Wednesday, November 11, 2009


How the West Won't Be Won - another update

The acquisition of Kevin Sheedy as coach of the AFL's new western Sydney franchise has set plenty of tongues wagging, and keyboards clicking. The presence of one of the sport's most charismatic figures in enemy territory is good copy...especially for rugby league scribes defending the bastions.

Greg Prichard has given Penrith's Mark Geyer a free kick (or should that be a scrum feed?) in this morning's SMH, while another Fairfax stayer in Roy Masters had his say a couple of days ago. There was also a rambling segment on the ABC's 7:30 Report on Tuesday, which managed to subtly portray Sheedy as something of a performing seal.

Anyway, to the point. All three of the above pieces had one thing in common: football was not mentioned at all. Not once.

Rather worrying when you consider a couple of things: firstly, that the round-ball game was considered an important future player in the western Sydney market only a couple of years ago, and secondly that the new "Sydney Rovers" franchise will not have much of a headstart on a Sheedy-led AFL venture.

I still feel that a western Sydney AFL team is doomed to failure, but football is another matter. A little while back, another piece from Masters grudgingly acknowledged that football was likely to have its say in the war for the entertainment dollar in Sydney's overpopulated west.

Things appear to have changed. And it's not just the A-League's falling attendances; the whole bidding process for the twelfth A-League licence, steered towards western Sydney from the outset, turned into an embarrassing pig's breakfast. And all the initial statements from Ian Rowden et al. re the new franchise suggest that no-one really has a clue about how to proceed as yet.

A good thing they have another year and a half to get things which time, one hopes, the A-League will be on a better footing than it is now.

There is an Italian saying: 'Tra i due litiganti, il terzo gode'. Which loosely translates as 'Berween two arguing the third benefits'.

Personally I was quite glad that football wasn't mentioned or included in the 'codes war' debate going on at the moment (most of which is being generated by the media itself).

As you know Tony I rely on your blog to get some opinion on a football follower in Sydney about this issue, but there is no benefit in my opinion for football to get involved in this squabble, quite the contrary.

Let the AFL and the NRL fight their little wars. This will give the opportunity for football to quietly going with their business to hopefully connect with the substantial football loving community in Western Sydney and establish a team which doesn't need a pensioner-aged Victorian coach to generate some publicity.

Of course will depend on how the Sydney Rovers will be performing in doing this. I only heard Rowden in an interview so far and while you may know more about how he is doing he appeared to at least make the right noises on the importance to connect to the local community.
Sorry Mike...I don't know why I wrote 'Tony'! (I wrote the post at 1:27 am, instead of being in bed where I should have been).
Interesting Mike

the AFL have done their research. They have a strategy and they understand how to get resonance with their potential audience - Sheedy and his Opera House comment has similar impact to the Gold Coast franchise hiring Karmichael Hunt even though he will be little more than a mascot. came Special K to the impact Jason Culina has had (surely Jason should be playing in his home town or somewhere that has heard of him).

Rowden is a mate of the late Johnny Warren and a Sarchi and Sarchi (sp?) advertising guru - but who in the great western plains has heard of him or will follow him? The name, Sydney Rovers, is inept, we already have a Sydney team. And their home ground must be Parramatta Park or Penrith Park. They need to be working class.
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