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The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.



It is a dark time for the League. The forces of Hawthorn led by the dark lord Luke Hodge have captured the Three-Peat, having left the rival powers of West Coast, Sydney and Fremantle struggling for answers in recent campaigns.

However, these and other clubs are determined to end this reign of terror, using use the forces of accurate kicking and clever positioning to try and vanquish the Hawks and bring light back into the galaxy. Many believe Cow Dude is the chosen one, destined to bring balance to the game.

Some went further and paid the price; Essendon continues to be shunned for breaking the taboo of injecting their soldiers with midichlorians, to no apparent effect except really pissing off the international doping agency. With the architect of this program, The Hird banished to the rim worlds, the Bombers have sought the help of a ragtag bunch of mercenaries to help them through this time.

AHEM.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMZYZcoAcU0

Australian rules is a high contact, high action code of football. The AFL is the governing body, and its major competition, the AFL Premiership runs with a home-and-away season from late March through to August, which each of the 18 clubs playing 22 games over 23 rounds. They are ranked according to "premiership points" (4 for a win and 2 for a draw - overtime only applies for finals) and then a "percentage" of points scored over points conceded.

Last year's ladder ended up like this.



The eight best teams contest a finals series over four weeks in September, culminating in the Grand Final, usually in the last Saturday of September but sometimes the first week of October.


And the highlights of last year's grand final (although really only fun for Hawks fans.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbWDly9hspc

WATCHING THE GAME

All games are broadcast live in Australia, with four each round telecast on Seven which is free-to-air, and the remainder on Foxtel. There's also radio coverage which is very handy if you're going to a game in person.

Fortunately for overseas fans (and locals with a VPN), AFL has set up a streaming service so you can watch whatever.
http://watchafl.afl.com.au/

I believe certain cable/satellite services also have live coverage on particular channels.

GOING TO THE GAME



The MCG is pretty damned big, with a capacity of 100,000, and usually fills up for the Grand Final. (And of course tickets are pretty hard to come by for that event - it is Australia's equivalent of the Superbowl or the FA Cup.) Docklands Stadium (usually named after some airline or bank) is also in Melbourne with a capacity of 55,000 and in some ways is a better viewing experience. Likewise, there are stadiums all around the country, games at Subiaco in Perth or Adelaide Oval are usually have sell-out crowds, due to the strong support there.

The bigger contests through the season can attract upwards of 70-80 thousand at the MCG, but during the winter months it's pretty easy to find a game in Melbourne on a whim as general admission (or outer) tickets are readily available for less than AUD25, although if you're visiting and want to see a game you should ask the thread for advice about which ones to see; you might even get someone to go with you.

THE PLAYING AREA

The size of the oval varies across the competition, for example the MCG is 165m long and 135m wide. Most of the grounds are also used for cricket during the summer (sometimes causing encroachment issues since the AFL would probably like the season to begin earlier in March).



SCORING

Scoring is in the form of goals and behinds. There are sets of four upright posts at each end.

Goals, or main eggs, are worth 6 points. Goals can only be scored by kicking the ball between the middle posts, without touching them. The goal does not have to go through on the full but cannot have been touched by any player. After each goal the ball returns to the centre to be bounced up again.

Behinds, or side eggs, are worth 1 point. These are scored any other time a ball passes between any of the posts (including the outer posts), unless it is a goal. The defending team gets to kick the ball out of the goals to restart play.
Although if they been deemed to have rushed the ball over for a behind deliberately the attacking team gets a free kick at the goal square.



The average score for the 2015 season was 86 (so about 13 goals plus the usual number of behinds), in the modern era scores can vary from 40 to near 200, depending on weather, the relative quality of the teams, voodoo, and how much the commentators jinx things.

TEAMS

Each club has a list of about 46, from which it selects 22 for each game: 18 players starting on the ground, plus 4 on the bench who can be swapped on and off at any time, with the number of interchanges restricted to 80 for the game.

The line-ups are traditionally listed in five rows of three, plus another three followers who "follow" the ball around. That is, three each of full forwards, half forwards, centres, half backs, and full backs, plus three followers, a ruck, a rover, and a ruck-rover.

In modern football, it maybe more accurate to describe each team as having a key forward, a key defender, and the other 32 players follow the ball around. Teams can either zone off their players across the field according to a particular plan or let them play man-to-man.

In this brave new world we see new designations like inside midfield which is the guy who grabs the ball from the middle of the pack and gives it to the outside midfield, who scarpers off like buggery up the field looking to kick it to a lead from a full forward (at least this hasn't changed) but if his marking attempt is punched away by a spoiling defender it may be the job of the small forward to pick up the crumbs (that is, the loose ball) and kick the goal.

Try not to worry about this too much, watch a few games and you'll start to get the hang of it. There are basically forwards, midfields, backs and followers.

THE RULES (YES WE HAVE A FEW OF THOSE)

A match is contested over four quarters of 20 minutes, with the clock paused at ball stoppages, quarters usually go for about 30-35 minutes, meaning a whole match takes just under 3 hours including quarter time and half time breaks.

The ball can be legally moved in a number of ways:
- by kicking
- by handpassing (the ball is held in one hand and punched with the other with a clenched fist)
- by running with the ball - in this case, the ball needs to be bounced every 15 metres.

