Kane Cornes reacts to call on 2021 Grand Final start time

Kane Cornes admits he was a tad shocked to learn that the 2021 AFL Grand Final will return to its traditional afternoon timeslot.

This year’s Grand Final will be played at the MCG on Saturday September 25th and first bounce will be at 2:30pm AEST.

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Grand Final was held at night at the Gabba in the first premiership decider played under lights in VFL/AFL history.

Richmond’s win over Geelong attracted a national average TV audience of 3.812m and a peak audience of 4.283m and was the highest average audience since the 2016 Grand Final.

The average audience was also up 30 per cent on the 2019 Grand Final.

“I must admit, I was a little bit shocked,” Cornes told SEN SA Breakfast.

“I came back from last year’s Grand Final and I said on this show there’s no way the AFL will go back to a day Grand Final after seeing what we saw.

“The ratings came through and I saw them and I was like, ‘Channel 7 are not going to allow this to ever go back to a day Grand Final’.

“I was wrong on that and the AFL have listened to the fans because that’s what the fans want.

“It’s not something I’m up in arms about. The timeslot doesn’t dictate my interest in the AFL Grand Final.”

Cornes says an afternoon Grand Final makes for a better a spectacle.

“It’s great for the players is what I will say,” he said.

“Having done it, it’s much better during the day.

“Firstly, usually it’s a better spectacle because the ball’s drier and not as likely to have dew on it, but then after you get the real time to celebrate.

“I was a little bit surprised the AFL went back.

“I’m glad they made an early call, so we don’t have to debate it all year.”

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Why Cornes is worried about “comical” rule changes

Kane Cornes is concerned by the AFL’s newly introduced man on the mark rule.

One of a trio of new rules in 2021 has players unable to deviate once the umpire has set the mark.

Cornes feels the alteration will only cause confusion, just like the ruck nomination rule, likening the competition to Auskick with these particular changes.

“The biggest concern around this is the AFL is turning into Auskick,” Cornes said on SEN SA Breakfast.

“Already, we’ve had the most ridiculous rule that has ever infested the world of an AFL football game and that is you have to nominate two ruckmen, one from each team, before a ruck contest.

“The umpire, before he throws it up, ‘Who’s up?’. You’ve got to put your hand up as if you’re playing Auskick where you change the ruck around and you’ve got to nominate.

“Now you’ve got this ridiculous command. An umpire blowing the whistle, motioning with his hand and saying ‘stand’ to a grown AFL footballer.

“It’s almost comical that our game, via the rule changes, is turning into what you would see on a Sunday morning at Auskick.

“That’s no disrespect to the Auskick kids but. Obviously at that age you do need a bit more command from your umpires.

“You don’t need it at AFL level and what it’s going to cause is complete confusion.

“Some rules have been ok in the game, and I’m not convinced this is going to be one of those.”

There have been mixed feelings regarding the man on the mark rule.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson recently said it provides an “enormous challenge” for the umpires in 2021, while Melbourne captain Max Gawn expects it to increase scoring.

AFL operations boss Steve Hocking has explained the reason behind the rule is to increase “random acts” in the game.

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Kane Cornes bewildered by “backwards” AFL announcement

The AFL’s decision to name the new east coast reserves competition the Victorian Football League has raised eyebrows around the country.

The league is set to serve as the reserves for all 14 east coast AFL sides, as well as VFL stalwarts Sandringham, aligned with St Kilda, Box Hill, aligned with Hawthorn, Casey, aligned with Melbourne, Coburg, Frankston, Port Melbourne, Werribee, Williamstown and the Northern Bullants, who are no longer aligned with Carlton.

Rounding out the league is NEAFL sides Aspley and Southport.

GWS, Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast, who are four of the six non-Victorian teams joining the competition, took to Twitter on Tuesday to voice their bemusement at the call.

Port Adelaide premiership midfielder Kane Cornes was similarly baffled by the decision, saying it sums up the league’s Victorian-centric bias.

“We’ve had a crack at the AFL, in brackets VFL, over the last couple of days about the lack of travel for the Victorian sides,” Cornes told SEN SA Breakfast.

“In the pre-season competition there’s only two Victorian sides that are travelling and the heavy lifting is going to the interstate teams of course.

“I’ve had a crack at the AFL, in brackets VFL, because they didn’t change the restrictions on the other clubs even though West Coast and Fremantle were disadvantaged by only being able to trade one hour per day.

