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.
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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