May 30, 2016
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Ten
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 (91) v North Melbourne (65)
This round confirmed my working hypothesis that this season is nuts. It’s quite possible that no one will win the premiership.
Speaking of not winning the premiership, North Melbourne’s disastrous start to the season continued as they now sit in lowly first, with a worrying 9-1 record.
Mathematically, they can still make the finals but it will be tough. This was a crushing loss for North supporters who have long complained that the Kangaroos don’t get enough respect.
This loss however proved the doubters right and if hip hop has taught me anything, it’s that you’re meant to prove the doubters wrong.
Perhaps the problem is North’s list is so old they don’t listen to hip hop?
Early on, Lindsay Thomas’ acting chops kept the Kangaroos in this one. I’ve got no problem people calling Thomas out, his diving in previous seasons makes him a target for this stuff.
We should acknowledge that a debate on ducking for frees should be focused on Joel Selwood though, before anyone else.
Thomas is John Starks to Selwood’s Michael Jordan when it comes to ducking; it’s not even close.
I know saying this will upset Cats fans but let’s just call that an added bonus.
With this win, Sydney made the strongest claim yet that they are premiership favourites.
Cue the complaints about their academy, the Giants can have the week off.
The Swans real success is recruiting players who are competitors at heart. Even their lesser players compete aggressively throughout the game.
Personally, I think Josh Kennedy is the best midfielder going around at the moment. He just quietly goes about dominating stoppages, making everyone around him look better.
Chuck in Mitchell and the ever impressive Hannebery and you’ve got the nucleus of a top side right there.
Even Kurt Tippett has put his head down and turnaround a disappointing start in Sydney to be very effective in the ruck. He got on top of Goldstein, who it must be said doesn’t look 100 per cent.
It may be time we just ban Sydney from having players. This trade ban isn’t working.
Brisbane (87) v Hawthorn (135)
Brisbane surprised everyone by actually trying this week. It’s a new tactic for them but one I would encourage them to persevere with.
Trying is an underrated tactic in AFL and possibly the one with the biggest impact on the result.
It was inevitable that the Hawks would eventually run away with this one but the fact it took so long raises some questions about the Hawks. At least I hope it does. It would be just typical that in a year they are a bit down, everyone else falls over around them.
Yet for much of this, Hawthorn looked poor and lying on the couch after eating too many chicken nuggets, I started to believe this was the end of the potential nightmare that is Fourthorn. I may have been hallucinating.
It was Jordan Lewis in his 250th game who dragged his team to a higher level and turned things around. Cyril Rioli’s five goals also showed that while trying is great, class is hard to come by.
In the end the cream rose to the top and the Lions, despite their effort just couldn’t keep up.
Melbourne (76) v Port Adelaide (121)
Melbourne supporters are as likely to travel to Alice Springs as they are to Etihad Stadium and it seems the team didn’t bother to travel their either.
Demons players may need to stop reading their own press. All this talk of them being an ‘emerging power’ seemed laughable, as the Demons put in a performance so half assed it took me back to their performance against Essendon earlier in the year.
Not only did they continually let the Power get out over the back and kick goals, they made no changes to attempt to stop this rather repetitive outcome. It was bewildering that nothing was done to at least try and stop this and it’s not the first time it’s happened this season.
Considering Brendon Bolton has done what Paul Roos has done in only ten rounds, it makes you wonder if the Demons have really got the improvement they should have in the past few seasons. Still, at least Paul Roos is a lot more expensive.
Port on the other hand just couldn’t believe that every time they went forward they had space and spare men in their own fifty. Surely this has to end? They must have wondered but to their good fortune they shouldn’t have worried.
It keeps the Power’s chances of making the eight vaguely alive and they travel to the MCG to take on the injury plagued and Nathan Buckley coached Collingwood.
Win that and things get interesting but I just can’t see which team is going to drop out of the eight.
St Kilda (101) v Fremantle (67)
Ross Lyon’s masterclass in tanking almost came unstuck this week but ever the competitor, he got things back on track and then some.
In danger of potentially winning, the Dockers allowed the Saints to kick the last nine goals of the game. It was a masterstroke that has kept their dreams of a wooden spoon alive.
Next week, the Dockers play Essendon at home and it’s going to a tough ask for Fremantle to lose that and pretend they’re not tanking.
St Kilda did well in the end but they really let Freo back into this after the Dockers put in a really terrible first quarter.
David Armitage was incredibly impressive for the Saints, with 17 tackles, which I think is seven more than the Dockers have had all season.
