MATT Burgan catches up with senior coach Paul Roos in the final of a four part Q&A series on melbournefc.com.au …
MB: Looking at the game from an overall perspective, there is plenty happening in the next few years. The new media rights deal starts in 2017. What are your thoughts on that and how will it impact the game?
PR: If you watch American sports, you see coaches getting interviewed at half-time and walking off, so it’s not going to get any less, in terms of how much they’re paying. But I think second tier competitions are really, really important. Sorting out the feeder comps, whether that’s the VFL teams and the TAC Cup in Victoria – I’m a fan of lifting the draft age, but even lifting the TAC Cup. We need kids to be more ready to play AFL football. You need feeder comps to provide the likes of [Aaron] vandenBerg and [Matt] Priddis, who nearly won his second Brownlow Medal this year. We need to fix them up and I think a significant amount of that portion needs to go to clubs, so it does allow an even competition.
MB: Indigenous academies, multicultural zones and the women’s game are other key focus areas for the game. How do you see them evolving?
PR: With 18 teams, it’s hard to become have a competitive competition now that they’ve brought in free agency. Zones and academies are set to come in, so I think the AFL is trying to be proactive there. I think the AFL is also trying to be proactive in saying ‘how do we get back to a really competitive competition where everyone has a chance to win every week?’ We’ve seen some significant changes that have had a significant impediment to that. [AFL chief executive] Gill [McLachlan’s] theory is to go to the footy and one team is $1.20 and the other team is $1.10. I’m not a gambler, but we’ve certainly gone away from that with games being $7.00 to $1.00. I think credit to the AFL – they’re trying to get back to even matches. I think women’s football is a great initiative and [Melbourne women’s coach] Michelle [Cowan] and [Melbourne women’s captain] Daisy [Pearce] are part of a great crew. Just to watch the standard of games played – they’ve been exceptional. I think everyone’s genuinely excited with what’s happening with that. We’re all excited to be a part of it.
MB: And finally, a lot of work has been done in recent times to reestablish the club. You’ve been part of it for the past two years. Where do you see Melbourne in another 10 years?
PR: What Peter [Jackson] and Glen [Bartlett] have done has been fantastic. Unfortunately for fans it does take time, because of the differences with the Giants and Suns coming in and there have been compromised drafts and now we’ve got free agency. The landscape’s changed a lot over the past five or six years, so what you do have to do is set a good base, culture and good staff. I think we’re well on the way. Our players are really well developed and we saw that this year, even in the last game, with Mitch White coming in for one game. He played a really good game, so I think in 10 years our club is going to be a very, very strong football club – without any question whatsoever.