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Wednesday, November 22 2017 @ 09:20 pm ACDT

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!

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Firstly, let me preface this article by clarifying two things – I was on the losing end of that scoreline, and this was only my second game for this club so I haven’t endured the season this particular club has. Having said that, very few articles about footy dare to look at the positives that might be found in a 290-point loss. Here goes!

In helping out another local team earlier this season, and playing my first ever senior game in the process, I was a part of a similar hiding. Without bothering to research the web for the actual scores, I can say with some surety that the opposition that day kicked about 35 goals. Our tally was far easier to deal with – we got one. It marked the first time in my predominantly junior and reserve grade career that I had experienced such a loss. It was an eye-opener, but for vastly different reasons that many might think.
On the weekend the chance to play seniors again presented itself and the match unfolded more or less like this: Quarter time 10 goals to nil. Half time 25 goals to nil. Three-quarter time 35 goals to nil. Final siren – see story title. On paper looks quite bleak, but in reality I learned so much from the day.

I have reported on or researched many thrashings of this nature around the world. It is never pleasant, and can certainly be soul-destroying – especially for clubs on their knees to begin with. But even in the greatest defeat there is still something to hang a hat on. You just have to look closely. From my privileged, and unharmable (new word), position I can say I saw plenty that I liked.

I watched a team from close quarters dismantle an opposition with the relative ease. We have all heard the negative saying about a team make another look like witch’s hats. In part that is true, but it totally misses the endeavour that is going on behind the scenes. My team mates never stopped running and trying. It was mostly a case of chasing, but from first siren to last that is what my team mates did. In my language it was inspirational – nothing to play for except pride yet that is exactly what they did. The jumper meant more that the scoreboard.

Some may see that as a negative – the scoreboard determines your performance – but when you see and feel heart and pride from just feet away in the heat of battle it changes your perspective. I felt awed by the brilliance of our opposition that day, but I was equally (possible more so) impressed by the incredibly valiant way my team faced the inevitable. First versus last approaching finals had thrashing written all over it, but that didn’t matter. Footy and team mattered and that’s how our boys played.

To learn first-hand how to lead, pass, tackle, run, kick, handpass, shepherd, bump, anticipate, support, talk and virtually every other skill of the game by watching a better side do it so well is potentially the best footy education you can get. It doesn’t come cheap – 48 goals to two is a high price – but it was a clinic and I had front row tickets along with my team mates.

A coach might well be suffering severe hair loss, finger nail removal, laryngitis and a propensity for colourful language watching a game like this one. But this coach on my respect for a completely measured address at each break and afterwards, only prepared to focus on the positive things being done and using that as the template for more. It was a style of coaching that should be the blueprint, but often isn’t. As a coach myself it was refreshing to see such an approach and I know that I learned an enormous amount about composure and how to deal with reality.

Probably the last of my enduring lessons from the game was how easy it can actually be to hold your head up. So often the phrase rings out on fields across the world “keep your heads up, boys”. To a man the team kept their heads up for four quarters. They copped a thrashing in each quarter yet the heads didn’t drop. They probably should have, but these boys had a spirit that transcended score-lines. It is easier to keep a head up when it is proud – and these boys were proud of each other. They didn’t drop their heads because to do so would erode the pride.

Where this club goes from here is an unknown. Thankfully, they appear to be on the way up – so they should with a team of players prepared to face defeat with such staunch resilience. But there is a spirit deeper than any scoreboard in this tea and club and that should carry them a long, long way into the future. Should. Time will tell.

I can live happily with that experience. A scoreboard that read 305 to 15…OUCH!!! But it is just another experience in footy. I cannot say I want to have that experience again, but I know that I would be proud to stand beside these blokes again in adversity and learn more about the true spirit of footy that I might in ten wins…maybe more.

I knew real pride that day – pride in a team that I was a part of. Pride in a side of a footballer’s character that is rarely written about.

Thanks, boys…it was an honour.

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48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch! | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
48 17 305 to 2 3 15 – Ouch!
Authored by: Joe Woodyard on Monday, July 31 2017 @ 11:08 pm ACST

Outstanding perspective-- thank you for your effort and for sharing.

48 17 305 to 2 3 15 – Ouch!
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, July 31 2017 @ 11:42 pm ACST

One of the great strengths of Aussie Rules is the high scoring and that it's hard for a weaker team to curtail the stronger team, so most often the best team wins. So you get entertainment, high scoring, fair results.

One of the great weaknesses of Aussie Rules is pretty much the same thing. Because it means if there's a mismatch it's a complete blow out on the scoreboard and the losing team will struggle to even get much possession. It's also why it's hard, unfortunately, to see any international side take on Australia at the highest level, for decades.

And for the same reason glad to see divisions from the outset in the Men's IC comp. Could be some major blowouts, even with reduced playing time, in the Women's.

Got me wondering what the best and worst margins I ever experienced playing amateur footy. Can't remember! Nothing like 200 or 300 points though. Tends to happen in country leagues where there's only 1 division regardless of level. I reckon a few wins and losses by around 130 points would've been the max I saw. I do well remember hammering one side about 20 goals to 0 - a bad mistake, as they lost all interest in the ball and focused on winning the fight instead.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Mister Football on Tuesday, August 01 2017 @ 05:51 pm ACST

That is a frightful hiding, although it's incredible your team managed to score two goals against a team scoring nearly 50, often with these sorts of scorelines, the the losing team rarely gets near its own goal.

I've never experienced anything like that, but have experienced thrashings in the range of 90 to 120 points, and I too can recall on those occasions seeing positives.

