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Published on April 14th, 2014 | by Alex Walters


#Franklinfreude – The Yarn’s AFL Round 4 and 5 Run-around

In 2010, after the release of his novel Freedom, Jonathan Franzen was canonized by Time Magazine as a “Great American Novelist”. Such high praise was always sure to draw the ire of some. Indeed Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner, two best-selling female writers, became exasperated with what Weiner described as the critical fawning over Franzen, the lack of attention given to female writers in America and their feeling of pain in the multiple and copious reviews being showered on Franzen. In the infancy of Twitter Weiner and Picoult came up with a hashtag to symbolise the pain they felt: #franzenfreude. Franzenfreude was cast as somewhat of an inverse to schadenfreude. Experiencing schadenfreude, the taking of pleasure in the pain of others, is meant to activate pleasure pathways in the brain and while it is undoubtedly not a particularly pleasant feeling to be admitting to it does, nevertheless, reside in most of us. Franzenfreude was an inversion of this, it described the pain Weiner, Picoult and others felt at the heralding of Franzen as the saviour of fiction.

Somewhat similarly after 4 rounds of the AFL season the vast majority of AFL fans are experiencing what we can safely describe as Franklinfreude. Lance Franklin, who spurned GWS for life away from the fishbowl of Melbourne instead chose the fishbowl of inner city Sydney with the Swans. Franklin’s 9 year, $10 million deal, was unheard of in AFL/VFL history. It was cast as a game changer in many respects. Not only did the Swans recruit the biggest name and face in the AFL to the harbour city, they seemingly made themselves premiership contenders straight away, made the AFL rethink its cost of living allowance and put at risk their ability to retain a host of young stars down the line.

Franklin’s inclusion was meant to make the Swans unstoppable. With a serviceable backline, a midfield with a blend of inside grunt (Kennedy, Jack, O’Keefe, Hanneberry) and outside spread (Rohan, Jetta, Goodes) and now the most imposing forward line in the competition (Franklin, Sam Reid, Tippett) the Swans were meant to sweep aside their opposition with impunity. But 4 rounds in the Swans are 1-3 and looked decidedly insipid in the rain at the SCG.

Wait. The Swans lost to the Kangaroos in the rain at the SCG? The Kangaroos are meant to be this freewheeling run and gun team and the Swans of old would do rain dances before matches. This after probably the biggest shock of the last 5 years of the home and away AFL season; GWS beating the Swans at the Showgrounds in Round 1. Then a loss to Collingwood, a team that will probably feature in the bottom half of the 8. Sydney went to Adelaide and showed them up, but after losing to the Roos they now face a visit from a Fremantle side that bounced back strongly against Essendon and will welcome back Swans nemeses, Nat Fyfe, with Chris Mayne’s return a distinct possibility.

It is difficult to blame Franklin for the side’s weak beginning. He was very good in their lost to Collingwood and close to best on ground against Adelaide. His worth will likely be demonstrated when Tippett is back and Franklin can roam the wings a la late career Matthew Richardson. But in the rain at the SCG Scott Thompson gave him a bath. He kicked 1 point from 13 touches and 3 marks and was put on report for tussling with Thompson. Thompson is one of the best defensive pests in the AFL and torrential rain hardly bodes well for big men. But it would be nice to see Franklin put more attention into shelving his ego, particularly given his contract effectively means each game of the season is worth $55,000 to him. The median salary of Australian workers based on 2011 ABS figures is less than Franklin earns per game.

So when it comes to the Swans the early talk amongst punters is about how the Franklin contract has ruined their culture. Bit of a stretch at this point. But for a guy who right now isn’t a shadow of the player Gary Ablett is I feel pretty comfortable in suggesting that #franklinfreude is a pretty good way to vent every time the overpaid superstar has a stinker.

Franklinfreude has got me wondering what other psychological afflictions could be attributed to AFL players and sides?

Essendon – Agoraphobia?

Was it the blinding heat in Perth, or was it the vast open spaces at Subiaco Oval? Whatever it was Essendon were wholly lost at Subiaco yesterday. Essendon feast at Etihad and admittedly thrashed Carlton on the expanses of the MCG in Round 3. But that seemed like tackle free football from the Blues. Given the Dustin Fletcher was omitted from the match against the Dockers purportedly because the dimensions of the ground weren’t well suited to him and given that the Dockers were up by 12 goals early in the last quarter is it possible that Essendon suffers from Agoraphobia?

