Aug 09, 2020


AFL Mad Scramble: Day Twelve


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.

Last Night

Port Adelaide (93) v Richmond (72)

The Festival of Footy got off to a terrible start, but in recent days it’s given us some highly entertaining games, and this one might have been the best in terms of quality.

This game had everything, freakish goals, comebacks, umpiring so bad it made your eyes water and commentary that made your ears bleed.

I can’t criticise the umpires too much, they’re not the only ones having a horrendous 2020, and every time the AFL tweaks the rules, a piece of each umpire’s soul dies.

I imagine when Steve Hocking informs the umpiring department of new rules or interpretations, they react in similar fashion to Harrison Ford when he received dialogue for Star Wars from George Lucas, famously saying, “You can type this sh*t, but you can't say it.”

Despite the closeness on the scoreboard for a lot of the game, it was clear that Port Adelaide were the superior side throughout the game, but there were moments where it looked like the pressure was getting to Port.

Charlie Dixon’s two misses in the first quarter from dead in front would have had Power fans thinking, ‘we’re going to blow this’, as they watched the Tigers creep back into the game like, well, tigers.

This feeling that it could go pear shaped (pun sort of intended, but more by accident), for Port was set aside, when Richmond decided to intentionally lose the game by giving away a 100-meter penalty.

The first fifty came from Dustin Martin shoving Tom Rockliff, and as Rockliff ran forward to take his kick, Josh Caddy decided to run in front of him the whole way instead of getting out of the way.

The term ‘decided’ might be a bit much, decision making requires a brain.

Damien Hardwick’s reaction in the box was basically my reaction to the entire year a fury so pure it could melt the strongest metal.

Brisbane (96) v Western Bulldogs (72)

Like watching a Corolla race a Ferrari, this was entertaining right until the moment the Lions decided to stop mucking around.

After that, the Lions just kept an eye in their rear mirror and just made sure the Bulldogs stayed there, something the Bulldogs seemed happy to do.

The most important moment of this game was when Charlie Cameron went off with a knee injury.

It felt like 2020 robbing us of one of the last remaining things that bring joy.

Thankfully, he did come back on, but I have no idea why. It seemed like a pretty big risk and seeing him wander around with more ice than is usually in a country town wrapped around his knee afterwards, only made me wonder more about why they sent him back on.

I’m sure it will be fine, it’s not like he’s one of the Lions most important players or anything.


West Coast v Carlton (OS) 3:35pm Seven

I’m feeling pretty flat today and looking at these two games isn’t making me feel any better.

I’d like to think Carlton could put up a contest here, but they lost to Hawthorn, so it requires mental gymnastics I’m not capable of to imagine them winning here.

The Blues season is in the balance right now, they sit 13th on the ladder (which is good for them) but it’s in danger of going back to normal. I do think they’ve left their run too late for the wooden spoon, but they could surprise us.

The Eagles have put their rather terrible restart behind them and are now well placed to sweep all before them.

It’s fitting that the top premiership chances are all not from Victoria (with the possible exception of St Kilda), after all, this is not Victoria’s year.

Eagles to win.

Melbourne v North Melbourne (AO) 6:10pm Foxtel

Over the years, Melbourne have made losing to North Melbourne an artform.

It’s why when it was announced Max Gawn and Jack Viney were out of this game, I broke out in a stress rash so unseemly that I’m glad it’s illegal at the moment for anyone to visit me.

The absence of Gawn and his unique skill in the team, effort, is a real worry.

If North do any of that trying to win stuff, the Dees could be in real trouble. 

Melbourne are coming off a win, but it was against Adelaide, so you can’t really count it, and North belted the Crows by even more.

I hate to say it, but I think North are going to win here.        

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Aug 09, 2020

Titus - I thought you might have made a comment about Riewoldt's "tap" on Port's captain, Jonas. Perhaps suggesting that Richmond's new slogan should be, "What happens in the change room should stay in the change room"!


Aug 09, 2020

It’s absolutely pissing down here in Perth today, so Eagles/Carlton could concievably be a close one, especially if the Eagles try and play a dry weather game.

