Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every week, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

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Thumbs Down!
1. Good riddance to Domain Stadium. There will be no more games for AFL points at the Western Australian venue. It is an eyesore Domain. Completely run down, facilities are substandard and the seats, well it is hard to work out what colour they once were. There are plenty of memories for Western Australian footy fans at that ground no doubt, but a move to a world-class stadium in the City of Perth is well overdue.

2. I would love to have been a fly on a wall in AFL House when the call was made to allow umpires to wear blue in all Round 23 games. Blue? A dull colour that clashes and most certainly does not stand out on television or live at the ground. How do calls like that even get made? The grey outfit the umpires roll out in games where Richmond wear their clash jumper is just as dull and dreary too. Seriously.

3. The passing of Drew Morphett took most by surprise. Still calling footy over in Perth, Morphett was one of the best. Personally, I am not old enough to remember some of his early work, but I do have fond memories of Morphett commentating AFL and cricket for ABC Grandstand. His voice is one you would recognise anywhere and he just had a way of calling that many today could only dream of. Rest in peace Drew.

Thumbs Up!
1. The fight for the top eight in the AFL went down to the last three minutes of the West Coast, Adelaide game. The Eagles just did enough to dislodge Melbourne from the eight and end the Demons finals hopes. It has been a season like no other, but unfortunately it is put on hold for a week, while we are subjected to some other rubbish entertainment. More on that later. However, it was a dream home and away season for the AFL and it was not half bad for fans either. Well played.

2. The decision to play Adelaide United’s FFA Cup games at Marden is a genius one. So far, so good on the scoreboard, but the community feel that ground brings is everything the FFA Cup is about. There are plenty of opportunities to play the game at Hindmarsh during the regular A-League season, so nothing lost there. Whoever made this decision deserves a pat on the back.

3. Can anybody else remember watching Ashton Agar bat his way to an almost maiden Test century on debut in England a few years ago? It was an iconic moment in an iconic Ashes Series. It is great to see the young man back in the Test team and given another chance. If he can impress over on the testing pitches of Bangladesh, who is to say a second Ashes Series is not out of the question for Agar later this year.

The Thought
Adelaide took both Jono Beech and Hugh Greenwood across to Western Australia with them as travelling emergencies. Another player in doubt that fans were told nothing about? Most likely.

Tweet of the Week

The question
What plan is in place during the Commonwealth Games period in 2018 for the AFL season and in particular the impact this will have on the Suns?

The debacle
There are two finals in Adelaide next week. Adelaide hosts the Giants on Thursday night, while Port Adelaide open their account on Saturday night against West Coast. Ticket sales are strong, but why oh why were tickets released at the same time creating mass chaos at Ticketek? One of the great mysteries of life.

Wednesday Whinge –
Finishing top four once meant something. It meant you were just that little bit better than the four teams below you on the ladder. It worked for many a year and gave those four teams a slightly better chance of making and winning on that last day in September. A right that had been gained by being one of the top four teams in that particular season, across twenty two games of footy.

Last year the AFL decided in its wisdom (or lack thereof) to introduce a bye for all eight teams before the finals kicked off. An idea repeated again this year. So in 2017, Adelaide and Geelong finished top two and will host home qualifying finals in two weeks time. They, like the other six teams left in the competition get next week off. Then if Adelaide or Geelong were to win that home qualifying final, they then get another week off before eventually hosting a Preliminary Final.

That stop-start action is a momentum buster and almost makes winning in week one a disadvantage. Sure a week off is useful for sore bodies, but with the Dogs coming from seventh to win the flag last year, which was an achievement never dome before in the history of the finals formation as it stands, the game has suddenly changed.

I touched on this issue in a column in the corresponding week last year, but it is an issue worth revisiting. Fans get nothing out of the week off either. We are tortured with having to watch a bunch of has-beens run around on Friday night and on Saturday night watch a game between two hurried together women’s team, which is being billed as a State of Origin game. It is hardly that though is it? It is Victoria taking on the rest. How typical.

The bye is a failure and it just simply makes no sense. It is nothing but a momentum killer at a time where momentum is everything. There is no incentive to finish top four anymore, which goes against everything the top eight is designed to do. It also has done nothing to deter teams from resting players in the last game of the year either. This year was a bit of an outlier given the amount of live games that took place. The one team though who did have a top two position locked in was Adelaide. What did they do? They rested their best defender and their best forward who had minor niggles. You have to laugh.

If the AFL players want more rests, shorten the season to seventeen rounds. Another issue all together, but is solves several others.

While on the issues of finals, can the AFL simply have one rule for where specific teams get to play their home finals? Say, Geelong either get to play every home final at Simonds Stadium or every home final at the MCG. The constant debate every year is tiring and a bore. The same goes for GWS. Is it ANZ Stadium or Spotless or perhaps even play them in Canberra? Make a call, stick with it and keep it fair. It is not that hard.

Picture – The Daily Telegraph


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