WOMEN’S footy was back in the headlines last week after the AFL contacted clubs to express its frustration over the low-scoring Carlton-Collingwood match.
The match, in the opening round of the second AFLW season, saw the Blues overcome the more favoured Pies 22-14.
The Magpies were wasteful in front of goal, while Carlton took their chances and implemented a high line of defence to crowd their opponents out of the match. But it was not satisfactory, it would seem, in the AFL’s eyes. The league sent a letter to the eight clubs ahead of the second round, dictating that the teams should implement more free-flowing play in the following rounds.
With all the money being thrown at the women’s game to ensure its success, the AFL has now stepped in to tell clubs how to play the game they are employed to play.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
This competition is a short leap away from being in the same realm as Major League Soccer (MLS) and rugby union.
The MLS, the laughing stock of the soccer world, implemented video assistant referees (among other appalling decisions) to make calls the on-field ref was unsure about, putting a stop to play for minutes at a time.
While in union, the International Rugby Board has meddled with the scrummaging rules more times than I’ve had hot dinners. The governing body has become a joke of the sport.
Despite the AFL’s concerns, attendances were sky-high during opening week. And the record attendance for a women’s footy match was broken in round two when 41,975 fanatics watched Fremantle beat Collingwood in Perth.
In actual fact, 54,000 tickets were sold for that match. Tell me again people aren’t interested in the game.
Does the AFL want the competition to be viewed seriously? Where every game is a battle of the coaches’ tactical knowledge and the players’ on-field skills?
Or are they more worried that a team’s well-implemented tactics won’t line up with how advertisers want the game to be played?
What is the point in encouraging pretty footy over winning footy? As much as we don’t want to tell the kids on Saturday morning, the game is about winning.
The AFL should not only be in admiration of the technical understanding the Blues had to pre-empt the Pies’ game plan, and shut it down, they should be endorsing it.
A high defensive press may look like ugly football to advertisers, but true sports fans will see a game plan well implemented, and a Pies side with no answers.