AFL State of Origin...? How should it be structured

RussellEbertHandball

Flick pass expert
Nov 16, 2004
56,667
76,020
SE Oz
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
The Mighty Blacks
The AFL has borrowed from soccer as well as many other sports. To try to assert the AFL tactical evolution over the last 20 years is a direct transfer from soccer is profoundly superficial and is the assertion of a very limited mind. Soccer has barely anything to offer in regards to the contested / stoppage game for instance. Rugby union has offered more than soccer at that level and the transitioning between the stoppage situation to defence and attack has probably more analogy (but very limited) with ice hockey and basketball
The biggest change in AFL over the last 20-25 years has been the possession game. That's from soccer. Gerard Neesham started it in 1995 with his Water Polo tactics - as he said, I spend 6 months of year playing a game where holding onto possession is what the game is all about, and then 6 months in the other one working hard to get the ball and then just kick it away as soon as you get it, and to me it was dumb. But it was the soccer tactics that all coaches went and studied not water polo.

Sure we have borrowed from other games the two rugby codes for physical stuff and tackling, pinched the high volume interchange from Ice Hockey and zonal positioning from basketball, but the biggest borrowed tactics come from soccer.

Listen to someone who grew up watching and playing footy in 60's/70's/80's even 90's say they don't understand modern footy. I tell them to go and watch a good game of soccer and watch how they keep possession at all cost and how players move around the park to make that happen and you will understand what they are trying to do in AFL. Everyone of them I have told them to do that, has come back to me and said they understand what I was saying and now what the AFL guys are trying to do. They don't necessarily like it, but they now understand the why's better.

On the Port board we have 2 Brazilians who have come to post on the board and are Port fans and love the game. One diegodgc hasn't posted much the last 2 years because he went and did an MBA in Liverpool and then went and worked in Portugal, had worked for 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics organising committees in the sports co-ordination area, was watching Port games when the Olympics were on. The other one Gremiopower, came on board in 2017 as diego was winding down, has become obsessed by the game. Still follows Gremio in the Brazilian league but gets up at 3 am to watch Port games, contributes to the board, starts threads and even has his own blog about the game.

After 6 weeks of watching games they were both talking about the game like they had watched it for 30 years. Why?? Because they could see the soccer like tactics and direct soccer tactics used in the game, and they watched the game through that prism. Sure they needed some things explained but they regularly talk about how the tactics used are similar and have a better grasp of the game than a decent chunk of regular posters.

Ironically the main reason Australian football's "tactical evolution" happened after other professional invasion sports is because of the comlexity involved in organising 18 players across a much bigger ground. Basketball was way ahead of soccer but no fool would be fool enough to try and claim that soccer's zoning was lifted mindlessly from basketball.
The complexity had nothing to do with the timing of evolution. Like everything, its the $$$. 2000 was the first year footballers were 100% professional. That's when tactics started evolving heavily. Mark Williams was appointed coach in 1999 and he had 1 assistant coach Phil Walsh. Within 5 years with the big $$$ coming into the game, the players being full time professionals, clubs had cranked up their assistants to 4 to 6 as well as fulltime and part time development coaches. They worked several hours every day honing tactics, not just training 2 times a week and a couple meetings.

If there were big $$$ in Australian Football in 1970 that clubs, players and coaches could go full time like soccer had been for almost a decade, like baseball had been for 100 years, the tactics we see today would have been implemented by the early 90's. Yes the bigger Aussie Rules field and 18 moving parts as opposed to 5, 11, 13, 15, means its more complex, but like everything in life, its really all about the dough.

And when did basketball start their zonal tactics and when did soccer??

The bottom line now though is, post revolution, you can't expect a team of footballers who have payed in systems that are developed and drilled over months to revert back to meat and veg positional man on man play from the 80s. Only someonw with no grasp of the modern game could possibly think that
Why do all these new interim coaches appointed this year talk about the F word when saying how they are going to coach. They all talk about giving the players Freedom, cutting back on tactics, cutting back on meetings and just letting them play with freedom and trying to have some fun again. They get rid of as much of the clutter as they can.

