While predominantly in the US there is a current crazy chorus of cries to defund law enforcement. As moronic as such a desire on face value sounds, it's not beyond the realms of possibility we could get on board a highly contextualised and manipulated self-serving version of the idiotic proposal. Maybe a redistribution or a re-funding, if you will.
A man who once benefited greatly today from something he rallied against yesterday famously said, “hypocrisy is an ironic short sighted poor man’s accusation.”
So armed with that conscience satisfying delusion, we will momentarily board an adaptation of the radical movement, providing it specifically targets a certain area south of Melbourne and as long as it can potentially deliver us the treasure we possibly seek. To provide a further hint of that specific locality, right now our willingness to even attempt to muddy the ‘defund the police’ narrative waters for our own benefit, would no doubt have many saying, “Gee, that’s a Long bow to draw.”
The fact is we don’t want to see law enforcement defunded, overfunded or underfunded especially when it comes to Constables, and particularly when it comes to those named Charlie. (Not going to lie, that was a stretch loosely linking all that together and it was looking very shaky for a while but we sort of got there in the end.)
Quite simply opportunity is everything and, as such, the question of how much talent slips through the cracks due entirely to the lack of it, remains eternally unanswerable.
The number of mature age recruits having a meaningful impact in the AFL in recent years may suggest a substantial amount of quality falls by the wayside. Take our All Australian defender and 2020 Doig medal winner Luke Ryan scooped up at pick 66 and the rookie drafted great Michael Barlow, just to name a couple. And let’s not forget the obvious, the Brownlow medalist Lachie Neale selected at pick 58 or the 4 time all Australian and 300 plus goal kicker Robbie Gray snapped up at pick 55.
It confusingly sounds an embarrassment of very low draft pick riches but cherry picking data has a distorting influence on reality. Diamonds in the rough are out there and pretty much on an annual national draft basis. But, for context and scale, the rough equates to a paddock of hay stacks in which a single needle is sought. And now apparently confusing and unnecessary intertwining clichés is now a thing!
The point is, a Lachie Neale and a Dane Swan both at pick 58 in their respective drafts is akin to winning the lottery. But having said that I probably didn’t quite think through the Lotto analogy because for us Fremantle folk the pain of belonging to the large percentage of Lotto winners that lose their windfall is very real and still raw.
The fact is while top liners exist in the latter end of the draft no team survives on a diet of fourth round plus picks alone. Consequently it brings us back to the ultra-importance of opportunity.
The talent that falls through the cracks is largely due to a lack of opportunity. So when talent gets the opportunity of being drafted, gets the opportunity to play seniors and shows obvious capabilities but then is stifled of regular match opportunity, it opportunistically ironically creates further opportunity, if you can follow that logic. To be honest I’m now not sure whether it’s a lack there of or an abundance of opportunity which is the problem!
To continue the over use of clichés, or at least adaptations, one mans over supply of non-trash like items is another man’s treasure. It’s often too dangerous for an overseer of talent not to provide it opportunity and simply put in other words, use it or potentially lose it.
This brings us to the man in question and, believe it or not, the entire reason for this article. The young gun Geelong midfielder, Charlie Constable, who is seemingly being starved of opportunity.
It’s difficult to think that such a player is apparently highly gettable in this upcoming trade period and one must think operational factors at Geelong, their 2021 wish list and their highly talented and elite midfield has conspired for this to be the case.
Taken at pick 36 in the 2017 national draft, Constable spent a year playing with Geelong Falcons in the VFL. Unlike 31 of the 35 draftees before him, he wasn’t afforded even a token taste of senior 2018 action, which two of his fellow draft year colleagues and Geelong teammates Tim Kelly and Lachie Fogarty enjoyed.
However, in 2019 he made his debut in round one and immediately impressed with 21 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles and a goal in a 7 point win over Collingwood.
He showed his set of debut digits wasn’t a flash in the pan as he amassed 31 touches, 4 marks, 4 tackles and another goal to help the Cats to a crushing 80 point win over Melbourne a week later. His 13 contested possessions in his second performance no doubt influenced his round two rising star nomination.
He played five of the next seven games averaging 20 touches, almost 5 marks and 4 tackles as well as kicking 3 goals. But strangely after one ordinary game in round nine he was dropped and wasn’t seen again for the season.
It is difficult to be critical of Geelong and their selection panel’s decisions because, after all, in 2019 they won the minor premiership. But regardless, it must leave many who have cast an eye over Constable Charlie a touch baffled.
