Jul 06, 2015
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Fourteen
Footy is a passion, not some cold hearted, spread sheet dominated rational exercise.
On a Monday you want irrational reaction. You want emotion to trump reason.
What you really want is idiotic hysteria.
You’ve come to the right place.
Sydney (94) v Port Adelaide (84)
This was the night before our AFL world got tipped on its head. Sometimes I wish you could press rewind and go back but life unfortunately rushes on.
So we must press on dear reader because that’s the deal, so here we go.
This was always going to be tough for the Power against a full strength Sydney side.
Of course, the Swans were without 97.3% of their salary cap and down by two rotations for most of the second half.
Still, close to full strength.
Really, this should have been the game the Power showed us they were not letting this season slip through their fingers.
Gary Rohan was already off with a hamstring injury when Jay Schulz tackled Ted Richards resulting in Richards going off on a stretcher.
It was reminiscent of the Bryce Gibbs tackle from round 12 although comparing the Schulz tackle in a suspension sense is not easy.
Gibbs’ ponytail was a big factor in his penalty, which was only fair.
You’d think the Power would have run over the top of the Swans at this point being ‘the fittest team in the league’ apparently. They’ve got that guy from Liverpool. Haven’t the media stories on him dried up?
Unfortunately for Port, the Swans showed that they have more depth than the very shallow Power.
Josh Kennedy was particularly good and Adam Goodes wound back the clock in both a playing sense and in a lack of being booed. It’s nice that in a week footy fans showed their best side, they also decided to not show their worst.
So can Port still make the finals? Well they’re below North Melbourne, so no.
Collingwood (91) v Hawthorn (101)
So Jesse White is Sydney's revenge on Eddie right? Clever from the Swans to plant a sleeper agent and activate him right at the point Collingwood started to look good.
Pies fans will be pretty sick of hearing about honourable losses. Collingwood are good this year and recently it’s been all about games they should have won.
Really, this all came down to the fact that Collingwood couldn’t kick straight. You could have put every barn in the country side by side and the Pies would have missed the whole thing.
It was actually pretty funny.
In the third term Collingwood kicked 2.9. That’s really bad.
When Collingwood players visit schools, the kids run them through goal kicking drills.
Travis Cloke played his traditional role, kicking 1.4 from scoring shots and Alex Fasolo recorded 1.3, proving inaccuracy is contagious.
Compare this spectacular inefficiency to Cyril Rioli who booted five goals from only ten possessions. Bruce McAvaney had to be repeatedly given tranquilizers in the commentary booth just to get him to sit down.
People can criticise Rioli all they like for not getting enough of the ball but I’d take anyone who gives that sort of return. In comparison, you’d need to give Cloke 70-odd possessions for a similar return.
Next week Hawthorn takes on Fremantle, so we should know who is going to win the premiership then.
Richmond (78) v Greater Western Sydney (69)
Does it get better? Saturday afternoon at the MCG, a close game and traditional rivals going head to head.
I remember standing in the outer at Punt Road in the early sixties as these two went at it. So many classic games.
Richmond did a great job overcoming the way they played. They were pretty bad for large stretches of this game and I was cursing tipping them.
Once again though, we saw Richmond un-Richmond themselves when it mattered.
Trent Cotchin stood up once again and is really starting to prove he can captain this side.
There was a lot of niggle throughout this game with a few unsavoury incidents.
One of the lowlights was when Toby Greene spat at Anthony Miles. How about all those Toby Greene is maturing stories?
We footy fans always remember that he’s pretty luck not to be in jail. Same goes for Marley Williams. These stories of what terrific people they are get a bit tiresome really. Plenty of AFL players who don’t do these sort of things and we never hear what good people they are.
The question now for the Tigers is are they the real deal or is this just their best ever effort at building up false hope?
Probably false hope yeah?
Gold Coast (125) v North Melbourne (70)
And on the Fourteenth Round, he returned and said 'let us no longer be a total embarrassment' and so it was.
The Suns managed to overcome a tough week and a worrying culture of UDL use with an emphatic victory and 24 Brownlow votes for Gary Ablett.
Gold Coast with Gary are ridiculously better. Suddenly everyone around him plays like an AFL footballer and not a schoolie with their first major hangover.
Kade Kolodjashnij was also fantastic and looks to be on track for a long career, which is great news for Suns fans and a nightmare for professional footy commentators and BT.
