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Analysis and Comment (79)

Hawthorn fans watched the players train this week - everyone is a winner when it comes to the AFL grand final. Hawthorn fans watched the players train this week - everyone is a winner when it comes to the AFL grand final. AAP/Julian Smith

Why AFL grand final is the most successful event in Australia

When the Sydney Swans take on Hawthorn at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday, it won’t just be AFL fans cheering. As Australia’s dominant sport competition, the AFL generates more revenue than any…
Sydney fans had much to celebrate after beating Hawthorn in the 2012 AFL Grand at the MCG in Melbourne.Can the Swans do it again this year? Sydney fans had much to celebrate after beating Hawthorn in the 2012 AFL Grand at the MCG in Melbourne.Can the Swans do it again this year? AAP Image/Joe Castro

Who will be the weakest link on AFL Grand Final day?

Hawthorn has recovered after a rough patch this season, with key players shaking off injuries and its tenacious coach returning after a health scare. So why have the Hawks earned their spot on Saturday’s…
Sacking Brenton Sanderson as coach may rebound on the Adelaide Crows if the club doesn’t have a strong replacement ready to step in. Sacking Brenton Sanderson as coach may rebound on the Adelaide Crows if the club doesn’t have a strong replacement ready to step in. AAP/Ben Macmahon

Sack the coach? Wait, there’s more to fixing a club than that

The football season is almost over, but the coach-sacking season has just begun. In the AFL, the Adelaide Crows sacked coach Brenton Sanderson despite only recently having extended his contract. Media…
Robinvale footballers have been recruited into an active campaign to heal community divisions, which includes playing an annual Harmony Match. Robinvale footballers have been recruited into an active campaign to heal community divisions, which includes playing an annual Harmony Match. Facebook/Robinvale Football Netball Club

A world away from the MCG, every round is multicultural round

Standing in the social rooms of Robinvale Football Netball Club on presentation night is perhaps like standing in any sports club in regional Australia when their vote count is on. There are the usual…
In football’s biggest week, Franklin is football’s biggest story. In football’s biggest week, Franklin is football’s biggest story. AAP Image/NEWZULU/HUGH PETERSWALD

Buddy Franklin has the swagger – but can he be an Aussie hero?

It’s early in the fourth quarter and Lance “Buddy” Franklin is enjoying himself. Celebrating his 200th game against St Kilda at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) last month, the Sydney Swans forward has…
What keeps us watching AFL, even when we’d rather not? What keeps us watching AFL, even when we’d rather not? Theron Kirkman/AAP Image

The AFL grand final – a carnival of struggle, passion and tragedy

In September each year, for more than a century now, Australians have participated in the triumphs and tragedies of the annual carnival of the boot. We celebrate football as a quasi-religious, tribal homage…
Essendon faces the prospect of not being able to field a team next year. Essendon faces the prospect of not being able to field a team next year. AAP Image/Julian Smith

ASADA v Essendon: next steps for the winners and losers

Federal Court Justice John Middleton’s decision to uphold the legality of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) investigation into the potential use of banned substances at the Essendon Football…
After a nine-match winning streak, Richmond lost to Port Adelaide by 57 points in last week’s elimination final. After a nine-match winning streak, Richmond lost to Port Adelaide by 57 points in last week’s elimination final. AAP/David Mariuz

How finals fever can make a footy player better – or worse

The AFL final series – with the semi-finals starting today – is one of the most ferocious and toughest contests we will see in Australian sport. Behind the scenes, there is no doubt a fair percentage of…
Over the last year, around 200 per 100,000 Australian children suffered a blow to the head or face. Over the last year, around 200 per 100,000 Australian children suffered a blow to the head or face. Tom Childers

Preventing kids' concussion is about duty of care, not cotton wool

Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries which cause the connections between brain cells to stretch or break. This can result in problems with attention, memory, balance, sleep, decision speed and…
Jonathan Brown is not the only professional football player to recently retire because of head injuries. Jonathan Brown is not the only professional football player to recently retire because of head injuries. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Repeated head injuries highlight gaps in sports concussion management

Brisbane Lions champion Jonathan Brown’s premature exit from the AFL this week after suffering yet another concussion was in many ways unsurprising. His friends and fans describe him as a “warrior” who…
FIFA suggests that 270 million people are involved in playing or officiating football around the world, with billions also tuning into the World Cup every four years. FIFA suggests that 270 million people are involved in playing or officiating football around the world, with billions also tuning into the World Cup every four years. EPA/Sebastiao Moreira

It may be the World Cup, but how global is the ‘world game’?