Kicks and handballs are referred to as disposals or posessions, or "touches".

Marks are awarded for catching the ball on the full from a kick of over 15m, this allows the player to dispose of the ball without interference. Marking is probably the most identifiable aspect of the sport.



Where a ball is in dispute at a stoppage, the umpire will usually throw the ball up in a "ball up" (the etymology of the term "ball up" is a bit of a mystery), which the ruckmen will contest and attempt to knock it into the path of one of their team mates.

If a player commits an infringement, a free kick is handed to the opposing side which can be passed on via kick or handball. The typical causes are:
- holding the ball (when the player is tackled with the ball after having had ample opportunity to get rid of it) - ANY tackle usually gets the crowd to bellow BALLLLL but only some tackles result in free kicks. Sometimes the tackler fucks up and gives away a free kick themselves.
- high/low tackle (legal tackles must be executed between the knees and shoulders)

- holding the man (when a tackler impedes a guy after they've disposed of the ball)

- kicking out of bounds on the full
- deliberate out of bounds
(most cases of the ball going out of bounds will result in the boundary umpire throwing the ball back into play, similar to a ball up)

- throwing the ball (i.e. not punching the ball out of the other hand) - the ball must be handpassed to dispose of the ball when possession has been taken.

If a player is being a total cock the umpire will also impose an extra 50 metre penalty towards goal. Usually this only happens a few times a match.

THE CLUBS


Adelaide
Nickname: Crows
Home colours: Navy, red and gold hoops
First AFL season: 1991
Premierships: 2 - 1997, 1998

2015 finish - 7th - 13-8-0 54pts (extra 2pts given for cancelled game against Geelong)
2015 finals: Won elimination final against Western Bulldogs, Lost semi-final against Hawthorn.



Coach: Don Pyke
Players to watch: Taylor Walker, Daniel Talia, Rory Sloane, Eddie Betts

Adelaide's 2015 season can accurately be described as bittersweet, being punctuated by the untimely death of their head coach Phil Walsh, who had already made his mark on a team that was talented but perhaps disorganised. The course he had set them on was continued by caretaker coach Scott Camporeale into a finals campaign, but another cloud was over the future of Patrick Dangerfield, arguably their best player, whom was rumoured intdeded to exercise his upcoming free agency rights to return to Geelong to be closer to his family. In the end Adelaide traded Dangerfield to Geelong to get the most out of this situation, although some fans remain absurdly bitter about it (as they do about all transfers from the Crows) and will probably remain so until the heat-death of the universe. The Crows retain a pretty good side and are a reasonable chance to make the finals again, but could just as easily get caught in the mire of the middling clubs.


Brisbane Lions
Nickname: Lions
Home colours: Royal blue yoke on maroon with gold lion.
First AFL season: 1997 (merger of Fitzroy and Brisbane Lions)
Premierships: 3 - 2001, 2002, 2003
2015 finish - 17th: 4-18-0 16pts

Coach: Justin Leppitsch
Players to watch: Dayne Beams, Pearce Hanley, Tom Rockliff, Daniel Merrett



Brisbane's last few seasons have been pretty ordinary, to say the least, with the golden era of the early '00s a fading memory, perhaps underlined by Jonathon Brown's retirement at the end of 2014. 2015 was supposedly a year when they began to rebuild themselves around a competitive midfield, from which the rest would follow, but for whatever reason it just didn't happen. Combined with coach Justin Leppitsch's interesting approach to building working relationships with his players, the perennial wantaway issue in a state that loves its sport but only if their teams are winning, it's really difficult to see much potential for improvement with what they have. In fact things could get so bad they might decide to take a punt on Jason Akermanis as coach (which would be weird, considering how he left the club as a player).


Carlton
Nickname: Blues, very occasionally Bluebags
Home colours: Dark navy blue with white CFC monogram
First VFL season: 1897 - foundation club
Premierships: 16 - 1906, 1907, 1908, 1914, 1915, 1938, 1945, 1947, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1995
2015 finish - Wooden spoon - 18th: 4-18-0 16pts
Coach: Brendon Bolton (previously assistant at Hawthorn)
Players to watch: Bryce Gibbs, uhh, Jack "SOSOS" Silvagni, I guess? Struggling here. PATRICK 'loving' CRIPPS (thank you TG-Chrono)

I'm doing these descriptions in rough order, and if I've had trouble finding positives for Brisbane, it's perhaps even worse for Carlton. Carlton, who at one stage in the Electrifying Eighties had a support base second only* to Collingwood, the backing of a good proportion the Melbourne establishment and the Melbourne underworld, and a fat chequebook for the time). But they've been paying for that hubris since the salary cap breach sanctions of the early 00s, and have only now decided they need to reform themselves along more modern lines, after flashing the chequebook one last time to get Michael Malthouse in as coach - who was sacked shortly after he broke the games record as coach. To replace him in 2016, they headhunted the jockey Brendon Bolton from Hawthorn, whom they must be counting on to bring the mojo. As for the playing staff, gone are familiar faces like Chris Judd (retired), Chris Yarran (to Richmond) and Lachie Henderson (to Geelong). A lot of this years list have had to reprogram their GPS units, with four spare parts players coming from the Giants, Sam Kerridge who'd mainly been used as a tagger at Adelaide, and, poo poo, I don't know. It doesn't look good. Any wins will be relative flukes.



