Front and Square

THE NAB Cup has concluded for another year, while the recruitment of Indigenous players has become a hot topic in recent weeks.

In this week’s edition of Front and Square, the sacking of Adelaide recruiter Matt Rendell heads the agenda…

Rendell unfairly treated

Matt Rendell has been harshly treated.

That’s this writer’s view.

The Adelaide recruiting boss was sacked following comments he made in January to AFL Community Engagement Manager and former St Kilda colleague Jason Mifsud.

Rendell is quoted as saying that he would be “reluctant to draft an indigenous player who did not have a white parent.”

In an inclusive interview on Channel Nine’s Footy Classified last night, Rendell fronted the media for the first time since his departure from Adelaide attempting to put all the facts on the table.

What has emerged, along with this writer’s understanding, is that Rendell was trying to help fix a problem with recruiting indigenous players to our game, in ensuring that they become successful players over a sustained period of time.

Critics are right, he shouldn’t have said “the white parent” quote but aside from that he has done little wrong.

The AFL AusKick Ambassador, Robert Dipierdomenico, was suspended from his AFL role for 12 months following “abo” comments targeted at Essendon and Port Adelaide premiership player Gavin Wanganeen in mid-2010.

After undergoing education and working in community service, Dipper was reinstated as the AFL AusKick Ambassador.

Let’s hope Matt Rendell gets a second chance in football and the AFL confront the issues of welfare and support for indigenous talent in our game.

RIP Jim Stynes

Its a sad day for many involved in football when a legend of the game passes away.

Tuesday, 20th March was such a day.

Jim Stynes, a Melbourne Football Club legend, died as a cancer victim at just 45.

The Irishman dominated onfield for the Demons in his 264 games, where he remains as the consecutive games record holder at 244.

A Brownlow Medal in 1991, All-Australian selection in 1991 and 1993, a four-time club champion, a night premiership in a winning pre-season team, a Leigh Matthews Trophy winner, a member of the AFL Hall of Fame and apart of the Melbourne Team of the Century.

What acculades.

Off the field, Stynes had just as much influence as he did on it.

His charity work with the Reach Foundation is exemplary, with his work acknowledged several times as Victorian of the Year in 2001, 2003 and 2011.

However the biggest honour may well have been the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2007, awarded by the Queen.

Jim Stynes will have a state funeral given by the Victorian Government and tributes, as they should, will continue to flood in for the great man.

His service to football and the community will never be forgotten.

Rest In Peace.

Crows heralded NAB Cup champions

Six months ago this club was in dire straits, now they have a new coach in Brenton Sanderson and a pre-season trophy to lock in the cabinet.

Their pre-season has been faultless – injury free, stronger and determined to make amends for a disappointing 2011.

They hunt the footy until they get it, they’re quick and they finally have a couple of dominant targets in attack to kick a winning score.

The Crows haven’t had a dominant forward since Tony Modra but the chemistry between Kurt Tippett and Taylor Walker is what would’ve pleased many Crows fans throughout South Australia.

It’s only pre-season form but many will be crowing with excitement heading into one will be a defining season in 2012.

Your club’s verdict…

Adelaide: Alot to like about their NAB Cup win, high expectations are now there but 2012 shapes a defining season whatever the result.

Brisbane Lions: Got smashed by Essendon in last hitout for the year. Can’t be a good sign heading into round one without their skipper, in what shapes to be a crucial clash with the Demons.

Carlton: A winless pre-season and injuries to keys Jamison, Laidler, Duigan, Walker and Warnock can’t be a good sign. A win against round one opponents Richmond can rectify poor pre-season.

Collingwood: Convincing winners over Saints in final hitout. Ready to go barring injury.

Essendon: Impressive display against the Lions and important one having missed Wangaratta match. Michael Hurley big standout, Dons can’t afford to lose him.

Fremantle: Have had solid pre-season with minimal fuss, despite losing a few games. May not see the best of Freo until mid-season but rest assured, Ross Lyon is instilling a hard defensive edge into a team that lacked just that last year.

Geelong: Gutsy win against the Dogs before round one has Cats in good shape. Chris Scott would be pleased with pre-season, having found out alot about his list. Lots of promise and talent underneath their premiership side of last year.

Gold Coast Suns: Many have labelled pre-season as disappointing losing last three games, including one against newcomers GWS. Not ideal for the Suns only embarking on year two. Expect a better output in home and away.

GWS: Lots to like but patience will be used alot in season proper. Round one derby against the Swans promises to be one to remember.

Hawthorn: Great injury-free pre-season apart from 3 month wrist injury to ruckman Max Bailey. Alot of upside and cause for optimism.

Melbourne: Shown alot under new coach Mark Neeld but still have long way to go. Players say hardest pre-season in a long time at the club, which gives reason to build from a mediocre 2011.

North Melbourne: A much better team than what they’re given credit for. Brad Scott needs injury-free full strength side to play finals for the first time under his tenure.

Port Adelaide: Terrific pre-season for a club that was down and out last year. New recruits and mature bodies Brad Ebert, Brent Renouf, John McCarthy and Darren Pfeiffer have made big difference. Only way is up for Port.

Richmond: Big wins against Geelong and GWS gives this club a much needed boost of confidence. Pleasing pre-season for the Tigers and will look to round one with serious optimism.

St Kilda: Inconsistent pre-season and hefty loss to Pies not ideal preparation for round one. Appear to still be learning and adjusting to the new game style of Scott Watters. May struggle early in the season as a result.

Sydney Swans: Best pre-season in a long while with all guns blazing apart from the injured Ryan O’Keefe, who remains a concern. Otherwise have been really impressive and another Grand Final appearance may be closer than many realise.

West Coast Eagles: Didn’t appear to want the NAB Cup as much as Adelaide but pre-season has been very sharp despite the season ending knee injury to Mark LeCras. Mark Nicoski’s hamstring off the bone in the grand final hurts and will miss first half of the season, while concerns regarding Josh Kennedy’s foot remain an issue. Still very strong side heading into round one.

Western Bulldogs: Unlucky to lose to Cats in final hitout but new coach Brendan McCartney should be happy with the pre-season. Clear new game style with precise short kicking and winning contested ball highlights.

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