Part 1: The AFL Season in Cinematic view

Australian sport has been unforgettable this year for so many many reasons. Well, really only for two- Essendon and Australian cricket. One’s been accused of immorality and taking PEDs and the other should seriously consider pill popping.

AFL fans have been the losers this year. Richmond finally crack into the finals after 12 years in September exile and arguably the greatest player of all time is at the peak of his powers, but so what? James Hird read children books to his kids this morning! So yeah, consume that.

With the AFL’s war with Essendon bound to outlast the footy season, it might be best to look back on what has been a very hectic AFL season … with a little help from timeless movie classics. The Melbourne footy club used Brad Pitt’s performance in MoneyBall to underpin their recruiting policy, so why can’t I?

“Sidney, relax. Have a cream soda. Everything is gonna be all over with in a few minutes” (Midnight Run, 1988).

To the poor Demons fans, who sit rocking in their straitjacket begging for it all to end. It will, very soon. The season that is. A coach sacking, obvious player discontent and a wilfully incompetent football department, made this season business as usual for football’s foundation club. Melbourne might be bottoming out on most KPIs but they have a few winners. Jack Watts leads the league in trying-to-look-like-I’m-doing-something (an honour previously bestowed to Brad Miller) and now the Dees have secured another high draft pick. Which reminds me…

“Is this Moron No. 1? Put Moron No. 2 on the phone”

So Melbourne thought that baseball analytics can be applied to AFL recruiting? Dumping an overvalued talent in Brent Maloney and recruiting an always underrated David Rodan would have actually been a good move… if it was 5 years ago! Mark Neeld’s team clearly forgot that moneyball is purely a geek number-crunching exercise. Not a community recycling initiative. Without sounding as dramatic as Luke Darcy was in 2010 when he predicted Richmond were at least five years off from being competitive in games (seriously, no team with Cotchin, Martin and Delidio will be fundamentally insipid), the Dees’ summer will dictate their fortunes for the rest of the decade. It’s all Roos. Or seriously nothing.

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” (The Godfather)

Sheeds. Buddy. What a duo. If someone ever (and I mean ever) visited Blacktown, we’ll finally have a reason to read one of Sheedy’s books and buy Buddy’s cheap Jordan knock-off shoes (C’mon Buddy, you gotta be the GOAT to have your own shoe line). Assuming Hawthorn win this year’s flag, which they should by talent alone, Franklin’s move will give everyone what they want. The Hawks finally cement themselves as one of the great teams of the modern era, Buddy becomes the game’s highest paid player (interestingly, Aussie basketballer Patty Mills will still earn more towel waving in the States… not a bad gig) and Jarryd Roughead becomes Hawthorn’s undisputed best big man.

“Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The third rule of Fight Club: someone yells stop, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. The fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. The fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. The sixth rule: no shirts, no shoes. The seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to.”

Andrew Demetriou broke the first rule: Do not comment on the investigation. And therefore, the second. But both Demetriou and James Hird have definitely embraced rules three through seven. Looks like we are headed to Main Event, baby! Demetriou v. Hird. The LEGACY SERIES. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? How ever this war ends, legacies will be severely damaged for both Essendon staff and AFL House. Which leads me to…

“I got 8 days to my retirement, and I will NOT make a stupid mistake!” (Lethal Weapon 3)

Any chance of nice guy Doc Reid and Demetriou bowing out gracefully is shot. How will Demetriou’s tenure be remembered? Powering the AFL into economic domination? Or, allowing certain injections to be had that sound as legitimate as antler-spray and massaged goat-brain? And for football’s friendly and cuddly neighbourhood doctor? Well, history will probably forget him and, if he’s accused of anything, it would probably be naivety.

“And… Here… We… Go!” (The Dark Knight)

We got there. Eventually. The lid is off down at Tigerland. But truth be told, the lid has always been off. Even in the Wallace years, Tiger fans were drooling over Dean Polo, ‘Bling’ Tambling and Adam Pattinson running amok in September (I still want to put a fork in my eye when I think of this). Despite making the finals and looking set to challenge for premierships in a few years time, Richmond are still the dumbest good team running around. What do you do if Sydney play four ruckmen? We’ll counter it with playing one recognisable ruckman and have Ricky Pettard concede 15kg and 10cm to his direct opponent. Then, snaring the lead with 90 seconds against Fremantle, not one Tiger thinks to flood their own defensive fifty. Knuckleheads.

“I’m Tony Montana. You f–k with me, you f–kin’ with the best!” (Scarface)

Bucks, Mick and Eddie. Or is it Mick, Eddie and Bucks? Whatever the order, it’s one of the underrated story lines of 2013 (thanks Jimmy). Is anyone else hoping Mick’s Blues creep into the eight and knock off Buck’s Pies in the first week of the finals? I’d never be so excited for a post-match press conference. Just one spiteful up-yours comment, Mick. Even something simple like “This is paradise, I’m tellin’ ya”. Would that kill you?

“Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you!” (LOTR)

Has anyone else carried a team more than Nick Riewoldt, this season? Roo is enjoying his best season in three years and the Saint’s are suffering its worst in 12. Ross Lyon’s coaching nearly won the Saints a premiership but it also has landed them in the dog house. Lyon left St Kilda with old beaten veterans and little youth shining through. I really like Scott Watters as a communicator but his years at St Kilda will be very dark. Might be best he takes a leaf out of Lyon’s book and bolt to a better situation. Wait, I hear a coaching vacancy might be opening at Carlton soon…

Part 2 coming soon…

 

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