Collingwood
Nickname: Magpies, or just "Pies"
Home colours: Black and white stripes
First VFL season: 1897 - foundation club
Premierships: 15 - 1902, 1903, 1910, 1917, 1919, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1935, 1936, 1953, 1958, 1990, 2010
2015 finish: 12th - 10-12-0 40pts

Coach: Nathan Buckley
Players to watch: Scott Pendlebury, Jamie Elliott


Collingwood remain the league's most popular club and thus also the most unpopular club (despite recent moves by johnny-come-latelies Hawthorn). 2015 was a disappointing season with missing the finals after being embroiled in the middling pack. One suspects that Nathan Buckley might get one more chance to get poo poo together. They don't have to look at a full rebuild just yet, with the arrival of two solid players in James Aish and Adam Treloar arrived during the trade season, old hands like Pendlebury and Dane Swan (though I felt Swan had a pretty mediocre season in 2015 and has to extract the digit for the Pies to do better); Tom Langdon and Jamie Elliott continue to develop well. After a losing season, there's probably more upside than down for the Pies, and have to be counted as a dark horse.




Essendon
Nickname: Bombers, Dons
Home colours: Black with red sash
First VFL season: 1897 - foundation club
Premierships: 16 - 1897, 1901, 1911, 1912, 1923, 1924, 1942, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1962, 1965, 1984, 1985, 1993, 2000
2015 Ladder Position: 15th - 6-16-0 24pts

Coach: John Worsfold
Players to watch: The Replacements.



The long-drawn out peptides scandal may have finally reached some sort of conclusion, with a twelve-month suspension handed out to 34 players from the 2012 season - 12 remain with Essendon, while 5 have moved onto other clubs. This is over a quarter of Essendon's senior list, so it's going to be pretty dire as the Bombers rely on players that would otherwise be VFL regulars. They've been allowed to top up their list to try not to get ploughed each week, and have mostly built a dad's army with other clubs' discards to build - some of which have had good careers but whom had been cut for a reason. It will be a long dark season for the club, but perhaps there'll be closure at the end of it, not just for Essendon fans, but for the whole league.

I go into a bit more detail at the end of the OP.


Fremantle
Nicknames: Dockers, Freo, the Purples
Home colours: Purple with white chevrons. It's a very respectable and manly purple, though.
First AFL season: 1995
Premierships: none - best finish is 2013 runners-up
2015 ladder position: 1st - 17-5-0 68pts
Won qualifying final against Sydney
Lost preliminary final to Hawthorn

Coach: Ross Lyon
Players to watch: :swoon: Cow Dude :swoon:, Lachie Neale, Matthew Pavlich, The Angry Little Garden Gnome Hayden Ballantyne (pictured below)


Fremantle finished atop the ladder last year, but all along it didn't seem like they were the best team, with West Coast and Hawthorn presenting far better cases. Freo under Ross Lyon have a well earned reputation of doing just enough to win under most circumstances, with a philosophy that is as much about limiting opportunities for the opposition as it is about creating ones for themselves. But when a team can cut loose or unpick the defence, for instance with Hawthorn's precision kicking or Richmond deciding to be Good Richmond, they don't have a plan B to stop getting cut to ribbons. Plan A is pretty reliable, though, as it starts with Aaron Sandilands in the ruck tapping it to Cow Dude, who is one of the best users of the ball in years. Dude might be slow to start this season as he recovers from off-season surgery. Should be final contenders again but need to be more adaptable.

"Cow Dude"?

tnimark posted:

A friend of mine texted me about Nat Fyfe and it somehow autocorrected to 'Cow Dude' so that's his name now fyi.


And then there's this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WD2MDNdSSw


Geelong
Nickname: Cats, very occasionally the Hoops, historically Pivotonians or even Pivots although everyone will look at you funny if you refer them as that. Home colours: Navy and white hoops
Home ground: Kardinia Park, Geelong (aka Simonds Stadium) - also play some home games at the MCG/Docklands
First VFL season: 1897 - foundation club
Premierships: 9 - 1925, 1931, 1937, 1951, 1952, 1963, 2007, 2009, 2011
2015 ladder: 10th - 11-9-1 48pts (extra 2pts given for cancelled game against Adelaide)



Coach: Chris Scott
Players to watch: Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, Patrick Dangerfield.

Geelong missed the finals for the first time since 2006, in a period where they won three premierships in a manner that suggested the "the greatest team of all" line in their club song might not be total bullshit. After 2011 they've not quite played with the same verve, but they've been generally competitive. During the trade period they've made some interesting moves, getting Dangerfield in from Adelaide, and Scott Selwood to join his brother Joel, doubling Geelong's potential to receive easy free kicks for head-high tackles. (What sort of footy they played in the Selwood backyard I do not know.) Like Collingwood, they have a pretty solid list but need to perform better or they'll again get stuck in the queue for the finals again.


Gold Coast
Nickname: Suns
Home colours: Red with gold side trim and a silly logo. The Suns' Club colours also include royal blue and white which are featured on their clash guernseys.
First AFL season: 2011
Premierships: none - best finish was 12th in 2014
2015 ladder: 16th 4-17-1 18pts



Coach: Rodney Eade
Players to Watch: Gary Ablett, uhhhh...

