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AFL has been messed with by former players and luminaries of the game to serve up a version their sensibilities are happy with. They wanted to turn the clock back to more high scoring and less ferociously defensive AFL games of the 1980s and 1990s. However, there are always side effects that come with any fixes – just ask the medical/pharmaceutical fraternity. AFL: What s**** me about the game and broadcasts. What we have in season 2023 is the ball carrier walking on water in terms of being protected by the umpires. Holding the ball has just disappeared from the umpire’s rules book it seems. Players must not attempt to fight off the tackle but just hang onto the ball for a ball up to be whistled. The obvious ramifications of this are the spate of dangerous tackles, as the tackler attempts to dislodge the ball and/or incapacitate the ball carrier because he cannot get a free kick for the now obsolete holding the ball rule. Players are getting head injuries and being suspended for dangerous tackles, as a consequence of this change to rule interpretation.

people standing on stadium

AFL Footy in 2023

The game no longer rewards the defender in a bid to always encourage the ball carrier and forward. We now have 4 umpires on the field and this results in a plethora of tiggy touchwood free kicks for slight indiscretions like over the shoulder tackles and numerous marking infractions. However, there is little consistency from umpire to umpire and in game to game on this. You can watch  a game where these things are stringently adjudicated on and another where they are let go in the spirit of letting the game flow, it is frustrating to watch as a spectator. I do agree that AFL is an increasingly difficult game to umpire because of the speed of play and the many rule changes over the last few seasons in particular.

red theater chairs

Umpiring AFL Rules & Interpretations

Balls getting knocked out of hands during the tackle are another area of high inconsistency. Sometimes this is awarded a free kick to the tackler, as dropping the ball, and many other times it is ignored because the ball carrier is king in AFL. Then, there is the ridiculous stand on the mark rule, where the player with the ball wanders off the line of the mark without penalty and has so much advantage over the defensive team it is a joke really. How can defenders fairly do their job in the current environment? It is so stacked against them that it bastardises the game.  As a long time AFL spectator I have serious misgivings about how the game has been manipulated by former players in decision making positions wishing to make the current game in their image.

Too Many Verbose Commentators Ruining The Game

There are too many loud voices in the sport’s media. Listening to the over-supply of former players in commentary roles the AFL viewer is assailed with calls for high scoring matches. My own preference is for neither, I enjoy a hard fought game on whatever terms are being dished up. The tight defensive matches played out in the noughties were enthralling contests, especially those between the Eagles and Swans. The endeavour shown by AFL players is almost always ferocious and worth watching. I do not feel that the game needs to be manipulated by players from another era in order to get bums on seats and eyeballs on screens.

high-angle photo of round stadium at nighttime AFL

Former Players’ Opinions Too Loud & Ever Present

There are way too many commentators engaged for each game broadcasted on 7 and Fox. As a viewer and listener I do not want to be lectured to by these past players about what teams are doing wrong on the day. I watch the contest and find that the endless commentary detracts from the natural excitement of a hard fought match. These blokes and the odd female member of the commentary team are trying to justify their inclusion with what they have to say but I don’t want to hear it. I want to watch the game without all the guff. I regularly turn off the sound because the commentary is so OTT but I then miss the sound of the crowd in the stands. Perhaps, the broadcasters could offer a crowd-sounds only aural option.

AFL: What s**** me about the game and broadcasts. Smug commentators opining endlessly during games. Booing by the crowd at games. A good example of this was the constant booing by St Kilda supporters of Jason Horne-Francis. A 19 year old kid who never even played for St Kilda but wanted to go home to South Australia gets maligned by a bunch of terminal losers in the stands, disgusting effort. Adam Goodes and the racist AFL supporters booing the Australian of the Year out of the game. Booing is mob rule!

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Clio

Clio was the ancient Greek muse of history. so we all thought that she would be an appropriate entity to run this site.
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