Anthony Smith

Aug 09, 2020

The Occam's Razor ("the simplest explanation is most likely the right one") explanation for Doggies' loss to Brisbane:

Doggies - too many first names of Bailey - Bailey Smith, Bailey Dale, Bailey Williams. Brisbane only had one Bailey, and that was a surname, Zac Bailey

And Richmond we're bound to lose last night - they're following St Kilda's lead from the last couple of years and now have 4 players named Jack on their list-Jack Ross, Jack Riewoldt, Jack Higgins, Jack Graham. St Kilda are doing better this year because they got rid 2 Jacks (Jack Steven and Jack Newnes). But they can't go on to win the flag because they still have way too many Jacks - Jack Steele, Jack Billings, Jack Lonie, Jack Bytel, Jack Sinclair, Jack Bell and Jack Mayo (as well as a Jake, a Jade, a Josh and a Jarryn).

Equal favoritism for the flag sits with Port Adelaide and West Coast Eagles who each have 3 Toms

Port Adelaide - Tom Jonas, Tom Rockliff, Tom Clury
West Coast - Tom Hickey Tom Cole Tom Barrass

Rodger King

Aug 09, 2020

Anthony Smith, you have way too much time on your hands mate.

Michael Hill

Aug 09, 2020

Rodger..don’t we all?

Which means I will sit through two games today regardless of closeness, skill, excitement,etc. I am open to be surprised by any of those things making an appearance.


Aug 09, 2020

Anthony Smith. That is sheer genius.

Dr Shorthair

Aug 09, 2020

@Anthony you missed St Kilda's Jimmy and Jonathan.

Anthony Smith

Aug 09, 2020

Thanks Jon.

I am encouraged by your generous comment and will look to try and provide more insight into our great game in the future and to complement the great work that Titus O'Reily does for us all.

peter lake

Aug 09, 2020

If I was a narcissistic enough to suggest I could accurately predict the result of any AFL match this year, I would suggest that Melbourne could actually win for the second time in a season, something even the most avid supporter of this overblown, under achieving football club would be brave enough to suggest. For mine North Melbourne are on a par with many of Donald Trumps press conferences. Ok for two minutes but then, right on cue, plummeting into a rambling mess. Cannot think of a worse profession right now than being a White House political reporter.

The Dude Abides

Aug 09, 2020

What is one to make of the current state of affairs behind the walls of The Garden State.? 'The Murderer' Gil McLachlan has, Pol Pot style, declared we are in Week 11, Week 10 having ended last Friday night.

Not wishing to be outdone Chairman Dan is close to announcing plans to march all remaining doctors, lawyers and baristas up the Hume Highway to work the canola fields of Wangaratta.


Aug 09, 2020

Anthony Smith you forgot Jack Hoff.

The Dude Abides

Aug 09, 2020

I would ring the Covid Mental Health line but early this a.m. I received an email from my on-line yoga teacher based in Barcelona, classes starting Monday, decrying the present state of affairs in the US on the meritocracy. I think I signed off my reply basically accusing him of being part of a Marxist hate group and smashing the mobile.

Not the best way to start the day. Mass stabbings at a local Rugby League game up here today. I wonder how many Ted Kaczkynski's are out there slowly burning. Let's hope not too many of them are Demon or Kangaroo fans. Someone's going to be mighty disappointed tonight.


Aug 09, 2020

Anthony Smith - kudos, razor sharp analysis there.. As a doggies supporter I’ve felt this Bailey schtick is out of control, but Josh is fast closing in.


Aug 09, 2020

What genius, Anthony. Finally someone prepared to put in the tough statistical analysis and sort out these glaring issues.
Spoiler alert: NSw Swifts beat West Coast Fever by a point and Melbourne flog North. There was also some other code on the highlights but I think it was more about how NRL crowds have increased despite Covid. Or something ……… their grounds still look as inviting and empty as 2019.
Well done to Carlton. They played very well except for 25 minutes.

Saint Peter

Aug 09, 2020

Peter Lake there is one job worse than being a white house political reporter and that is Trump's Press Secretary. Kayleigh McEnany should win an an Oscar for pretending to support & back up everything Trump says. She can get out of more tough situations than Harry Houdini.

Peter Short

Aug 10, 2020

Been following this great game for close to 50 years and have never seen a bigger blight imposed on it by the new holding the ball interprestion. Can we please have a campaign to get rid of it immediately.

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