In 1863, the newly formed English Football Association (FA) drew up and published the first Laws of the Game of football. The aim was to provide a set of universal rules to govern the various forms of…
The key, as so often in sport, is timing. The key, as so often in sport, is timing. Joe Castro/AAP Image

Aussie Rules rules thanks to the eight-hour working day

Why is AFL the main sport in Victoria and the other southern States while New South Wales and Queensland follow rugby? That’s long been a vexed question, but we may now be closer to an answer. In Melbourne…
Will Essendon players face sanction if it is proven that they took banned substances during the 2012 AFL season? Will Essendon players face sanction if it is proven that they took banned substances during the 2012 AFL season? AAP/Joe Castro

What happens if Essendon players are issued ‘show cause’ notices?

Speculation continues to mount that Essendon Football Club players will face sanctions from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) over the club’s controversial 2011-12 supplements program…
Despite the increasing prominence of women’s sport, the number of women in leadership positions in professional sport is still low. Why? Despite the increasing prominence of women’s sport, the number of women in leadership positions in professional sport is still low. Why? AAP/Joe Castro

What’s holding back women from leadership roles in Australian sport?

Recently, it was reported that the AFL, the Australian Sports Commission and the Richmond Football Club have jointly funded research to “investigate the real and perceived blocks to women reaching the…
AFL fans are being turned off by tactics based on tackling and crowding to deny stars space to display their skills. AFL fans are being turned off by tactics based on tackling and crowding to deny stars space to display their skills. AAP/David Crosling

AFL must change ticketing and ‘Ugby’ rules that drive away fans

Is Australian football, the “people’s game” in its traditional motto, under threat? Will it remain Australia’s number one sport in its bicentenary year 2058? Or will the AFL’s greedy ticket pricing and…
Reigning premiers Hawthorn was the first AFL club to trial the WASP tracking technology – so how does it work? Reigning premiers Hawthorn was the first AFL club to trial the WASP tracking technology – so how does it work? AAP/David Crosling

In the long run: keeping track of athletes with wearable tech

With the AFL season in full swing many of us are glued to our screens marvelling at the speed and tactics of the athletes. Midfielders, such as ex-Cat-now-Sun Gary Ablett Jnr, can run between 12 and 20km…
That’s all, folks: Andrew Demetriou has announced he’ll step down as AFL CEO at the end of the football season. That’s all, folks: Andrew Demetriou has announced he’ll step down as AFL CEO at the end of the football season. AAP/David Crosling

Demetriou’s resignation leaves big boots to fill for the AFL

Andrew Demetriou yesterday announced his retirement at the end of the 2014 season after 11 years at the helm of the AFL. The announcement was made at a set-piece press conference presided over by AFL Commission…
What’s changed since the ACC report was handed down? What’s changed since the ACC report was handed down? Flickr/ hitthatswitch

One year on – the real doping scandals of 2013

A year after the “darkest day in Australian sport” the catastrophic bang has led to an all too predictable whimper. The days after the Australian Crime Commission’s report Organised Crime and Drugs in…
Thirsty work: Karmichael Hunt keeps cool during his Brisbane Broncos days. Thirsty work: Karmichael Hunt keeps cool during his Brisbane Broncos days. AAP

Footballers can’t stand the heat? No sweat – just fix the fixtures

Athletes are paid for pushing their bodies to the limit, but at what stage do we acknowledge that baking hot afternoons might not be the safest time for our sportspeople to ply their trade? Certainly…
AFL clubs Collingwood and St Kilda will play an annual match to celebrate the legacy of Indigenous trailblazer Nicky Winmar. AFL clubs Collingwood and St Kilda will play an annual match to celebrate the legacy of Indigenous trailblazer Nicky Winmar. AAP/Hamish Blair