Anthropophobia – Andrew Gaff, Brent Stanton, Marc Murphy, Steve Johnson, the vast majority of midfielders in the AFL

Anthropophobia is a pathological fear of people of human company. With Brent McAffer’s treatment of Trent Cotchin in the news it has occurred to me that most AFL midfielders cannot handle a tag. Certainly I have seen Jack Steven, Jobe Watson, Scott Pendlebury and Gary Ablett bust tags. But most gun AFL midfielders simply cannot handle it. I have seen Brent Stanton nearly break down in tears when Ryan Crowley has gone near him. Andrew Gaff spent his first season in the AFL careening down the wings of Subiaco with impunity. Opposition coaches then decided putting someone near him would do the trick and it did. Stevie J is another example. He brought his own ball against West Coast on the weekend. However in Round 3 he didn’t do much with Macaffer trailing him. To be fair to him Marc Murphy also hates a tag.

Ornithobia – Daniel Merrett

Not a huge hit, but nevertheless.

Genuphobia – Anthony Morabito

Genuphobia is the fear of ones own knees. Premiership player Nick Malceski once had this affliction, though he managed to dispel it and kick the winning goal in the 2012 premiership. Here is hoping for long suffering Mora.


1.     Port Adelaide

Absolutely ruthless in tearing apart Brisbane it seems that if the Swans fall from grace this season continues then Port Adelaide will likely be the heir to a spot in the top 4. Port has what looks like a tremendous forward line in Schulz, Westhoff and Gray. Carlisle has had some big scalps early in the year and Trengove and Jonas are above average helpers. The midfield oozes class, with Boak, Ebert, Cornes, Quadzilla, Wingard and Polec all taking turns. Lobbe is a tackle loving manchild and Hoff’s ruck pinch-hitting is effective. After years of turmoil it’s nice to see Port playing the type of sexy football that took the 2004 Power to the flag.

2.     Scott D Thompson

Here’s to Scott Thompson for being the best defensive pest in the competition. Remember when Barry Hall almost choked him out?

3.     Shaun Higgins

Please just please let this mecurial talent stay on the park for a whole season. Higgins skills are exquisite and he was one of the best in the Bulldogs come from behind win against GWS. Higgins for the longest time has been a big no-no in fantasy circles. But playing as the Dogs quarterback has allowed his skills to be on full display and he has thus far avoided injury. Here is hoping.

4.     Jack Steven’s return

Superstar nugget. Didn’t have a huge game in his return from injury, but did do this.

5.     The Demons

While it will still be a long time before the Dees are any good it is nice to see them chalk one up early in the year.

Didn’t Like

1.     Macaffer on Cotchin, Richmond failing to put Macaffer on his ass

Only Dustin Martin and Daniel Jackson attempted to put some separation between Cotchin and Martin at stoppages during Friday nights game. Failure to give their captain some assistance was arguably a more disappointing display than the result on Friday night.

The only thing worse than Brent Macaffers treatment of Trent Cotchin on Friday night was his disgusting new sleeve. Is there some kind of tacit agreement at Collingwood that playing for the Pies requires a sleeve?

2.     Only smaller clubs being forced to play at woefully inadequate venues

Hard to see Collingwood being made to play a game at the sandpit that was Manuka oval. Then again maybe it’s a good thing if we don’t let too many tattooed guys near a beach.

3.     Blowouts

Noone likes blowouts, thongs or in the footy. There were too many last weekend.

Things to look for in Round 5

1.     Nat Fyfe

Fyfe returns to take on the Swans at the SCG. He had 31 touches and 8 clearances when he featured at the SCG in 2011. He also is now ineligible for the Brownlow, so he can cannon around stoppages without the fear that one inopportune head knock will cost him a medal.

2.     Geelong v Hawthorn on Easter Monday

Having the tri-bet on either side winning under 15.5 points is pretty much free money in these games. Clashes between these two are still the best footballing show on earth.

3.     Floating Blues fans in the Yarra if they lose to the Dogs

Oh boy, if Carlton lose to the Doggie twilight Sunday don’t even bother walking down Lygon street, everyone will have thrown themselves into the Yarra.



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About the Author

Alex Walters

Alex is a co-founder of the Yarn and a big fan of the journalistic styles of David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen and Chloe Hooper and the languid grace of Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe. Alex currently lives in Perth, Western Australia.

2 Responses to #Franklinfreude – The Yarn’s AFL Round 4 and 5 Run-around

  1. Hi Wing–seems there’s some sort of glitch with your website? I can’t see any of your league run-arounds from round five onwards.

    Looking forward to reading them when you fix this up.

    Your pal


  2. Alex Walters Alex Walters says:

    Hi Brad

    The Yarn is aware of this problem and are working on it.

    We thank you for your patronage.

    Warm Regards


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