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Lower clubs embark on the AFL's egg and wooden spoon race

Wooden spoon battle.

Wooden spoon battle.

The AFL is set in the second half of the year to embrace its inner school athletics carnival by staging what looms as a fiercely contested egg and spoon race.

It just so happens that the spoon is wooden, and the egg is prized, and in the form of a number one draft choice.

All 18 teams have now played 11 games. The Giants have two wins, while five clubs have three victories each. Carlton and West Coast are a further rung ahead, having both claimed four scalps, although the Eagles have a sizeable percentage break on the 12th-placed Blues.

Potential number one pick Peter Wright (left) in action for Vic Metro in May.

Potential number one pick Peter Wright (left) in action for Vic Metro in May. Photo: Joe Armao

What that all means is there is no shortage of sides clambering for bottom spot.

Richmond has had a fall from relative grace (only relative given they surrendered what looked a match-winning lead against Carlton in last year’s finals series). The Tigers’ percentage of 94.1 suggests they should be the 3-8 side most likely to push toward respectability in the season’s back end, but it mustn’t be forgotten that that figure was inflated by Jack Riewoldt’s pulverisation of a thinly stocked GWS backline. Tigers football manager Dan Richardson was  loath to write off his club’s chances when he spoke with SEN on Monday, but he also acknowledged the pressing need for Richmond to separate the wheat from the chaff ahead of its 2015 campaign.

Joining them in that mass of mediocrity are the Bulldogs, Saints, Demons and Lions. It is a quartet of differing backgrounds and winding paths to their respective current predicaments. Three of the four sides - Melbourne is the odd one out - share a particularly pressing need: finding a commanding young key forward. In the cases of St Kilda and the Lions, the clear dependence on an ageing champion is an addiction that has to be curbed, but as the Dogs and the slightly better positioned Blues know, goalkicking talls are hard to come by. The spectre of potential first pick Peter Wright, a youth apparently capable of parlaying height into majors, adds another layer of intrigue.

Whereas in 2013 there was no way in which a team such as GWS, Melbourne or St Kilda could could be supplanted in the bottom three by a middling outfit, that reality is no longer as clear.

With finals out of the question, an extra loss here or there in a close season could catapult a team four or five places up in the draft pecking order.

That could in turn be the difference between obtaining a solid contributor or a gun capable of fast-tracking a team's rise up the ladder.

In this age of expansion, even a notionally equalised playing field is still a difficult environment in which to pluck a premiership. But while for 18 clubs there is only one premiership, so too is there just one wooden spoon.

It is that corollary which means breaking out of no man’s land is made all that harder. To gain an edge in such a crowded playing field, and with a Giant threat still poised to clog the early picks, what price then a loss in June, July and August?

Let the race for the egg begin.

14 comments

  • C'mon saints you can do it....2-3 years of wooden spoons 6-8 top 10 choices and we will be ready to try again when GWS,GC,are at the top....

    I think is great the club came out and said finals by 2018.......show what a disaster Watters and the club people who overlooked Ken Hinkley......now its back to the bottom for a few years ...replenish and try again for a premiership.......

    Commenter
    Maurice
    Location
    Torquay
    Date and time
    June 10, 2014, 3:01PM
    • Don't we have enough wooden spoons? I know we are going to finish down the bottom but I hope not at the very bottom!

      Commenter
      Catherine
      Date and time
      June 10, 2014, 5:52PM
  • Not to worry, the Dogs will ignore what they actually need and will pick up the most mediocre/over-rated/generic midfielder they can get. Preferably one that they think is top 5 in the draft, but really turns out to be a mid-20's pick up.
    We've needed a tall forward for more than 10 years now and have made little or no effort to draft one with actual talent or guts.
    Come back Scott Clayton, all is forgiven!