The Suns had probably their most disappointing year since joining the competition, with Gary Ablett being injured for much of the season, and possibly some residual dickhead factor hanging over after the departure of Harley Bennell and Karmichael Hunt. With that gone, and with Ablett hopefully having a better season than 2015, it is contingent on the rest of the team to fulfill their promise, with many of the foundation recruits now getting past a hundred games. Their ground, Carrara Park is a lot nicer than it was in the Bears days, I guess.


Greater Western Sydney (or GWS for short)
Nickname: Giants, while the Orange Crush seems to becoming a thing
Home colours: Orange and charcoal, with a white stylised G.
First AFL season: 2012
Premierships: none - best finish was 11th in 2015
2015 ladder: 11th 11-11-0 44pts

Coach: Leon Cameron
Players to watch: Jeremy Cameron (no relation), Phil Davis, Jonathon Patton



The newest club's fourth season was by far their best, managing to even pull the pants down on Hawthorn, and racking up a 50/50 season all up. At other times, though, their inexperience as a club still showed with the occasional blowout, and late in the year injuries to key players like Phil Davis and Shane Mumford cruelled any chance of a late run for the finals. This year will need to be one a consolidation, and with more consistency and better luck with injuries they have a real chance of making the finals with just a slight improvement on last year. Furthermore, the Giants are starting to find their niche in Sydney, to borrow a concept from well-known AFL admirer Roy Masters, the "fibros" to the silvertail Swans. Shame about the clunky GWS handle.


Hawthorn
Nicknames: Hawks - historically Mayblooms, haters have all sorts of highly creative names like Poos and Wees but gently caress'em.
Home colours: Brown and gold stripes.
First AFL season: 1925
Premierships: 13 - 1961, 1971, 1976, 1978, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015
2015 ladder: 3rd 16-6-0 64pts
2015 Finals: Lost Qualifying Final to West Coast, Won Semifinal against Adelaide, Won Preliminary Final against Fremantle, Won Grand Final against West Coast

Coach: Alastair Clarkson
Players to watch: Cyril Rioli, Luke Hodge, Jarryd Roughead, Josh Gibson



In an era where equalisation measures such as the salary cap, player drafts, and free agency, Three-peatsTM just aren't supposed to happen anymore. A club might get two in a trot if everything goes right. Not that Hawthorn are invulnerable, seven losses in a season including a final to West Coast is evidence of that, but like the previous hat-trick team, Brisbane Lions of 2001-02-03, they perform when it counts even if they're jerks when doing it. The idea of age catching up with them isn't without merit with Good Bloke Hodge, Mitchell and Burgoyne well into their thirties, in particular Brian Lake retiring after possibly the most astute late career transfer ever for a club. Meanwhile key forward Roughead has been ruled out for the first half of the season, so that will have an impact.

All the same, a massive dip in form doesn't seem likely, though, since they have contributors all the way down the list, but with the number of Hawthorn coaching alumni now in charge at other clubs likely to bring similar systems across the league (well, it's less risky than the Hird approach), we may get that equalisation. Some day.


Melbourne
Nicknames: Demons, Dees, very occasionally called the Redlegs.
Home colours: Navy with red vee yoke
First VFL season: 1897 - foundation club
Premierships: 10 - 1900, 1926, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964
2015 Ladder: 13th - 7-16-0 28pts

Coach: Paul Roos
Players to watch: Jesse Hogan, Nathan Jones, Jack Watts



Melbourne have been bouncing off the bottom of the ladder for close to a decade due to a number of factors, mostly because they haven't been very good. Last year was the first time they'd seen light in the tunnel, although finals are still a long way away. Last they did at least improve their defence, reducing the number of blowouts considerably, although they still need to improve at the scoring end. The thread has a lot of Melbourne fans, so if you're dipping your toe into watching the AFL for the first time, consider following the Dees, because misery loves company.


North Melbourne
Nicknames: Kangaroos, usually just Roos; Shinboners
Home colours: White and royal blue stripes
First VFL season: 1925
Premierships: 4 - 1975, 1977, 1996, 1999
2015 Ladder: 8th - 13-9-0 52pts
Finals:
Won Elimination Final against Richmond
Won Semifinal against Sydney
Lost Preliminary Final against West Coast





Coach: Brad "Bad" Scott

And yes, he is Chris Scott's brother:


Players to watch: Todd Goldstein, Brent Harvey, Ben Brown

We can put North Melbourne in the "enigmatic" box. At beginning of last season I had them down as a Top 4 team, and I guess that's where they ended up, BUT. Their home-and-away performance wasn't exactly convincing but enough to scrap into the finals, defeating a Richmonding Richmond as well as Sydney for the privilege of being flogged by West Coast. Once again fulfilling their niche as unconvincing preliminary finalists, the same as in 2014. Along the way Brent Harvey clocked up his 400th game, and as he's going around again, still in the key role of all-round troll and pest, he will likely overtake Michael Tuck's league record of 426 games. If other clubs force their way into the eight the Roos are the most likely to make way, but they are such an arsey team that they could well stick around for a bit longer.


