In a week that has seen an innings and some victory for the Australian  Test team, the conclusion of the Melbourne Spring Carnival and a furore over A-League crowd violence it seems AFL is still king. The controversy of Cousins, the perils of Pratt and the juggernaut that is Chris Judd continue to eat up column inches in the AFL off season. Yet amid all this it is the plight of the Kangaroos that has me wondering
just who is bringing the game into disrepute?

Make no bones about it, even if I don’t necessarily agree, I can see why the
AFL would like to bring charges against Ben Cousins for bringing the
game into disrepute. I can also see that those charges are more than
likely going to stick. However, as a football fan I feel like someone
needs to bring the AFL up on the same charges after they gave the
Kangaroos, a team with 148 years of tradition, just 30 days to decide
weather or not to they will move to the Gold Coast.

seems intent on trying to grow the game in the Sunshine State. However,
the speed with which they want to move is nothing short of amazing. The
Kangaroos have already shown a willingness to help the AFL on this
front by playing four games next season in what has traditionally been
a graveyard for sports in all codes. If you count the relocation of the
Bears, the Gold Coast would effectively be getting its second AFL team,
it is now on its third rugby league team and it’s second NBL franchise.
Suggesting the Gold Coast has all of a sudden become a fertile
landscape for a new AFL team is akin to saying that Elizabeth Taylor’s
next husband is definitely the one.

Ricky Ponting has now
joined the host of high profile backers that want to keep the Roos in
Melbourne. His passion for the club is genuine and his willingness to
help should be admired. Punter looks set to jump on board with Glen
Archer, James Brayshaw and co in a bid to keep the club in its
ancestral home. Hopefully they do just that even if the odds are firmly
against them.

The trouble the Roos face is one of continued
financial success. Tin rattling and opposition fans buying your clubs
memberships can only take you so far. What the Kangaroos desperately
needs is a sugar daddy in the mould of a Gutnick or a Pratt that can
offer both immediate financial assistance and long term financial
stability. Unfortunately finding one is not an easy task. Assuming the
Roos don’t make out like Charlie Bucket and find the golden ticket that
leads them to instant financial wellbeing they must still be given a
chance to sink or swim in Melbourne. The AFL would be letting down the
footy public if they failed to give them that.

While I
personally think that AFL on the Gold Coast is a lost cause, the AFL in
their wisdom seem to think otherwise and they are more than entitled to
do just that. However giving a club 30 days to make the most monumental
decision in its history is simply ridiculous. At worst they should have
a season to consider the move and then get things in place to make a
move one way or the other but fairness and equality are not themes that
are common with the league and don’t look like becoming so in the
foreseeable future.

Hopefully common sense prevails and all
parties involved are given the time needed to make some sound decisions
that can embrace both the passion of the fans and the future growth of
the game. If it doesn’t, and the AFL forces the Roos to make a move,
they are, in my book, are no better than Ben Cousins or Dick Pratt when
it comes to the “repute” of out great game.