At the Trough Rd 14

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on July 1, 2011

AFL – News, Reviews, Injuries and Tactics are all discussed “At the Trough”

with Schitty.


The Life of a Pioneer: Everyone called Ron Barassi crazy when he and Barry Richardson went looking abroad for a new style of footballer. Football in the 70s and 80s was a tough game. One needed to be a footballer first, and an athlete second. If you couldn’t read the play, if you had no understanding of the game then you simply couldn’t make the grade.

Barassi was a visionary in this regard. He could sense a shift in the game, the beginning of an evolution that would take our sport in a new direction. Faster, stronger and higher. The domain of the athlete. Whilst Jim Stynes will always be the first name that springs to mind when we recall the deeds of the Irish imports, it was another Irishman who caught our imagination with his athleticism. Sean Wight was a generation ahead of his time in this regard. Strong, lightning fast and as agile as a mountain lion, Wight took the game on with the assuredness of a player born to football. Not one who had only seen the game for the first time 18 months earlier.

He made his debut as a 25 year old in 1985 and would go on to play 150 matches across 11 seasons which included the 1988 Grand Final. He was an All Australian in 1987 in only his third season of the sport, a truly remarkable achievement and he also wore the big V in 1988. In 2008 he was inducted into the Melbourne Hall of Fame and was named as one of the “150 Heroes” of the Melbourne Football Club.

In February this year Sean was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. He died on 30th June 2011. He was 47 years old. His legacy will remain with us all. Vale Sean Wight.

Poached Dog: There has been some conjecture this week over whether or not rival clubs should be allowed to negotiate with opposition players during the season. I don’t believe that a player, under contract, should be looking for another home whilst there is still work to be done. That being said, we have had unique circumstances in 2010 and this year.

The Gold Coast Suns and the Greater Western Sydney Giants have to build a list from scratch. They have blank cheques to wave at whomever they wish and considering that a significant number of there signings will be existing players it is unrealistic to think that these negotiations shouldn’t occur. Should they wait until October to start building their list? I think not.

The reported offer of $4.5 Million over five seasons for Bulldog Callan Ward defies belief. The kid has talent and will no doubt become a very good player but there is no way that the Dogs could hope to match that sum. Ryan Griffin wouldn’t be on $900,000 per season so how could they hope to compete. Moreover, how could they ask him to stay and sacrifice up to $550,000 a season. If the offer is fair dinkum then the Bulldogs need to lick their wounds and move forward because they can’t hope to keep Ward under the circumstances.

It gives me the impression that the rumblings of discontent surrounding “Poaching” are aimed more at the blank cheque book than at the discussions themselves.

The Ultimate Docker: Every now and then a player comes along who seems to carry the weight of expectation of an entire football club on their shoulders. Essendon had James Hird, Collingwood had Nathan Buckley. The Fremantle Dockers have Matthew Pavlich.

Taken at pick 4 in the 1999 national draft (behind Aaron Fiora – Note to Richmond, the concept of the draft is that the teams who have struggled in the previous season have the opportunity to select the best young talent available. See Richard Tambling for further evidence.) He made his debut in Rd 5 2000.

Pavlich was drafted as a key forward he won the goal kicking award at Freo in his second season but necessity meant he played most of the next season as a defender. He was rewarded with selection as the All Australian fullback in 2002 and also won his first club best and fairest that season. He would go on to win AA selection a further 5 times in the next 6 seasons in various positions including Centre Half Forward in 2005 and Full Forward in 2006. His selections in the key forward posts are even more significant given the amount of time he has spent in the midfield throughout his career.

He won four consecutive best and fairest awards from 2005 – 2008 and finished top 2 every year from 2002-2009. At 192cm and 100kg his ability to play tall and also play ruck rover has made him a once in a generation player. He has kicked 483 goals in his 249 games and picked up the club goal kicking award seven times and playing his 250th this week, we can all expect another big performance.

The fact that he has played his entire career on the other side of the continent has meant that he probably hasn’t received the recognition that his achievements warrant and I predict that he will be an automatic inclusion into the Hall of Fame as soon as he hangs the boots up. I hope, for our sake that he plays on for a few more years yet. Happy 250th Pav. You are a superstar.

