Aug 30, 2020
AFL Mad Scramble Two: Day Four
A column every day, as we get more football than we even asked for.
Occasionally, this column will even mention football but rarely sensibly.
Port Adelaide (73) v Sydney (47)
As Zak Butters streamed into an open goal after a spectacular run, he stumbled and fell over, almost injuring himself in the process, and I thought ‘this is a footballer I can relate to.’
Stuffing up simple tasks is something I’ve turned into an art form.
I remember at footy training once, in a match drill, I got the ball in a similar fashion, and streamed towards goal only to cramp up and fall on the ground in an embarrassing crumpled heap.
The coach said my sobbing was ‘unsettling’.
It still remains the highlight of my footy career.
Port were never really troubled in this, they got a good lead early, rested in parts, but always kept the Swans at arm’s length.
Sydney did some nice things though, Tom McCartin was excellent in defence for example, and their young players keep developing.
For Port, there remains a few question marks around them, can they find another level above where they play? Can they beat the top sides?
And will the Federal Government’s crackdown on relationships with China see Port Adelaide lose its position as the biggest football team in China?
Although being the most popular AFL team in China is a bit like being the best Shane Warne fragrance.
I’ve long said the Port Adelaide Football Club is just a front for Communists, a fifth column, designed to undermine Australia’s democracy.
In fairness though, our various Parliaments are doing a good job of that on their own by not sitting anymore.
But still, it’s all Port Adelaide’s fault.
Fremantle (53) v Greater Western Sydney (91)
So, the Giants have decided to play in season 2020, after seeming to boycott most of the year.
Sure, it was against a Fremantle team still developing, but for the first time I can remember this year, the Giants appeared to want to be there, and actually had something resembling a game plan, which they also stuck too.
Even Toby Greene was back to hitting people.
Up forward, Jeremy Cameron was launching at marks, a novel concept for a key forward. Then there was Jake Riccardi, a man no one wanted to draft, who booted four goals and looked more like a top ten pick.
It proves once again, that drafting is neither art nor science, it’s guessing with Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint. It’s more like management consulting than anything useful.
Down back, Lachie Whitfield controlled everything, as Fremantle struggled across the ground.
I wonder if this is the real Giants? They’ve got Carlton and Adelaide next so it’s going to be hard to tell. Then Melbourne and St Kilda.
We may not know the answer until finals.
Melbourne (52) v St Kilda (49)
Talking to a Saints supporter before the game, we were both equally convinced our team would lose this. Years of disappointment made us both have a lot of good points; we both listed our disappointments in great detail.
I should add the conversation begun last October and only just finished.
And it turned out we were both almost right.
Both teams had their traditional quarter lengths naps in the game, and both seemed to be at times hell-bent on ruining any chance they had to build a substantial lead.
St Kilda, at numerous times, after a bad start, got on top of Melbourne, only to turn the ball over so often it felt like you were watching a 30-second video on loop.
A big part of that was Steven May, who almost single-handedly kept Melbourne in the game.
I say almost because Christian Petracca’s performance was the difference at the other end.
He not only won a heap of contested ball, but he also booted goals when they were needed. It wasn’t a Dusty like performance, as he’s been unfairly compared with, he’s his own player who has got fit, worked hard and the results are showing.
The media’s need to compare players to other players all the time is one of the laziest trends in footy commentary.
In the end, this was a pretty entertaining game, and it was nice to be on the right end for once.
Let’s hope both these sides keep improving over the next few years, both sets of supporters need relief from their marathon torture at some stage.
Carlton v Collingwood (G) 3:35pm Seven
Even I must admit I used to like the big blockbusters between these two teams, but now they are like actual Blockbusters, a relic of the past that no longer has any impact on our daily lives.
Every time someone talks about the rivalry, I realise there are people in their twenties who have no idea what they’re talking about.
It reminds me of a time at work once when someone was trying to explain the impact Nirvana had on music in the early 90s and one of the people in the staffroom said, ‘What’s Nirvana?’ and I felt so old I just lay down in the corner.
I think the point you realise you’re no longer young is when a radio station playing old hits adds the decade of your teenage years to the roster.
This might be a bit off-topic for a footy review, but that’s another side effect of me not caring that much about this game.
Carlton are supposed to be improving, but that’s a tune played so many times it no longer has any impact.
Again, Carlton has shown flashes of promise, only to deliver gold plated mediocrity.
David Teague said recently, "I hated every team I played.”
Soon I bet he can also say, ‘I hated every AFL team I coached’.
Collingwood, on the other hand, have become more famous for their off-field antics than what happens on the field, they’re like The Rolling Stones after the 70s.
I expect Collingwood to win this, but I also saw them play Melbourne, and that team could lose to anyone, even possibly Carlton.
I’m tipping the Pies.
Gold Coast v North Melbourne (Metricon) 6:10pm Foxtel
Buried on a Sunday evening on pay-TV seems about right for this game.
Gold Coast have gone from having an exciting start to the season back to being the Suns.
When a draw against Essendon is a highlight of recent months, you know you’re in trouble.
I bet Matt Rowell keeps writing in his notebook requests to Stuart Dew to be allowed not to watch any more of this season.
“Dear Stuart, I want to keep my love of football, could I please be excused from watching this team anymore? Your friend Matt”
Unlike the Suns, North didn’t even have an exciting bit at the beginning of the season. Their only positive for the season is that the Adelaide Crows exist.
Suns to win. Footy to lose.
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