A game whose time has come: Winmar, Goodes and race in the AFL

The best photos do more than freeze time. They capture a moment and take us there, making witnesses of us all. Here lies their power to inspire, touch and transform; a power tied to the stories, hopes…
North Melbourne players Lindsay Thomas and Daniel Wells have been selected to represent the Australian Indigenous team in Ireland. North Melbourne players Lindsay Thomas and Daniel Wells have been selected to represent the Australian Indigenous team in Ireland. AAP/Joe Castro

All-Indigenous teams should be seen on the world stage

The AFL’s Indigenous All-Stars' current tour of Ireland is the third overseas sporting tour by an all-Indigenous Australian team. The first took place 145 years ago with the 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour…
The US$10 million allocated to chronic trauma encephalopathy research in the NFL settlement will not explain what this does to the brain. The US$10 million allocated to chronic trauma encephalopathy research in the NFL settlement will not explain what this does to the brain. LARRY W. SMITH/AAP

NFL settlement fails to address impact of collision sports

The US National Football League (NFL) recently paid US$765 million to settle a lawsuit with former players who claimed repeated head injuries and concussions while playing the sport led to brain degenerative…
The Essendon supplements scandal that has enveloped the current AFL season has created the narrative of villains and heroes. Is it a sports marketers' dream? The Essendon supplements scandal that has enveloped the current AFL season has created the narrative of villains and heroes. Is it a sports marketers' dream? AAP/Julian Smith

Marketing sport: villains and heroes in AFL brand narratives

This season, some sports commentators and footy fans have argued that the investigation into the supplements regime at Essendon has brought the club, the AFL and “the code” to their knees. From a branding…
The devotion of Essendon fans towards their coach and club legend James Hird - despite his involvement in the club’s supplements saga - can be easily explained away. The devotion of Essendon fans towards their coach and club legend James Hird - despite his involvement in the club’s supplements saga - can be easily explained away. AAP/Julian Smith

Understanding the ‘cult’ of James Hird

It’s times like these when we get to see just how much sports like Australian rules football shape the thoughts and dreams of so many Australians. Not only has the Essendon drugs scandal dominated much…
It looks likely to be lawyers at ten paces as Essendon and the AFL head to court over the supplements scandal. It looks likely to be lawyers at ten paces as Essendon and the AFL head to court over the supplements scandal. AAP/Julian Smith

Essendon vs the AFL: what are the legal issues?

The only real winners in the whole Essendon drug supplement saga are set to be the lawyers. With all parties “lawyering up” and multiple court actions either under way or threatened, legal eagles will…
The alleged “supplements program” at Essendon Football club raises many questions. The alleged “supplements program” at Essendon Football club raises many questions. David Crosling/AAP

Supplementary reading: why was there no red flag at Essendon?

The notice of charges by the AFL against Essendon Football Club has been published, and we have dealt elsewhere with some of the facts of the matter. But some harder questions remain. What does this list…
Dr Frankenstein created a beast of horrifying power; Essendon just created a shambles. Dr Frankenstein created a beast of horrifying power; Essendon just created a shambles. Image from shutterstock.com

Frankenfooty: Essendon’s mixed bag of supplements

The list of charges by the AFL against the Essendon Football Club for its alleged supplements program makes for compelling reading. Early on in the Essendon charge sheet is this paragraph, which sets the…
Essendon coach James Hird outside his home on August 14, 2013 after the AFL charged him and four other club officials for bringing the game into disrepute over the alleged banned supplements scandal. Essendon coach James Hird outside his home on August 14, 2013 after the AFL charged him and four other club officials for bringing the game into disrepute over the alleged banned supplements scandal. Julian Smith/AAP

Human experimentation and ethics at Essendon Football Club

The news that the AFL has charged James Hird, and other members of the Essendon Football Club’s management staff (including the club doctor, Bruce Reid) with bringing the sport into disrepute should surprise…
Catching all dopers would be an expensive exercise, running into tens of millions of dollars. Catching all dopers would be an expensive exercise, running into tens of millions of dollars. EPA/Dominic Favre

Exposing dopers in sport: is it really worth the cost?

