Leading media analyst Gilles de Lilly is leading a push to equalise the AFL competition by ''banning loss'', demanding ''backward'' fans give up their ''outdated addiction'' to wanting their teams to win. Seizing his opportunity after a handful of recent matches featuring big margins, de Lilly insists that the AFL is an ''entertainment product'' that must ''evolve or die''.
''We can't have anyone from Channel Ten saying anything negative about the product, ever,'' he said. De Lilly said his cadre of Equalisers offered a ''marketing paradigm shift that would consolidate AFL as a rival to musical theatre for the A-group demographic''.
The Equalisers advocate using melodramatic music to accompany inside-50s, and interrupting shots at goal with a graphic of flames, 10 minutes of advertising, and a recap. ''People just want to see a good game, this emphasis on who 'wins' and who 'loses' is just archaic. It's all about spectacle, suspense, and heart-warming storylines.''
De Lilly wants the ladder banned - ''it's too hierarchical, and depressing'' - and strongly supports tanking as a positive step for the code. ''If coaches can lose matches by putting their players out of position, it should be easy to manufacture great games with two coaches co-operating. There's a bit of a spend in expanding the coaches box to fit the director and scriptwriters, but we've got the cash.''
Asked to give his ''celebrity tips'' for round 21, de Lilly included his suggested storylines for ''progressive'' clubs who embrace his ''no losers'' vision.ST KILDA v Collingwood
''Oh, great yarn, this team comes back from mental anguish of finals loss to beat nemesis. We'll make the ball bounce for Stephen Milne to kick the winning point in the last second.''Hawthorn v PORT ADELAIDE
''Look, believability problems make this a tough sell, I admit. Might have to market it as a comic book superhero/supernatural fantasy and throw cash at the special effects.''FREMANTLE v Carlton
''Docker shocker! Working class men defy doubters to beat bold Blues.''WESTERN BULLDOGS v Essendon
''Pups fight back from eight-goal deficit and win this time! Bright future for both clubs!''BRISBANE LIONS v Gold Coast
''This time it's the unfashionable Lions who prevail, leaving the Q-Clash ledger locked at 1-1 and fans rapt at the prospect of a lifetime of epics to come!''MELBOURNE v West Coast
''The embattled underdog overcomes its self-doubts with a brilliant upset of the high-flying Eagles.''RICHMOND v Sydney
''Tiger fans finally get some joy as their young stars overcome the noble Swans in an MCG thriller!''ADELAIDE v Geelong
''Revitalised Crows on a roll after adding their third straight scalp since the change of coach. How can favourite son Bicks avoid snagging the full-time gig now?''
■Village Idiot's code last week was the number of votes awarded to the Brownlow medal winner for the last 8 years. Don Chamberlain correctly guessed the answer and wins a copy of The Golden Years, stories from Hawthorn's greatest era. If you can work out the meaning behind this week's margins, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to win a random prize.