February continues to roll on as only time can.  As we eek out an existence in this sports wasteland, we have to find alternatives.  It’s usually this time of year that I find bespoke sports on my subscription TV channels to subsist on.  Things like Lawnmower Racing or the Marble League or the thrill of the diecast rally championships.  However, we take a brief pause in all of this and can watch the biggest sporting event of them…bigger than the Olympics if you ask some Americans…The Superbowl.  Or, as is more accurately portrayed in the telecast, Tay-Tay-watch.  The Grand Final of American Football was plunged into a viewers dilemma of watching the game or watching Ms Swift sit in a seat…standing occasionally.  The build up to the game was not about team selections, history, or training, but was a live stream of Tay-Tay’s flight data from FlightRadar24 as she jetted in from Tokyo to see it.  During the match whenever she moved, downed a wine, itched or farted for the full length of the telecast, the camera’s caught every moment.  Her movements were so well documented that there was a betting market available about how many times the telecast would pan to her.  And, in the end, as the final touchdown was thrown, did the cameras stick with the jubilation of the players and coaching staff?  Not bloody likely.  Instead we were gifted another shot of Taylor and commentary about who designed what she was wearing.

Let sport be sport.  Let people enjoy sport.  Let famous people enjoy watching sport without worrying when a camera will pan to them.  The problem is marketing.  It’s disappointing that marketing executives can’t rely on just the product of the game.  They saw an opportunity that televising this young entertainer would also bring the eyeballs of every Swifty on Swift-watch to the screen too in which there is secondary opportunity to stuff those eyeballs with advertised product.

At the time of writing this, I am in post-match viewing of the Superbowl and listening to an interview of an Australian “football fan” who has attended the event.  He’s not talking normal.  Not that he’s drunk, but he is using the term “fan activation zones.”  This is not how anyone talks except for marketing executives.  This “football fan” is no doubt a marketing guy from the AFL on a junket to see how the big-boys can jam more product in the faces of your average AFL punter.  What is an activated fan anyway?  Is it anything like an Activated Almond?  That is, it’s been soaked in a liquid, and is now in some way enhanced?  When pseudo-science and marketing get together, it’s just a disaster.  They take the normal, in this case an average fan, soak them in a liquid such as beer and call them activated, then someone ends up paying more for it.  Cleverly though, it is the fan themselves that have paid in this case.  Almonds don’t pay to get activated, why should we mere mortal fans?  As a side, I firmly believe that if you soak me liquid, I become enhanced…but careful, too much liquid and I become a vastly inferior product, not worth a brass razoo.

Does it work?  Does marketing actually have any effect on the commonfolk?  Do the AFL sponsors get any benefit from this at all?  It’s riling me up and I need to take a break.  I’m off in my Hilux, which sports some wonderful new Continental tyres, down to Coles to pick up some Carlton Draught and some McDonalds with some Crypto I just got from NAB.

I’m back.  Let’s get to the crux of this missive and look at some more fixtures.  You never know, maybe your team is in this one?


Geelong didn’t make the finals last year.  I think that’s the first time that has happened since a Selwood was in nappies.  As a result, they have been provided a nice friendly draw which is the 13th hardest overall.  One of the keys to Geelong’s success is their home games on that space that one would barely call an oval.  In fact, I note if you look up Oval in the dictionary, it says it’s a kind of ellipse and if you look up ellipse it says it is an oval shape…it’s a circular argument!  But Kardinia Park is not an oval, or an ellipse.  It’s some kind of undefinable shape that was created when they threw maths right out the window.  Maybe one day, the Large Hadron Collider will help define it.  Back to my point, is that home games are the key.  Not the home games they have away in Melbourne, but their proper home games at that Rorschach test they call Kardinia Park.  That being said, they have more of those games in the back end of the season than the front and their hardest run of matches comes from Rounds 6 to 10 and their easiest run of games is in Rounds 20 to 24 which may make them soft and doughy for the finals…if they make it.


It’s difficult to tell what Gold Goast will do this year under the tutelage of Dimma.  They weren’t too far off last year and as Dimma looks over the schedule this year he would be pleased to see a reasonably soft first half of the season with which to establish some new playing criteria and build some momentum.  Their test comes in Rounds 16 to 20 and will likely determine whether they get to play finals or not.  If not, I guess Dimma can always get to Cinque Terra or the Amalfi Coast a month early.


Last year, GWS missed the Grand Final by the barest of margins.  This is a team that looks ready to take the next step led by All-Australian captain, Toby Green.  Collingwood can attest to the burning desire that missing the GF by a point, fuels, and GWS should certainly learn from that.  They get their easy run out of the way early in the season with the easiest start of all teams.  They get their revenge match against the Pies in Round 0, but after that they get last years cellar dwellers back to back.  They also have one of the toughest runs into the finals, but have the depth to fight their way through that.  If you don’t have this team in your top eight, you’re not playing the smart bet.


The Hawks have a right to feel a bit gipped by this whole fixturing thing.  Not playing in finals last year, but handed a pretty tough fixture which includes the second toughest start to the year.  Their toughest run however is a bit later in Rounds 8 to 12 and so their season might be done by the break.  It would seem that getting Ginnivan in the trade period is a double-edged sword.


The story for Melbourne is that they have the second toughest fixture overall with the second toughest finish to the season.  While their finish is tough, it is rounds 3 to 7 that they need to negotiate best to be in amongst the calculations for finals.  An extended visit to the city of Churches sees them play Port Adelaide, then stick around to play Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval and then back home to play Brisbane, keen to establish their credentials at the MCG makes for a tough period.  They’ll want Oliver back with his head squarely in the game to negotiate that period.  I think they could miss finals…big call?


What isn’t tough about any given draw for North Melbourne.  Unless they are fixtured to play West Coast 6 times this season then it is a case of showing some improvement this year.  To help them, they have been afforded the easiest draw of all this season.  While they don’t get to play West Coast 6 times, they do play them twice in 9 weeks at the back half of the season and with a team that contains (as far as the draft is concerned) more number ones than a binary “w” they will be exciting to watch, nonetheless.


Popular posts from this blog

Round 11 AFL Preview

Round 16 AFL Preview

Round 17 AFL Review