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Connolly's finals blog: A matter of integrity

We'll leave it there for today, thanks everyone, some good questions, feisty debate and only the odd gratuitous pot-shot! Will try to get around to ones haven't answereds over next couple of days. Thank god finals are actually here, this weekend should be a ripper. Enjoy, and catch you back here 12pm next Monday.

We've heard a lot about integrity in football these past seven months, and the Essendon drugs saga and its attendant fallout certainly had the potential to challenge a principle that should go without saying.

But it would be nice to think that those running the game make a habit of practising what they preach. That their own integrity would be beyond reproach enough to not be continually asking cynical questions about just why decisions are made. Or doubt the competence behind others.

That's a rod the AFL has made for its own back in recent years with its preparedness to wheel and deal and drive agendas in the name of expedience. And a perception it continues to foster with arrogant, heavy-handed and fly-by-night administration, particularly over the past few days.

I don't have an issue with clubs that finish high enough on the ladder hosting finals on their home grounds. But I have a big issue with the lack of transparency and notice that was evident in the decision to allow Geelong to play Fremantle at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.

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To discuss this issue and other hot topics in the AFL, join a live blog with Age footy expert Rohan Connolly from midday Monday. And you can SEND in your questions right now.

 

73 comments

  • Leadership comes from the top Rohan.
    Ask the current CEO when he is going to step down. Him & his sycophants are the prime example of arrogance and dictatorship.
    Until they are removed & replaced by people with the game, players & spectators respected, we will forever be in the grip of their never ending stupidity.

    Commenter
    Johnny B Bad
    Location
    Mornington
    Date and time
    September 01, 2013, 11:18PM
    • Hi Johnny, It's a tough gig, and until the last 12 months or so, I would have said one they'd performed by and large pretty well. But there's been a series of significant and well-documented issues which haven't been handled well now, and the perception of autocratic and dismissive control from the AFL continues to grow.

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Date and time
      September 02, 2013, 12:09PM
  • It's hard not to see this decision as a deliberate attempt to ensure Geelong has an advantage over Fremantle. If it were hawthorn playing Geelong at Simmons would this decision be made or would they use the excuse the numbers will be higher at etihad? If its a WA team it seems the decisions that clearly penalise a team don't matter as much; they can travel to tassie and up the Gold Coast more than any other team in the comp... They can travel to a regional town to play a final at a ground that holds 20,000 less and that the opposition rarely loses on because hey, its only freo! How many tickets will be left for freo fans once the Geelong ones go on sale do you think? I'm pretty disgusted.

    Commenter
    Teresa
    Location
    Seaford
    Date and time
    September 02, 2013, 7:07AM
    • Hi Teresa, I think the ladder position should always dictate the arrangements more so than "best fit" in crowd terms, so on principle I don't have a big issue with the Simonds final. But in the same breath the AFL has negated that argument by conceding a final against a local team wouldn't be played there, so effectively penalises Freo for being an interstate team. My biggest issue, though is the way it was sprung as a possibility then confirmed at the last minute. Not good enough, particularly seeing as late as July the official line was Simmonds wouldn't host a final.

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Date and time
      September 02, 2013, 12:12PM
  • Gee Rohan, anyone would think you were a bombers man with this bitter attack on the AFL.

    Commenter
    Bobo
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    September 02, 2013, 7:25AM
    • ^^@bobo - that's not a question and no-one cares... I believe his been one of the best journalists in this saga (considering the pitch fork happy colleagues involved) ... BTW Rohan! Can you please rate my Swannies chances for back to back prems? Thanks

      Commenter
      Dick
      Location
      Syd
      Date and time
      September 02, 2013, 9:45AM
    • Gee Bobo, that's relevant. Perhaps you'd like to consider the actual points being raised in the column, which have nothing to do with which club I support.

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Date and time
      September 02, 2013, 12:14PM
  • Gee, this sounds very much like a bitter Bomber looking for a reason, any reason, to find fault with the AFL, whom they blame for their own club's shambles. Or maybe it's Caro's fault, is it Rohan?
    Simons Stadium is a great idea I reckon - i'm a Tiger fan, so yes i'm high on Finals Fever, but certainly not biased - and no-one can argue Geelong haven't earned a home final over the last few years.
    AFL is an easy target for a harangue from a hard-done-by Bomber fan, but this reads as very, very petty.

    Commenter
    dd
    Date and time
    September 02, 2013, 7:28AM
    • This isn't a club vs club issue, it is, as Rohan said - and you'd know, if you bothered to read the article properly - a matter of transparency and consistency, both of which have been sorely lacking for some time in the AFL and which have become magnified of late in particular. It defies belief that the only "appropriate" finals venues can, in the space of a few days, suddenly lose their appropriate status. It's hard to escape the idea that the AFL's decision to schedule the final in Geelong was actually punishment for Fremantle turning up for Saturday's game against St Kilda with 12 changes to their side and effectively surrendering before the match started. If that's the case, then fine, say so - just don't try and dress it up into something it's not.

      Commenter
      janeygotagun
      Date and time
      September 02, 2013, 8:37AM
    • Gee, DD, did you actually READ what I wrote? I don't object to Geelong having a home final, I object to the way it was negotiated and the lack of warning. And if you think the issues raised are petty, what qualifies as important to you?

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Date and time
      September 02, 2013, 12:19PM

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