On the back of an interim report by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) into the Essendon Football Club’s controversial supplements program in 2011-12, the AFL last night charged the club…
The Essendon drugs saga is but the latest in a long history of scandals for Australian rules football. The Essendon drugs saga is but the latest in a long history of scandals for Australian rules football. AAP/Julian Smith

Essendon charged with bringing the game into disrepute: a history of footy scandals

As I write, the front pages of Melbourne’s newspapers this morning scream in chorus: Charged: Bombers Drug Scandal. But is this really the worst “scandal” in footy history? My first lesson in football…
Mathematics and Aussie Rules have quite a lot in common, which should be used when considering curricula for Indigenous – and non-Indigenous – students. Mathematics and Aussie Rules have quite a lot in common, which should be used when considering curricula for Indigenous – and non-Indigenous – students. AAP

It’s time we draft Aussie Rules to tackle Indigenous mathematics

When discussing how to embed Indigenous Australian knowledge and practices into the Australian national curriculum effectively - particularly the maths curriculum - there’s no better place to start than…
The sacking of Melbourne Demons Coach Mark Neeld has parallels to business management. The sacking of Melbourne Demons Coach Mark Neeld has parallels to business management. AAP

What big business can learn from football

It’s often said the AFL has become a big business, increasingly embodying many of the rules of the marketplace. But people rarely look at it the other way - that is, how business is like the AFL. The sacking…
The media coverage of the Eddie McGuire racism controversy is instructive in showing how far we have to go to combat racism. The media coverage of the Eddie McGuire racism controversy is instructive in showing how far we have to go to combat racism. AAP/David Crosling

Racism in the AFL: Eddie McGuire and the media prove there’s still a long way to go

The AFL world has had a tough week, with racism rearing its ugly head again. For an organisation that likes to think of itself as a leader in combating prejudice, the repeated comments about Adam Goodes…
Eddie McGuire has found himself trying to explain away his ‘brain-fade’ where he vilified Sydney player Adam Goodes. Eddie McGuire has found himself trying to explain away his ‘brain-fade’ where he vilified Sydney player Adam Goodes. AAP Image/David Crosling

Eddie McGuire, Adam Goodes and ‘apes’: a landmark moment in Australian race relations

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s week has seen him go from - to use the American sporting vernacular - hero to zero. Having been lauded for his response to a young female Collingwood supporter calling…
Collingwood footballer Harry O'Brien says homophobia in sport is wrong. He’s right, but what about his own weight related comments to players? Collingwood footballer Harry O'Brien says homophobia in sport is wrong. He’s right, but what about his own weight related comments to players? AAP/Theron Kirkman

Sticks and stones: which words are banned in sport and why

Sydney Swans AFL player Adam Goodes was racially abused by a 13 year old girl. The resultant media storm proved that racism is no longer considered acceptable in the world of Australian Football, neither…
The racist taunt aimed at Sydney player Adam Goodes from a young fan provides an opportunity for education rather than humiliation. The racist taunt aimed at Sydney player Adam Goodes from a young fan provides an opportunity for education rather than humiliation. Twitter/Channel 7

The AFL’s Indigenous Round and the innocent face of racism

Friday night’s AFL match between Collingwood and Sydney marked the opening of the code’s Indigenous Round. Yet the chance for the contribution of Indigenous footballers to the game - both past and present…
North Melbourne’s Majak Daw, the AFL’s first Sudanese-born player, has been subjected to racial abuse from fans in his first few senior games. North Melbourne’s Majak Daw, the AFL’s first Sudanese-born player, has been subjected to racial abuse from fans in his first few senior games. AAP/Joe Castro

AFL: Majak Daw shows we’ve come a long way on racism, but the journey is far from complete