This game was the universe's way of saying 'I let you get Richmond right in your tips but I'm not giving you North too.'
North Melbourne's caretaker coach Darren Crocker said before the game that they wouldn’t sledge the Suns, but he didn’t mention they wouldn’t be playing them either.
Roos fans would have every right to be beyond angry about this insipid performance. It was putrid.
The Suns had some key players returning from injury but that doesn’t explain this result.
North’s season was on the line and they needed to win and instead they looked completely disinterested.
The only moment of interest for North was Lindsay Thomas' amazing mark where he dove on the back of Adam Saad and failing to get a free, decided to take a mark.
North’s season is now over, the question now is if the Brad Scott era is over too? I hope not, I’d miss those facial gymnastics.
Western Bulldogs (64) v Carlton (53)
I suppose the adrenaline boost of not being coached by Mick Malthouse wears off eventually.
Still, it was a nice little run for the Blues and at least they continued this ‘trying’ thing they’ve been working on.
In some ways, the Bulldogs had already beaten the Blues before this started, when they traded them Liam Jones.
The Bulldogs weren’t great in this and were pretty lucky the Blues were inaccurate in front of goal at key moments.
Caleb Daniel impressed in his debut when he came on at halftime. At 167cm, the Doggies deserve some credit for drafting someone at that size. At some clubs they would try to set him on fire at their Christmas party.
Melbourne (60) v West Coast (114)
One of the iron laws of physics is that the Melbourne Football Club can never win two games in a row.
Unfortunately for Melbourne they can't play Geelong every week.
Melbourne were pretty bad and the scoreboard in some ways flatters them.
Their skills were little atrocities occurring across the field. Matt Jones put together his own little lowlight reel in this one and he was not alone.
An early knock to Angus Brayshaw had experienced Melbourne fans reaching for the decanter of their most expensive whiskey.
The Eagles were simply more consistent than the Demons and can also hit targets, a strange luxury in the modern game.
Next week the Eagles take on Adelaide, which promises to be the most emotional thing since Ted Whitten went around the MCG to the strains of Mariah Carey’s Hero.
Essendon (52) v St Kilda (162)
This was such a sad moment in Brendon Goddard's movie.
I hope he plans to edit it into a montage, perhaps one of the Russian composers playing in the background. Rachmaninoff would be my tip.
When you think about it, it’s pretty ungrateful of the players to turn in this sort of performance after all Hird's done for them.
After all, he ran that appeal for them that they asked him not to.
This was as bad as it get for the Bombers. I was surprised Brendon Goddard didn't gather the team on the field at half time for a spray. I guess he was exhausted from his four first half possessions.
Even their coach admitted they ‘stopped playing’.
Not surprising really given Mark Neeld and Neil Craig are at the club, they made that the signature feature at Melbourne.
Essendon just need to hire Chris Connelly and Cameron Schwab and they’ll have the whole set.
Considering this was Jobe Watson’s 200th game the lack of endevour was worrying.
Apart from Dyson Heppell, this looks like a bunch of players that would rather be doing anything but play footy. I’m seriously just waiting for Jobe to announce his retirement at any moment.
Hird’s position is now so precarious that the Greek Prime Minister rang him to offer support. We all know how close James’ ties with Europe are.
We shouldn’t take too much away from the Saints performance though. They were slick all day and never took their foot off the pedal.
The way they’ve played all season has been very entertaining and I’m sure it was a relief for Saints fans that letting go of James Gwilt hasn’t come back to haunt them.
Adelaide v Geelong
20,000 people rocking up to an empty stadium just to pay tribute.
We footy fans are often a crazy lot but this made me pretty proud to be a member of our community.
Fremantle (84) v Brisbane (48)
The climatic conditions at this would have challenged anyone, not just to play in but to watch.
The result was 233 tackles, the second most ever in a game and the reason I was bored out of my brain as I waited for the inevitable Dockers breakaway.
The Lions showed that they’ve got back to the basics despite all the injuries but lack any polish.
They’re still on track for a priority pick and it appears the Suns may have given up the race for the wooden spoon. Quitters.
Fremantle continue to grind out wins. They haven’t been as impressive as the start of the season but winning all the time is a fantastic experience, at least, I’ve been told that.
There’s no doubt to me that Ross Lyon is not going to Carlton. Fremantle’s list has a future; he’s not finished here yet.