“If that was in Melbourne, they would have changed it for everyone.

“But this is next level. On Monday, the AFL announced that the 2021 east coast reserves season is set to begin on April the 17th.

“It’s going to see state league footy return to Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales after the 2020 season was affected by COVID of course.

“Despite the involvement of six teams (from outside Victoria), six out of 22, the AFL has announced that the competition will be known as the Victorian Football League. The VFL.

“So the season will feature 22 clubs, it’ll be a 16-game season across 19 rounds. The six teams that are not Victorian teams, Aspley, Southport – a famous football club and highly successful in Queensland, Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast, GWS Giants and Sydney are the six teams.

“Of all the names they could have named the competition, there’s six out of 22 outside of Victoria and they’ve named it the VFL.

“Is that the most backwards announcement that the AFL’s ever done in recent times? How do they get away with this?

“We’re not going to go to war over it, but it’s remarkable how VFL centric the AFL still is.”

The ‘VFL’ will get underway on April 17th, with all clubs now in pre-season training.

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Cornes welcomes “landmark” letter from Collingwood players

Kane Cornes said the open letter Collingwood players released on Thursday night as a response to the racism report was a “landmark” day for the club.

After the historic report into allegations of systemic racism at the Pies was leaked on Monday, 150 players across Collingwood’s AFL, AFLW and Netball teams released a joint letter to say sorry about what might have occurred at the club in previous decades.

Cornes welcomed the letter, saying the playing group had done the right thing by releasing a combined statement after the report was made public earlier in the week.

“The letter was well written and it was the right thing to do,” he said on SEN SA Breakfast.

“It’s been signed by 120 players and staff from Melbourne, sorry is the first word and that’s a big tick – it’s the first word that should have come out of Eddie McGuire’s mouth when he faced the media and called it a proud day for the football club. He has since apologised for the use of the word ‘proud’.

“They’ve done the right thing there, I think it’s a landmark moment for the football club. I know Darcy Moore has been strong and Brodie Grundy has gone further and released a four-part tweet to reaffirm his apology.

“I feels to me, even though it’s taken probably 50 years too long to get here, that everyone is sort of moving on and what’s expected about how we live our lives and at sporting clubs.”

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The AFL fixture oddity that caught Cornes’ eye

Champion Data has released its ranking of AFL fixtures in 2021, ranking them from easiest to hardest.

Curiously, 2020 wooden spoon winner Adelaide has the second hardest draw in the league, while minor premier Port Adelaide has the easiest.

Of course, factoring into this is the fact that they play against each other twice and their 2020 ladder finishes would impact Champion Data’s rankings somewhat.

Despite that, Cornes still can’t get his head around how Adelaide has ended up with such a tough fixture.

“I’m not sure how this has worked because usually the teams up the top get the harder draw,” he told SEN SA Breakfast.

“The Crows have the second hardest draw. How does that happen?

“Their double-up games against Port Adelaide, West Coast, Melbourne who you think are going to improve and then Hawthorn and North Melbourne who shouldn’t pose too much of a threat.

“We don’t know who’s going to be a good team. No one would have expected Port to play in a Preliminary Final this time last year, so things can change.”

On the flip side, Cornes is equally perplexed by how the Power could end up with the easiest fixture.

“Double-up games against St Kilda, Collingwood, Western Bulldogs, Carlton and Adelaide,” he said.

“Part of that is a guaranteed two games against the Crows, who won three games last year so take that into consideration.

“The Crows second hardest and Port Adelaide the easiest draw in the competition.”

Cornes sympathises with Champion Data, feeling it will be an incredibly hard year to predict team performance.

“Collingwood, uncertain what they’re going to be. The Bulldogs, never certain what they’re going to produce, Sydney, will they be bottom four or if they get Lance Franklin back will they improve, either way wouldn’t shock me,” he said.

“The Giants, could they fall off a cliff with no Jeremy Cameron and other players who have left, Hawthorn who knows, Melbourne who knows, Essendon’s probably in a similar boat.

“There’s probably six or seven teams and they could be great or poor and neither would surprise me.”

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The club Kane Cornes is most concerned about in 2021

Hawthorn is the club Kane Cornes is most concerned about heading into the 2021 season.

The Hawks possessed one of the oldest lists in 2020 and missed the finals for a second straight season, finishing 15th with just five wins.