The more things change, the more they stay the same. A young man playing for AFL club North Melbourne wows the majority of watchers with breathtaking football talent. But for a few observers, the colour…
‘Deeply sorry’: Essendon chairman David Evans announced the findings of the Switkowski report into governance issues at the AFL club. ‘Deeply sorry’: Essendon chairman David Evans announced the findings of the Switkowski report into governance issues at the AFL club. AAP/David Crosling

Essendon drugs crisis: more questions than answers in Switkowski’s half-baked report

From the outset, Ziggy Switkowski defined his report on Essendon’s supplements program as “constrained” because two parallel investigations could not be compromised. What Swiztowski calls constrained could…
Collision sports such as AFL have adopted concussion management policies because it’s an unavoidable feature of the games. Collision sports such as AFL have adopted concussion management policies because it’s an unavoidable feature of the games. AAP Image/David Crosling

Sport concussion guidelines rife with conflicts of interest

Athletes and officials in charge of collision sports (such as rugby league, AFL and American football) have an uneasy relationship with concussion; it’s an unavoidable feature of their games and there’s…
Former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has made himself the centre of attention after the Hawks' loss to Geelong last weekend. Former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has made himself the centre of attention after the Hawks' loss to Geelong last weekend. AAP/David Crosling

Too much of a good thing? Why the AFL’s media overload is damaging the game

Former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett says Hawks’ coach Alastair Clarkson should leave or be sacked at the end of the year. Angry at the Hawks’ seven-point loss to Geelong at the MCG on Monday – their…
Victoria was a world leader in leisure … and that’s how we founded footy. Victoria was a world leader in leisure … and that’s how we founded footy. Australian Football Yarra Park – State Library of Victoria

Australian rules: how a nation fell in love with footy

Finally, the AFL home and away season is beginning. Once again our footy teams will make history. But let us not forget that history made footy. Australia, notes Geoffrey Blainey in his Shorter History…
There is a way to ensure poor performing teams such as Greater Western Sydney and Melbourne play to win. There is a way to ensure poor performing teams such as Greater Western Sydney and Melbourne play to win. AAP/Lukas Coch

Playing to win: how the AFL can prevent tanking

The AFL’s recent decision on whether the Melbourne Football Club “tanked” to secure draft picks in 2009 has left many confused. While ruling that the Demons “did not set out to deliberately lose in any…
Sports journalists don’t always have the resources to break major crime stories. Sports journalists don’t always have the resources to break major crime stories. AAP/Joe Castro

Don’t blame sports journalists for missing corruption scandal

The cheating scandal that has ostensibly bewildered those in command of Australia’s elite sports could end up being the biggest story involving sport in history. Yet sport journalists, like the officials…
An ASADA investigation has been launched into the alleged use of supplements by Essendon players last year. An ASADA investigation has been launched into the alleged use of supplements by Essendon players last year. AAP/Ben Macmahon

Essendon faces a doping investigation … but what are peptides?

By now you’ll have heard the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is investigating Essendon Football Club. At this stage, there has been speculation about the injection of “peptides” by players…
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou (centre) has flagged a rise in positive test results, but changes to drug policies won’t necessarily help. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou (centre) has flagged a rise in positive test results, but changes to drug policies won’t necessarily help. AAP/Joe Castro

AFL summit sends wrong message on illicit drug use

The AFL’s approach to illicit drugs was championed as a world leader of drugs-in-sport policy when it was implemented in 2005. It was fair, humane and had been effective in reducing match day and out-of-season…
The finger has been pointed at Collingwood player Dane Swan in the latest drugs in sports ‘scandal’. The finger has been pointed at Collingwood player Dane Swan in the latest drugs in sports ‘scandal’. AAP

AFL drug policy is the best and fairest

Here we go again. Another high profile sportsperson has been implicated in the latest drugs in sport “scandal”. This time the finger is being pointed at Collingwood Brownlow medallist Dane Swan. The same…
Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar pounces on a loose ball. The Demons stand accused of deliberately losing games to gain high draft picks. Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar pounces on a loose ball. The Demons stand accused of deliberately losing games to gain high draft picks. AAP/Julian Smith

The Demons may have tanked, but did they break the rules?

