Aug 28, 2020
AFL Mad Scramble Two: Day Two
A column every day, as we get more football than we even asked for.
Occasionally, this column will even mention football but rarely sensibly.
Hawthorn (71) v Essendon (87)
Essendon fans were in a fury in the first half as their team turned in one of their worst ever performances.
The vitriol on Twitter was a sight to behold, as the Bombers’ fans, quite rightly, wondered why their team had decided not to turn up for the first half.
Hawthorn, like someone pushing on an open door, found their task ridiculously easy, as the Essendon players seemed allergic to the ball, either going nowhere near it, or when they did, quickly giving it to the closest Hawthorn player.
As the half concluded, neutral fans grabbed the popcorn and settled in to read the Essendon fans comments in the second half. I was expecting Bombers Twitter to meltdown in a way I haven’t seen since the Hird era.
Yet, those tweets remain forever trapped in drafts, as the Bombers must have realised the game had started by the time they emerged for the second half.
Obviously, Ben Rutten started coaching at the half, with my favourite thing in Bombers’ games is watching John Worsfold on the bench looking on like a neutral observer.
Suddenly, the run, the effort was there. Hawthorn looked shocked, suddenly they were expected to work hard, and that did not appeal to them at all.
You could see it early in the third, when every time Andrew McGrath got the ball, he ran forward with enough room around him to build a new suburb.
Time and again this happened and instead of tagging him, the Hawthorn players seemed to form a guard of honour for him whenever he had the ball.
Up forward, the uninjured Joe Daniher reminded everyone that he can take a mark and given enough goes, can occasionally convert them into goals.
It was now the Hawthorn fans turn to wonder aloud what the hell was going on, as Essendon ran all over the Hawks with an ease that made you wonder if the Bombers had swapped the doppelgangers who had played the first half with actual AFL players.
It left both sets of fans wondering how a team can be so bad in one half and so good in another, but for Bombers fans, at least their team got the order in which to do that right.
They had won, and the only people happier were Sydney supporters.
Richmond (88) v West Coast (61)
Richmond delved back into their greatest hits last night, which was sure to please the faithful, who haven’t exactly enjoyed some of their more experimental stuff this year.
Instead, the Tigers gave them what they wanted, Dusty running amok, high pressure, running chains through the midfield and winning.
Just playing football and forgetting all the nonsense seemed to help Richmond a lot.
As did Josh Kennedy going off injured with a concussion. This was offset somewhat by Dylan Grimes also going off with a hamstring injury.
But from the start, the Tigers just seemed more committed to the game than the Eagles who went into this with an eight-game winning streak.
You can do some deep analysis on the Eagles problems in this game, but let’s be lazy and just say it’s because they were in Queensland.
It’s so much easier and who wants to do any thinking at this point of the year?
Not me, I just want to get back into bed with a bottle of wine, a box of Cheezels and stare at the wall until nighttime.
Western Bulldogs v Geelong (Metricon) 7:50 pm Seven
Remember when you used to check where a game was being played to do your tips? Not that it helped your tipping, but you paid attention.
Now I’ll sometimes be watching a game and it will take until the third quarter for me to notice where it’s being played.
I’m not even sure the season is really being played; I think it’s all a computer simulation.
It’s being put on by the AFL and the other states to keep Victorians docile in lockdown.
I mean we can’t leave the state to check if these games are actually being played, and I’m sure the rest of the country is in on it.
It explains what happened last night, the server went down at half time of the Essendon/Hawthorn game and they had to reset it.
It also explains why Port Adelaide are top of the ladder. Surely that can only happen in a computer simulation.
Other bits of the simulation are good though, they’ve made Melbourne play in a way that makes their fans comfortable, Hawthorn are bad to cheer us all up, and they programmed it to accurately reflect the large number of injuries Collingwood get every single season.
The Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge this week said he was confused about what constituted a dangerous tackle, and which ones would result in a suspension.
He’s not the only one who is confused. The AFL Match Review Officer and the Tribunal seem confused too, and not just on dangerous tackles but on every rule in the game.
Consistency isn’t the AFL’s judiciary’s strong suit, making a bewildering decision is, and at this, they excel.
Speaking of consistency, the Cats have found some recently, and as I’ve heard many a football fan say in recent weeks, ‘Are Geelong actually good?’
It certainly appears so, but Geelong needs to turn their in-season form into finals wins.
There’s actually no clear favourite for the premiership this year, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Richmond, West Coast and Geelong have all shown glimpses, but all have question marks hanging around them too.
It makes the most uncertain season even more uncertain.
I don’t mind a bit of uncertainty, it makes me feel alive, a feeling I rarely get at the moment when every day is exactly the same.
Geelong to win.
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