I’ll Rant and Rave!

What? Justin Sherman, you are a peanut. How in this day and age can you get into the situation where you are racially vilifying an opponent is over my head. You’ve picked a weak target (I sincerely doubt you would voice the same opinions to B.A Barracus) a kid in his first game and given him a spray about his race. You dead set wanker. Firstly, it shows that you lack the intellect to comprehend the meaning of your actions or to come up with a meaningful sledge and secondly, it shows that you are completely out of tune with the rest of the sport. Watching you play always gives the impression that you aren’t aware of what is going on around you but this definitely seals it. You are lucky to be playing again this season as far as I’m concerned and I suggest you spend the rest of your career making this right.

Dropping the ball.I really don’t want to harp on this as I’ve been over it before but fuck me. The rules have changed haven’t they? If you watched the Hawks play the Bombers on Friday night there can be no question that incorrect disposal is no longer a free kick. It went both ways, both teams affected a multitude of tackles that should have been rewarded but not a single one got the nod. I broke my larynx halfway through the first quarter and had to make do with head-butting the floor in disgust for the rest of the game. Hey Geisch! Do us a favour mate, have a press conference and put us all out of our misery. You are killing us out here.

Cue in the rack. I don’t mind a punt on the football and as anyone who follows our AFL lines column would know, I’m doing alright this year. In fact, you’d be mad not to open a Luxbet account and Score a $100 Free Bet from Luxbet! I’d be doing a bit better too if the Cats didn’t decide to produce what I can only assume is the AFL equivalent on “Point Shaving”. The Crows had kicked 5 goals to the 17 minute mark of the last quarter and were 80 points down. A comfortable cover for a 55.5 point line. Then they decided to let Adelaide kick 5 of the next 6 goals to cover by 2 points. That is tantamount to rape and should be investigated. (I don’t really believe it and am in no way suggesting the Cats are corrupt)

Hi – Five:

5: Quinten Lynch: Big Q has struggled to cement a place over the last few years playing as a deep forward but the emergence of Darling and the progression of Kennedy has allowed him to play as a high half forward and this has suited him down to the ground. The evolution of the game has meant that halfbacks are generally smaller players who can run and carry and as the third tall, not many sides have the depth to go with him. 22 touches and 12 marks, 5 contested and a couple of goals in a best on ground performance.

4: Ricky Petterd: Often lambasted for his work rate, Ricky’s talent has never been in question. He was light on touches and didn’t directly impact the scoreboard but his 14 tackles, 13 of which were inside attacking 50 was evidence of the mood shift at Melbourne. In what I’m assured is the most individual forward tackles since these stats have been recorded, Petterd created numerous attacking  chances for the Dees and gave the Tigers no chance of rebounding.

3: Drew Petrie: The Roos are flying and Drew Petrie is one of the main reasons. He has developed a unique style for attacking the long ball where he initiates contact, holds the defender at bay with one arm and then reels the seed in with the other. It is almost impossible to defend against. 16 disposals and 11 marks, an incredible 9 contested, second only to Wayne Carey for the most in a match and 4 goals got the Roos their fourth consecutive win, and made me plenty of cash again.

2: S,S,S,S: Suckling, Savage, Sheils and Smith. They’ve played 67 games between them but they ripped the Bombers apart on Friday night. They combined for 108 disposals at an average of 78 percent efficiency. 38 marks, 16 tackles and 11 goals. With the Hawks decimated by injury, it has been these ‘next generation’ players that Clarko has had to base his game plan around and when they are going, it is something to behold.

1: Matthew Pavlich: When the chips are down the cream rises to the top. Pavlich, by all reports, is playing on one leg but that didn’t stop the great man from 29 disposals, 12 of them contested. 6 marks and 5 goals including two bombs from outside 60. Despite their injury concerns I am finding hard to write the Dockers off with Pav in the side. As mentioned earlier he plays his 250th this week and we wish him all the best for the rest of, what has been a brilliant career.

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Thanks to Mark Nolan/Getty Images AsiaPac for use of the photo


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