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Luke Sheehan: Interstate sides back on top

Sportal May 23, 2012, 4:58 pm

The AFL cycle has come full circle once more - that is, to say, the non-Victorian sides are reigning supreme once again.

For the first time since 2007, two sides outside of Australian Rules' home state fill the top two spots on the ladder after round eight.

Victorian sides - albeit a mixture of Geelong, Collingwood and St Kilda - have occupied the top two from 2008-2011 through eight matches.

Three of the top four this season are from outside Victoria, with West Coast (first), Adelaide (second) and Sydney (fourth) flying high.

Fremantle (eighth) are just one win outside fourth spot, and with master tactician Ross Lyon at the helm, most are expecting the Dockers to be pushing for one of the double-chance spots.

Sure, the form of the Victorian sides inside the eight is not drastically bad - with Essendon (third) the pick of the bunch - but Collingwood (fifth), Hawthorn (sixth) and Carlton (seventh) all seem to have more concerns than their interstate counterparts with 15 weeks of the season to come.

The Magpies, Blues and Hawks have been struck by injuries to key players, with the likes of Luke Ball, Marc Murphy and Luke Hodge all sidelined for their respective clubs.

Furthermore, aside from expansion clubs Gold Coast (17th) and Greater Western Sydney (16th), Victorian representatives Melbourne (18th) and North Melbourne (12th) have been the competition's most disappointing sides so far this season.

Richmond (13th) can't seem to win when it counts, despite showing significant improvement in parts. Having just three wins to show for their gallant efforts so far comes as somewhat of a mental blow to the Tigers.

The league has perennially insisted that interstate sides would never dominate the standings due to their significantly greater home-ground advantage compared to those in Victoria, but it is becoming increasingly likely that we will see another all-interstate grand final at the MCG in September, which would be the fourth in nine years.

And if we do, we can fully expect Andrew Demetriou and his cronies to defend the health of the game in the state, despite the fact that famous clubs such as Melbourne, North Melbourne and Richmond are clearly struggling to win games.

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8 Comments

  1. Michael05:13am Thursday 24th May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Very parochially naive and lazy piece of Journalism. Are you Mike the omnipotent guru Sheehan's wannabe? The persistent lauding of a "failed" strategist in Lyon and the supposition that Interstate clubs enjoy success only because they make Vics travel is as funny as saying not playing on the "G" is an ideal finals preparation... Take up knitting, this is an example of your need to plagiarise patterns!

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  2. chris10:22pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Since there are only two grounds (Ethihad and MCG) played at in Melbourne (not counting Geelong, who get about 5 actual home games a year) you could argue that every Melbourne club gets 16-18 home games (20 if you are collingwood) as they are playing away games to other Vic sides at their two home grounds. This makes the Vic teams having a much greater home game advantage than any of the interstate clubs by a long way. Especially when every grand final is played at the MCG. AFL can never be a levekl playing field until every team plays a home and away game against every other team and there are equal teams per state.

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  3. sonia08:44pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    What tom foolery is this statement 'interstate teams', they are all interstate teams. AFL does not start and end in Victoria. Victorian teams are on the same level as all AFL teams. Interstate teams indeed!!!!!

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  4. Anthony06:49pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Gentlemen - gentlemen - please - a little less angst and some better comments needed here - since the interstate teams have entered the competition - the player talent has been dwindled down to the roar bone..... Granted the vics have been plundering interstate clubs - but the interstaters have done the same with the u18 competition - so my idea is the vics play in their own comp called the vfl and the others go to buggery.......end of story

    1 Reply
  5. Rod Steen05:54pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Firstly, Victoria is not Australian Rules Football's home state, it is the base of operations for the governing body, the AFL. Vic, SA, WA, Tas, & NT were all, always Aussie rules dominated states. Secondly, Freemantle are also nearly 40 percentage points out of fifth place, which equates to a winning margin in excess of 100goals! As for calling Ross Lyon a master tactician, he left an uninjured player (Luke Ball) on the bench for the second half the 2009 grand final after he'd amassed 21 possessions in the first half and LOST the game! Ball went on to win a premiership at collingwood playing against his former club who were still coached by Ross Lyon at the time. Before you start espousing your own opinions on the AFL competition and Victoria bashing like your inciting article on State of Origin did, check your information first and DO let the facts get in the way of a good story!

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  6. Peter05:50pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Apart from Port Adelaide, all the traditional clubs in the SANFL and WAFL have been decimated, reduced to second-tier clubs. So don't go complaining about your "traditional" VFL clubs. The VFL is dead and the sooner a few of those deadbeat clubs merge the better.

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  7. lessca05:36pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Agree with Michael - interstate clubs have to travel every second week. Melbourne clubs have made MCG and Docklands home and only travel four or five times all year. Vics problem now is too many teams for the comp. They need to move one to Tassie and one to Canberra. Besides - note that with six of sixteen teams coming from interstate, four out of nine grandfinals is a pretty fair average I would have thought - now it's eight out eighteen, you would expect at least one interstate team in every grandfinal.

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  8. Michael05:30pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    You make big deal about the home-ground advantage of non-Victorian sides, but fail to mention the significant impact of travel schedules that would make most Victorian clubs weak at the knees.

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