Could it be?
Is this a… NEW BLOG POST?!
Why yes, yes it is! And get excited about it. Now, considering I am at the pointy end of the semester (and the holidays are coming up – you know the world shuts down for the holidays) let’s not get too worked up over the possibility of regular blog posts again. I really do try my best but when I am waking up at 6:00 am every day to finish a 50,000 word project for one class and staying up late to do assignments for all my other classes… this blog is the last thing on my mind. I’m sorry, but between blogging and eating – I choose eating every time (I have an unnatural obsession with burritos and burgers – I’m looking into getting help).
But anyway, I promised you a post on a ‘hard draw’ so here it is.
Now, as usual, my inspiration has come from the boyfriend. He is a North Melbourne supporter (don’t laugh – he’s from Darwin and he didn’t know any better when he picked his team – no, I kid, I love me some ‘roos) and last year he carried on THE ENTIRE YEAR about how hard North Melbourne’s draw was (yea, that didn’t get annoying at all). I won’t get into that because last year is over but this year, he thinks North’s draw is easy. He reckons they have one of the easier ones in the comp. Okay. Fine. But it got me thinking: why do people complain about the draw so much?
I’m sure the AFL has their reasons (God knows what they are) for arranging the draw in the bass-ackwards way they do (see how I avoid swearing?). And as I’ve mentioned before, when I’m AFL CEO, I’ll arrange the draw they way I want to in order to optimize competitive balance – after consulting with the correct people, of course. But when people complain about how their team’s draw is hard, or that other teams have easier ones… I just don’t get it. And here’s why.
1. There’s no telling how good a team will be.
Do you remember Gold Coast in 2012? Silly question – who doesn’t? They were bad. Like… really bad. That’s not their fault – they were young and new. But in 2012 they turned it around and torn it up. They had the NAB Rising Star AND the Brownlow Medallist. But personal favourite come-back story is Port Adelaide they finished 10th (2010), 16th (2011) and 14th (2012) and had very few big changes that would indicate they were going to be any better in 2013. BUT ALAS. They finished in the top 8. Not only that, but they did well in the finals (honestly, did anyone expect them to beat Geelong?).
Of course, this goes the other way, too. St. Kilda, for example, hasn’t been a powerhouse for awhile, but I was expecting something in 2013. BUT ALAS. They did much worse in 2013 than they did the year before, even finishing below Gold Coast on the ladder.
This isn’t always the case, however. Sometimes, you already know that a team isn’t going to have a banner year (sorry, Melbourne) and other times you know they’ve got big things coming (I’m personally excited for Fremantle this year – they got a taste of greatness and I don’t think they’ll cave easily). But the point is: you can’t say you have an easy or a hard draw based on the teams you play – you never know how good those teams are going to be. At the end of the season it’s a bit easier to say, ‘they’ve got a hard/easy road tot he finals” but until the season is more than half-way through, it’s almost impossible to tell.
2. It’s not just the team – it’s the location, the weather, the injuries…
Certain teams play good at home. Certain teams play terrible away. Some guys glide across the water (that’s you, Jetta!). Other can’t seem to get their hands on a ball when it’s even slightly damp. Some clubs decide that mid-season is the PERFECT time to sack a coach (barring major issues – I’m never in favour of this idea). Other have recruited bad boys who get done for rape as finals are nearing. Some star players have religious commitments. Others have family members who get sick. Some players just need a rest (yes, yes, O’Meara, we know you were tired – you tore it up anyway so good on ya). Some clubs have their drug programs revealed and have bigger fish to fry.
My point is… there are so many external circumstances that determine how a team plays. Who would have known, for instance, that by the end of the season the Sydney Swans would have had 96% of their players with season-ending injuries? (That’s a slight over-exaggeration of course, but as a Swans fan, it felt as though that’s how many were missing). And, let’s be honest, St. Kilda without Reiwoldt? That’s a easier team to beat. North Melbourne without Swallow? Also an easier team to beat. Port Adelaide with a randomly-good Hamish Harlett? Or GWS with a sudden-Coleman-contender Jeremy Cameron? Those teams get harder to beat (just ask Collingwood).
These things happen and they can’t be predicted. So no matter what your draw is… you could win or lose. And there are a million things that affect that.
3. A good team is a good team. Period.
And of course, the age old argument – the one that everyone uses when their team loses or wins… If your club is good, then your club is good. It shouldn’t matter if your star player broke their thumb or if the stadium roof is open or if there was a streaker on the field. A good team shuts up, sucks it up, and gets back to work. And they certainly don’t make excuses about their draw being too hard.
God, I missed this blog.