Is Bernie Vince the 2011 Matt Connell?

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.

B-Vin. Recognise.

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.

Seriously Matt Connell. You need to get some better photos out there.

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.

Oh…MUCH better. (rolls eyes)

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.


5 thoughts on “Is Bernie Vince the 2011 Matt Connell?

  1. I was completely infatuated with Matt Connell as a young girl. I was obsessed. My inner child doesn’t know whether to love this post or hate it. They did use him all over the place though like chf, ruck, and he started on the interchange more than any other player back then . Including the grand finals. He was a better call getter than some players these days. Any way that’s my two cents worth.

    1. Hmm. I remember him being a bit Bowdenesque, as in a good ball-carrier and disposal machine, but a bit soft. His tackle count is INCREDIBLY low compared with the midfielders of today, but in fairness to Connell I didn’t check how he compared to people of his time.

  2. There are so many players that could fall into this category, but the ones that come to mind are the Cloke brothers (notwithstanding Travis, who seems to be doing pretty well at the moment). The other two, Cameron, and Jason, seem to have kind of disappeared…

    I think that classifying Brisbane as one of the worst 3 teams of the last decade is a bit harsh, considering they did win the flag 3 times in a row 2001-2003, and then lost to Port in 2004 (another one of your ‘bottom’ 3 teams, who also managed to make the GF in 07, although they were absolutely slaughtered!)

    1. I should probably clarify Matty, I meant the 2011 Lions and the 2011 Power are two of the worst teams of the decade. Taking out the Suns – who have a different deck of cards – you could make a strong argument that the 2011 Power team is one of the worst.

      I calculate the list as follows (leaving out GC Suns). Qualifications were to have 4 wins or less and under 70% percentage.

      5. 2003 Carlton Blues. 4-18, 66.72%
      4. 2001 Fremantle Dockers (WS). 2-20, 72% (decent percentage, close losses perhaps)
      Top 3 all had bad competition as well as bad records
      3. 2008 West Coast Eagles. 4-18, 65.88%
      2. 2011 Port Power. 2-16, 65.42%. Funnily enough, 1 more win and the Suns likely take the Spoon.
      (drum roll…)
      1. 2008 Melbourne Demons (WS). 3-19, 62.61%. Abysmal

      2001 Wooden Spoon: Freo 2-20, 72% (WC 5-17, 65.95)
      2002 WS: Carl 3-19
      2003 WS: Bulldogs 3-18-1 (Carl 4-18, 66.72)
      2004 WS: Richmond 4-18, 69.24
      2006 WS: Carlton/Essendon 3-18-1
      2007 WS: Richmond 3-18-1.
      2008 WS: Melbourne 3-19 (62.61), WC 4-18 (65.88)
      2011 WS: Port 2-16, 65.42%

      You’re probably right about Brisbane – my point was more that the bottom few are very poor indeed this year. But Port at 2-16, in a weak year for the competition (apart from Coll/Geel), with less than 65%…They finish the competition with Hawthorn (away), Bulldogs (home), Essendon (away), Melbourne (home). They might sneak a win against Dogs or Dees at home, but IMHO they definitely lose 3 out of 4 minimum. Hawthorn this week could be another 100-point loss. I won’t rule it out.

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