JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

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
      Featured advertisers