Cornes explained why he is worried about Alastair Clarkson’s side approaching the
new season.

“I’d love to be a Hawthorn fan, absolutely spoilt for choice with what they’ve had in the last 10 years, but for 2021 I would not want to be a Hawthorn fan,” he told SEN’s The Captain’s Run.

“I think it’s going to be a really challenging year, in fact, if the over or under for wins for Hawthorn was seven, I’d probably take the under.

“I just don’t know who’s going to kick the goals. (Jack) Gunston was their leading goal scorer last year with 31, he’s injured and can just tick the legs over on a stationary bike at the moment.

“Tom Mitchell, the Brownlow Medallist, is in doubt for Round 1. It’s not going to really affect on-field performance straight sway, but Graham Wright leaving is another distraction, particularly the timing of it.

“You’ve got Jonathon Patton and the embarrassing situation that the club finds itself in and they just don’t have enough young talent coming through on their list.

“The team that I’m most concerned about ahead of the 2021 season is the Hawthorn Football Club.”

Hawthorn take on Collingwood and Port Adelaide in the AAMI Community Series before their Round 1 meeting with Essendon on March 20.

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Cornes backs Tasmania playing hard ball with AFL

Kane Cornes has backed Tasmania’s decision to play hard ball with the AFL over contract negotiations surrounding Hawthorn and North Melbourne.

Both teams will play four games in the state in 2021, but will need to negotiate new contracts beyond that.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has put the pressure back on the league, saying they will not discuss the contracts until the AFL gives them greater clarity about the 19th license.

We will not finalise the arrangements for the next contract with Hawthorn or North Melbourne until we have clarity from the AFL in terms of our own licence,” Gutwein told reporters on Tuesday.

“That clarity doesn’t exist at the moment.

“I’ve made it perfectly clear to Mr (Gillon) McLachlan we cannot and will not finalise those arrangements until we have that clarity.

“Tasmania is part of the federation and you cannot have a truly national Australian Football League if one of the states does not have a team in it.

“I’ve made that perfectly clear to the AFL.”

Cornes hopes the AFL commits to putting a 19th club in Tasmania sooner rather than later.

“Good on them, and so they should (put pressure back on the AFL),” Cornes told SEN SA Breakfast.

“They deserve one. They have been put on the backburner for far too long and I’d love to see a team in Tassie and a 19th team, I think it would be terrific for the national game.”

Cornes isn’t sure whether the AFL will make the commitment, but feels the pressure is building on them to do so.

“I’m not sure how committed the AFL are to it or if they’re in a financial position with what happened last year to make this happen,” he said.

“We’re starting to get some real heavy hitters behind this push now.

“And the fact they’re now saying we’re not going to think about hosting teams until you’re serious about giving us our own team, I think that’s a big step.”

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Why Kane Cornes has been so critical of Adelaide

Kane Cornes says he wants to find positives at the Adelaide Football Club, but has asked fans to look at the clubs 2020 campaign realistically.

Adelaide had its worst ever season in the league since joining the competition in 1991, winning just three games and securing the club’s maiden wooden spoon.

“Whenever I have some constructive criticism for the Adelaide Football Club, the Crows fans always ask why I don’t say something positive about them,” Cornes said on SEN SA Breakfast.

“And why don’t I say anything positive about them? Because you won three games.

“You sacked a coach, you sacked a couple of staff, you’ve had more players leave than any other club, you can’t attract new talent to the footy club. So I call that out.”

Cornes admitted that he wants his boyhood club to do well, and anything he says shouldn’t be taken personally.

“It’s nothing personal,” Cornes said.

“I was a massive Crows fan growing up. I want them to succeed. I want them to do well because our show is better when the Crows are doing better.

“I’m baking the Crows supporters who want me to say positive things about the Crows when there are none.

“There’s a wooden spoon, there’s three wins, there’s players leaving, there’s coaches sacked, there’s off-field issues. I’m struggling to find the positives.”

The Crows poor on-field results were compounded by off-field issues in 2020, with youngsters Tyson Stengle and Josh Worrell both embroiled in incidents throughout the year.

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Tigers star leads Cornes’ list of 2020 sporting awards

Kane Cornes has given out his 2020 sporting awards.

The Port Adelaide games record holder has come up with six categories to acknowledge some of the monumental moments for the year in sport.

Cornes has rated Richmond star Dustin Martin as the Sporting Man of the Year for his efforts in winning an unprecedented third Norm Smith Medal while inspiring the Tigers to a third premiership in four years.

