Kicking With The Wind

Filed in AFL Lines, Other, Uncategorized by on April 1, 2013

Why not start the column in the most obvious place?

It’s taken the AFL all of 10 days to churn through Round 1, and the staggered start still seems slightly mysterious, but it’s good to have the weekend being punctuated in the appropriate places again.

Forget the NRL’s jump start. And just forget A-League and Super XV. Australian Rules is the house game in this wide, brown, sunburned, casino-like country of ours.

Just remember that if you’re the betting kind, bet responsibly.

That, of course, requires you to check the AFL lines on each and every week… as well as grabbing yourself a copy of the Punter’s Guide to the AFL Season edited by The Nut’s own Cliff Bingham and Greg Oberscheidt.


Blues bagging
For a grumpy old guy, Mick Malthouse is probably a pretty good bloke. Players generally defer to him, he made insightful comments as a media personality last year, and there’s no sign of any horse steroids having infiltrated footy clubs under his guidance.

All that said, it could well be that Malthouse has bitten off a bit much by taking over at Carlton.

Pre-season form is more quickly shed than excess fluid at a supermodel convention – and so it was for the Blues.

It’s not something you’d expect diehard Blues fans to see, but Mick’s job at Princes Park isn’t going to be done quickly.

It’s no surprise the Tigers got up last Thursday. Their list is better. And the Blues are in a position where Mick’s coaching alone is expected to overcome this handicap whenever a better side is encountered.

Sadly for the Blues, this particular handicap will be encountered every couple of weeks.


Doubting Thomas
This time last year, Kangaroos forward Lindsay Thomas was having an impact on the rules of the game following his sliding collision with Gary Rohan at the SCG. Now, players dare not slide feet first into a contest.

Thomas acting as a barometer for playing conditions, they may, however, rub out opposition defenders with borderline shirt-fronts off the ball.

Thomas has been cleared of any wrongdoing in Sunday’s incident with Collingwood’s Ben Reid – and you can’t help but think it’s mainly because Reid’s jaw survived the incident intact.

Fractured and Thomas is gone.

It’s the way of the MRP and the precedent is dangerous. It’s a matter of time until a more innocuous incident sees a ban levied – all because it caused injury. Let’s hope it doesn’t affect your side.


For the umps
Q: How far may the ball carrier run between bounces?
A: 15 metres

Q: How far must the ball travel by foot before a mark can be paid?
A: 15 metres

Q: Why aren’t the two measured equally?
A: ????


Beards and haircuts
It’s a well-known, scientifically-proven fact that a full beard is not grown in a bid to tempt women.

They are grown to impress other blokes – and based on the chin-and-cheek-wear on show in the AFL this Autumn, it appears players are keen to leave an impression on each other.

Kade Simpson turned heads for Carlton, but might want to consider a more refined, preened moustache if it’s coach Malthouse he wants to impress.

Jack Watts has set himself for a testing season by letting curls spring from his face. The blossoming beard is further proof that the former number one draft pick is no longer a boy, hereby cancelling out that particular excuse for an ordinary afternoon’s work.

And just what excuse Lance Franklin had for taking the MCG on Monday wearing what can only be described as an awful excuse for a flat-top remains to be seen.

Could be he’d cleverly asked his hairdresser to leave an Easter egg on top. It’d sure have made for an eggcellent hunt at Buddy’s place on Sunday.


Hard at it
Port Adelaide had it – but not Melbourne. Collingwood and the Kangaroos both. Bulldogs, likewise.

It’s an obvious one, but passion is a massive success indicator in football. Start the game with anything less than a win-or-die attitude and you’re a huge risk of being swamped.

It’s a big deal for fans and viewers, too. There’s little better than a ding-dong, last-man-standing kind of affair.

Equally, there’s little worse than a one-sided drubbing where the loser bends over early and submits.

Let’s all hope for less of the latter this season.


Kennett Curse
Bruce McAvaney asked a pertinent question after half time on Monday: “This kind of curse, does it mean anything?”

It does on Monday night, Bruce.

But only to people who like to read into that kind of thing. And that’s most of the football media, so that means that even if it doesn’t mean anything, we’re led to believe it does. Which must mean it means something.

Forget the curse – especially if you’re a #alwaysHawthorn kind of person.

Just remember you’ve got the Eagles in Perth next week and Collingwood the week after and it’s going to be tough coming up with a suitably superstitious reason for a 0-3 start to the season.


Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac


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