Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Lessons Learnt? - Adelaide

Another off-season for the AFL is about to pass, with the real football about 1 month away.
The HQ team must be feeling a little relieved this time around too, with no significant new controversies unearthed.

Last year was an off-season that most would want forgotten, but in reality we should never forget.
Key points were;
 - the Melbourne 'tanking' investigation, that led to a 'none found but screw you anyway' verdict,
 - the Adelaide / Tippett payments affair that gave the key players a rap on the wrist with a wet lettuce leaf and a 6 month holiday,
 - and of course the big one, the ongoing ASADA investigations into supplements used at Essendon, as uncovered by Australia's peak crime body, the ACC.
How the AFL handled these issues, and some of the decisions taken, have also been issues.


Which brings us to the lead-in to season 2014, and a chance for us to revisit to those clubs. We have prepared the initial post an Adelaide, and two other posts later this week will complete the 3 team study.


Pride of South Australia - Adelaide:
Across the border, Adelaide have suffered the consequences of paying Tippett outside his contract, and begun returning to normal. They have welcomed back their suspended Chief Executive Stephen Trigg, as well as missed draft picks. The 2013 season was not a stable one, and this may have manifested itself of feild as the club slipped from the finals.
But with the end of season, a degree of peace descended over Adelaide, as they worked toward building for an exciting 2014 at the Adelaide Oval.

But it seems, once again, they have gotten ahead of themselves.

In choosing to 'commemorate their 'first AFL game at Adelaide Oval' and also mark '150 years of SA football', they misread the sentiment in the football world.

Yes, there were some Crows fans who loved it, but also those who considered it a denigration of the footballing states most valued item.

The rank and file were also joined by former State Of Origin heroes in condemning the move. Via Triple-M, Stephen Kernahan made his point clear. Also, Chris McDermott joined the cries against the decision.
And of course, local rivals Port Adelaide were also (understandably) furious.
Port Adelaide blasts Adelaide Crows over replica South Australian guernsey for round-two AFL clash
"Our clubs current and former SA-born players are disappointed by the Crows decision," the Power said in a statement."The Crows have stated they are wearing the guernsey to celebrate SA football."Port Adelaide finds this reasoning peculiar given that wearing it in a Showdown will actually divide the state."This guernsey is a symbol of SA football unification, not division."
Port Adelaide President David Koch was outraged, telling 3AW radio
"There are a lot of Port Adelaide legends - including you Dwayne - who sweated blood for that guernsey and for us to go out and play against it at the opening of Adelaide Oval I think is a bit of an insult.""For my mind it's just not on," Kochie added. "You're [Dwayne Russell] not only outraged, but the great Russell Ebert is outraged, John Cahill is outraged. We have a lot of history in that guernsey... and you just can't cheapen it this way."
And on twitter, it even divided SA footy families.

The question as to how this idea got approved (and by whom... the SANFL board? The AFL?) is an important one that needs answering.
More importantly, the real question is... who at the Adelaide Crows thought this was a good idea in the first place?
To convert a symbol of South Australian pride into a commodity to be worn by players who, in the majority, have tenuous links to SA footy, was a grave error.
(Click on the list at right to see detail of the 18 South Australians in the 45 man Crows list)

What were they thinking?
How did this get discussed as a 'good idea' at club level?
Why did it get to a point where it went public (before later being withdrawn) before anyone realised how divisive this would be?
Is this a by-product of a more than 20 year old grudge dating back to 1991, where Port Adelaide tried to enter the AFL without the SANFL imprimatur?

More importantly (and likely), have we observed the same people at the helm of the Tippett Affair, devising and implementing another plan without thought for the consequences?

As before, there were other places this could, and should, have been vetoed before going public, and the SANFL (as trustees of the South Australian game) and the AFL have both missed the ball on this. Thankfully, it has been corrected.


Have the Adelaide Crows not learnt from the lessons of the Tippett Affair, that the sum of football is more than a constituent Crow-coloured part?

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