See The Captain’s Run 2020 Sporting Awards below:

2020 Sporting Man of the Year

Dustin Martin

“For me, Dustin Martin is the Sporting Man of the Year.

“I was lucky enough to be at the Grand Final and to see his fourth goal, which was the Goal of the Year, there’s no argument about that.

“It sealed his third premiership and his third Norm Smith Medal.

“A night Grand Final in a season that we didn’t think would get underway, and to stamp himself as an absolute all-time great and achieve something that I don’t think will ever be repeated was the moment of the year.

“I thought he was the Sporting Man of the Year.”

2020 Sporting Woman of the Year

Jessica Hull

“In a tough year for athletics with the Olympics cancelled, it didn’t stop one of Australia’s brightest track and field stars, Jessica Hull.

“It started on August 14, 2020 where Hull, the former Oregon Duck, broke Benita Willis’ 18-year-old Australian 5000m record, clocking 14:43.80 at the Monaco Diamond League.

“It didn’t end there. In her pet event, the 1500m, she broke another Australian record, clocking 4:00.42 in Berlin.

“2021 is an Olympic year, so remember the name Jessica Hull. The 24-year-old might just win a medal which would be remarkable.”

The Next Big Thing Award

Cameron Green

“The 21-year-old 198cm colossus who Greg Chappell says is the most exciting batsman since Ricky Ponting. Watching him yesterday in Adelaide he also appears more than handy with the ball.

“It appears the Aussies have ended the long search for a world class all-rounder.

“He is Australia’s next biggest sporting star and could play 100 Test matches, provided his body holds together.”

Mean Tweet of the Year

“There’s always hot competition for this award.

“This year’s winner is truly deserving and the award goes to former hockey player and three-game AFLW superstar Georgie Parker.

“Her tweet read: “There isn’t a person I want to have a beer less with than Kane Cornes”.

“Congratulations to you Georgie.”

The Brain Fade Award

Novak Djokovic

“Special mention to the goat Leigh Matthews who confused Nathan Broad with Jayden Short in his Norm Smith medal voting, but the winner is Novak Djokovic who was defaulted for hitting a linesperson with a ball at the US Open.”

Tool of the Year

Mark McGowan

“The COVID pandemic has bought the best out of some of our leaders, for example the NRL and AFL’s Peter V’landys and Gillon McLachlan. But it has also done the opposite for some of the country’s other leaders.

“WA premier Mark McGowan is one of the those.

“The last straw for the power-hungry premier was when he refused to attend a national cabinet meeting last week because he didn’t want to be in the same company as South Australian premier Steven Marshall.

“He was worried about getting coronavirus when there hadn’t been any cases in SA for a couple of weeks and there were zero active cases in the state.”

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“Is he dreaming?” Clarkson comments surprise Cornes

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson’s antics at the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) caught the eye of Kane Cornes, whose expectations for the Hawks aren’t quite as high.

Clarkson used a Bruce Springsteen song and his guitar to convey his thoughts on 2021 for Hawthorn, saying he expects the club to bounce back strongly from their bottom four finish.

“After a promising start, and starting the season at 3-1, we then entered hub life where we confronted some obstacles that proved to be significant challenges throughout the course of the season,” Clarkson said.

“In a team sport you still require everyone to play their role, unfortunately for us we had far too many that have fallen beneath their best throughout the course of 2020, right across the board.

“To best depict this past season, I’m going to pull out another old Bruce Springsteen song, this time it’s called ‘Should I Fall Behind, Wait For Me’.

“I’d love you to watch this song, think about our players, think about our club and think of how we are ready to bounce in 2021.”

Cornes doesn’t believe the Hawks have the playing group to push back up the ladder.

“Is he dreaming, Clarko? Like, is he delusional with where they’re at?” Cornes told SEN SA Breakfast.

“I love it. I love the fact that he’s digging in again and he’s saying with his one-minute address to the members last night to back them in, they’re going to come again and bounce back on the back of 15th this year, but they don’t have any players.

“Clarko, you’ve got no players. That’s pretty important. I know you’re a great coach, but you actually need players to coach.

“They drafted Denver Grainger-Barras who is a highly regarded draft pick, but he’s not going to help them much next year.

“They’re a bottom four side for me, the Hawks. I don’t expect much from the Hawks (in 2021).”

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