I remember one game when we lost by 15 goals against a team which went through the season undefeated, and I honestly thought we were quite competitive on the day.

What Brett says in the comment above is spot on, that if there is even the slightest mismatch between two teams, the result is pretty much determined, that's pretty much the way the Australian game rolls - it's impossible for a bottom Division 3 standard team to be competitive against a top Division 1 standard team (whereas in soccer, an inferior team can actually be competitive against a much better team, losing by only one or two goals, or even jagging a draw).

This is one reason why splitting up the teams in the IC into two divisions is a good idea. It's absolutely pointless for the likes of PNG, Ireland and NZ to absolutely smash weak opposition, achieves nothing.

The closest we can ever come to Australia playing a team who can get within 20 goals of them would be the day when at least 18 Irish players are playing regularly in the AFL (which might happen one day).

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Mister Football

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Tuesday, August 01 2017 @ 07:02 pm ACST

While the magnitude of the numerical difference is not the same - The 7-1 defeat of Brazil by Germany in the 2014 Soccer World Cup semi final, (where probably the two best teams in the world were playing) shows a smashing can happen even in soccer. I reckon your 2.3 might be a better effort than that one Brazilian goal Wes, at any rate I definitely reckon your defence only allowing 48 Aussie rules goals was better than Brazil letting in 7 soccer goals.

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Wesley Hull on Tuesday, August 01 2017 @ 10:11 pm ACST

All good points and I hope the club in question reads these comments. Troy, your comparison to the one goal in the World Cup match is a good one and I have to say we had a purple patch with our entire score coming in the second half...which sort of mirrors what you say as one goal in soccer can only happen in one half.

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Harley Vague on Wednesday, August 02 2017 @ 12:12 pm ACST

This is the potential problem with 9-a-side as currently played widespread. A proficient team can rack up a horrendous score straight out of the centre.
In 9-a-side the centre 3 is 33% of the team whilst in 18-a-side the centre 4 are <25% of the team.
My junior club U16s was divided into two teams (baby boomer products) supposedly two almost equal teams. A guy just slightly taller than me rucked against Mike Fitzpatrick and we played against many who went onto be WAFL players. We did pretty well in keeping them down to about 24 goals. We might've even scored a point or two.

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Mister Football on Thursday, August 03 2017 @ 10:53 am ACST

I think the AFLX concept ( of 7-a-side on a 100m long soccer pitch) is about evening out differences such as height, athleticism, endurance and tackling strength. It will be an extremely open game where there will be less emphasis on aerial skills and where players will have a bit more space to get clean possessions and take pot shots at goal from anywhere past the centre circle.

Most of the nations who compete in the IC have a real problem with height. You can imagine a team like Nauru would absolutely excel at AFLX because the height equation is taken out of the game.

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Mister Football

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, August 03 2017 @ 01:19 pm ACST

Smaller field means a weaker team has less links in the chain to get a shot on goal, less chances to lose possession. But then again the superior team is only ever going to be 1 possession away from a shot. We could see goals every 10 seconds. And the game dominated by 2 players on one side.

In summary - not sure which way it will go but I think we'll still see thumpings between poorly matched opponents.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Thursday, August 03 2017 @ 02:13 pm ACST

And think of a basketball match between a team of 6'6" guys and a team of 5'6" guys of even skill. AFLX will be a bit like an oversized basketball game and I am not sure height won't be a factor.

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Harley Vague on Thursday, August 03 2017 @ 07:58 pm ACST

As I understand it the ball will be kicked in after goal so ruckmen will be superfluous. Height will only be an advantage if a player is extremely mobile.Basically a midfielder's game.

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, August 03 2017 @ 11:46 pm ACST

Yeah but midfielders are often around 185cm these days. There would be a lot of aerial one on ones potentially, and with the arm chop crack down that leaves shorter players in difficulty. But I agree it's unlikely to suit the 200cm players either. We'll see. At least the AFL are catching up with the smaller format like the rest of the world has been experimenting with for 10 to 20 years.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Friday, August 04 2017 @ 09:45 am ACST

I was on the losing side in a match in Under 13s in about 1993 or so, where the final score was 313 to 0... League's biggest-ever winning margin. I got sent off during the 3rd quarter (bit of a hothead back then). Not proud of it, so I guess I learnt something...

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Friday, August 04 2017 @ 10:24 am ACST

Wow Richo! Must have used up all that anger early on.

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, August 04 2017 @ 12:09 pm ACST

Gee didn't pick that either, I always thought Aaron was the good cop to my bad cop in the early days of WFN.

We're well off topic now, but anyway, I was only sent off the once. Accidentally whacked someone high in a tackle, they attacked me, I fought back, both got sent off for 10 mins, with him threatening to kill me when we returned, I think literally. Fortunately he appeared to wander off and smoke something "medicinal" and when we came back on he was remarkably chilled out.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

48.17 (305) to 2.3 (15) – Ouch!
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Saturday, August 05 2017 @ 05:24 pm ACST

Haha... yep, a bit off-topic. I calmed down once I got to about 16 or 17, but got sent off quite a bit playing junior footy and (especially) hockey.

But back to the actual topic - If it happens every now and again that's life, you can deal with it. But it's crushing for kids playing in a comp where you have those kinds of scorelines on a weekly basis, and not much better for adults if you're trying to attract people to a club.

It's been nasty in the past at the IC when you have matches like NZ beating (I think) India by about 30 goals to zip, very glad they've used divisions this time around.