OPINION

AFL trade period is a total snoozefest

Long-time Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro relishes the trade period. Photo: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Long-time Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro relishes the trade period. Photo: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Let me start with a confession - my interest in the US presidential race and its fascinating aftermath has far exceeded the tiresome machinations of the AFL free agency and trade period.

This year these events have shared the media spotlight - normally this period of AFL player movement happens in October but has been necessarily delayed by the late finish to the season.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but the free agency and trade period is a snoozefest that suddenly springs to life as the deadline for deals draws closer.

For most of the two-week period, there is plenty of talk and speculation about who is going where and what it will take to complete the deal, but precious little action takes place until the final hours.

Clubs' list managers, player agents, football operations managers and coaches are in "deep discussions", but in reality there is constant chat about potential player movements throughout the year.

Although interest at the end of this year's proceedings was heightened by Collingwood's dramatic late moves and incendiary supporter fallout together with the complicated deal that sent Jeremy Cameron from GWS to Geelong, there remains no need to drag out proceedings. No more than a week should be enough to complete business.

So why do we have to endure this farcical situation year after year?

The simple answer is that it suits the AFL and its media allies.

The league wants to be continuously in the forefront of public consciousness in Australia's increasingly competitive sporting landscape, heightened this year by rugby league's decision to hold its showpiece State of Origin series over three consecutive weeks this month.

The AFL understands its audience and this period feeds fans' insatiable hunger for off-season news and information.

The media plays its part and laps it up - trade talk fills thousands of column centimetres in newspapers and hours of airtime on radio and TV.

Hits on the AFL website are off the scale and there is a dedicated Trade Radio station, which is often forced to speculate when nothing is happening.

Rather than show game replays or re-runs, Fox Footy has daily updates culminating in special coverage on the final day when the AFL delays deals being done before 3pm to build the drama and suspense for a prime-time presentation.

The instantaneous post-trade analysis is overblown and overrated - the impact of these moves is not evident for months, maybe even years.

Some revel in being in the limelight - long-time Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro is at the front of the queue.

It should be remembered that Dodoro, who perceives himself as a kingmaker in recruiting circles, has presided over an inglorious period in which the Bombers have failed to win a final since 2004. Still, he looks good on camera, has a luxuriant growth of hair and enjoys the spotlight.

Smith's Masterly display

Cameron Smith became the first player in US Masters history to shoot four consecutive rounds under 70. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Cameron Smith became the first player in US Masters history to shoot four consecutive rounds under 70. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Golfer Cameron Smith is not as famous yet as his rugby league namesake, but his reputation is building quickly.

Smith, 27, became the first player in US Masters history to shoot four consecutive rounds under 70. However, it wasn't good enough to defeat world number one American Dustin Johnson, whose 20-under-par 268 was a tournament record.

The Queenslander finished five shots behind Johnson to be equal second, with South Korean Im Sung-jae, the best result by an Australian at the Masters since Adam Scott won in 2013.

We look forward to seeing Smith, who secured his Masters spot with a thrilling playoff win at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, back playing at home soon.

Blame game starts at TAB

The blame game has started in the TAB's corridors of power after the disastrous power outage that caused a nationwide system breakdown last week.

The computer shutdown cost the racing industry an estimated $120 million in lost turnover.

The TAB has since apologised to angry punters and issued them with bonus bets, the size of which varied in line with their "typical activity".

But the TAB, which has exclusive wagering rights to the totalisator, has a lot of ground to make up in a competitive marketplace with private betting companies.

There has also been speculation that it might be up for sale despite repeated denials by senior executives.

Question of the week

Glenn Shirley, of Rose Bay, Tasmania asks: How much will the absence of captain Virat Kohli affect India's chances in the four-Test series this summer?

Kohli's decision to return home after the first Test in Adelaide to attend the birth of his first child will leave a huge void in the Indian line-up. The tourists will require big performances from others such as vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, who starred with 521 runs in their team's last tour of Australia in 2018-19.

Kohli led India to its first Test series win in this country (2-1), but the Australians will be a much tougher opponent this time with the return of David Warner and Steve Smith to the batting line-up.

Apart from his brilliant batting, the Indians will miss Kohli's inspirational leadership.

Email: howardkotton11@gmail.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59.

  • This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.