    Commenter
    Dogglah
    Date and time
    June 10, 2014, 3:01PM
    • Dogglah - you obviously don't understand. We are not "in the inner sanctum" so our opinion means nothing. Mere mortals (like you and me) that go every week and see the tripe that is dished up by the "team" can see that the Dogs have needed two power forwards for the last 10 years. But of course, the "gurus" in recruitment just refuse to admit they are wrong and continue to pick up mid-fielders who are slow or scared. No wonder Scott Clayton got out as quickly as possible. McCartney and the rest of the clones (puppets, sycophants) at the Dogs will continue to trot out the usual cliches and bland statements and those who love McCartney (i.e. - all of the media) will let him get away with it. Based on the "thinking" of the last 10 years the Dogs will never win another flag.

      Commenter
      Shano
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 10, 2014, 4:51PM
  • I hear Melbourne FC are looking at drafting from the NY Yankees.

    Commenter
    Pants
    Date and time
    June 10, 2014, 3:51PM
    • It's fantastic that AFL has really become a national sport with clubs spread across the country and rivalry within most states with more than 1 option for supporters. Now we need some balance of income to support a more even competition so all these clubs can survive. Perhaps a system where all revenue from all clubs goes into the AFL and is then distributed evenly back to the clubs? Clearly a clubs success on the ground is directly linked to their budget.

      Commenter
      Aussie Bob
      Date and time
      June 10, 2014, 4:10PM
      • @BOB Perhaps a system where all revenue from all clubs goes into the AFL and is then distributed evenly back to the clubs?

        So Bob, what are you going to do about the SANFL milking the Crows and now the Power dry through unattractive stadium deals, firstly at Footy Park and now at Adelaide Oval? There is a good reason why the SANFL is easily the second best league in Australia and well ahead of the VFL and WAFL, because it is largely funded by sell out Crows crowds where the SANFL (and now SACA) take far too big a cut. Otherwise the Crows would be a financial powerhouse (if they had a stadium deal similar to Geelong, West Coast/Freo or the MCG tenants and Port would also be doing OK without the need for AFL support.

        Commenter
        Viv
        Location
        Mitcham
        Date and time
        June 11, 2014, 10:30AM
    • Final 8 looks close to being finalised, From here, the Suns appear to be the team under the hammer. North upwards almost look assured, with either Essendon or Adelaide to take 8th spot in the near term,

      Commenter
      $keptic
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 10, 2014, 4:11PM
      • Carlton has been woeful at the draft/trade table in recent years! Hopefully we can trade away a few of our players who perennially under perform but might still catch the eyes of other clubs and bring in low picks and/or Jeremy Cameron.
        Yarren is one who springs to mind, he can't be trusted in a one-on-one contest! Then there are those such as Kreuzer

        Commenter
        Jez
        Location
        Melb
        Date and time
        June 10, 2014, 4:22PM
        • I would love Yarran at the Crows to play as a free running, rebounding defender, much like Andy MacLeod's did after he turned 30. Also while he is no Chad Wingard, I would also be happy to have Troy Menzel in my team as a clever small forward.

          However, Carlton's selection of talls in recent years has been terrible.

          Commenter
          Viv
          Location
          Mitcham
          Date and time
          June 11, 2014, 10:10AM

