Sunday, August 7, 2016

AFL Power Rankings: Round 20 2016

Reading back over this Herald Sun article from earlier in the year (which incidentally may end up being somewhat prescient about Richmond having an 8-14 record), I came across one of the better internet AFL-related comments I’ve ever seen, made by a commenter named ‘Brock’:
“I love football, because it's a great leveller, because it creates a shared interest among people who would otherwise be strangers, because it's an incredible game to watch and – in addition to many other reasons – because of the amazing atmosphere at the MCG during any of the 30+ games I go to each year.

One reason I don't love football is because of the 'supporters', both online and at the ground, that feel a sense of entitlement – to intimidate other people, to provoke other people, to belittle other people, to insult other people. As though a game can justify the type of behaviour that these 'supporters' likely feel is unacceptable in other areas of their lives. As though that behaviour, by way of its persistence, makes a person some kind of personality.

Among other things, it's tiresome, tedious and very rarely original. It lacks imagination. It almost always represents a really sad insight into the mind of the person in question. At the ground, you can see the delight on their faces at having disrupted those around them. In the same way, you can imagine the people behind the keyboard giggling at their own supposed wit, or smiling smugly at having slightly refreshed the wording of the same tired insults. 

In reality – it's provocative only in the way that a really boring movie provokes a person to get up and leave. Draws a reaction in the same way that a dull conversation causes a mind to daydream.

Primarily though, it evokes a sense of pity. Because an aspiration to merely draw a reaction (any reaction, from anyone) seems such an insignificant and trivial thing to aspire to.”

Most of us long-time AFL followers would have been one of those boorish supporters this at some point. I would say that insults are common in a lot of sports – see the major US sports and most soccer clubs – though it seems to me that there is a tinge of smugness in AFL that isn’t as present in other sports.
Still it would be nice to dial back on the same tired old comments. While there are exceptions if you (me included) make a comment in relation to one of the following topics you probably aren’t being anywhere near as funny or original as you think you are.
Adelaide: the city of Adelaide.
Brisbane: trading for Brendan Fevola, players leaving.
Carlton: salary cap breaches, the Mick Malthouse era, ex-Blues forwards being successful elsewhere (Betts, Kennedy, Waite)
Collingwood: supporters’ numbers of teeth, Eddie McGuire’s influence, Travis Cloke and his kicking for goal.
Essendon: supplements, James Hird, basically everything that was in the news from 2013 to early 2016.
Fremantle: inability to kick big scores, trading away good players and high draft picks.
Geelong: Joel Selwood ducking, the 2008 Grand Final.
Gold Coast: Karmichael Hunt, how bad they are compared with GWS.
Greater Western Sydney: high draft picks.
Hawthorn: free kicks.
Melbourne: 186-point loss to Geelong, general ineptitude over the past decade, fans heading to the snow.
North Melbourne: lack of supporters, bringing in older players but not being a premiership contender.
Port Adelaide: choking in finals, the city of Adelaide.
Richmond: finishing ninth, losing elimination finals, sacking coaches.
St. Kilda: only one premiership, how much you hated Stephen Milne.
Sydney: cost of living allowance, Buddy’s nine-year contract.
West Coast: illicit drugs.
Western Bulldogs: lack of supporters, only one premiership back in 1954.

After reaching the top spot in the rankings for the first time last week Greater Western Sydney are leapfrogged this week by Adelaide and Sydney, both of whom won by large margins while the Giants struggled to beat the Gold Coast Suns. In fact 15 of the 18 clubs shifted position this week, with St. Kilda and Melbourne having the most significant wins. The Saints in particular have been big improvers over the past five weeks, and are close to ‘rankings parity’ (i.e. zero ranking points) for the first time since early-2013.  

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