Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : VFL            Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

 

Gotcha Mitch in 2006

Did anyone seriously think the quietly spoken bloke we call ‘Gotchie' could find a way through the Bullants confounding ‘behind the ball' game in last week's qualifying final? In doing so Brad Gotch, a VFA premiership player with Dandenong (1991) and premiership coach with Springvale (1996) and Williamstown (2003), showed that he is a master of his trade. If there was a moment that captured his grasp of all things football and his poise it was the glance he cast Mick Malthouse's way when the Magpie coach went into paroxysms of anger and despair in the box, on camera, a few weeks back. For the past month Gotch has cast that gaze towards the Bullants seemingly invincible game plan. A 10-goal last quarter at Cramer Street by the Seagulls was just rewards for the ‘smiling assassin's' attention to detail. Now the VFL premiership race is alive again. Yet, for all the exhilaration of Gotch's triumph it's impossible to ignore the questions the game raised about the integrity of the VFL.

Although it was a VFL final, the only significant restriction on the selection of players was the 12 AFL – 10 VFL rule. This meant that the dazzling Magpie, Dale Thomas, despite having played not one single VFL game, was able to be selected with the Seagulls. His four goals showed how significant was that selection. And as long as Collingwood is playing in the AFL finals he, or Chris Tarrant for example, will be eligible to play with Williamstown. Not so with Carlton players, who can only play with the Bullants if they have met more stringent criteria, including seven VFL games should they have played with Carlton after 1 July. Fortunately for the Bullants they have more than 20 Carlton players qualified.

It's not hard to find an argument to justify the rules. The existence of a clause precluding Thomas from playing against the Bullants would not have been well received by Mick Malthouse. AFL clubs will not accept rules that compromise their capacity to use the VFL as a training ground. Unfortunately, this not only produces anomalies but also creates a playing field that is far from level.

Despite the high stakes of the Frankston v Bullants match this week coach Barry Mitchell will have at least seven Carlton players - Bannister, Setanta O'hAilpin, Jackson, Blackwell, Teague, Deluca, and Sporn - all of whom played against the Swans last week, in line for selection. Yes, having players of this calibre can create excitement, but at what cost?

The AFL introduced the salary cap and the draft to create a situation in which merit and planning rather than the cheque book determined who won the premiership? In the VFL the only clubs constrained by the salary cap are stand-alone ones and the great winners are those aligned clubs that qualify the most AFL players. Plucking a star in the first week of the finals can help also. So, while having quality VFL players and luck with injuries are important ingredients in determining who wins the flag, the rules continue to give too much weight to the AFL side of the equation. With the VFL certain to tighten the rules governing Geelong, might we eventually see a 12 VFL – 10 AFL or a 14 – 8 clause for finals? If only it was an ideal world!

The VFL takes centre stage

Forget the MCG lying dormant until the grand final. What about Mr Bracks calling on footy supporters to pack Port Melbourne over the next two weeks and Princes Park on grand final day? If ‘Bracksey' or the Lord Mayor, John So, doesn't grab this opportunity someone in their respective public relations department isn't doing their job. If it's good enough for the toff from Camberwell, Barry Humphries, to be feted in town surely it's good enough for the old VFA? What about a gathering in Federation Square? What about a nice little 130-year birthday bash to promote the grand final?

Shades of Coleman

My spies say Frankston's Aaron Edwards will not recover from his knee problem in time to play on the weekend. The biggest thing in VFA/VFL football since Cook and Miller, he is a genuine star, who needs only 3 goals to become the first player since 1997 to kick 100 goals. If he doesn't play it will rival Bomber legend John Coleman missing the 1951 grand final. Yes, that's how big it is for the VFL and Frankston.

 

Medals and Oscars

Pencil in Barry Mitchell to coach Carlton and Daniel Harford to win the Liston from Ezra Poyas and Aaron Edwards

 
 

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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