Posts Tagged ‘GWS’

Obituary for my favourite coach

When a true great of the game finally leaves, especially when he is pushed, there is bound to be controversy, backlash and puff pieces. In the case of Nathan Hindmarsh there can be comebacks before he has even retired. But it is not this Nathan we discuss today. In fact, we are not discussing a Nathan at all

It is with great sadness that I post this news… Matthew Primus, former coach of the Port Adelaide Power, has fallen victim to his own success and ingenuity.

Fondly known by followers of this blog (including my dog and a mate of mine who lives in a different country), Matthew “Optimus” Primus proved himself to be a trailblazer in not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not eight, but seven ways. All seven of these ways include appointing captains for a fixture. Seven captains, unsurprisingly.

Apparently the decision to boot the “The Transformer” was prompted by their loss to the Greater Western Sydney Giants, the Power board moved quickly to rid themselves of anything to do with the loss. The coach goes, the president goes, half the players will probably go, and the board remains safe. We all know, after all, that it is a board that makes a football club.

It seemed like a hasty move, in light of GWS coach Kevin Sheedy’s comments recently that they are the best AFL side ever to don a pair of short shorts and we-have-massive-ceps singlets, and that their poster boy Israel Folau is the best AFL player ever to pose for the camera.

In reality the move to decomission the leader of the Autobots proves only that the Power board should be unplugged. The lack of leadership for the Power will now come into question, with a distinct lack of candidates to replace the slayer of all them baddie robots.

We all know that Jazz was ripped apart by Megatron in the first movie and that Ironhide and Ratchet just don’t have it in them to lead a team back from the depths of failure. And don’t get me started on Shia Labeouf. The fact that Michael Bay expects me to believe that that puny little human can defeat Starscream single handedly is insulting to sports fans.

This does not beg the question as there is no argument where the question is being begged, but instead poses it: why was he fired? There is little doubt that Primus was the best coach in the AFL. He clearly had the best name, being the most akin to a popular brand of childrens’ toy. What’s more, the audacity he showed to name seven captains for one fixture is the most groundbreaking development in coaching since the clipboard. This decision led to some of the most read pieces of sports journalism in history. Such is the legacy.

The AFL is poorer for not having Primus among its coaching ranks. I’m not saying I ever watched a Port Adelaide game while he was in charge, or ever heard him talk, but I do know he will go down as the greatest, most successful and most handsome man ever to fill out a team sheet or run handpassing drills.

Vale Optimus, you and the potential for jokes about your name will be missed.

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I’m looking at you, AFL

Has the AFL become less predictable than the NRL? After seeing this week’s results sheets I think  it may be getting closer.

I always looked at the AFL as a bit of a banker when it came to tipping and betting. The NRL, in past years, has been an absolute nightmare to tip. It hasn’t really changed this year either, with the “experts” tipping the “Tigers” as “favourites” for the premiership. I don’t know which fantasy world these “experts” were living in. I know that it’s always difficult to tip the NRL, I understand, but I also know that the answer to the question “When will the Tigers finally bring it all together?” is “never!”

For all those that think I’m going all Matty Johns on you, I also know that the “never” answer also applies to Souths and Parramatta as well. To fans of these teams: don’t beat me up, my opinion only.

But you know how it goes, AFL followers. Things tend to work in dynasties, don’t they? There was a Brisbane Lions dynasty, then a Port Adelaide dynasty of sorts, then a Swans dynasty and then a Geelong and Collingwood dynasty. As a fan of sport who doesn’t follow AFL all that closely, I know that I can usually answer the question of who’s going to win this year’s premiership by watching one episode of that year’s Footy Show and picking up hints as to who the two best teams were. Flame on AFL fans. Flame on.

This year, to me, seems different. Collingwood aren’t the dominant proposition they were for the last two years. Geelong got beaten by North Melbourne, who have promised so much but delivered so little over the past number of years. I am beginning to think we might have some new Grand Final contestants this year.

The NRL often advocates that the salary cap is the best thing ever to happen to rugby league. The argument runs that it evens the playing field and ensures a tight competition every year. Looking at the closeness of NRL fixtures, I would generally agree. The competition has been exciting and the standard of play excellent for the past ten years. It’s obvious, though, that the players are playing for much less than they’re worth, and for that reason I think that the cap is immoral. 

The AFL’s  salary cap hasn’t seemed to have had the same effect, at least to my untrained eye (thanks Jacko). Why has the AFL has not enjoyed the same closeness between all teams? It always seems like there are two or so teams standing high above the others in the quality their play. If, through their salary cap,  draft and whatever other systems, they have managed to provide us fans with a competition as even as the NRL, then it is a triumph both for spectators and capitalists alike.

Then again, we just watched Manly, the reigning premiers in the NRL, get beaten convincingly by the cellar dwelling Titans. In that respect I think the NRL is still the benchmark. I would not put my money on the bottom two teams in the AFL to beat any of the other teams, let alone Geelong. But if you ask me when the reals Eels or Titans are going to show up and win, I think it’s just as likely to be against the Storm or the Broncos as anyone else.

I think, if pushed,  the reason I would give for my general lack of observance of AFL in the past has been the predictability of results. If this new trend keeps up, and the top teams aren’t as untouchable as they have seemed in the past couple of seasons,  I may be forced to change my ways. Then again, if the Blues and Eagles begin a dynasty and I’m forced to watch mid-table clashes to see a close game, I might not bother.

I started by mentioning a banker for the betting-folk, and I’d hate to disappoint the many (read: any) that read along. So here it is: bet against the Suns and GWS. I read a news story last week that due to lack of bets on GWS to beat West Coast, the Eagles were paying a flat dollar. Yep. No more bets please.

Stand, spray and deliver.

Critiques from the arm chair