that nobody understood. Seriously, make the umpires full time. Stop changing the rules on them and let’s see what happens.
A round where there is no round
Scrap the bye. Ridiculous. Stunts the season and is plainly unfair. Book one weekend off in the middle of the year with no footy. Or split it over two at the most. Simple as that.
A kick and catch all year round
Unless it’s teaming down with rain, remove the silly rules where it’s only some games where kids can go out and have a kick on the ground after the match. It’s a highlight of state league footy and should be occurring at all levels. Nothing better than burning off some energy after the game with kick and catch.
A cheap chips and pie round
I’ll have to take out another mortgage if I want chips and a drink at Adelaide Oval. When the food is costing more than it is to get in, there’s an issue. At least the sauce is free.
Just a round round
Sometimes all the average punter wants is to sit in the outer with a beer and watch footy. It doesn’t have to get anymore complicated than that. No themes. No causes. Just a good game of footy.
So yes support a cause or two. But not everybody. It starts losing its meaning and people stop taking notice. An average person cannot afford to support every charity and political stand and neither can the AFL. Harsh, but a reality of life.
The AFL need to fix their own issues and encourage people to go to the footy before trying to put a foot in everybody else’s ambitions.