Aug 15, 2020
AFL Mad Scramble: Day Eighteen
A column every day for twenty days, as we get more football than we even asked for.
Occasionally, this column will even mention football but rarely sensibly.
Geelong (91) v Port Adelaide (31)
A day after the Giants handed in the most wanting performance of 2020, Port Adelaide ripped that title off them just one day later.
It was like watching a limbo competition.
This was certainly worse, as the Giants had been bouncing around in form all year, where Port seemed to have pulled themselves together and were a measure of consistency.
Most concerning for Port was the way Geelong managed to stop them doing anything they wanted to do. It was a COVID-like display in that regard.
While the Power kept crashing into Geelong’s defence at one end, Tom Hawkins was tearing apart Port’s at the other.
His six goals were impressive enough, but it was the way he did it that will have mentally scared Port’s defenders.
It was like dropping a man into an under 14 game.
If you didn’t see it, just watch the scene in The Revenant when Leo gets attacked by a bear and you’ll get a good sense of how brutal it was.
The performance marks Geelong as the real deal, and it sends Port back to the pack of contenders with question marks over them.
North Melbourne v Brisbane (Metricon) 2:35pm Foxtel
North Melbourne may be 17th on the ladder but they’re first for injuries. Apart from being 17th, they have 17 players on their injury list.
Here’s their list, I’ll give you several minutes to get through it.
There’s almost an AFL team in there.
In contrast, Brisbane have eight players on their injury list. Charlie Cameron is unfortunately one of them and he’s worth about four North Melbourne players.
The Lions are still dealing with their loss to Richmond, a significant setback in what’s been a very good season.
But this won’t present them with any problems.
Melbourne v Collingwood (G) 5:10pm Foxtel
The Pies get a host of talent back this week, in the form of Ben Reid, Darcy Moore, Jamie Elliott, Scott Pendlebury and Will Hoskin-Elliott.
But fear not Dees fans, Braydon Preuss is an in for the Dees so that balances things out.
Melbourne also get Jack Viney back but lose both Max Gawn and Luke Jackson.
The Demons are on a two-game winning streak, but that’s been against North Melbourne and Adelaide, so being excited about that would be like bragging about passing a cognitive test that measures whether you have dementia.
Now they’re back to facing an AFL team, who are getting a lot of key players back.
I’ve long been critical of Melbourne’s habit of taking meaningless wins as some big sign they’ve turned things around, only for it to all fall over in a match like this, and annoyingly I keep being proved right. Predicting Melbourne will fall over is the only thing I’ve ever gotten right in my life.
I don’t think that’s going to change here unfortunately, but I remain ever hopeful.
Collingwood to win.
Fremantle v Carlton (OS) 8:10pm Seven
Fremantle looked a lot better last week, but they were playing Hawthorn, and that makes you look a lot better than you are.
Although Carlton can’t say that, being belted by them just two games ago.
The Blues season has really spun out of control in the last month, an outcome Carlton fans expected but hoped wouldn’t happen.
Seriously, teams like Melbourne, Carlton, Essendon and a few others are so predictable in their mediocrity.
While 2020 has taught me not to like surprises, I’m sure I speak for fans of all those clubs, Freo included, when I say, just surprise us once, just do what Sydney or Geelong did and completely change your culture.
It is odd how teams pick up a culture that lasts sometimes generations, despite the players, coaches and even board members changing.
I usually hate talk of culture because anyone that’s worked at a place that has culture sessions, knows the person who talks about culture the most is the worst person to work with.
They say things like ‘hey we should have a culture pillar of teamwork’ and you say ‘normal people don’t need to bang on about teamwork like it’s some newly discovered phenomenon, we do it normally because we’re not awful people.’
And then you’re the one that gets sacked.
Anyway, Carlton to win.
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