Essendon (67) v Richmond (105)
Dreamtime at the ‘G and it was a wonderful sight. In fact, I really enjoyed the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round. Australians seem to enjoy it overall with no one freaking out when various traditional weapons were brought to the coin toss.
It seems only imaginary weapons upset some AFL fans. I don’t pretend to understand their ‘thinking’.
With Richmond involved, this could have gone either way. To their credit, the Tigers got the job done and have rocketed to 14th on the ladder.
This apparently keeps the Tigers finals hopes alive, which is really just cruel.
Essendon continued their effort but it’s obvious they lack the skills of to really compete at AFL level consistency.
They do play Freo this week though, so Melbourne fans will be hoping they win that so they don’t remain the only side to have completely embarrassed themselves this season.
Adelaide (107) v Greater Western Sydney (85)
This was a very enjoyable game and given that a lot of Victorians had panicked and engraved the Giants on the premiership cup for the next decade, an interesting result.
The Crows had been a bit up and down but here they reminded everyone that when it clicks, they are one of the better sides in the league.
Their midfield stood up to the Giants and were impressive inside, with Richard Douglas and Jarryd Lyons getting the clearances for the Crows.
Eddie Betts was again spectacular, including a goal of the year contender, while Tex Walker was also terrific with five goals.
Considering Geelong then lost the next day, it was a great weekend for Crows fans.
The Giants wouldn’t be too upset by this loss. They weren’t at their best but given the youth in the side, the fact they kept coming all game was impressive.
There were moments it looked like they were going to get on top but they just lacked that final link when they went forward.
When Betts is kicking some of the goals he kicked, you sort of know it’s not your day.
Carlton (104) v Geelong (85)
This Carlton having a good coach thing is truly a terrible outcome. We’d all come to really appreciate the Blues being comically awful.
Then along comes Brendon Bolton with his ‘competency’ and everything is now ruined.
The worst thing is he hasn’t just turned around the club, he’s reinvigorated Blues supporters. It’s like discovering you’ve got termites back in your house after you thought you’d got rid of them in the 1990s.
This was really impressive from Carlton. They had injuries but ignored that to focus on what had got them they lead, tough, contested footy and nothing too fancy.
Bolton seems to be able to create an environment where players can perform. There’s no clearer example than Bryce Gibbs who had 34 touches and two goals.
Where the Blues where hard, the Cats just looked soft. As well as not competing as hard, their skills were embarrassing, with frequent turnovers leading to Carlton goals.
The worrying thing for Geelong is they’ve now lost to Collingwood and Carlton, which despite some improvements are not great sides.
It seems the ghosts of last season have reappeared, despite Patrick Dangerfield being brought in to fix everything.
Collingwood (53) v Western Bulldogs (74)
If it was within my DNA to feel sorry for Collingwood I would, given a terrible run with injury in this game.
For most of the day, the Pies looked likely winners with the Doggies looking very suspect against good pressure.
Four injuries meant Collingwood couldn’t use their bench in the last quarter and with that, the Bulldogs managed to finally get over the top.
How bad is Collingwood’s injury situation now? Well they are in in real danger of having to to recall Travis Cloke. That’s season over really, although you could argue it never really began.
The Bulldogs were deeply unimpressive in this one. They started the year so full of dash that they were really exciting but they have recently looked lethargic.
There’s been some injuries but a lot of good players looked down yesterday. Still, it’s always good to win ugly and next week they return to the safe confines of Etihad Stadium.
If I’m ever feeling a bit flat, I eat a mountain of chicken nuggets. That might not work for athletes though.
West Coast (132) v Gold Coast (55)
The battle of the Coasts was more a beating, with the outcome was as predictable as it was boring.
With the Eagles at home, this was always going to be a big ask for the injury plagued Suns.
From the first quarter, the Eagles were never challenged although it was probably more of a grind than they would have expected.
To give you a sense of how boring this game was, I briefly considered switching over to the Leaders debate at one point before remembering that I still have the will to live.
Seriously, this election is going on forever and I’ve heard no one talking about the big issues like ducking for frees, the shot clock and northern academies. Where do the parties stand on these things? What’s their position on dynamic ticketing?
There’s not a lot of point in investing in health and education if the Giants are going to win the next ten premierships. Forget defense, that’s not a society worth defending.
Anyway, I’ve gone off topic.
The result in this one means the Suns have now lost seven in a row and recently that’s been by big margins. Hey, perhaps Rodney Eade isn’t the answer? But you all knew that didn’t you? Seems only the Suns didn’t.
Next week the Eagles have to travel; they face the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium. Can they start to win away regularly? They should give it a go. This season is still wide open.