Football - Sherrin, circa 2001
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They say that opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one. The question is whether there are some expert arseholes out there in media land. The AFL media landscape is largely populated by loud mouthed ex-footballers. These chaps have currency in the minds of the listening audience. Fans of the game want product associated with the game seven days a week it seems. These paid producers of content in the form of spurious leaked information and speculative opinion keep the home fires burning. They soon learn that the more controversial the material the more mileage they get out of it. Kane Cornes, David King and co. Therefore, much of what we hear in the footy meta sphere is pumped full of hot air. Coaches and the media: AFL sacrificial slaughter feeds the fans.

Football - AFL Multicultural Round Commemorative Ball, Lin Jong, 8 Aug 2015
Football – AFL Multicultural Round Commemorative Ball, Lin Jong, 8 Aug 2015 by Photographer: Benjamin Healley is licensed under CC-BY 4.0

AFL Teams’ Fortunes & Media Blames Coaches

Human beings are simple souls at heart despite living in high tech environments amid the super- information highway. We like black and white answers to things. AFL footy teams at the pointy end are complex beasts. Each team, on field, boasts 20 plus heads and many more arms and legs. The media likes to reduce the action down to a more manageable amount. This is why they like to make it all about the fortunes of the coach. One man becomes ultimately responsible for organisations employing lots of people. Multi million dollar businesses are boiled down to the coach and a few star players on the roster.

Sheeting home responsibility to one bloke for what happens on the footy field each week becomes a different kind of sport – a blood sport.

football coach on pitch
Photo by Володимир Король on Pexels.com

Blood & Dew On The Grass At The Suns

Stuart Dew was arseholed by the Suns a couple of weeks ago. This was despite the fact that they were still in the hunt for playing finals for the first time in their history. They may well have fallen short again, but not allowing him to coach out the season was pretty bloody poor, in my book. A couple of beatings by the two top sides should not have put paid to his coaching tenure. After all, most AFL teams have lost to Collingwood and Port Adelaide this year. Coaching a side with no history like Gold Coast is not an easy task. Fremantle have been trying to find success for longer than the Suns without achieving a premiership as of yet. Many AFL clubs have struggled for much longer despite the equalising effect of the draft and various other AFL club bottom line boosting initiatives.

Inside the Lord's Media Centre
Inside the Media Centre by Hugh Chevallier is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

The AFL Media Regularly Have Blood On Their Hands

The AFL media play a big role in the demise of coaches, as they have tunnel vision on their fortunes and cut them down with relish when clickbait and ratings are on the menu. It is a nasty celebrity driven industry full of second rate whores endlessly searching for stories and airtime. Shortly after ensuring the knives have been plunged into backs they will express faux contrition and concern for the welfare of booted coaches. It is a sorry world we live in. Few administrations being controlled by volunteer boards can resist the adverse media pressure on their clubs when wins become scarce. AFL fans and members are passionate about the fortunes of their teams. Coaches are often assured of ‘the full board’s backing’ just hours before their sacking takes place. Stuart Dew was not a glamorous looking or sounding coach and this may have contributed to his demise ahead of schedule, because style over content has been the way of the modern world for sometime now.

Even in the caveman domain of football these things are beginning to matter more and more.

Chris Scott - Coaches and The Media: AFL Sacrificial Slaughter Feeds The Fans

AFL Coaches Face Success Or Slaughter In Career Terms

Simplistic stories sell newspapers whether it be murders or sacked coaches on the front page. Nobody wants to deal with complex realities when it comes to apportioning blame for the wrong kind of results. The footy field is a defined patch of grass with a score board to tell the story. There are wins and losses and nothing much in-between. Coaches are like those ancient kings who were bestowed with riches of all kinds until the weather turned poorly. Then, the sacrificial knives came out and dispatched the once great king in a ritualised killing for all the locals to enjoy. There are the slow and drawn out ones’ – Stuart Dew, David Noble, and Ben Rutten. Or the sudden guillotine like affairs – Brett Ratten and Brenton Sanderson. The list is very long whatever the flavour of their death. The sharpened blades are forever in the wings waiting for the eventual slip ups – this is the nature of the beast.

It is a savage business – success or slaughter being the only two outcomes in the coaching race. Coaches and the media: AFL sacrificial slaughter feeds the fans and don’t the scribes love it!.

Sydney Swans’ Serial Neglect Of Ruck Stocks

“The strain of coaching has, for different reasons, affected big-name football figures from James Hird, Rhyce Shaw and Mark Thompson to Justin Leppitsch and Don Pyke – prompting four-time premiership coaching legend Alastair Clarkson to raise his concerns at the end of 2020. “We’ve always looked after everyone else in the club and put everyone else in the club before ourselves. It might be time for us to take stock ourselves of just what our workflow is and our schedule because it’s now getting to a point where we’re seeing some real casualties out of our industry,” Clarkson said. “

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of Money Matters: Navigating Credit, Debt & Financial Freedom.

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