The Melbourne Demons AFL team stand accused of deliberately ensuring their team lost matches in order to secure talented players in the draft in a process known as “tanking”. With the club facing a hearing…
Research shows sports sponsorship works to improve brand recall and positive attitudes among children and adolescents. Research shows sports sponsorship works to improve brand recall and positive attitudes among children and adolescents.

Sports sponsorship and kids' health: who are the real winners?

Over the weekend, Australian children and their parents witnessed some of the country’s finest sportsmen display feats of strength, skill and endurance in the Australian Football League (AFL) and National…
A couple of contentious decisions on Friday night have thrust NRL referees into the spotlight. A couple of contentious decisions on Friday night have thrust NRL referees into the spotlight. AAP Image/Action Photographics/Grant Trouville

Balls and emotional intelligence: NRL and AFL officials walk the line

Referees in need of coaching for “emotional intelligence”? Controversy over crucial line decisions in major matches? Criticism raining from the heavens? That’s right: it’s finals time in Australian sport…
Optus has exhausted its legal avenues to appeal against a decision finding it breached copyright on its TV Now service. But should the issue of technology neutrality be reviewed? Optus has exhausted its legal avenues to appeal against a decision finding it breached copyright on its TV Now service. But should the issue of technology neutrality be reviewed? Flickr/IntelFreePress

Optus and TV Now: will copyright law catch up to the cloud?

A legal decision which forced Optus to shut down its time shifting service TV Now may eventually lead to reform of existing copyright law to cater for cloud technology. On Friday, the High Court denied…
More than 30 years have passed since the AFL last looked at the specifications and standards for making Australian footballs. More than 30 years have passed since the AFL last looked at the specifications and standards for making Australian footballs. puuikibeach

On the ball: does the AFL need to design a better footy?

In the game of Australian Rules Football (as with other football codes), few pieces of equipment are more important than the football itself. And yet the relative attention paid to the ball by the AFL…
Fair contest: should we tinker with the rules in a free market? Fair contest: should we tinker with the rules in a free market? AAP

The AFL’s lesson for the global economy: changing the rules works

We all know the global economy is down the toilet. Even if we overlook the financial debacle in Greece, Spain, Iceland, Ireland – and that’s not easy – the big problem is Uncle Sam. Currently, the US Government…
Did the Melbourne Demons lose matches deliberately? Or are they simply just not very good at the game of Australian Rules football? Did the Melbourne Demons lose matches deliberately? Or are they simply just not very good at the game of Australian Rules football? AAP/Julian Smith

AFL and tanking: the cure might be worse than the disease

Sometimes denial is understandable. It’s no surprise that the Australian Football League maintained for so long the farcical position that “tanking’ (intentionally losing) by clubs was not a problem. It’s…
Should cannabis to be considered a “performance-enhancing” drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency? Should cannabis to be considered a “performance-enhancing” drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency? pietroizzo

Cannabis use, WADA and the Australian sports system

It has been widely reported that representatives from a group of Australian sporting codes – including athletics, cricket, rugby league and Australian Rules Football – met with the director-general of…
The Federal Court decision means Optus will not be able to broadcast AFL and NRL on its TV Now service. The Federal Court decision means Optus will not be able to broadcast AFL and NRL on its TV Now service. AAP/Dan Peled

Optus decision moves the goalposts in mobile media market

The significance of last Friday’s Federal Court decision to prevent Optus' “TV Now” service from broadcasting was made clear to me while waiting for a bus in Melbourne’s suburbs. Earlier that day, I had…
Greater Western Sydney may be a new team, but Sydney and AFL have firm historical ties. Greater Western Sydney may be a new team, but Sydney and AFL have firm historical ties. AAP Image/Paul Miller

With the debut of GWS, Aussie Rules comes home to Sydney

The AFL season kicks off today and there’s a new team in town – Greater Western Sydney. Some don’t like it – the cynics claim Aussie Rules has no historical foothold in western Sydney. I disagree. While…
Where Collingwood lead, others seemingly follow. Where Collingwood lead, others seemingly follow. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Team altitude training and the AFL – it’s time to clear the air