Port Adelaide
Nickname: Power, which is dumb, so they usually get called Port, which annoys Port fans for some reason. It's not too late to find a better name!
Home colours: Black with teal and white vees
First AFL season: 1997
Premierships: 1 - 2004
2015 Ladder: 9th 12-10-0 48pts

Coach: Ken Hinkley
Players to watch: Chad Wingard, Robbie Gray, Ollie Wines



After an impressive 2014 season where they bolted into the finals and came very close to making the Grand Final, bigger things were expected from Port for the 2015. Instead, they made a slow start to the season, and while they still pulled off some impressive results, including defeating Hawthorn twice, they also did really weird things like losing to Carlton, and fell just short of making the final eight. The talent remains, and a season of lost chances should prove a spur to many of the players - they know they can compete, but now need to capitalise on what is a solid list. One significant setback is that two of their players, Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries, were transferred from Essendon after the Bombers' 2012 season and are subject to the 12-month suspension.


Richmond
Nickname: Tigers
Home colours: Black with yellow sash
First VFL season: 1908
Premierships: 1 - 1920, 1921, 1932, 1934, 1943, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1980
2015 Ladder: 5th 15-7-0 60pts
Finals:
Lost Elimination Final against North Melbourne

Coach: Damien Hardwick
Players to watch: Jack Riewoldt, Dustin Martin (especially if you're sitting next to him in a restaurant)



It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Richmond fan in possession of a membership card must be in want of a microwave.

Richmond have made the finals in the previous three seasons, but the fact remains they still haven't won one since 2001, not having played in a grand final since 1982. It's probably slightly better than not making the finals at all, but at some point, Richmond are actually going to win a final and that is going to mean crazy and scary times for everyone else. I expect them to follow the same pattern - pick up some very good wins, with a few stupid losses, and snag enough of the 50/50 games to make the finals where they suddenly turn into wallflowers and get run over by the opposition. They have the talent and sometimes their system works, but the consistency is another thing. They are a hard team to tip correctly, and the fog of uncertainty around them is that I think they could either win the premiership or just get swamped by up-and-coming teams and end up in 13th place or something.


St Kilda
Nickname: Saints
Home colours: Red, white and black columns on front, black on rear.
First VFL season: 1897 - foundation club
Premierships: 1 - 1966
2015 Ladder: 14th 6-15-1 26pts

Coach: Alan Richardson
Players to watch: Nick Riewoldt, Jack Sinclair, Daniel McKenzie, Jack Billings



The Saints are officially in a rebuilding phase, shall we say. While last season was mostly a slog for St Kilda fans, there were sparks of potential, including one hilarious game where they flogged Essendon by 110 points. Whether they're going to actually do any better is hard to figure out considering the competition, by the end of last year they seemed to develop a good team spirit. I expect that they'll struggle to get enough wins to get them into the finals window, though more than enough to avoid the spoon. They did make what turned out to be the silly trade move of the off-season, having picked up Jake Carlisle from Essendon, who - you guessed correctly - was caught up in the poo poo and now has to sit out the season.


Sydney
Nickname: Swans, Bloods
Home colours: White with red yoke incorporating Sydney Opera House silhouette.
First VFL season: 1897 - foundation club (as South Melbourne)
Premierships: 5 - 1909, 1918, 1933, 2005, 2012
2015 Ladder: 16-6-0 64pts
2015 Finals: Lost Qualifying Final to Fremantle, Lost Semifinal to North Melbourne

Coach: John Longmire
Players to Watch: Lance "Buddy" Franklin, Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker



Sydney had a difficult season in 2015. The record books show they had a good season, finishing fourth on the ladder but subsequently losing both finals to go out in straight sets. Injuries took their toll towards the end of the season and they exited the finals relatively meekly considering their early season form. What certainly did not help either was the disgraceful treatment of Adam Goodes, one of the league's most decorated players as the Swans played around the country. People telling themselves "it wasn't about racism, he was being a flog" and coming up with weak excuses about what a dirty player he was. Which was bollocks considering who else is running around. Alas, it seemed to be enough to hound him away from the game, something which the Swans will be filthy about.
With their list at full strength they are very capable of another run for the final four.


West Coast
Nickname: Eagles
Home colours: Navy with gold wingtips and eagle logo.
First VFL season: 1987
Premierships: 3 - 1992, 1994, 2006
2015 Ladder: 2nd 16-5-1 66pts
2015 Finals: Won Qualifying Final against Hawthorn, Won Preliminary Final against North Melbourne, Lost Grand Final to Hawthorn

Coach: Adam Simpson
Players to watch: Nic Natanui, Matt Priddis, Josh Kennedy, Lewis Jetta



West Coast finished 2nd on the home-and-away ladder last year after a 50/50 season in 2014, and looked very good in doing so. While they have the disadvantage long with Fremantle of having to travel across the continent to play every second week, that turns into an advantage when they're at home. Furthermore, their gameplan proved to be more versatile than Fremantle's and don't have as much trouble on grounds wider than the narrow Subiaco Oval - although the lack of games at the MCG probably was a factor in last years' grand final. They played their worst game of 2015 that day when they got swamped by Hawthorn, but, since it had been their first big one since 2006, it's something they can chalk up to experience. With most of the list intact with some intriguing additions, they are a definite chance to go one better this year.


