May 13, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eight
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 (77) v Essendon (72)
So, we’ve always known the AFL’s rules are highly subjective and rely on the mood of the 200 umpires on the field during any game.
Now we discover that the rules are also subject to the context of the game and whether they would impact the game or not.
In the dying moments, as David Myers attempted to kick a match-winning goal from beyond the 50-metre arc, Dane Rampe in a fit of madness, attempted to climb the goal post.
It was one of the stupidest things I’ve seen on a footy ground until I watched Melbourne play the Gold Coast.
It was a clear free kick in the goal square for the Bombers, which would have resulted in the winning goal.
But in the Alice in Wonderland world of the AFL, it not only wasn’t called, but it was also cleared later on as the right call on the grounds ‘It’s the vibe.’
"Well, yes technically [it is a free kick], but I think like all things it's context where and when," said Gillon McLachlan, in a wonderful example of the twisted logic the AFL brings to their own rules.
Now, we all hate Essendon, but this was about as blatant as they come. I get McLachlan’s point that Myers kick fell short, so it didn’t impact the kick, but that’s not the way the rules work.
The rule book doesn’t say, ‘if the goal post is shaken, but the ball would have fallen short anyway, don’t worry about it.”
As painful as it is to admit this, Essendon were robbed, and while that’s obviously funny, it’s a bad precedent for the rest of us.
Western Bulldogs (92) v Brisbane (76)
Both teams travelled to Ballarat, which some people from outside Victoria may not be familiar with.
It’s about an hour and a half west of Melbourne and is famous for being the site of the Eureka Rebellion, which is the only armed rebellion in Australia’s history if you don’t count all the AFL players who have mimed weapons on the field.
The Bulldogs best defender on Saturday was Brisbane’s Eric Hipwood who kicked 0.5 in the first half, keeping the Doggies in this game. I thought the Bulldogs players giving him a Bunnings voucher after the game to say thanks was a nice touch.
Slowly the Doggies got back into this one and Aaron Naughton, who took a while to get going after last week’s heroics, ended with three goals.
It has the Dogs back at 4-4, which sums them up perfectly.
Brisbane really should have won this as they controlled a lot of the game and were playing the Bulldogs, but the excitement of Ballarat can overwhelm anyone.
Carlton (87) v Collingwood (106)
It’s nice to see the Blues try some different ways to upset their fans.
I’d expected them to get annihilated, but instead, they teased their fans at times, looking like they could actually win, only to drop away faster than the continental shelf.
“We appear competent!” You could hear the Carlton supporters cheer, or “This isn’t embarrassing!”
This went on for three quarters until Collingwood decided they better take their opponent seriously, slamming on the final five goals.
You could see this as a positive step by Carlton against one of the best teams in the competition, but I prefer not to give Carlton any credit and instead wonder why Collingwood were off for most of the day?
Once again, Carlton fans left with another honourable loss and thanking the universe that Patrick Cripps plays for them.
Collingwood fans left surprised their team had to break out of a jog to win this one.
Gold Coast (60) v Melbourne (61)
Ever wondered what it would look like if two teams tried to lose but in the closest manner possible?
Well, this is what it looks like, and it looks messy.
One thing we certainly learnt from this game is that neither side is going to trouble anyone this season. Not in a footballing sense. They’ll trouble their fans.
Both sides’ skills are poor at best and the Demons, who for long periods dominated play, have a collective football IQ that would see them in the remedial class.
Time and again they made decisions so poor I felt like I was reliving my twenties.
With 50 seconds remaining Nick Holman kicked a goal, sending the Suns ahead by a goal.
This was at the 30:45 mark.
At the 31:03 mark, Marty Hore kicked a goal levelling the scores. I hope he goes on to be a big star, solely because the idea of the MCC members all screaming out ‘Hore’ every time he gets the ball amuses me greatly.
Outside of the Melbourne Club, you’d never hear so many bluebloods yell that out loud.
Then seventeen seconds later, in a passage of play that summed up the ineptness that was the game, the Demons got the ball forward, only for Tom McDonald to drop a mark at the top of the goal square he should have taken, but then somehow get a toe to the ball and hit the post, giving the Demons a one-point lead and the win.
