Nathan Vardy of the Eagles contests the ball during the Round 22 AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Melbourne Demons at Optus Stadium in Perth, Sunday, August 19, 2018.
Nathan Vardy of the Eagles contests the ball during the Round 22 AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Melbourne Demons at Optus Stadium in Perth, Sunday, August 19, 2018. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/AAP PHOTOS

BEHIND THE SPORTS DESK: AFL fans catch case of Aly anger

AUSSIE RULES: The media circled and the malevolent tirade of social media abuse flowed faster than the Clarence River for Waleed Aly this week.

The host of current affairs program The Project was incorrectly linked to a consultation gig with the AFL over a series of rule changes they are looking to adopt next season.

While he was only invited to a seminar, the media quickly fired up over the AFL's decision to involve an outsider, and the derision of the general public soon followed suit, led of course by the mis-spelled indignation of spin king Shane Warne.

But has this firestorm of criticism uncovered more than just a sport's insular behaviour, or were AFL fans right to get their backs up.

Moose and Pottsy head behind the sports desk to find out.

TV presenter and Storm fan Waleed Aly during the NRL qualifying final between the Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels at AAMI park in Melbourne, Saturday September 9, 2017. (AAP Image/Joe Castro) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
STORM IN A TEACUP: TV presenter and sport lover Waleed Aly caused a stir when an inaccurate report said he was consulted for AFL rule changes. JOE CASTRO

MOOSE ELKERTON: Aly derision uncovers sad state of Australian sport

THE indignation of the AFL community over the consultation of TV personality Waleed Aly is not only unfounded, it speaks to a depressing reality of sport in Australia.

While thinly veiled behind comments that he has no history as a player, the true derision towards Aly is based on the fact that he is "different”.

It is the same thought process of the masses that drove former hero Adam Goodes from the game.

It is okay to be different, as long as you don't let people know that you're different.

The sad thing for Aly is that he wasn't asked to be a consultant on the game anyway. He was invited to pour over statistics and information about a shift in the way in which the AFL will conduct business.

He was invited to get a better understanding of what the AFL plans to introduce.

Which for a person who heads one of the most-watched prime time news broadcasts, a broadcast aimed at a new generation, it seems a smart idea.

Shane Warne led the cacophony of unabashed criticism. And thousands of average, "white”, blokes followed suit.

It is a real shame, because sport in its essence should be the one thing that does not discriminate between races.

Often on a football field you see people of all nationalities come together, all with a common goal. It is a good thing.

Even if the AFL had asked Aly to consult, that is a mistake of the AFL, not the man.

It's high time people put away the pitchforks, and played the ball, not the man.

JARRARD 'POTTSY' POTTER: Current players should rule on the rules

WALEED Aly is one of Australia's polarising personalities: people love him, and love to hate him.

I have no doubt the many detractors who regularly take to social media to denounce him and his opinions have more than the surface-level excuse of decrying his arrogance as reason behind their vicious keyboard bashing.

The fact of the story is that Aly was rumoured to be one of many media personalities involved in a presentation by the AFL's rules committee trying to update the game for the modern age.

My problem isn't with Aly consulting, but media personalities on the whole having their say in what rules should and shouldn't be in place or changed.

The people in the best position to advise on any rule changes, in my opinion, should be the current players and coaches, the ones playing the game week in, week out.

Media personalities and former players tend to be too far removed from the current playing reality of the game, and have a glossy rose-tinted view of how the game used to be played in whatever era they consider golden.

The game will never be played like it was 10-years-ago, let alone 20 or 30.

I agree that rules always need to be looked at.

The AFL is like any sport where the game is constantly evolving, and rules need to be updated to keep up with the changes.

Just don't bother asking media types.