I hope that my scheduled posts have kept you entertained for the past two weeks. It has been very difficult to commute from the South Coast to Sydney and I haven’t been able to write posts on the days I want to publish them (I write them in advance and schedule their publishing). This is not my favourite thing to do, but we make do.
But I have some time now (GOD BLESS SUNDAYS) before I squeeze in a quick workout (don’t get me started on how hard it is to work out with this 6 hour commute while sleeping on friends couches) so the topic of choice? The Draft Combine.
The AFL just released the list of those invited to the 2013/2014 combine and, not surprisingly, the largest portion of players are from Victoria. But it really made me wonder… are Victorians really that much better than New South Welshmen (that always makes me laugh – Welshmen, ha ha ha) or Queenslanders? I mean, the pool from Tasmania is small (seven people) but Tasmania is small, so that seems to make sense, as does the low number from the Northern Territory (two guys). But I am shocked at the number from NSW – FOUR. Yes, you read that right. Only four people from NSW are invited. And only two from Queensland.
We all know that NSW and QLD are rugby country so there’s that to contend with… but I can’t believe that there are so few talented players from New South Wales and Queensland.
And this is that information imbalance I’m constantly talking about (and what I want to work on when the AFL comes to its sense and hires me). There are so many AFL scouts in Victoria so not only are they more likely to be able to identify talent (since Victoria is THE AFL state) but they are more able to monitor it. Do you think that Port Adelaide has the funds to check out all those regional Victorian players? Or GWS for that matter? There are only four good players in their state (allegedly). How are they supposed to check out the other great players around the country? And, if they can, how are they supposed to compete with the clubs who these guys most likely grew up supporting? No one wants to leave home (well, almost no one… I personally ran away as soon as I was old enough) and even if they targeted the four players from NSW, they are competing against the premiers, the Swans. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.
So what’s a poor, small club to do? I’m not sure, but I know what I would do – I’d host my own combine. Sure, in an ideal world, you could get the players you want regardless of where they live. But if you don’t have enough information to make that decision, it could end up costing you more than it’s worth. So if I were a club like GWS, Gold Coast or the Lions, I’d have my own combine. Invite my own 100 players from around NSW or QLD and bring them to SKODA. Check them out myself.
Because honestly… Victorians are probably THAT much better. There’s a reason why most of the invitees are Victorian. But NSW and QLD have some great players and I’m sure they can find a ton of guys to meet their needs – guys they don’t have to compete for and who can help them level out the information imbalance.
You weigh in: Are Victorians significantly better? And if they are… how do you make it fair for non-Victorian clubs?