A LOT has happened since Richmond won the 2017 Premiership over the Adelaide Crows. There has been controversy, movement, the release of schedules (plural), and there is an event coming this week that will be unique and awesome. There is a lot to cover. Let’s begin.
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
We begin with this
Shortly after the Tigers won the Premiership, the celebrations/partying started and the above photo started making the rounds through social media. Yes, that is a genuine 2017 AFL Premiership medal that this lovely and blessed young lady has draped around her neck. There is only one problem: She never consented to having the picture distributed.
Obviously, she consented to taking the picture, but the idiot who took it apparently passed it on and they passed it on and you can guess the rest. The Australian police got involved and started an investigation which could have resulted in criminal charges, but, at the lady’s request, the investigation was dropped.
This, however, did not deter the AFL, who launched their own investigation. After a couple of weeks, the Richmond Tigers suspended defender Nathan Broad for three games next season for distributing the picture without permission. He did issue a public apology and requested for the lady’s identity to remain a secret. So far, based on my research, it seems this has actually happened and the Australian media have respected her privacy.
Another bit of controversy arose later when Hannah Mouncey, a transgender woman, petitioned the AFL to join AFLW.
A committee was formed to study the issue with input being taken from Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, the player, her management, the Australian Sports Commission, the AFL Players’ Association, and Pride in Sport, a sports inclusion program geared towards reducing homophobia, stigma, and discrimination.
In the end, it was determined by the committee that Hannah would not be eligible for this year’s AFLW draft based on an analysis of strength, stamina, and physique. The AFL did, however, declare Hannah eligible to continue to participate in the lower-level AFL Canberra women’s competition.
While disappointed, Hannah did put out a press release thanking the AFL for its openness and looking forward to the AFL Canberra season. The AFL’s decision is only for this year’s draft and AFLW season and Hannah can reapply next year.
In the meantime, the AFL hopes to use this case as the springboard to develop a comprehensive policy/guide for transgender athletes wishing to compete in AFL competitions.
My take on both of these stories is one of admiration for the AFL’s ability to react quickly and appropriately to crises that occur. Stupid athletes are not confined to the United States and they will do stupid things at the worst possible time. I’m sure the AFL was not thrilled that the shine was taken off Richmond’s fairy tale season with the illegal distribution of this picture.
To their credit, however, the AFL allowed the authorities to pursue the matter and, only when the authorities declined to investigate further, launched their own internal investigation. Through this investigation, the culprit was identified while the victim was not. Can you imagine that happening with the NFL? Yeah, me neither.
In the case of the transgender athlete, I’m happy to see that the AFL put together such a comprehensive group to study the issue in time to rule before the draft so that everyone, including the petitioner, knew where they stood. While the result may not have been what the petitioner wanted, she herself praised the process and even then the AFL looked to learn from this experience in order to do better the next time.
Can you really expect any better? Certainly not from the NFL. Reasons #9,082 and 4,430 why the AFL is run better than the NFL.
As alluded to earlier, there was player movement as the AFLW conducted its draft and the AFL went through the Free Agency period and the Trade Period. In addition, the AFL Women got better pay and pregnancy benefits!
There are pretty good player movement recaps here and here. The most widely anticipated move involved Gary Ablett Jr.’s return to the Geelong Cats from the Gold Coast Suns. The second involved Jake Stringer moving from the Western Bulldogs to the Essendon Bombers. In all, 31 trades were made and 28 players switched clubs. Several teams traded just draft picks.
Here is the full schedule for the AFLW competition:
Here is the full schedule for the JLT Community Series AFL Preseason competition:
and here is the full schedule for the 2018 AFL Premiership:
You will note a few interesting things:
1- The AFLW competition will stand on its own and will not have doubleheaders with the AFL Preseason competition.
2- The AFL Preseason has been shortened to two games instead of three with no additional games added to the regular season. (are you listening, Goodell?!?)
3- There will be AFL footy played on every day of the week this season, which is a rarity and due to the days in which the major holidays in Australia will fall this year.
All of these games are available via the AFL Watch app. If that’s not incentive to re-up your AFL membership and/or join for the first time this year, I do not know what is.
Oh wait, I have one more thing to entice you:
International Rules 2017 Tests 1 and 2
The International Rules series is a series of games played between Australia and Ireland under rules that are a hybrid of Australian Rules Football and Gaelic Football. Last year, the series was decided in only one game. This year, the aggregate score at the end of two games will decide the winner.
The scoring works as follows:
If you want to drink and watch some absolutely insane sport where you have no idea what is going on featuring your favorite AFL players and some Irish dudes you’ve never heard of, I suggest you tune in. Yes, it’s included with your AFL Watch subscription. Here is the schedule using Pacific Time:
Saturday, November 11, 2017
9:10 PM – Ireland v Australia at Adelaide Oval
Saturday, November 18, 2017 (late Friday night!)
12:45 AM – Australia v Ireland at Domain Stadium
That’s all for this update. I’ll come back later with a further update after the AFL draft and as we get closer to the beginning of the AFLW season. Remember, it’s summer in Australia right now. It’s a good time to visit…