The footy finals are looming which means its time for some finals predictions. My predictions relate to topics covered by the countries media.
I predict we will get to witness the annual media reports, from journalists who are clearly clearing their desks ready for holidays over the off season. Sit back and enjoy the media recycled from every past footy finals season. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
There will be pages written on who is most likely to win and who should win. Yes these can be two different things. Like every year writers will again pontificate on the bias of umpires towards different teams and players – yes Eddie McGuire we know that this never works in the favour of a Collingwood Player – and the disadvantage some players face due to the position they play. Apparently defenders never win awards.
There will also be the inevitable discussion on players that are not eligible to win the award because they were found guilty of breaking the rules by the tribunal. Everyone agrees with the general rule relating to the award being for the Best and Fairest, unless of course it is a player from the team for which they barrack is affected. Then of course the rule should be changed in time for this year’s Brownlow Medal Count. The media love this debate, even in years when it is realty a non issue.
Each year the ethics of teams who are of no chance to make the finals will be questioned. Did they tank to get better draft picks the following year? OR in real terms…did they do everything they could within the rules to increase their chances of winning next year’s premiership.
Teams at the top of the table are not immune from tanking claims. Did the club rest its best players in games in the last game or two of the home and away season, when the outcome of the game was not going to have any impact on the make up of the finals? Or in real terms…did they do everything they could within the rules to increase their chances of winning this year’s premiership.
The mediocrity of Collingwood in 2014 means that Eddie will not have to answer to such claims this year.
A key player will be suspended for one of the finals teams throughout the finals series or, god forbid, for the grand final itself. Journalists will have conniptions about the severity of the penalty on the player and the team. Journalists will argue this point with a veracity and sincerity that is normally reserved for discussing the crisis in the middle east. This conversation will contain little, if any, reflection on whether or not the player should have just followed the rules in which there would not have been any risk of suspension in the first place.
The AFL is contractually obligated to host a certain number of finals at the MCG. As this is a financial contract it is clearly more important than the agreement in place with the teams where the higher ranked team in each final gets a home game. Of course for Collingwood (Eddie can relax), Hawthorn, Richmond and Melbourne football clubs the MCG is the home ground.
This is sure to be an issue in the 2014 finals series with up to five of the eight teams being non-Melbourne based.
What is reported regarding this issue will of course be dependent on the state in which the articles were written. If Melbourne media had their way all finals would be played at the MCG. Actually Victorian Media would create divide the competition into 2 American-style conferences to ensure that at least one Victorian team makes the grand final.
At lest one key player is sure to get injured and be at risk of not being able to play in the big game. This is what a journalist’s wet dream is made of. Endless discussion of the injury itself, the medical response and recovery, what it will mean to the team structure, could an opposition team exploit this.
The team and player themselves will remain tight lipped, despite this being the standard response from every team and player throughout the history of footy final injuries, the Australian media will see this as a sign of conspiracy and only lead to an increase in the conjecture.
In most cases the player will make a “miraculous recover” and play in the final leaving the commentators with two options. If he plays well then he is a hero, if he plays poorly he has an excuse and was brave just to get on the field, a hero.
The only injury for Collingwood this year will by Eddie with Collingwood’s early exit from the premiership season.