Opinion

Goodbye Subi: The House of Pain

It has gone bye a few different names over the years, Patersons stadium, Domain stadium and the house of pain, but really it is just plain old Subiaco Oval. While it is common knowledge that Subi falls well short compared to the premier sporting locations in the country like the MCG, it was all we had here in Perth and still housed some of the great moments in West Australian footy.

I have attended a few games at Subi over the years, being that I am a Fremantle supporter, naturally the Dockers feature in all of them. Seeing that this weekend marks Fremantles last game ever at Subiaco It got me thinking of the games I have watched there. I thought I would make a list of the 5 most memorable games I watched live at Subiaco oval. Please enjoy and let us know your favorite Subiaco oval moments.

Pavs 350: Round 19, 2016

As a Dockers supporter, you wouldn’t think that a 90 point loss would be one of my treasured memories, but this was the last time I got to watch Matthew Pavlich live. My longtime close friend Sam was able to get tickets from a work friend for this game and I jumped at the opportunity to be there for Pavs 350. We were seated just near the 50m arc, a perfect location to watch Matthew Pavlich do his thing. While Freo played horribly on this day I will still always remember this day because it was all about the Pav. As he was chaired off at the end of the game I stood with tears in my eyes and applauded the greatest Docker of all time. I wish I could have been there for his very last game, a win over the Bulldogs. But I am glad that I did get to at least pay respect to his career in some way during his 350th.

Fremantle vs Carlton: Round 22, 2010

This one is memorable for better reasons, primarily the fact it was a great win that set Freo up for finals footy. I attended this game with Crawf and his family, all big time Carlton supporters. Even though it was here at Subi, against Carlton it’s always interesting as the large Blues supporter base here in WA always show up in numbers to cheer on their team. This game was a very tough contest, from memory a win from Carlton would put them in the eight and a win from Freo would give them a home final. Freo went on to win this game in a close one thanks in part to a strong showing from Michael Walters, who’s very vocal uncle was sitting just a couple of seats away from us. Freo went on to beat the hawks in an elimination final but went no further than that.

Western Derby: Round 21, 2000

My first Western Derby. I have been to a few derbies and they are always a fierce contest but this was special. The demolition derby it is now known as but I don’t remember the fighting. My cousin took me to this game, he was a West Coast supporter and loved to stir me up about the Dockers. We had terrible seats, a large pillar was placed right in front of one of our seats that blocked most of the view of the oval, but it didn’t ruin the day for me. At this point in time my absolute hero was Tony Modra, I had the number six on the back of my dockers Guernsey and at training I would try soccering goals through from difficult angles. I was so excited to see him play live, but sometimes life has other plans. Mods got injured about 10 min into the game, with just 1 disposal he took no further part in the game. Luckily for me there was another hero ready to step up this day. In comes Clive Waterhouse, often a joke among football fans, he chimed in with 7 goals in an amazing come from behind 1 point win. This is still the best game I have seen live and a memory that will last with me forever.

Anzac Day: Round 4, 2015

Its not quite Essendon vs. Collingwood at the G’, but attending an ANZAC day game was a highlight for me. This was right in the middle of probably the most dominant run of form in Fremantle Dockers history. They started well, got run down and then finally bounced back and secured a win. I remember this game because Nat Fyfe was spectacular all game long. I also remember thinking how special Buddy Franklin is to watch in person. As an opposition supporter nothing makes you more nervous than when Buddy gets near the footy.

Freo vs. Richmond: Round 13, 1999

This one is special to me even though it was a devastating one-point loss for the Dockers. This was my first ever live AFL game, but that is not the only interesting part of the day. My Father is American, he knew nothing about Australian Rules Football before I started to take an interest. One thing we didn’t realize is that most Fremantle home games are delayed telecast on TV. I was very excited when Dad told me he was going to take me to my first ever game, unfortunately we took the time In the TV guide as the start time of the game…. It was not. We turned up halfway through the third quarter very confused. On the positive side we didn’t need to pay for a ticket. Despite all this I loved it, it was so exciting to hear the roar of the crowd. Whatever people say about Subiaco oval, when it was a packed house and the crowd was roaring it was really something to see and hear. Anyone who knows me knows I am not close with my Dad so that makes this memory even more significant to me. Personally poetic for me that my first game at Subi was Fremantle vs. Richmond and the last Dockers game at Subi is against the same opponent, funny how things work out.

There were a lot of great games played at Subiaco oval, these ones were special to me for my own personal reasons and I’m sure many other games would be memorable to others for reasons of their own. I will always remember that first day at Subi, the sounds, sights and smells. I cant wait to go to the new Perth stadium, maybe one day ill take my Son or cousin or friend there, but I’ll always remember Subiaco.

