THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE – AFL 2011 Round 1

 Instead of doing all sports, I’m going to focus this year on the Australian Football League, with detours into the South Australian National Football League.

Results:

Carlton 14.20 (104) def Richmond 13.6 (84)
            Not a good match, I’m afraid.

Geelong 6.12 (48) def St Kilda 6.11 (47)
            Something of an upset, but there is a good chance St Kilda’s mind is not yet on the job after all the off-season happenings.

Collingwood 24.11 (155) def Port Adelaide 12.8 (80)
            While it was a thrashing, Collingwood did not play a complete four quarters and there is something in the young Port team to be excited about.

Brisbane 14.8 (92) def by Fremantle 13.16 (94)
            Upset! Brisbane lost at home to a team from the other side of the country? Not a good start. Well done, Freo!

Adelaide 16.9 (105) def Hawthorn 12.13 (85)
            20 years ago, round 1 1991, Adelaide played their first game in the AFL, and defeated Hawthorn. 20 years later, they win by 20 points. Emotion may have had a lot to do with this.

Essendon 16.17 (113) def Western Bulldogs 8.10 (58)
            Strong win for new coach Hird.

Melbourne 11.18 (84) drew with Sydney 11.18 (84)
            A draw already? This year is going to be frustrating as all hell.

West Coast 13.14 (92) def North Melbourne 13.10 (88)
            A win at home for the Eagles. That’s about all that can be said.

Bye: Gold Coast

News:

* Brendan Fevola was caught in another gambling venue this week after returning from the USA. Sigh.

* Ricky Nixon has been banned from representing AFL players for two years. But he can still represent coaches. Huh? He is fighting this, by the way.

* The big news out of the weekend – apart from what seemed a strangely large amount of serious injuries for this early in the year – was the crowds. Badly down. Live broadcasts against gate and the fact that the build up has been rather muted after a different (not saying bad, just different) pre-season.
            There is also the rumour coming out of Melbourne media that the low crowds might just be because the reigning premiers Collingwood – who are also pre-season winners, and hot favourites for 2011 – are so unloved that people just do not want to see people against them or playing to be second to them. Collingwood have the most favoured draw of any team, are given more leeway than any team (see away jumpers for an example), and are even only going interstate twice this year; the favouritism is obvious except to Collingwood supporters. Has the AFL’s favouritism now come back to haunt them?
            But there is no doubt the crowds were down. TV ratings are yet to come in, but this could well affect the AFL’s new TV deal negotiations come the end of the year. I can tell you now, Adelaide ratings were apparently down, but matches being broadcast up to an hour after they happened will do that when radio is immediate.
            Oh, AFL, you are starting the year so well!

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