Jun 20, 2016
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Thirteen
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.
North Melbourne (84) v Hawthorn (93)
Amazing. A game full of drama but the most dramatic moment happened after the match.
Only Brad Scott could swing AFL fans’ sympathies to the umpires so completely and so quickly.
If you missed it, Brad said the umpires treated Lindsay Thomas differently when it came to free kicks because he was a ‘ducker’. He claimed the umpires told his players this out on the field.
His comments occurred in the post-match media conference, a place where Brad likes to sulk and blame other things or people for his team’s failings.
The AFL took about three seconds to comprehensively disprove Brad’s claims, which is about the time it would have taken Brad to probably check before making a fool of himself.
Really, it was a bit like North’s performance, coming out strong but proving wanting when it mattered due to a lack of accuracy.
Perhaps Brad just stirred up this controversy to distract from the fact his side had failed against another top side. At least that would make sense.
It’s a shame too, as this was a great game. The Kangaroos obviously remembered the past transgressions of the Hawks and set about making them earn every single possession.
North just couldn’t convert though. If you’re going to try and intimidate Hawthorn, you can’t then miss easy shots.
Like popular AFL special comments man Niccolò Machiavelli said, “If an injury has to be done to a man, it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”
Old Niccolò is right, you’ve got to finish them when you can or they’ll come back like herpes (which is how I think of the Hawks).
In the end, this game just had it all, excitement, drama, skill and especially Hawthorn winning and North losing.
Brisbane (82) v West Coast (131)
The Eagles were probably not as slick as they would have liked, a result of the Lions giving it a bit of a go this week for novelty effect but the result was clear.
Brisbane are in real trouble. If Essendon had won against the Giants (and it was close) they would have officially been the worst team, not just strongly competing for the title.
Surprisingly, the Lions had 110 more disposals than the Eagles but they just passed it around so much that the Eagles defence got to sit down and have a nice rest before Brisbane would finally gain the courage to go forward.
The Eagles had no such shyness when it came to going forwad with Carlton’s Josh Kennedy kicking five goals, Mark LeCras four and Jack Darling four.
Perhaps most worrying was only 12,777 turned up to the the Gabba. That’s almost a Greater Western Sydney crowd.
What’s been the point of all that investment in Queensland if the AFL’s just going to let it go so easily?
The Lions are like a child who’s parents suddenly had twins. Suddenly, they weren’t the ones getting all the attention anymore.
Fremantle (86) v Port Adelaide (69)
Ken Hinkley said his team was ‘spooked’ in this one, due to it being so important to them staying in the race for the eight.
This is a group of grown men he’s talking about.
He’s right though. The Power played this one like it was all too hard. Fremantle were simply harder and worked for the whole four quarters.
On this performance, the Power aren’t making the eight this year.
Which raises the Dockers. All their injuries explain a lot of their plunge down the ladder over the first half of the season but this seemed to suggest they’re turning that around.
It’s a bit of a slap in the face to all those people who said they were tanking (I of course never said that, I did write it a few times though. Actually, I may have said it too).
Perhaps they are tanking but not too much and not too little, just the right amount of tanking. They’re the Goldilocks of tanking.
A rampant Freo in the second half of this season serves no purpose though, except to make tipping a nightmare.
Western Bulldogs (43) v Geelong (100)
This was meant to be a great game but it was over in about five minutes. The Cats were ridiculously impressive, while the Doggies were about as awful as I’ve seen them under Luke Beveridge.
When you consider Melbourne, in a terrible performance, scored 31 points in difficult conditions, 43 points at Etihad is pretty damning for the Doggies.
There’s no doubt Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood are the power couple of the AFL; the Jay-Z and Beyoncé, if you will.
I’ve had some doubts about the Cats this season but after this performance, I’m filling out the paperwork to transfer those doubts to the Doggies.
The ease at which the Cats shut down their forward line was really something. It showed that the Bulldogs are a bit behind where the general consensus currently had them. Exciting? Sure. But solid? Not enough it seems.
Sydney (86) v Melbourne (31)
This was played in pretty consistent heavy rain, turning it into a terrible game to watch.
Sydney set a record for tackles with 155 tackles for the day. It helped that Melbourne players responded to the rain like people who have never seen it before.
A lot of the time a Melbourne player would get the ball but then seemed to be mesmerised by the way the light interacted with the raindrops and get tackled. At least that’s what appeared to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, admiring the beauty of life-giving rain is something I’d recommend to anyone but there’s a time and place.
That time isn’t when you need quick hands and an AFL player is about to tackle you.
The Dees tried to be competitive in the main but their skills went to water (sorry, couldn’t resist) and they just couldn’t move it forward at all.
When you think about it, 31 points is probably not going to get it done very often, no matter the conditions.
Sydney struggled too but the difference was one of class. Buddy Franklin managed the conditions very well for a key forward and came away with four goals.
As always, in the wet it comes down to adjusting to the conditions and doing more of the hard stuff. On both these counts Sydney were ahead by a fair measure.
Essendon (90) v Greater Western Sydney (117)
This was the AFL’s favourite team taking on their least favourite. Brad Scott told me the AFL even admitted that to someone who told someone else who then told him.
Given that being the case, there would have been a lot of nervous people at AFL HQ as the Bombers really took it to the Giants.
It was a disappointing crowd of 14,463 who showed up to watch this near miracle, proving the Giants can attract small crowds at home or away.
We shouldn’t talk down the Giants’ performance too much, as the Bombers were simply great.
They will even wonder what could have been with Orazio Fantasia, who kicked four goals, forced to miss twenty minute for a concussion assessment.
In the last quarter, the Giants just had that extra gear (not a pun. Seriously, it wasn’t. No really).
Zagame’s ambassador Toby Greene was the difference, with four goals.
Late in the game he got into a fiery exchange with Brendon Goddard, making me pick Goodard’s side for the first time ever.
I never thought that was even possible.
In the end, it was bad luck for Essendon, they were brave but came up just short.
As a Demons supporter, I was really hoping they’d beat someone else. My fingers are crossed for their game against Brisbane.