Past and Present: If AFL stars were NBA players, which players would they be?

I love AFL, but I also love the NBA. This common interest got me thinking. Which NBA players have similarities with some of our AFL stars? What makes these players superstars and what traits link them. I have made 10 comparisons but I’m sure there are more. Feel free to comment with any thoughts of any other comparisons that you think would make sense and why. Other than that enjoy the list And s Paul Roos would say… HERE IT IS!

Buddy Franklin & LeBron James

The obvious comparison here and that both of these mean can be put forward as potentially the best player in their respective sport in the current game. But the link I would like to draw is more to do with their physical attributes. The defining trait that has made both of these men successful in the fact that no one has seen such speed, agility and skill in such large men. Two big, strong athletes, with incredible speed and athleticism. Not to mention the star power and marketability of both.

 

Sam Mitchell & Steve Nash

Sam Mitchell and Steve Nash

Again athletic ability can be used to make the comparison, both were probably below average in their sport for their position in terms of speed and explosiveness. But both manages to achieve major success, Nash with an MVP and Mitchell with a Brownlow. How did they do this? They used an elite football/basketball brain to understand the game and an incredible ability to bring teammates into the game using their sublime skills.

 

Luke Hodge & Dwayne Wade

Luke Hodge and Dwayne Wade

Well the first fact linking these two is that each of them has been my favorite player in their respective sport for a considerable amount of time. Next fact, they are both old. But the thing that makes this comparison plausible is the fact that they are both winners and warriors. Wade and Hodge have both had their fair share of success and battle scars. They both have won the award given to the person who performs the best when the title is on the line and both have proven to be great leaders of men.

 

Patrick Dangerfield & Russell Westbrook

Patrick Dangerfield and Russell Westbrook

Reigning Brownlow medalist, Reigning MVP. The Defining trait that links these two is pure explosive power. Danger is known to break away from packs while shrugging off attempted tackles. Westbrook shrugs off gravity on the way to explosive tomahawk jams. Both are unique athletes who are known to pull off virtuoso performances to secure victories for their teams and both are out and out superstars.

 

Marcus Bontempelli  & James Harden

Marcus Bontempelli and James Harden

OK I know the Bont doesn’t have a beard, maybe Max Gawn was robbed of this comparison, but I am not basing this on looks. The trait I am interested in is the smooth and silky lefty skills. Both have a knack of getting through traffic and making good decisions. Both hit the scoreboard and both are extremely important to their teams.

 

Tony Lockett & Shaquille O’Neal

Tony Lockett and Shaquille O’Neal

This is a simple comparison. Shaq and Plugga just physically dominated their sports. Neither would be accused of being in peak physical condition for most of their careers, but it was their size that made them so dominant. Both were total scoring machines and has a huge presence whenever they were in the game.

 

Jeremy Howe & Vince Carter

Jeremy Howe and Vince Carter:

Vince Carter was a dunking machine, he was known as half man, half amazing. That is a nickname that could clearly transfer over to Jeremy Howe given his reputation as a highflying aerialist. Both men were exciting and jaw dropping in the air. If the AFL had an All Star weekend with a specie comp, there is no doubt Jeremy Howe would be the hot favorite to win just as VC did back in the 2000 slam dunk contest.

 

Chris Judd & Kobe Bryant

Chris Judd and Kobe Bryant

There are some strong comparisons to be made here. First of all both went bald halfway through their careers. Both achieved the top individual honor in their sport, Judd with 2 Brownlows and Kobe with an MVP. They have been adjudged the best players in a championship contest with Judd taking home the Norm Smith in a losing grand final. Both are champions. They had some injury problems late in their careers. Both are favorites of Crawf. But most importantly both were for a period of time in their careers the undisputed best player in the competition. While neither are quite the greatest of all time in their sport, both are in the conversation.

 

Alex Rance & Kawhi Leonard

Alex Rance and Kawhi Leonard

Smothering defense is the connection here. Both are without a doubt the best defender in their game. The impact Rance has on Tiger games is profound and while he doesn’t get involved in the offense as much as Kawhi does for the Spurs, it’s the defensive connection that makes this comparison valid.

 

Gary Ablett & Michael Jordan

Gary Ablett and Michael Jordan

G.O.A.T – Greatest of all time. Michael Jordan is the name on everyone’s lips whenever the conversation comes up about who the best basketball player of all time is. I believe when he retires, Gary Ablett will be paid that same honor. The man has done is all, from Premierships to Brownlows, All Australians and players MVPs. Gary Ablett is GOD and MJ is the GOAT.