Tomorrow evening in Sydney, the ball will be bounced, marking the start of the first match in the 2012 AFL season. For the 18 clubs taking the field this year, it marks the culmination of months of gruelling…
Mick Malthouse and his wife celebrate after Collingwood won the 2010 AFL grand final. Mick Malthouse and his wife celebrate after Collingwood won the 2010 AFL grand final. AAP/David Croslingv

In Conversation: Mick Malthouse

Michael “Mick” Malthouse is one of the most important figures in the history of Australian football. A premiership player for Richmond in 1980 he subsequently coached the then Footscray Bulldogs to a number…
Melbourne footballer Liam Jurrah returns to Melbourne after being charged with attacking a man in Alice Springs. Melbourne footballer Liam Jurrah returns to Melbourne after being charged with attacking a man in Alice Springs. AAP/David Crosling

What if Indigenous Australians didn’t play footy?

Imagine if the indigenous people of this country didn’t play Australian football, the only truly unique sport this continent country has ever created. As a percentage of the population, indigenous people…
Jurrah’s story is not over yet. Jurrah’s story is not over yet. AAP/Julian Smith

Liam Jurrah’s biographer speaks on Yuendumu’s tragedy

Liam Jurrah’s involvement in a violent incident in an Alice Springs court last week has captivated the Australian media for days. The 23-year-old forward at the Melbourne Football Club recommenced training…
Optus may be offering a great service to customers, but is it right? Optus may be offering a great service to customers, but is it right? AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Optus should know there’s no such thing as a free lunch … or sporting telecast

Telecommunications company Optus lost its bid to gag AFL boss, Andrew Demetriou from speaking out against its “TV Now” service, which allows customers to watch AFL or NRL broadcasts near live. Demetriou…
The AFL is throwing everything is has at Greater Western Sydney. The AFL is throwing everything is has at Greater Western Sydney. AAP/Paul Millar

Bridging codes: football and Islam in western Sydney

The 2012 AFL debut of the GWS Giants is the culmination of efforts by the powerful, cashed up body that administers Aussie Rules to make inroads into the rugby league-obsessed, poor and predominantly refugee…
Broadcast rights have turned two giant telcos into sporting rivals. Broadcast rights have turned two giant telcos into sporting rivals. Judy **

Optus and Telstra do the techno-legal time warp

Telecommunications giant Optus managed to convince the Federal Court in Sydney this week that there’s a legal blindspot in relation to its download pay-per-view service. Telstra – given its business relationship…
A court has found downloading live-streamed content on your iPad or mobiles doesn’t breach copyright. A court has found downloading live-streamed content on your iPad or mobiles doesn’t breach copyright. AAP

Who owns footy rights? Optus web copyright victory explained

Yesterday’s Federal Court ruling that Optus customers are able to view sporting matches minutes after they are streamed live without breaching copyright is a landmark decision that alters our understanding…
Players don’t realise it, but the finals bring out the best in them. Players don’t realise it, but the finals bring out the best in them. AAP Image/Joe Castro

AFL Grand Final makes players harder, better, faster, stronger … but how?

Anyone with a passing interest in Australian football will know the AFL Grand Final is unlike any other game of the season. There’s more hype, more expectation, more emotional investment from players and…
AFL and NRL clubs say they face financial losses if punters like this are forced into a pre-commitment scheme. AFL and NRL clubs say they face financial losses if punters like this are forced into a pre-commitment scheme. AAP

Playing the game: AFL, NRL and the campaign against the Wilkie pokie reforms

The Federal Government’s plan to introduce pre-commitment systems on pokie machines in order to reduce problem gambling has become a major political headache. A campaign by Clubs Australia targeting Labor…
NRL player Craig Wing has a sister with Down Syndrome. NRL player Craig Wing has a sister with Down Syndrome. AAP