In 2020 it seemed the Constable was again not walking the thin blue line but rather sitting on the sideline. It wasn’t until round eight against us Dockers that he received the call up and while he had missed the last 23 games he stepped in and picked up from where he left off with 19 touches and 5 tackles, earning himself a second outing in round nine.
To some degree you could suggest that the long arm of Muphy’s Law reared its head in more ways than one. Devastatingly Charlie suffered a concussion in that round nine clash against the well-known Andrew Gaff led West Coast Eagle head high hunters.
Sadly that concussion not only halted his 2020 season but, despite his rapid recovery and availability, it still ended it. Similar to 2019 the man they call Chooky Constable found himself out of the side far more easily than he did in it and it must have left him scratching his concussed but healed head.
Again it’s hard to criticise Geelong’s motives considering they just fell short in the 2020 Grand Final, but given the obvious talent Charlie has shown, it begs the question of why has he been sidelined? Surely you’d not risk a young, big bodied highly capable and classy midfielder becoming somewhat disillusioned?
There has been a suggestion his lack of explosive speed may be the knock on him but I have heard that argument used too many times on players who went on to be greats for it to be a definitive concern. And apparently the wind tank could do with some building as well so maybe that hasn’t improved greatly over the three year journey to date?
Possibly Chooky Constable occupies one trick police pony status and doesn’t possess the versatility required in today’s football. When he was used on a wing he did have his poorest game, which was his 11 disposals in round nine 2019 against the Bulldogs. That said, he still applied six tackles, kicked a goal and it was only his seventh career game.
Reportedly Charlie has been told that he will no longer be played in the same midfield as Joel Selwood and Paddy Dangerfield. This may provide weight to the lack of versatility thought.
These are all largely non-evidenced based theories I am throwing up and I am doing so purely as an outsider over the other side of the country, trying to ascertain any rational reasoning for this seemingly talented youngster’s lack of game time.
Regardless of all the whys and why nots, with the crazy trade period in sight one would have to suggest that as Constable’s are prone to investigations Charlie must be thinking about investigating his options.
He is contracted to Geelong until the end of 2021 but can the club contain an obviously eager and capable player to the sidelines for another twelve months? Do they wish to hold him back for list depth? Are they looking for salary cap room with the prospect of Jeremy Cameron to come in? Have we turned into Bruce McAvaney and fallen into a world of ironically asking shedloads of rhetorical questions?
Charlie Constable would fit neatly into any team in the AFL and likely become a pivotal member of a midfield so his options would be far and wide. He would have been a highly appropriate presence at West Coast over the years because God knows they could have done with a Constable. And wouldn’t that have literally thrown a Cat amongst the Pigeons in more ways than one!
From a Fremantle Docker perspective, I have seen enough to say I’d be keen to see him in purple. How we were to facilitate the trade and who would want what remains to be seen and should be left up to smarter people than I. But I can see Charlie slotting in superbly and adding further quality and hardness to the midfield.
He is on ‘best mate’ terms with Andy Brayshaw as the pair for a long time has been as thick as thieves. They played football together at Haileybury College, Sandringham Dragons and Vic Metro and were drafted the same year, 2017.
The pair are keen golfers and along with Angus and Hamish Brayshaw they would, under a regime not led by Dan Andrews, play the regular round together before two of the Brayshaw brothers moved West. And they were actual real games of golf the boys played, not a Trevor Nisbett fantasy version golf game with Andrew Gaff!
The talented prototypical big bodied, hard nut, clean hands midfielders do not grow on trees. Here is one that has shown enormous capabilities in his short and interrupted career to date yet for whatever reasons, can’t get a look in.
Averaging 20 disposals per game, almost half of them contested and going at around on par of 67% disposal efficiency, isn’t something to be flippant about. Add in an average of 17 pressure acts and so far over half a goal per game and you have got yourself one very fine 21 year old good charactered, hard-nosed midfielder with untapped potential.
Is he what Freo wants? Do we need him? Does he slide into our midfield? Maybe Bruce McAvaney has the answers.
Personally I’d welcome him with open arms. Peter Bell has shown his slick strategic maneuverability on and off the field and particularly at the trade table so he’ll find a way if the fit is right.
Yes sure, I know, it’s easier said than done but that’s why I’m handling the saying and not the doing.
The reality to date is that Charlie probably doesn’t bring the outside run and speed that Justin Longmuir has indicated he’s after but sometimes you can’t see the copper for the gold. So to end on yet another clichéd rhetorical question, is that the knocking sound of opportunity I hear at the door?