Since late April when I wrote my last article, The AFL Man-Crush, I’ve been meaning to write a piece on the opposing concept, the blokes I hate. Life often gets in the way of these things and I just never got around to it. Frustrating though it is, sometimes when dealing with motivation for those things to do with our interests and hobbies that have no financial reward, we need a bit of a spur.
Something must happen to give our inspiration that little shove. Number 1 on my list of AFL players I hate is Tom Bugg, and last night he gave me a beautiful push in the direction of the keyboard when he gave Callum Mills a disgusting left jab to the face. Man, I hate that guy.
The list doesn’t exactly have a theme to it, but if I could pluck something out I’d say it would be the perception of arrogance, or lippiness, which is not even a word. There does seem to be a strange over representation of sneering midgets.
So, at risk of outing myself as one of those reviled “keyboard warriors”, below I have listed my current players most hated.
Jake Melksham – This bloke operates on similar levels to Bugg. It’s interesting that Melbourne used to be a harmless club that I didn’t mind watching, and then they traded in these two, traded out Jeremy Howe and now I can’t stand them. Melksham is the sort of guy that fakes a punch at an opponent’s head and then mocks him for flinching. Is he aware that you aren’t allowed to punch players in the head? Perhaps if he was watching Bugg last night he would now be aware of it. Whatever the case, as punching is banned, it makes perfect sense that a player would be unprepared for a punch to occur on the field and thus react with surprise at one being thrown. What a pathetic action that is; it perfectly characterises him.
Taylor Adams – Mangled nuggetty hack that plays for Collingwood. I probably should like him as he keeps turning it over and assisting in the sub-expectation results for the Pies, but I can’t. He made crap comments about his opposition (the Dees) not being as successful as his club in the week prior to a game, and threw his team mate (Lynden Dunn) that had switched from that club under the bus in the process. All this despite the fact that Collingwood has gotten worse every year he has been there, and they lost!! He’s an ordinary human – if that.
Hayden Ballantyne – Have you ever seen this bloke? What a yappy little ferret he is. One of my happiest moments as a football fan was seeing the train wreck that was his Grand Final Day in 2013. Yes, it’s pretty sad that my happy moments in footy revolve around players I don’t like not playing well, but I follow Richmond. Still, he’d sit pretty high on most people’s hated list, and that was a beautiful disintegration he displayed. There is not the slightest bit of class or humility about him, and you just hope in that moment of humiliation it may have occurred to him that he isn’t quite as epically wonderful as he perhaps thought.
Sam Mitchell – I’m entering controversy town here, as Mitchell has become increasingly venerated the longer he continues to waddle the footy fields with his sneering visage. I don’t like Sam Mitchell. He’s arrogant and tubby and he’s basically never been tagged for some unknown reason. He seems to have been given all the credit for Hawthorn’s success, but only in retrospect. He wasn’t particularly heralded whilst he was at his peak, but only as he was nearing the end. He’s a very good footballer, with a nice sidestep and a lovely kick on each foot, but he’s no-where near as good as everyone is now saying, and certainly nowhere near as good as he thinks. Wayne Carey made the mistake of questioning Mitchell’s ability, and boy didn’t he cop it? I hope he becomes a senior coach and fails.
Dennis Armfield – No-one gets me for this. I understand that Dennis is a harmless footballer and that he hasn’t done anything at all to be hated for. But I do hate him. I think it’s the way he walks and runs, sort of up and down like a rooster with his chest out like he’s looking to challenge someone into saying just how crap he is. And he is a crap footballer. Everyone knows it, certainly Carlton supporters, and I suspect even him. I hope so. How has he racked up 142 AFL games? It’s a joke.
I thought about including Daniel Rioli’s relative Cyril in the list, but I’ve decided I actually don’t hate him. Whilst I follow the footy hoping for him to fail, he has actually conducted himself perfectly well and is a good footballer. It is the completely over-the-top commentary that follows him that I can’t stand and fuels my desire for his failure. The four premierships to his name aren’t helping my cause, but I cling to the 2012 Grand Final as refuge.
This is a little similar to my thoughts on Bob Murphy, who I used to really like until everyone started talking about him like he was the world’s greatest human and now I’m really sick of him. That probably says more about me than him but still, you feel what you feel.
I acknowledge that there is a long list of other players that I also don’t like, some of whom play for my team, but the above players sit atop the perch. Other players I’ve heard friends and family mention as players they dislike for whom I have no ill-feelings are: Dustin Fletcher (not a current player but he's really hated), Joe Daniher, Jordan Lewis, Joel Selwood, Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron and anyone with a man-bun.
It’s pretty easy to agree with the man-bun thing, but I wonder how many of us actually do veer towards disliking the same individuals. I also wonder how many did not previously view my sentiment towards Tom Bugg, and may never have even thought of him, and now can’t stand him. Sometimes it can be just the way they hold themselves, and other times it can be a moment of stupidity that ignites the flame. Who gets you riled up and why?
Follow Greg Gibson on Twitter: @GregGibbo28