Western Bulldogs - actually, it's Footscray
Nickname: Bulldogs (duh), Doggies, occasionally Scraggers.
Home colours: Royal blue with red and white bands
First VFL season: 1925
Premierships: 1 - 1954
2015 Ladder: 6th 14-8-0 56 pts
2015 Finals: Lost Elimination Final to Adelaide

Coach: Luke Beveridge
Players to watch: Marcus Bontempelli, Robert Murphy, Jake Stringer, Easton Wood


The Doggies were the breakout act of the year, and the feelgood moment at that; in 2014 the senior team of the Footscray Football Club Ltd (calling them the Westerns is a bit too :cowboy: for me) sort of pottered around in the rebuilding zone and most people probably thought they wouldn't be making finals in 2015, but the motley crew lead by Bob Murphy stuck it right up them, at least until the Elimination Final. Even that was pretty entertaining, with the Doggies going goal for goal with Adelaide with the Crows being just a neck ahead at the final siren. Can they back it up for another go this season? I think it would be foolish to write them off. Possibly a couple of key players off being consistent final four material yet, and they could dip out again. They have picked up Matt Suckling as a FA from the Hawks, who is an excellent raking kick from defence. Whatever "raking" means in this context...

And just quietly, if you're dipping your toe into watching AFL and need a team to follow this year, you could do worse than follow these guys.

A QUICK HISTORY

-323192012042385041 or whenever: The Big Bang
1858: Melbourne Football Club formed, ostensibly to keep the cricket club's players fit in winter. Geelong forms a year later after Melbourne get bored with playing with themselves.

1877: The Victorian Football Association (VFA) and SAFA competitions form - the latter is renamed the SANFL in 1907)
1885: The WAFA forms with clubs from around Perth and Fremantle - now the WAFL.
1897: Victorian Football League forms with eight clubs, breaking away from the VFA
1908: Richmond and (Melbourne) University join the VFL
1913: University drops out (they continue to compete in the Victorian Amateur leagues)
1915-1918: A number of clubs go into recess during the "Great War".
1925: Footscray, North Melbourne and Hawthorn join the VFL from the VFA to take the number up to 12
1942-1943: Geelong stands out of the competition due to wartime travel restrictions

Bladabladablad, stuff happened. At some point (1968) the season extended to 22 home-and-away rounds, allowing all 12 clubs to play each other twice.

1981: South Melbourne (aka the Swans) move to Sydney
1987: VFL expands with West Coast Eagles (in Perth) and Brisbane Bears (in Gold Coast)
1989: The VFL attempt a merger between Fitzroy and Footscray, which fails after a community campaign.
1990: The VFL changes its name to the Australian Football League, with the introduction of the Adelaide Crows. The Crows were a joint SANFL side that was quickly organised after Port Adelaide announced they were breaking away from the SANFL to join the VFL in their own right.
1993: Brisbane Bears move up the road to actually start playing in Brisbane.
1995: Fremantle Dockers join. They have lovely purple, white, green and red jumpers. The number of teams is a neat 16.
1996: At the end of the season, Fitzroy, which have struggled for years, is merged with the Brisbane Bears, after another plan to merge with North Melbourne is scuttled by the other clubs because the new club would be too strong. (The new Brisbane Lions win three flags in a row a few short years laters)
Melbourne and Hawthorn also come close to a merger, but this doesn't eventuate.
1997: Port Adelaide finally enter a team in their own right, called the Power as they can't use their SANFL nickname of the Magpies.

Everything is nice and stable for a little while.

2011-2012: The AFL announce new teams for Queensland and NSW to expand the league to 18 clubs; the Gold Coast Suns, which begin competing in 2011, and Greater Western Sydney, who join in 2012. Considered a bit of a punt, since interestin Aussie rules in those two states is fairly muted compared with the rest of the country, but part of the rationale is to bolster the TV deal to have more games of interest for those states.

BEYOND THE AFL

Tasmania is football mad but is also poor as gently caress, plus its population base is split almost evenly between the north and south coasts so they have to deal with that rivalry. Currently Hawthorn play four of their home games a year at Launceston in the north and North Melbourne play two at Hobart, the state's capital in the south.

Below the AFL national level there are a number of state leagues, the SANFL, WAFL, VFL (which is what the VFA became sometime in the 1990s), the TFL in Tasmania, and the NEAFL which covers NSW, ACT, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

There are also under 18s competitions around the land tied to the above state leagues and the best young players from these nominate for the annual AFL draft in early November.

The third tiers, I guess, is the numerous suburban and country leagues, which go from semi-pro to just a bunch of mates who want to have a kick around and get blotto afterwards.

From 2017 there will also be a national womens league, at this stage it's looking like there'll be 6 teams to begin with. The last couple of seasons have seen a game staged between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs using players from the top local leagues.


WHAT IS WITH THIS ESSENDON CRAP ANYWAY

Where do I loving start?

Basically, the upshot is James Hird became coach of Essendon in 2011, and at some point got in contact with fitness coach Dean Robertson and sports "scientist" Dank (yes, that's his name) who suggested injecting the players with Thymosin beta-4, a peptide supplement, to improve their recovery from games. This was done on the sly, without the knowledge of the club doctor, and the players failed to declare these injections on the forms where they're supposed to declare such things.

By the way, this actually happened in 2012, Essendon were initially hit with one set of sanctions in 2013 by the AFL due to governance issues, with a $2m fine and disqualification from the finals (Carlton took their place) and the stripping of draft picks. Essendon more or less denied any wrongdoing from the start and fought the case all the way.