There’s winning ugly then there’s winning stupid, and this was the stupidest win I’ve ever seen.
St Kilda (70) v West Coast (88)
Before this game, five West Coast players – Oscar Allen, Jack Darling, Andrew Gaff, Liam Ryan and Elliot Yeo got stuck in a lift at their hotel.
The St Kilda fan that sabotaged the lift almost pulled it off, but unfortunately for them, the players were freed in time to play.
Trapping your opponent in a lift before the game is an innovative approach though, but I prefer putting them in a bus that can’t go below 50 miles per hour.
The Eagles hardly set the world alight in this one, but they won and away from home, which used to be hailed as a huge step, but they actually do it fairly regularly these days.
St Kilda were OK but only OK. They’re injuries, and the fact they are probably a mid-level team anyway means they’ve finally found their level, twelfth on the ladder.
As for the Eagles, they’re not trapped in a lift anymore, but they’re not on the way up just yet.
Port Adelaide (68) v Adelaide (88)
Under Ken Hinkley, Port have consistently threatened to be a good team but never actually done it.
I can certainly relate. Promising to do something but not following through is my signature move.
It was the same in this game. Port kept making moves to comeback but would not follow through with it.
Port are also highly relatable because they left everything to the last minute, waiting until they were 44 points down in the last quarter, before kicking five unanswered goals.
Adelaide on the other hand, who weeks ago threatened to be in the position Port is now, have turned things around.
Now they sit third on the ladder, filling Crows fans with the false hope they lacked all last year.
North Melbourne (80) v Geelong (104)
At the Suns, Gary Ablett would just take weeks off whenever he felt like not playing.
Geelong though are a bit more demanding when it comes to earning your megabucks, so Gary’s only option is to try to get suspended.
He tried last week but being a star; he just got a fine. So now he’s had to try again.
He just can’t seem to resist two things, liking homophobic posts and elbowing people.
Ablett is now throwing more flying forearms than the great Tito Santana.
With Selwood out, West Coast’s Tim Kelly stepped up, with 36 disposals, 11 clearances, eight inside 50s and two goals.
North threw everything but elbows at the Cats but just lacked that polish of Geelong, with Ben Brown’s five goals the highlight of their performance.
Hawthorn (71) v Greater Western Sydney (38)
The Giants record on the MCG now sits at two wins and 14 losses, with seven losses out of their last eight games there.
Its lucky no important games get played there.
I thought it might have been playing at the MCG, in front of a daunting crowd, then I noticed only 14,636 people showed up. Those loyal Hawthorn fans sure stick with them through great times and great times.
The Hawks put on a defensive masterclass after Alastair Clarkson put out a warning to his team by dropping their beloved former captain Jarryd Roughead and yelling at them all ‘I like Jarryd, imagine what I’ll do to the rest of you.’
Roughead was seen coaching his opponent, former Brisbane rookie Reuben Williams in the VFL, a move he’s been praised for. Personally, I think teaching your opponent mid game might be the best trash talking I’ve ever seen.
“I worry about you so little I can give you tips on how to improve and still beat you.”
Fremantle (86) v Richmond (111)
Here’s the thing I don’t understand. Ross Lyon is a defensive genius, right? So that explains why his teams are about as potent as mid-strength beer.
Yet Richmond, with a fair few players missing, score over 100 points at Freo’s home ‘fortress’.
At some point, you become less ‘defensive genius’ and more ‘coach that barely wins’.
And this was a great win by the Tigers, who are shaming all the clubs who point to injuries as an excuse.
Putting in effort may be an old-fashioned concept, but it seems to play a bigger role than all those fancy stats people talk about on the televisions shows.
Matthew Lloyd called Tom Lynch a "liability" this week, proving to me that Lloyd doesn’t know the meaning of the word liability.
Without signing Lynch in the offseason, the Tigers would not be in the sixth on the ladder.
In fairness, discovering Lloyd doesn’t understand the meaning of the words he uses is not earth-shattering news if you’ve heard him speak before.
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