I am not a Crows fan. I do not pretend to be. However I DO live in a state that is very Crows-saturated and I AM a big footy fan, so I pick up on a few things. And I’m quite intrigued by this young, untested Crows team.
Particularly Bernie Vince.
Couple things about B-Vin (nickname may not be endorsed by B-Vin himself):
1) Comes from the SANFL Eagles, ‘my team’ (look for future posts about how we identify ourselves with institutions we have never actually been a part of).
2) He seems like a pretty candid guy. When he’s in interviews he’s not at Jason Akermanis levels of stupidity but he does tend to speak fairly bluntly and honestly
3) He’s been involved with other teams – there has been outside interest which is not particularly strange considering his age (25) and pedigree (Club Champion)
I like the guy. Talented, honest. But he has been a massive underachiever this year and in 2010. Touches dropped on average from 27, to 24, to 22 this year. Flashes of brilliance followed by periods of inactivity. Tackles dropping 20%.
And interestingly, before or since 2009 he has never polled in the top 10 of the Club Champion.
Which brings me to the Matt Connell comparison. Connell was a competent player – even good – but had a…weird…career. Starting out at West Coast, he managed only 3 games before being dropped from the squad. 1994, I could find no info on. But presumably he made his way onto Adelaide’s list somewhere between the end of ’93 and the start of ’95, because somehow, this guy who didn’t even play AFL footy in 1994 was the Crows Club Champion in 1995. From 6 disposals a game up to 23 a game in 2005. At less than a tackle a game he would have got beaten to a pulp in today’s game, but…different times. Rumour has it he was run out of town (figuratively) by Malcolm Blight, who had no time for him as a player. Similarly to Vince, Connell never polled in the top ten of the Club Champion again, but his short career featured 2 premierships and a B&F – pretty impressive.
The similarities could be the lack of talent at the Adelaide Football Club. 1994-1996 was a pretty bleak period for the Crows, finishing They dropped from 3rd in 1993 (admittedly a bit of an overachievement) to 11th in 1994 and 1995 and 12th in 1996. Connell’s best year in 1995 (and to a lesser extent, Matthew Liptak’s Club Champion victory in 1996) bridged the gap from the inaugural successful years of McDermott, McGuinness, Andrew Jarman and…The Weed…to the premiership years and glory days of McLeod, Ricciuto, Goodwin etc. Similarly again, it could be argued this is the worst year in Crows history. They sit 13th, mostly due to the woeful teams below them – Gold Coast, Port and Brisbane are 3 of the worst teams in the past decade. 2010, they were 11th. But 2009…the Crows had a great season and took 5th.
Look, I realise this is mostly a stream-of-consciousness diatribe with zero comedic value about a team I don’t even support so…my bad to those subscribing. But I think it’s fascinating when players start Woewodining (a technical term for overachievement of the highest calibre followed by a precipitous drop-off) and am fascinated to see what happens.
History will judge Bernie Vince far better than I can. I think he’s a far better player than Connell ever was and can bounce back. Whether that’s in blue, red and yellow is another question.