This is exactly the type of approach state coaches would have if SoO ever comes back. Players wont be interested in spending 2 weeks learning some complex geometry game plan you think is so necessary.

It is low likelihood that SoO will ever be brought back but there is zero likelihood that it would come back as a light hearted exhibition game. That's almost as ridiculous as thinkinh the modern game is just some cartoonish transfer of soccer strategies!
You really are a Liniment Sniffer. SoO coming back will start off being exhibition games. That's all it will be the first couple of times. Then it might get serious if the players want it to. It wont be driven by coaches insisting they learn some complex game plan.

If you think players will spend 2 weeks of their holiday time in October coming back to train to learn new tactics they wont use again for maybe 4 years, then play games over another couple of weekends, when they could be in Vegas, boozing, bonking, gambling, snorting, smoking etc, then you are sniffing something other than liniment.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

JackFlash

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 28, 2012
7,580
6,245
Docklands
AFL Club
Geelong
Other Teams
QPR, Buffalo Bills, Melbourne Stars
It can only be played between Vic v SA or WA. There is zero interest in Allies, All Stars or NSW v QLD...It could return if Tassie enter the comp in 2023 and we have an 18 round H & A season? I don't understand why we would bother with it, unlike the NRL, the AFL have a national competition.
 

NoobPie

Premiership Player
Sep 21, 2016
4,858
3,231
AFL Club
Collingwood
It can only be played between Vic v SA or WA. There is zero interest in Allies, All Stars or NSW v QLD...It could return if Tassie enter the comp in 2023 and we have an 18 round H & A season? I don't understand why we would bother with it, unlike the NRL, the AFL have a national competition.
I would say there are two key reasons you would do it

1) as a basis to get a higher concentration of elite players on the field at the one time
2) as a basis of representative competition as another "hook" for players but particularly fans

I agree you would not go with the "allies" concept. My suggestion is to have a Qld / NT and Tassie / international composite teams in addition to the NSW /ACT. This would give you six teams with everyone represented

It would only be worth it if is was played for keeps though. Otherwise you may as well just stick with an AFLX style SoO
 

Ned_Flanders

Premium Platinum
Aug 22, 2009
47,058
87,694
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
76'ers
Comical...stopped reading after that

Basic logic bypass to go with your lack of discourse standards
Why are you so resistant to the idea coaches steal ideas from other sports? In 2006 the infamous Richmond tactics against Adelaide were basketball inspired. In Wallace's own words from his AMA:


We had lost the week before by 117 points to Sydney on the same ground (Etihad). So I certainly had the attention of the playing group that week, as they wanted to make amends to the supporters. Adelaide were playing a gamestyle in defence/backline where they would simply hold back inside D50 and rebound off opposition errors. I looked at it in basketball terms as a zone defence. My planning was that we would simply chip it around the zone until they got bored and broke their zonal structure and came out to defend. Our plan was at home, we needed to kick the first few goals and then test out their resolve, which we did.

The only thing that I never expected was that they simply held their zone and wouldn't come out to attack us, so with the three-goal lead we played keepings off and kept chipping it around without frontal pressure.

We basically played keepings off for over three quarters
 

speedpeck23

All Australian
Jul 20, 2008
849
206
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
I would say there are two key reasons you would do it

1) as a basis to get a higher concentration of elite players on the field at the one time
2) as a basis of representative competition as another "hook" for players but particularly fans

I agree you would not go with the "allies" concept. My suggestion is to have a Qld / NT and Tassie / international composite teams in addition to the NSW /ACT. This would give you six teams with everyone represented

It would only be worth it if is was played for keeps though. Otherwise you may as well just stick with an AFLX style SoO
Agree with all this... I also think it helps to identify elite players who actually come from NSW/ACT and QLD/NT....it gives a focus to AFL in those states to have a recognisable elite player from an expansion state. I would still align the international players with the state in which they played the majority of thier junior footy. Additionally.....make it financially worthwhile for the players...playing SOO AFL would raise their profile nationally and attract marketing/sponsorship opportunities for them and the game. Currently the AFL struggles to effectively utilise the star power of a lot of players in promoting the game in expansion regions.
 