      More comments

      Comments are now closed

      AFL 2015

      Round 1
      Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
      CAR 78 vs RIC 105 19:20MCG
      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
      MEL 115 vs GCF 89 13:40MCG
      SYD 72 vs ESS 60 16:35ANZ
      BRI 74 vs COL 86 19:20G
      WBU 97 vs WCE 87 19:20ES
      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
      STK 78 vs GWS 87 13:10ES
      ADE 140 vs NTH 63 15:20Adelaide Oval
      FRE 75 vs PTA 68 18:40Domain Stadium
      Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
      HAW 123 vs GEE 61 15:20MCG
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      WCE 131 vs CAR 62 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
      RIC 66 vs WBU 85 13:45MCG
      GWS 101 vs MEL 56 14:10SO
      COL 63 vs ADE 90 16:35ES
      GCF 76 vs STK 104 19:20MS
      PTA 44 vs SYD 92 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
      GEE 60 vs FRE 104 13:10SS
      ESS 78 vs HAW 76 15:20MCG
      NTH 133 vs BRI 51 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      COL 140 vs STK 66 19:50MCG
      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
      CAR 84 vs ESS 105 13:45MCG
      ADE 80 vs MEL 55 14:10Adelaide Oval
      SYD 111 vs GWS 90 16:35SCG
      NTH 105 vs PTA 113 19:20ES
      BRI 58 vs RIC 137 19:20G
      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
      HAW 127 vs WBU 57 13:10AS
      GEE 105 vs GCF 96 15:20SS
      WCE 81 vs FRE 111 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs MEL 19:50MCG
      Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
      STK vs CAR 11:10NZ
      ESS vs COL 14:40MCG
      GWS vs GCF 17:40SO
      PTA vs HAW 19:40Adelaide Oval
      FRE vs SYD 20:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
      BRI vs WCE 13:10G
      GEE vs NTH 15:20SS
      WBU vs ADE 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs COL 19:50MCG
      Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs GEE 13:45MCG
      SYD vs WBU 14:10SCG
      GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
      NTH vs HAW 19:20ES
      WCE vs GWS 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs FRE 13:10MCG
      STK vs ESS 15:20ES
      ADE vs PTA 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
      Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
      WBU vs STK 14:10ES
      GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
      GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
      MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
      FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
      PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
      Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
      HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
      CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
      SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
      WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
      WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
      RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
      BRI vs PTA 16:40G
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
      Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
      STK vs WCE 13:45ES
      GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
      GCF vs COL 16:35MS
      HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
      FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
      MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
      PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
      Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
      MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
      WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
      RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
      ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
      BRI vs STK 13:10G
      COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
      WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 10
      Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
      GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
      ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
      PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
      NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
      STK vs HAW 16:40ES
      Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
      View All Fixtures
      Round 11
      Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
      WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
      NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
      Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
      STK vs MEL 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 12
      Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
      Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
      GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
      WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
      Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 13
      Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
      FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
      Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
      Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
      BRI vs ADE 16:35G
      STK vs WBU 19:20ES
      Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 14
      Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
      Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
      COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
      Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
      GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
      WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
      MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
      Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs STK 13:10ES
      ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
      FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 15
      Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
      Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
      WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
      NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
      WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
      HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
      BRI vs SYD 16:40G
      View All Fixtures
      Round 16
      Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
      Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
      GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
      COL vs WCE 16:35ES
      SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
      FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
      PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
      STK vs RIC 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 17
      Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
      Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
      ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
      RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
      ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
      BRI vs NTH 19:20G
      Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
      WBU vs COL 13:10ES
      MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
      WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 18
      Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
      Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
      COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
      SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
      CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
      GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
      Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
      ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
      FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 19
      Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
      COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
      WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
      BRI vs GCF 16:35G
      GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
      WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
      GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
      STK vs FRE 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 20
      Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
      Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
      NTH vs STK 14:10BA
      PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
      GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
      BRI vs CAR 19:20G
      Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
      WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
      FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 21
      Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
      Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
      COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
      GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
      GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
      STK vs GEE 19:20ES
      ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
      CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
      WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 22
      Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
      Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
      HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
      NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
      ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
      GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
      Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
      STK vs SYD 15:20ES
      FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 23
      Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
      COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
      RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
      HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
      GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
      SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
      MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
      BRI vs WBU 00:00G
      PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
      WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      AFL 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D % Pts
      Adelaide Crows 3 3 0 0 171.27 12
      Sydney Swans 3 3 0 0 141.75 12
      Fremantle 3 3 0 0 138.76 12
      Hawthorn 3 2 1 0 166.33 8
      Richmond 3 2 1 0 139.37 8
      Collingwood 3 2 1 0 125.65 8
      GWS Giants 3 2 1 0 113.47 8
      Essendon 3 2 1 0 104.74 8
      View all
       
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