The AFL is killing my love for the game
It’s the question on the lips of millions of fans across the country, and even has the neutrals wondering: what has happened to our great game of Aussie Rules football?
I have been going to games since I was six, and I still remember my first match, which was 18 years ago.
It was Port Adelaide versus Collingwood at Football Park, and I’d loved football up to that point, and to finally go was a dream come true.
Aside from the Showdown, there was no greater rivalry in the AFL for the Power fans.
I still remember quarter-time, and former Port Magpies champion and then Collingwood captain Nathan Buckley was being heckled by the Power fans.
“Buckley’s a wanker!”
The chant rang around throughout the first time break, and as a six-year-old, this was highly amusing.
While I didn’t join in, I was certainly drawn to the hostility and territorial aspect of an AFL match.
We lost that game by nine points after a stinker of a second quarter, but that next year, I was given my first Power membership – something I’ve held from that day.
Now, we’re in 2019 and for the first time ever, I’m finally starting to fall out of love with the game I’ve grown up with.
To put things in perspective, my team had successive 138-point and 165-point losses in 2011, and I was still interested in watching my club.
I’d even watch neutral games despite knowing my team was a complete rabble.
These days, watching the AFL is like a chore, and I’d much rather flick on the SANFL or go watch some grassroots.
Why? Because the head honchos at the AFL have broken this game.
I’ve lived through the sub rule, which was terrible, and rightfully taken out.
However, these ‘ground-breaking changes’ have done nothing to help the game, in fact, have made them worse.
In particularly, the 50m penalty rule is a rabble, and the fact it can turn into a 100m penalty is way too harsh.
Capping interchange rotations have forced players into lazy, exhausted kicks.
If the caps were removed, disposal quality and goal-kicking would improve drastically.
Look at the quality of matches before caps, and look at them now.
However, the biggest peeve has been the treatment of the fans.
For centuries, AFL fans have been able to hurl abuse (within reason) across the fence.
Classics include “green maggots”, “dirty cheat” so on, so forth, you get the point.
However, twice in the past month a fan has been thrown out of a game for abusing an umpire.
The most recent, coming on Saturday as a fan called Matthew Nicholls “a flog.”
Nicholls clearly took offence to this, and the fan was removed from the game – which is an absolute joke.
Furthermore, the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ luck game that comes with the Match Review system is shambolic.
There is no consistency, and there hasn’t been for years.
If players are to be suspended, it should be for the action, not the outcome.
If one player hits one in the face and nothing happens and another does the same but the victim is concussed – it should be the same punishment.
Gil McLachlan, Steve Hocking and Michael Christian – it’s time to step aside out of our game, and let someone who actually knows what’s best for the sport to take over.
You’re killing our love for the game.