NoobPie

Premiership Player
Sep 21, 2016
4,858
3,231
AFL Club
Collingwood
Why are you so resistant to the idea coaches steal ideas from other sports?
I'm definitely not resistant to that idea, quite the opposite. I'm resistant to the assertion that it was essentially an imitation like transfer from one sport in particular. It was coaching departments of growing size adapting strategies from other sports in a way that was effective in the AFL . No "macro" strategy in the AFL was pure sporting innovation....they were all inspired by strategies from other sports.

My main argument that triggered the debate is that you couldn't have a serious modern Australian football competition just throwing modern professional players onto the field with minimal training together and expect a coherent result. You could do it thirty years ago where there was a classical structure and form that was ubiquitous but not now.
 

NoobPie

Premiership Player
Sep 21, 2016
4,858
3,231
AFL Club
Collingwood
Agree with all this... I also think it helps to identify elite players who actually come from NSW/ACT and QLD/NT....it gives a focus to AFL in those states to have a recognisable elite player from an expansion state. I would still align the international players with the state in which they played the majority of thier junior footy. Additionally.....make it financially worthwhile for the players...playing SOO AFL would raise their profile nationally and attract marketing/sponsorship opportunities for them and the game. Currently the AFL struggles to effectively utilise the star power of a lot of players in promoting the game in expansion regions.
Exactly....I would say the greatest benefit of SoO would be in reinforcing the enormous investments the AFL has made growing the game in NSW and Qld

The idea with Tasmania / international was more to find a home for the Irish players and the odd Cox type rather than , say, the Sudanese born players who id agree would be better off playing for wherever they played their junior footy like everyone else.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Ned_Flanders

Premium Platinum
Aug 22, 2009
47,058
87,694
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
76'ers
I'm definitely not resistant to that idea, quite the opposite. I'm resistant to the assertion that it was essentially an imitation like transfer from one sport in particular. It was coaching departments of growing size adapting strategies from other sports in a way that was effective in the AFL . No "macro" strategy in the AFL was pure sporting innovation....they were all inspired by strategies from other sports.

My main argument that triggered the debate is that you couldn't have a serious modern Australian football competition just throwing modern professional players onto the field with minimal training together and expect a coherent result. You could do it thirty years ago where there was a classical structure and form that was ubiquitous but not now.
It's not that complicated, they manage it in the NFL, a game that has much more focus on set plays than we do.
 

NoobPie

Premiership Player
Sep 21, 2016
4,858
3,231
AFL Club
Collingwood
It's not that complicated, they manage it in the NFL, a game that has much more focus on set plays than we do.
NFL is all set plays because there is a reset after each play. And if you wanted to copy the pro bowl you wouldn't do it with SoO you'd just copy the pro bowl, by say, having two captain's select two teams

You'd only go down the SoO route if you were to have a serious competition that taps into state parochialism.
 

Ned_Flanders

Premium Platinum
Aug 22, 2009
47,058
87,694
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
76'ers
NFL is all set plays because there is a reset after each play. And if you wanted to copy the pro bowl you wouldn't do it with SoO you'd just copy the pro bowl, by say, having two captain's select two teams

You'd only go down the SoO route if you were to have a serious competition that taps into state parochialism.
You're making it way more complicated that it need be. It's all academic however because Soo will never happen in your lifetime because the good players don't want it
 

NoobPie

Premiership Player
Sep 21, 2016
4,858
3,231
AFL Club
Collingwood
You're making it way more complicated that it need be. It's all academic however because Soo will never happen in your lifetime because the good players don't want it
I'm not making anything complicated. It's very simples. If you are going to do it, you would have to do it seriously. Very simples

