Coming of (the) Age

Sam Blease, best known for his revolutionary tactic of tackling teammates.

After a week of journalistic chaos, I was welcomed this morning by a nice piece of compensation. That’s right, I got published… in none other than The Sunday Age.

Yes, it was on the back page of the Sports section – hidden amongst the clutter of trivia and speculative gossip – but it’s a start nonetheless, and I am absolutely rapt.

PSSST, Sunday 11 September 2011

WHAT THEY SHOULD DO … is fix the Rising Star Award.

Nothing frustrates football supporters quite like the Rising Star Award. Not only does the award pit first year toddlers up against fourth year VFL veterans, but it delivers a set of subjective, nonsensical criteria.

Take Sam Blease, for instance. While few could argue that his best-on-ground effort against Gold Coast wasn’t a quality performance, his Rising Star gong raised some eyebrows. This was only Blease’s fourth game and his first worth more than 20 disposals. Moreover, the infant will still be eligible for next season’s award.

The cold, hard evidence

Blease’s premature nomination has denied a whole host of young stars a much deserved dose of the limelight. Tom Liberatore averages 18 touches a week. Jack Gunston and Jeremy Howe have booted 19 and 17 goals respectively. Sure, the red-haired Blease may have outperformed each of them in Round 23, but his stiff contemporaries have enjoyed far superior seasons.

The solution is simple. Keep the formula the way it is until the final five rounds. For those ultimate weeks, the system changes. Nominations no longer go to that round’s best performer, but instead go to the most consistent young talent yet to receive a nod.

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A longer version of this article, written in June, can be read here.

This was not my first entry into The Age this year (see ‘Published Works‘ for the comprehensive list). Let’s hope it won’t be the last either.