That still didn't cover the actual PED offenses, after the ASADA investigation, the AFL tribunal found the players not guilty in March 2015, this was appealed by WADA, the result of this appeal came out in January concluded with the club being found guilty of having injected players with the banned peptide Thymosin beta-4, resulting in the suspension the 34 players who were involved for 12 months.

12 of these players are still playing with Essendon, while 5 more are still playing with other AFL clubs, and most of the remainder at lower levels. As Essendon would otherwise be flat-out fielding a competitive team this season, the AFL have allowed them to sign 10 top-up players to cover their numbers for the year.

Anyway, while there's still a lot of poo poo to hoe for the Bombers, and this season will definitely be a tough one for them, it may be now that there'll be an end to this. Not least all the fans of other clubs, who not only have had to put up with the noise from the Stand By Hird idiots over the last few seasons, but also Hawthorn winning three flags on the trot. (OK, maybe not so bad for Hawks fans, especially since it's Essendon who did this.)

The Deadly Hume fucked around with this message at 23:09 on Jan 31, 2016

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The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.

FANTASY WITHOUT THE LIGHTSABRES

Supercoach
Organiser: thepokey
http://supercoach.heraldsun.com.au/afl/classic/
Goon Golden Spoon
Joining code 909139

Ultimate Footy
Organiser: Diet Crack
Goon Golden Spoon 4
http://ultimate-footy2.theage.com.au/214153/
NB: Draft date is Monday 29 February 2016 3PM (AEST)

Tipping
Organiser: The Deadly Hume
ESPN Footytips
http://www.footytips.com.au/comps/SASTips
Password: goons
Members of last years comp should be rolled over automatically, but check your details anyway.
If you're the forgetful type I suggest at least tipping a few weeks ahead.

:siren: WALL OF SHAME :siren:
Stupid/weird/awesome images posted during the season. Also look at drunkill's gif dump a little further down the first page.

The Deadly Hume fucked around with this message at 10:30 on Feb 2, 2016

Boonys Cut Shot
Nov 5, 2004

Elite athlete


That OP is a monster. Gonna take a few sittings to digest I think

tnimark
Dec 22, 2009


Great work on the OP. Only correction that jumped out on the first read was that you have Charlie Dixon as a player to watch at the Suns.

The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.

A lot of it's bullshit, though.

As always, if you see any clangers or things to add please let me know.

spamman
Jul 10, 2002

Chin up Tiger, There is always next season...

I like the Brad Scott .gifs but where are the Chris Scott .gifs?

The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.

spamman posted:

I like the Brad Scott .gifs but where are the Chris Scott .gifs?
Huh I had one in but the link is broken. I put it below all the Brad ones.

Actually there's still a few things to add, I notice I clean forgot about a feature image for Carlton.

Solemn Sloth
Jul 11, 2015

Baby you can shout at me,
But you can't need my eyes.

This is my lowest % of total post count for the year.

NTRabbit
Aug 15, 2012

i wear this armour to protect myself from the histrionics of hysterical women

bitches






The Deadly Hume posted:



In the end Adelaide traded Dangerfield to Geelong to get the most out of this situation, although some fans remain absurdly bitter about it (as they do about all transfers from the Crows) and will probably remain so until the heat-death of the universe.

TRAITOR :argh:

Paracausal
Sep 5, 2011

Oh yeah, baby. Frame your suffering as a masterpiece. Only one problem - no one's watching. It's boring, buddy, boring as death.


"Players to watch: Bryce Gibbs, uhh, Jack "SOSOS" Silvagni, I guess? Struggling here"

PATRICK 'loving' CRIPPS

Periphery
Jul 27, 2003
...

The Deadly Hume posted:



It is a dark time for the League. The forces of Hawthorn led by the dark lord Luke Hodge have captured the Three-Peat, having left the rival powers of West Coast, Sydney and Fremantle struggling for answers in recent campaigns.

However, these and other clubs are determined to end this reign of terror, using use the forces of accurate kicking and clever positioning to try and van the Hawks and bring light back into the galaxy. Many believe Cow Dude is the chosen one, destined to bring balance to the game.

Some went further and paid the price; Essendon continues to be shunned for breaking the taboo of injecting their soldiers with midichlorians, to no apparent effect except really pissing off the international doping agency. With the architect of this program, The Hird banished to the rim worlds, the Bombers have sought the help of a ragtag bunch of mercenaries to help them through this time.

:vince:

Awesome OP! The only minor change/addition I'd make for the Saints is to add Billings to the list of players to watch out for. If needed you could replace McKenzie with him cause Billings is much more of a sure thing to play lots of games.

NTRabbit
Aug 15, 2012

i wear this armour to protect myself from the histrionics of hysterical women

bitches






Also the GWS logo isn't loading, and the third sentence of the St Kilda bit seems to be missing a few words after "they're"

realbez
Mar 23, 2005



Fun Shoe

Here's to another dominant year! :cheers:

The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.

Thanks for spotting things. BB code is a fucker to proofread before publishing.

Memento
Aug 25, 2009




Bleak Gremlin

I PM'd you but you might not have got it, because the Awful App is weird with messages, but the video link is broken for the Grand Final highlights package.

Sure, there's like one person that actually wants to watch that again, but still.

