Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Tuesday, February 05 2008 @ 09:54 am ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
Former Richmond and Essendon great Kevin Sheedy has called for future AFL seasons to commence with Round 1 played outside of Australia. He made the comment at the AFL Coaching Conference on the Gold Coast, Queensland. As strong an advocate for international footy as worldfootynews.com is, even we might hesitate to seriously suggest such a dramatic change due to the risk of alienating supporters in Australia.
There's little doubt that such a move would be highly unpopular if it were to occur in the next few years. However staging a lot more NAB Cup games in other countries would provide a good balance, plus consideration given to occasional home-and-away matches outside of Australia, such as during the mid-season split round. Sheedy has always been controversial and this new call fits the same mold. But the international development of Aussie Rules is a journey that will be so much faster if the AFL clubs and fans are willing partners, and it seems like the AFL's official ambassador for the 150 years of Australian Football will not get his way on this one any time soon.
"Round one should always be played overseas in the next 10 years," Sheedy said.
"Round one could get auctioned like the grand prix races do. You could then play the other 21 rounds in Australia – that would be a better way to take the game around the world".
Another quote from the coaching conference, not specific to world footy but a powerful message to coaches, came from former Melbourne and North Melbourne player and St Kilda coach Stan Alves.
"I think there wouldn’t be a person in this room who couldn’t tell you about their first coach and the impact that coach had on them," Alves said.
"I was very fortunate growing up in the little town that I did that there was just a desire to be part of something and in winter it was football.
"I went down to a little club at 12 years of age to try and get a game for the under-17 thirds.
"People say to me; ‘you must have been a good player to get a game at 12’. And my response is; ‘hang on, I never said I got a game – I said I went down there.’
"I went down there for two years and never got a game and people say; ‘why would you go down’. And I say; ‘the coach'.
"Because every night at training at some stage the coach would come up to me, pat me on the back and tell me; ‘keep it up Stan, you’re getting better and better all the time and one day you are going to make it'."