Nobody in this thread is claiming SoO is likely. The discussion is around "how it should be structured" if it was to be brought back

Also, it's the clubs that don't want it not the players
 

Ned_Flanders

Premium Platinum
Aug 22, 2009
47,058
87,694
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
76'ers
I'm not making anything complicated. It's very simples. If you are going to do it, you would have to do it seriously. Very simples

Nobody in this thread is claiming SoO is likely. The discussion is around "how it should be structured" if it was to be brought back

Also, it's the clubs that don't want it not the players
garbage. players are all in favour of it, until they see the calendar
 

Ned_Flanders

Premium Platinum
Aug 22, 2009
47,058
87,694
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
76'ers
What calendar? You've observed players reacting to an imaginary calendar? You sure have a vivid imagination for a man with such little imagination!
they agree, until its said it will be end of season because they want to move on from the year, or its said it will be preseason because it will interfere with preparation, or until its said to be mid season because they dont want to risk injury in H&A

clubs definitely dont want it, but players only want the idea of it
 

Rob

Brownlow Medallist
Nov 8, 2000
27,915
13,824
South of the river
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Peel Thunder
Comical...stopped reading after that

Basic logic bypass to go with your lack of discourse standards
Having watched the Neesham years, he's right. Neesham's problem was that he didn't have the list to pull it off. And to be fair, I doubt most AFL lists at the time would have been able to as very few players had the skill level required.
 

NoobPie

Premiership Player
Sep 21, 2016
4,858
3,231
AFL Club
Collingwood
Having watched the Neesham years, he's right. Neesham's problem was that he didn't have the list to pull it off. And to be fair, I doubt most AFL lists at the time would have been able to as very few players had the skill level required.
What's he right about? He was trying to claim the AFL coaches have essentially just cut and pasted soccer tactics but then his only material example was neesham borrowing from water polo!

I would say in addition to skill limitations (I would argue more significantly) was a player base that was completely unfamiliar with such tactics.
 

Rob

Brownlow Medallist
Nov 8, 2000
27,915
13,824
South of the river
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Peel Thunder
What's he right about? He was trying to claim the AFL coaches have essentially just cut and pasted soccer tactics but then his only material example was neesham borrowing from water polo!

I would say in addition to skill limitations (I would argue more significantly) was a player base that was completely unfamiliar with such tactics.
I won't speak for RussellEbertHandball , but I thought he was suggesting that the game has evolved from one of territory to one of possession. And that Neesham was one of the first coaches to attempt to bring that into the AFL.

He's right.
 

NoobPie

Premiership Player
Sep 21, 2016
4,858
3,231
AFL Club
Collingwood
I won't speak for RussellEbertHandball , but I thought he was suggesting that the game has evolved from one of territory to one of possession. And that Neesham was one of the first coaches to attempt to bring that into the AFL.

He's right.
No, he was arguing that this evolution was a cart blanche transfer of soccer tactics. He's wrong and comically demonstrated it by referencing neesham

I don't really agree fully with your characterisation. Possession based styles are much stronger now but I would argue that more territory based game plans have still had periods of ascendancy recently

The real change is from a naive positional / man on man style game to one of organisation around space and positining in relation to the ball (rather than coordinates on the ground).

So going back to the start of the debate, you cant just send a modern player out and tell them they are playing "right half back" now like you could 30 years ago.
 

LightTower4

Club Legend
Mar 3, 2004
2,486
1,624
Richmond
AFL Club
Melbourne
Just throwing it out there.
Simple 2 games per year format.
Play it during an entire comp Bye round.
Not ideal I know. Best players won't get the weeks rest.
At least pay them big bucks to motivate them to play. Plenty of cash with crowds and TV rights.
Maybe give clubs payments as well based on number of players selected.
If players and clubs are not fair dinkum about the concept, no point doing it.

Year 1 Vic V WA
Year 2 Vic v SA
Year 3 SA V WA
Similar rotation for QLD, NSW & TAS.
Rotate home game next time around.
 

Top Bottom