Periphery
Jul 27, 2003
...

realbez posted:

Here's to another dominant year! :cheers:

BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

glasnost toyboy
May 29, 2009


The Deadly Hume posted:

Richmond have made the finals in the previous three seasons, but the fact remains they still haven't won one since 1982.

I'm all for sticking the boot in to the Tiges but this isn't actually correct sadly.

The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.

Here's a bigger thing of the header image, without the words. Extremely problematic considering I've replaced three female characters, but a theme's a theme. You can't really see it because of the helmet but Buddy is Poe. Just assume it's Nic Nat inside Phasma's body armour or something.


glasnost toyboy posted:

I'm all for sticking the boot in to the Tiges but this isn't actually correct sadly.
How should it read?

Also, if people are making suggestions for players to watch, please include their first name. I had to wing it a bit from my first call.

The Deadly Hume fucked around with this message at 06:30 on Jan 31, 2016

glasnost toyboy
May 29, 2009


Well they made it to the prelim in 2001, so they must have won one that year.

The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.

glasnost toyboy posted:

Well they made it to the prelim in 2001, so they must have won one that year.
Gah how the gently caress did I forget that. OK, fixed.

drunkill
Sep 25, 2007

me @ ur posting


Fallen Rib

Nice OP. Protip, change .gif's to .gifv and they''ll be much better now they can be embedded, no [img] tag required.
Speaking of, gifdump shortly.

Edit:
Footy at the MCG



http://i.imgur.com/mE5QwYc.gifv
http://i.imgur.com/PrGjQUb.gifv
http://i.imgur.com/LIyvDtc.gifv
http://i.imgur.com/EkmYHeX.gifv
http://i.imgur.com/6adsU3f.gifv
http://i.imgur.com/WUEgIqI.gifv

drunkill fucked around with this message at 07:29 on Jan 31, 2016

Divorced And Curious
Jan 23, 2009

democracy depends on sausage sizzles


Fuckin tops OP. Who did that photoshop at the top so I can buy them a pint?

The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.

Err, I did. A pro would probably do a much better job.

ewe2
Jul 1, 2009

TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP

put clinton in prison imo




Love your wraps of the teams, TDH. It's going to be a weird one this year, I feel.

The Deadly Hume
May 26, 2004

Let's get a little crazy. Let's have some fun.

Yeah I found it really tough doing the wraps, since I always tend to think that each team is going to perform as they did the previous year. But it's also really hard to pick bolters, too.

drunkill
Sep 25, 2007

me @ ur posting


Fallen Rib

I ran it through the crawl generator on the starwars website. Disney filtered out 'pissing'
http://i.imgur.com/lrIoyMs.gifv

Testekill
Nov 1, 2012

I demand to be taken seriously

:aronrex:



Whatever happened to the DDT spoil? I thought that was guaranteed a place in the OP.

Volkerball
Oct 15, 2009

by FactsAreUseless


The Suns have more than one player to watch. :colbert:

snaeksikn
Feb 28, 2010

:qq::qq::qq::qq::qq::qq::qq:

Looking forward to seeing Our Lord and Saviour J Hogan winning the Coleman and Brownlow this year

Volkerball
Oct 15, 2009

by FactsAreUseless


has a guy on a team that went 0-22 ever won the brownlow before?

Solemn Sloth
Jul 11, 2015

Baby you can shout at me,
But you can't need my eyes.

snaeksikn posted:

Looking forward to seeing Our Lord and Saviour J Hogan winning the Coleman and Brownlow this year

I'll be happy with just the norm smith

You Am I
May 20, 2001

Me @ your poasting



Hey Hume, Richmond has won more than 1 premiership :)

Great OP

Volkerball posted:

has a guy on a team that went 0-22 ever won the brownlow before?
The closest I think is Bobby Skilton with the then South Melbourne Swans. Garbage team, so it was easy for him to get the votes

snaeksikn
Feb 28, 2010

:qq::qq::qq::qq::qq::qq::qq:

Volkerball posted:

has a guy on a team that went 0-22 ever won the brownlow before?

As a general rules it's very difficult to win a player to win the Brownlow in a side which misses the finals full stop. The vast majority of winners usually play in top or middle level teams.

realbez
Mar 23, 2005



Fun Shoe

It's also pretty hard to lose every single game no matter how hard you try to suck

Schneider Inside Her
Aug 6, 2009

Please bitches. If nothing else I am a gentleman

I mean just look at the Hawks

realbez
Mar 23, 2005



Fun Shoe

Well, quite.

MUSCULAR BEAVER
Dec 26, 2014

HENDO! HENDO!

Thinking of putting my name down to get a game at essendon this year

wish me luck if you see me on the field, I'm the pants-making GBS threads retard with the amusing haircut

NPR Journalizard
Feb 14, 2008



MUSCULAR BEAVER posted:

Thinking of putting my name down to get a game at essendon this year

wish me luck if you see me on the field, I'm the pants-making GBS threads retard with the amusing haircut

You will probably need to narrow it down a bit more.

snaeksikn
Feb 28, 2010

:qq::qq::qq::qq::qq::qq::qq:

Also: Tayla Harris :allears:

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Solemn Sloth
Jul 11, 2015

Baby you can shout at me,
But you can't need my eyes.

I'm honestly amazed Watts made it into an OP in a positive manner, we are living in the end times.

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