The pursuit of mistaken identification?


Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller North by Northwest is a narrative of mistaken identification about an harmless man being pursued throughout the US by an organisation making an attempt to forestall him from foiling their plans.

Nicely, 2023 brings us an analogous story, two harmless groups being stalked throughout Australia by bloodthirsty rivals making an attempt to forestall them from foiling their September aspirations.

Okay, allow us to be trustworthy, that was actually not a great analogy nor a great title. However one factor is for certain, North Melbourne and West Coast are actually feeling the warmth this 12 months. Final evening’s horror exhibiting for each has introduced out all of the predictable speaking factors:

How are you going to presumably justify bringing in a nineteenth or twentieth staff after these video games?

What number of groups are too many?

Is the expertise pool being stretched too skinny?

How lengthy is simply too lengthy for Adam Simpson?

Is Alistair Clarkson actually the person for the Roos?

And look, there are reputable debates available on all of those factors. However too typically, the reactionary nature of AFL media fuelled by armchair consultants on social media, BigFooty and even this web site (this writer included) is fast to make grandiose claims with out contemplating the nuances of the place these two groups are.

So, allow us to just do that. Beginning with the West Coast Eagles. And look I’m actually ready to offer the Eagles some slack given their anxiousness inducing harm listing.

Who can truthfully say they’d count on their staff to stay aggressive in the event that they misplaced the equal of Dom Sheed, Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo, Jeremy McGovern, Nic Naitanui, Shannon Hurn, Liam Ryan and Jamie Cripps amongst others mixed with barely having the ability to string collectively a reserves staff within the WAFL.

Even when they had been to get all these key gamers again, there’s actually no assure their on-field fortunes would enhance within the short-term.

Whereas the Eagles managed to be aggressive for round 1 / 4 and a half, it rapidly fell away as they had been comprehensively outplayed within the second half by a ruthless Carlton who themselves desperately wanted a win after two disappointing performances once more Adelaide and St Kilda.

Jai Culley of the Eagles.

Jai Culley of the Eagles. (Picture by Paul Kane/Getty Photographs)

Outdoors of final evening, issues stay much less sure. There may be actually a way that the membership wants a recent begin with query marks surrounding the way forward for coach Adam Simpson and CEO Trevor Nisbett in addition to the long-term viability of many favorite sons, fairly quite a few whom are at the moment occupying their harm listing.

Talking on the Sunday Footy Present, panellist Damian Barrett referred to the membership’s perspective in the course of the 2020 season as setting the scene for the membership’s present woes.

Little question COVID was laborious on all eighteen golf equipment in addition to the broader neighborhood, however to an extent he had a degree, with the membership’s perceived whining and poor perspective contrasting with the opposite golf equipment making an attempt their hardest to make the very best of an disagreeable state of affairs.

A change in CEO and Coach (each of whom will not be out of contract at season’s finish) is not going to resolve all their points however it might simply be what is required to get the ball rolling and start to confront the powerful questions that lay forward.

With that allow us transfer over to North Melbourne. Life beneath Alastair Clarkson began off promisingly, with shut wins by the hands of West Coast and Fremantle sparking hope that the darkish days of the previous two years had been behind them.

A loss to Hawthorn in Launceston slowed that momentum nonetheless the Roos, at instances undermanned in defence, managed to place in moderately aggressive efforts in opposition to a lot fancied opponents in Carlton, Brisbane, and Gold Coast.

Final evening’s demolition was hardly shocking going up in opposition to a flag favorite within the Demons, what was maybe much less shocking nonetheless was the shortage of effort displayed in the course of the early phases of the sport.

It could have been deflating for North as a staff beneath siege to be placing within the effort the previous couple of weeks for no reward, however that doesn’t excuse the shortage of effort displayed by senior gamers in Nick Larkey and Cam Zurhar to call a number of nor the shortage of professionalism from Jaidyn Stephenson.

Say what you need about Razor Ray or the dissent rule (I’m a fan of neither) however by the letter of the foundations each 50 metre penalties had been there, and it was plain silly of Stephenson, a senior participant who ought to know higher, to try to argue the purpose.

Luke McDonald and Alastair Clarkson celebrate North Melbourne's victory.

Luke McDonald and Alastair Clarkson. (Picture by Michael Willson/AFL Photographs through Getty Photographs)

There is part of me that thinks the North Melbourne hierarchy believed that Clarkson was this form of magic bullet. Get him and all of your issues simply disappear.

And whereas it’s truthful to say he’s having a greater impression than his predecessor David Noble, it is usually true that the membership has an extended approach to go each on and off-field. On-field now, it form of is what it’s, we’re watching a membership going by a rebuild.

Getting excited by the emergence of future stars in Harry Sheezel, George Wardlaw and Will Phillips, hoping the likes of Nick Larkey, Cam Zurhar and Jy Simpkin amongst others can take their video games to the subsequent stage and questioning how rather more the membership can get out of loyal stalwarts in Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell and Ben Cunnington.

Off-field, it could possibly be worse, crowds and membership numbers will not be enormous, however they’re considerably wholesome given the membership’s lack of success and them being among the many smallest of the Melbourne-based golf equipment.

What’s extra troubling nonetheless is the membership’s dealing with of Tarryn Thomas, a younger man whose perspective is but to match his expertise.

Deliver him again to the membership and probably alienate sections of your followers and even employees who might really feel uncomfortable given his pending authorized points.

Terminate his contract and once more alienate sections of your followers and wider neighborhood amid considerations round obligation of care and assist being supplied to him. I don’t have a straightforward reply for find out how to clear up this drawback and it appears like you might be damned in the event you do and damned in the event you don’t.

I assume the purpose I’m making an attempt to make, albeit poorly, is that while membership’s don’t find yourself anchored on the backside of the ladder and getting smashed weekly in a single day, neither do they get themselves out of that place in a single day. Each West Coast and North Melbourne are going to wish time to show issues round, and it’ll require the endurance of each directors and the followers themselves.

The query actually goes to be how lengthy that endurance will final.

If I can depart you with any closing phrases of consolation, it will be to do not forget that the groups you misplaced to final evening, Carlton and Melbourne, each spent the very best a part of the final decade themselves anchored to the underside, copping 100+ level demolitions on what appeared like a weekly foundation and going through questions on their very own identification and existence.

Persistence, time and good resolution making allowed them to vary their fortunes, so too for you in the event you enable it.



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