Kicking With The Wind: Round 1

Filed in AFL by on March 15, 2014

It’s still cricket season – just look at a club ground in your local neighbourhood for proof – but we (the humble Australian football fan) are being asked to consider it footy season, too.

As if mugged into a mid-March start by the powers that be at NRL and ARU headquarters, the big chiefs at AFL House have found ways to start the season earlier and earlier for the past decade or so.

This year they’ve abbreviated the pre-season, much to everyone’s relief, and have avoided gimmicks like ‘AFL 14s’ (or similar) to go along with their NRL counterparts, but splitting the first round and dragging the whole ‘showcase’ out over a fortnight seems a tad absurd.

In words inspired by the spirit of David Rhys-Jones, “if you’re going to do a job, knock the bastard out cold”, surely the opening round should take place in a weekend.

Go ahead and start on a Thursday night again if you must, but give us more than four games to chew on. Please.

Think of the pundits, the columnists and the TV saps. They’ve still got the same space to fill, but only half the source material to do the job… and that means senseless over-analysis and repetition ad nauseum.

Oh, that’s right. It’s the AFL we’re talking about and there’s approximately 1.5 billion reasons to explain the level and depth of dross we’re to be subjected to in the name of ‘disecting’ the game.

Be grateful, then, and remain steadfastly assured Kicking With The Wind will not soak you in statistics nor mug you into believing another Dale Thomas injury is a ‘tragedy’.

This is footy by feel, so feel free to join in.


Play it again, Sam
No… sorry… I actually mean stop fucking playing it again, Sam… Newman. And Garry Lyon, James Brayshaw and every other freckled tit responsible for the ‘premier’ footy show on free-to-air television.

The first two episodes of the long-running Thursday night staple have seen this correspondent sign out well inside the first hour.

And that’s been without seeing a single team named, such is the depth of shitty jokes and needless back-slapping the AFL Footy Show seems to have become a showcase for.

In fact, I’d wager there’s less AFL analysis and content in the Footy Show than there is in the Daily Telegraph’s Wednesday edition these days.

Maybe Damien Barrett ‘understands’ why it’s gone this way, but I never will.


A bridge too far
The Tele is sure to be all over AFL in 2014.

I mean to say Lance ‘Money’ Franklin is a resident of the Harbour City these days, and if you believe what you read in the Melbourne press, the artist formerly known as ‘Buddy’ is genuine front-page news.

Whether he boots a bag at Skoda this weekend, ‘Money’ is every chance to have his mug snapped wherever he chooses to refresh himself post-match.

And it better be Hydralite the big man is supping for he’ll be a marked man on and off the field this year – to a degree he may have hoped to avoid by moving north – and it’ll make a big splash the first time he loosens up, no doubt.

‘Money’ has already copped it on the inside back page of the Herald Sun for not appearing at the pre-match presser ahead of the Round 1 derby in Sydney.

Mark Robinson claimed an appearance from Franklin would have been genuine fruit for the back page.

Maybe… but it seems more likely that Ted Richards, Franklin’s proxy in this instance, would provide something eminently more readable.

He might sleep on a mattress stuffed with $50 notes, but ‘Money’ is no great orator, that’s for sure.


Dead certs
You can’t look past Hawthorn in Round 1. They should absolutely trounce the Lions and you just know Al Clarkson will be demanding complete annihilation.

Aside from the obvious gulf in class between the two lists, there’s the small matter of a 20-goal thumping the Hawks dished out during the NAB Challenge and it serves as a timely form line.

Jon Brown would have to turn back the clock close to a decade – and he might want to bring a dozen of his premiership teammates back, too – for Brisbane to get close.

Promises to be an absolute snoozefest at Aurora Stadium. Look for Luke Breust to boot a bag, Grant Birchall to collect 30+ across half-back and Luke Hodge to bomb one from the (centre) square.

The 73 Lions fans in the house must be hoping for little more than their better players to get through the fixture unscathed.


Alberton will be a great place until at least the end of 2017 given that Justin Westhoff has put pen to paper on a new deal with the Power.

It’s a just reward for the enigmatic key tall and proof positive the powers that be at Port Adelaide know how to reward a guy who’s put as much time and effort into his beard development as Westhoff has during the past couple of seasons.

Coincidentally, star sophomore Ollie Wines also re-signed with the Power. Seriously, Alberton is going to be a great place again in the next few years.


Shit tweet of the week

This one courtesy of @RalphyHeraldSun: ‘If an Essendon player is cited by an ump on match day we will report it in the paper. If you have a problem with that unfollow me right now.’

Presumably @RalphyHeraldSun had something to do with the recent ‘outing’ of a dozen or so Essendon players still mired by the club’s performance enhancing drugs scandal/saga/shit storm and has had enough of the 140 character type of feedback he probably receives every time his name’s atop an Essendon story.

Too bad, @RalphyHeraldSun.

You’ve earned your followers by pandering to the single-cell amoeba-types that read your rag daily. Now you can deal with their feedback.



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