Here’s the problem; “Gill McLachlan is the man charged with keeping the game great…”
It’s definitely not his role, nor the Commission’s role – thankfully – it’s also not necessarily the Football Departments role.
The game should not be manipulated, moulded, exploited, engineered or finessed to appease a “moment-in-time” anomaly.
LEAVE IT ALONE!
There should be no contemplation to reduce teams to 16 a side. This is an absurd suggestion attempting to open space and reduce congestion created by manic coaches too fearful to allow their players the freedom to express their ample talents and instinct. Just because we are on the back end of an unfortunate phase where coaches had a misguided balance between attack and defence we should not knee-jerk into rule changes. It will pass – primarily on the back of the courage and verve shown by premiership winning coach Luke Beveridge along with Hawthorn, Geelong and the Crows to a lesser extent. Make no mistake, coaches are forever meddling with strategy and tactics to reduce player instinct and intuitiveness and control the ball movement and playing patterns.
The introduction of zones will signal the final death knell in an already, maniacally, over-controlled environment.
One must ask this simple question; “What are the AFL trying to achieve?”
Is it aesthetics?
Is it safety?
Is it participation?
Is it competing for sport dominance?
Sydney Swans coach, John Longmire has been vocal about full time umpires. His reasoning is awkward at best, reflective “sooky lala” more likely. Seems he blames a few umpire decisions for not winning the premiership. Crying over spilt milk doesn’t appeal and surely is a poor basis for an agenda to change how much time umpires are employed. I’d suggest “Horse” spends more time getting his ample list of coaches to educate, train and motivate his team to perfecting their skills or better still releasing their negative shackles which may assist the outcome of major games.
Imagine $150K a year umpires becoming full time? One can only spitball a salary of around $300K?
We absolutely need to provide a stronger pathway career for former players to enter umpiring. To me that should be a vital component for the career in the future.
Calls for “reward the tackler” are on the back of a decade of “protect the ball player”. You can’t have it both ways. Now Gillon wants umpires to reward the tackler!
I have a novel suggestion. DEFINE THE RULE AND IMPLEMENT IT!
Rules that can have diametrically opposed interpretations are not rules. As fans we should be incensed that the AFL has the jusrisdiction to emotionally meddle with interpretation as they see fit, changing it back and forth depending on water cooler discussions and intimidation from perceived industry heavyweights.
“If in doubt, play free kicks”, says Gill the Guru. I think he means “pay” but the real point here is who the hell does he think he is giving that direction? The rules should be so clearly defined that they are not debated – they are merely enforced. The CEO has zero jurisdiction in my opinion to provide advice to umpires on how to interpret rules. Butt out. By all means direct a group of people to assess the current rules and provide findings.
The rule book needs a massive overhaul by way of a summit with qualified people empowered to deliver a succinct, simple, definable and enforceable set of rules for the 21st century.
Gill’s next clanger is the scheduling. He wants to break into conferences. Can you imagine the impact this will have with history and the future? Why do people think they have to change things? I agree the current schedule warrants some attention but unless you can provide a scenario where every team plays each other once with an extended finals series, I have no confidence in other more extravagant options.
Next are his views on James Hird and the endless Essendon saga………..
I’ll save my more detailed response for another article.