Too many targets for media vultures

Friday, April 26
Geelong Advertiser - Dwayne Russell

SO many dying carcasses to pick and so little time. The short Anzac week has made it difficult for us media vultures to know exactly where to circle.

One could perhaps do a story exploring St Kilda's current gutter status under the competition's big coaching question mark, Grant Thomas, and his president mate, Rod Butterss.

But it's a bit boring considering most of us torched them late last year, as well as early last year when Malcolm Blight coached, and the year before that when Tim Watson coached. Some journalists have spent so much time at Moorabbin that they have their own name painted on a car park, just near the park where the coach's name is written in pencil.

The Bulldogs' winless streak is worth investigating, but most football-loving journalists feel so sorry for the financially struggling Dogs that they are prepared to give them one more week. But only one.

Carlton had its turn to be publicly roasted a fortnight ago. Best to let their tale of woe beef up again before the next inevitable feast.

Hawthorn's insipid uncertain spirit, as detailed in candid admissions by captain Shane Crawford, only needed a little petrol tipped on it to make it burn fiercely.

But having to attend some big-name tribunal hearings perhaps saved Glenferrie from being this week's stop for the travelling media caravan.

There was the good-news story of James Bartel's rising star nomination, but yarns about nice people just don't sell papers like pictures of Kelli Stevens do.

Even the man who, in the past, got weak-kneed over even the most unenjoyable Fremantle versus St Kilda battle, Bruce McAvaney, said on Talking Sour Grapes last week that there were no AFL games on the horizon to get genuinely excited about now that Brisbane and Essendon had met.

Bruce lives in Adelaide. It is strange that he has not heard of the local contest tomorrow night, that they call The Showdown.

Either he faked his excitement for the majority of his calls during his television career, or bitterness can do strange things to a silenced man.

But, of course, Bruce also hosts Sportswatch, which runs in direct opposition to tomorrow's Hawthorn battle with Richmond at the MCG.

Why would he promote a genuinely exciting game between two great Victorian teams that have had their manhood questioned, when it will make his ratings rival that of fish TV on Channel 31?

Anzac Day is obviously not special enough for him anymore, either. Nor is the prospect of rushing home or to the MCG tonight to see the winless Dogs against the resurgent but ever-vulnerable Melbourne.

There are few teams better to watch in football than the Bullies with their cage rattled and their aggression teased.

Bruce actually verbally agreed to call Friday night football with me on ABC radio this year before withdrawing just before the season started. I was looking forward to feeding off his professionalism and watching the ticking of his television brain.

But, now, all I have learned from him is that I would have had to keep him awake. Not only tonight, but in a fortnight when Carlton meets Essendon, and when Hawthorn plays the Blues the week after, followed by Essendon against the Kangaroos, and then the Roos against Richmond.

I hate it when people labour the point, but later in the year there is Carlton v Richmond, Collingwood v Carlton, Collingwood v Richmond and Richmond v Essendon.

Lucky Channel Seven did not win the TV rights, or Bruce would have had to call all those duds.

You can hear Dwayne Russell's football calls on Channel 9 and ABC Radio.