Hutching at Straws: The Media Landscape

Much is said about the state of the game, the consistency of umpires (or lack thereof) and the decisions made by the AFL to constantly change the rules of the game. But an aspect of AFL and one that is as equally integral to the AFL landscape is all too often overlooked, or perhaps a better term would be ‘swept under the rug’.

I am of course referring to the AFL Media. It is a topic that doesn’t get addressed very often, because the media aren’t likely to critique themselves. The usual criticisms are always there, usually in regards to Channel 9’s long-running The Footy Show. Has it run its course? Most likely, but The Footy Show, in terms of serious AFL-related content has always lacked substance and valued entertainment over serious footy-talk.

The exception to this rule is when they try to tackle the serious issues; whether it’s the Essendon saga or a player off the rails, it offers contrast and probably a slight ratings boost, momentarily tricking the viewer into thinking the show is more than it is.

(Fake) News Breakers

The real issue comes with the likes of the Damien Barrett’s and Craig Hutchinson’s. Journo’s who are dubbed ‘the best news breakers in the business’ whenever they’re brought in to ‘break’ a big news story. More often than not it is something to do with a big name player leaving a club and being offered an astronomical amount of money from another club. Usually the word ‘done deal’ is used, despite the fact this news is broken 5 rounds into the season and deals cannot be done until after the season has concluded and Free Agency and Trade periods have begun.

Others have joined this trend. At any time during the season these media personalities are able to claim that their so-called ‘sources’ tell them a certain deal is done or that ‘x’ player wants to return home. Players wanting to return home is quite common so the hit rate is probably higher, but how many times would a media personality have correctly predicted mid-way through the season that a high-profile player had struck a deal with a rival club? My guess is very few.

Free Agency/Trade Period

The rule here is that deals cannot be done until the free agency or trade period and a lot can change in a season of footy. Nevertheless the ‘done deals’ are thrown around left, right and centre by the media, then when they turn out to be wrong, everyone has forgotten that ‘the best news-breakers in the business’ basically lied to them for the sake of ratings.

It’s a classic case of the media preferring to be first than right and it lacks integrity. Throwing information with the most minimal credibility behind it against the wall and hoping it will stick. Actually they don’t hope, because it doesn’t really matter. The bosses don’t care because the news, regardless of whether or not it’s true sparks discussion and is likely good for ratings. So the big question is, who holds these media personalities accountable when they ‘break’ news that is absolutely false? Well, nobody.

“who holds these media personalities accountable when they ‘break’ news that is absolutely false”

The media are as much a reflection on the game as the players and coaches are, and they have a duty to provide us, the fans with information on the game we love, factual information. When they value being first, having exclusives and pumping up their ratings over all else, they are disrespecting and doing a disservice to the fans that rely on them, and this reflects poorly on the AFL as a whole.

 

Tell us what you think of the media coverage in Season 2017…

YNL Brownlow Medal Tally

Last updated: 5/7/17

 

Review: AFL Evolution

Finally after years of waiting we have a new AFL game for the next gen consoles. AFL Evolution was scheduled for release on the 5th of May, however several retailers broke the release date and began selling the game a day early. This was a great surprise for me and I’m sure many AFL and gaming fans who were eager to try out the new game.

Anyone who has played the previous AFL games will know they have been largely flawed and disappointing, but we understand. Australian Rules Football is a complex sport, even living breathing humans struggle to understand the many rule interpretations, imagine trying to program a computer to comprehend this unusual game. But still with each new attempt we purchase with high hopes of improvement.

AFL Evolution is a slight upgrade on previous efforts in my opinion. While it is not perfect, the game still comes together as a fun albeit quirky representation of Australian Rules Football. There are many issues with the game, the fact every time you get possession after a free kick it is automatically called advantage play on, the confusing and difficult marking contest mechanics and the last man standing style of contested play that tends to occur in AFL games when it is a series of tackles until the last player standing is able to extricate the ball from a contest.

Evolution has improved on this slightly with players being able to change direction and evade their opponent due to the players turning circles and agility factors, but getting a clear kick away can be a challenge.

The career mode has some depth to it, but it is essential taken straight from AFL Live 2, apart from the ability to play as an individual player. The online community with downloadable created players is a nice addition and could add some longevity to the game. Additionally the fact Evolution is next gen and has the ability to receive frequent updates gives hope that the game can improve with player suggestions over time.

Essentially AFL Evolution is what you would expect, a playable representation of our favorite sport that lacks all the polish and refinement of the more heavily funded sports titles we have grown accustomed to such as the FIFA or NBA 2k franchises. It’s still fun and it’s still footy, so I will be sure to play a fair amount of AFL Evolution and I am hopeful that updates can improve some of the smaller issues at least and perhaps some of the player ratings.

My Rating

6/10 – A pass mark for an AFL game but still plenty of room for improvement.

Scroll to top