How come you don’t want one? Living with Down Syndrome

“Fuck you, Wing, your sister has Down syndrome!” These words were once hurled at NSW rugby league star Craig Wing while he was playing for the Sydney Roosters against the Canterbury Bulldogs at the Sydney…
West Coast Eagles player Patrick McGinnity has been suspended after making comments about another player’s mother. West Coast Eagles player Patrick McGinnity has been suspended after making comments about another player’s mother. AAP

The mother of all headaches: culture change in the AFL

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou constantly reminds us that women love Aussie Rules and that the AFL returns that respect and allegiance. The key expression of this regard, the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility…
The AFL may bypass broadcasters altogether and stream games live to fans. The AFL may bypass broadcasters altogether and stream games live to fans. AAP

Non-stop AFL: Andrew Demetriou has an app for that

Interesting to read AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou’s thoughts on the next broadcasting rights deal, given that the league has yet to work out how to divvy up the money from the deal it recently negotiated with…
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou announces the league’s record TV rights deal. AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou announces the league’s record TV rights deal. AAP

Too much live sport is never enough

The lucrative broadcast rights deal signed earlier this year by the AFL demonstrates the pulling power of “live” sport in a TV market which is increasingly becoming fragmented by more choice on more platforms…
Foxtel’s broadcasting deal with the AFL will boost News Ltd’s revenue from live sport. Foxtel’s broadcasting deal with the AFL will boost News Ltd’s revenue from live sport. AAP

What’s News Ltd’s winning formula? Cashing in on our sport obsession

Almost 15 years have passed since Rupert Murdoch declared that “sport absolutely overpowers film and everything else in the entertainment genre,” yet the media mogul’s words still capture the reality of…
A combination of revenue sharing and fixed salaries offers a good compromise for players and the AFL. A combination of revenue sharing and fixed salaries offers a good compromise for players and the AFL. Flickr/lensfodder

A pay deal both the AFL and players can get behind

To share or not to share – that is the question of moment in the AFL. The AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) appears determined that player payments should be a percentage of league revenue. The AFL administration…
Majak Daw has been praised for his measured reaction to racist abuse. Majak Daw has been praised for his measured reaction to racist abuse. www.kangaroos.com.au

Racism in footy is not as bad as you may think

This week the media in AFL states have been discussing racist comments made by members of crowds at Australian Rules games. Sudanese-born North Melbourne rookie Majak Daw was racially abused while playing…
The AFL set-shot is as much about consistency as it is about the right technique. The AFL set-shot is as much about consistency as it is about the right technique. AAP/Martin Philbey

Centimetre-perfect: a quest for flawless goalkicking in the AFL

When the AFL has a weekend of inaccurate goal-kicking, media attention invariably turns to why set-shot goal-kicking hasn’t improved while other areas of footy have. As a footy fan, I have an interest…
Competition enables twins like Brad and Chris Scott to forge separate identities. Competition enables twins like Brad and Chris Scott to forge separate identities. kangaroos.com.au

How twins like the Scott brothers distinguish themselves in battle

Competition between twins hit the headlines this week as, for the first time in AFL history, identical twins Brad and Chris Scott will coach different teams against each other on Saturday. Both twins played…
The same teams alway get the good games, such as Anzac Day. The same teams alway get the good games, such as Anzac Day. AAP

Busting the AFL blockbuster cartel

The Anzac Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood has come and gone yet again, as well as the inevitable publicity surrounding the most hyped home-and-away match of the season. You could be forgiven…
Is football more than a game? Is football more than a game? dunk_b/flickr

Business and pleasure – the great Australian football paradox

The professional Australian Rules football season is underway and the better part of the nation is now transfixed until early October by its myriad machinations. At this early point in the season, it is…
Brisbane Lions' Jonathan Brown sustains a head injury against Fremantle. Brisbane Lions' Jonathan Brown sustains a head injury against Fremantle. AAP

Should helmets be used in AFL?

The intense public interest in protective headgear following recent cases of high-profile AFL players sustaining concussion and other head or face injuries, is understandable. Unfortunately we have limited…

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