Just in case the book Peter FitzSimons is working on this month has anything to do with Australian rules, then The Bug suggests you don’t even think about buying it as a Chrissie present.
Because it’s fairly clear Bandana Man knows fuck all about the sport and its rules.
Railing against any idea that the AFL should introduce the forensic analysis the bunker now brings to rugby league (such as whether a player’s foot has brushed the sideline), FitzSimons penned this piece of dribble in his weekend Herald sports column, The Fitz Files: “…there seems to also be a tacit agreement (in the AFL) that if a bloke is tearing along the boundary line then it is not worth worrying about whether he puts his foot out or not, because, you know, close enough is good enough. He MEANS to stay in and that’s what counts”.
It’s absolute bunkum, of course, because an AFL player can be well outside the boundary line, as long as the ball he’s holding remains in the field of play.
I have an extended family relative with enormous arm reach. It’s rumoured that at Schoolies, he once undid the bra of a school leaver who at the time was sitting in the next apartment!
If he played AFL, he could be running along an adjoining training paddock and still be okay as long as the ball in his outstretched hand hovered a blade of grass within the main field he was playing on.
Or put another way, FitzSimons hasn’t got a fucking clue about the Aussie game’s rules. It begs the questions: has FitzSimons ever watched a game of AF? There were several examples of the old “carry the ball in the field of play” technique on display in Saturday’s grand final.
Or did his bandana slip down over his eyes if he ever has?
So in summary: AFL umpires have little interest in where players’ feet are; they do care about where the ball is.
We know nothing of the sort of person FitzSimons is. Is he one of those arrogant blowhards in newspaperland who demands his copy is never touched? Does he insist, looking down disapprovingly from the pedestal he’s built for himself, that every single word is sacred. Does he do his own headings as well? Press the final revise button so lesser mortals never see his pearls of wisdom until they appear in print.?
He seems a nice bloke so if he does let subs do their work, does the Herald have any with the ability to pick up this sort of clanger?
If you think we’re being harsh here, FitzSimons is supposedly one of our nation’s premier sports columnists. We can only dream about what he gets paid for this stuff. We think he’s got a duty to up-and-comers to write accurately and with skill.
But if that column is any example, can we can expect in the summer fast approaching, FitzSimons writing a scathing critique of Australia’s second innings performance at the Gabba and hoping that they do better in the third?
While we’re on last Saturday’s SMH, let’s spare a thought for the page-one sub who put one letter too many – l – in the last word in this heading for the AFL grand-final preview (right).
But just to prove we do dish out bouquets as well as brickbats here at The Bug, we must praise the sub responsible for this heading in the SMH’s sister paper, The Sun-Herald (below)
Very good, but what’s the chances it was written by a sub in a hub somewhere in New Zealand?