Wednesday, April 25, 2018


I love On the Couch on Fox Footy and is my footy panel show of choice by a long way.

This week they had a segment on the current skill level of AFL players and here's a summary of the discussion which appears in the video below from about the 20min mark onwards:

GARRY LYON - Disposal of the footy is the worst it's ever been...kicking efficiency is the lowest it has ever been since stats have been taken...full time professionals should not make skill errors like;s nothing short of embarrassing (while showing clips of a bunch f clanger kicks from the weekends games including 3 terrible kicks in 10secs from 1 game)

PAUL ROOS - AFL footballers AREN'T full time professionals...they have 10 - 12 weeks off in the off-season, 2 half days er week in the pre-season and a day and a half off during the in-season per week and then some 4 day breaks during bye rounds etc...coaches simply don't have enough time with the playing group

JONNO BROWN - Monday or Tuesday is recovery work and the players are not allowed on the field at all on those days

GARRY LYON - Can't the Captain or the Coach pull rank over the fitness staff and say until we can kick from A to B, let's put all the recovery stuff aside?

PAUL ROOS - Once the players have completed the recovery day then that's when we want to get them back on the field and do some kicking but then they have a half day study day as warranted from the Player's Association.

GERARD HEALY - Incoming draftees don't have the skills when they come into an AFL club...I was talking to Buck's and he said they simply don't have time to teach someone to get an opposite foot so if they don't have one already...

JONNO BROWN - Are list sizes too big?

PAUL ROOS - The AFL is the only professional sport in the world who have 4 - 6 developmental coaches at the actual club but they should be at the TAC clubs developing players...Junior development is a massive issue all over Australia

GARRY LYON - How big of an issue is the skill level of junior players coming through?

PAUL ROOS - Let's look at t this way...the Sydney Academy has 30 kids and it's an elite environment at under 18 level. My (Roosy's) son joined the Sandy Dragons this year and at his first training session there was 80 kids which is too many and that's not an elite program.

Later in the episode following this discussion they had North Melbourne Coach Brad Scott and on the subject of Ben Brown said:

"...Ben Brown has 100's of shots per week and I will pull rank on the fitness staff if they suggest he's done enough - and the more shots the better..."

Gerard then asked him about increasing the draft age to which he has been pushing even since his playing days saying this:

" their draft year kids are already doing Year 12 as well as TAC footy in the hope of getting drafted and are simply being pulled everywhere...increasing the draft age to 19 would allow them to have a full year of being semi-professional before going to the AFL thus allowing an extra year for natural maturity...list sizes should be smaller, say about 30, with the ability to top up during the season where needed from their VFL reserves the moment coaching resources are being spread across 45 players when at the elite level we should be focusing on the top 30..."   

I was talking with a bloke who is part of the strength and conditioning team of a Melbourne based TAC team and he was saying that more attention (video anaylsis etc) is paid to the players who have the better chances of getting drafted to AFL clubs over the rest of the players raising the question of are TAC teams more interested in developing under 18 players or simply there to see how many kids we can get drafted from our club - backing up what Paul Roos has talked about above.

The full episode can be found here:

Earlier this week there was an article that came out showing that in Australia preventable ACL injuries are becoming an epidemic proportions including kids as young as 5 doing ACL injuries which is insane and something I have not heard of at all in my lifetime.

There's plenty of reasons for that including early specialisation, society behavioral changes (technology, sitting, not as much movement) and possibly a gap in what I can only call "medium play" where kids go from the couch to competition sports with nothing in between.

Personally I think that metro and if possible, country leagues, should set up their very own development training centers and actually invest in their own players to provide actual strength and conditioning that isn't from a PT or HIT Group class background as well as specialist coaches to help with skills, tactics etc.

Yes this would cost a shitload but these leagues could receive help from the AFL and local/state/federal governments and would over time be an extra income stream for the leagues.

The league would also be looked upon more favorable among players looking to change teams, move locations etc as well as coaches. 

What's everyone's thoughts on this?

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