May 30, 2022
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eleven
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 (106) v Richmond (100)
Footy is unpredictable.
After many predicting a game would be decided controversially by a 50-meter penalty for dissent, instead we had a game decided by a 50-meter penalty not being paid.
That’s the AFL for you, they can get things wrong either way.
In the dying moments, Chad Warner booted the ball into the crowd after Dion Prestia had been paid a free-kick.
But the umpire didn’t award the fifty, meaning Richmond had no chance to boot a winning goal.
The reason for not paying the fifty? Common sense.
Common sense! A concept so far from the AFL it might as well be on Pluto.
Now everyone can have their own take on the correctness of the decision, but surely, we can all agree that applying common sense to decision making is a new and dangerous step for the AFL.
Rather than common sense, the true AFL way is to do what they’ve now since the match, which was to review their own performance and then give it a big tick.
That must be nice.
In reality, Richmond should never have found themselves in this position, they were up by 33-points, only for Buddy Franklin to boot five goals and whack Trent Cotchin.
Really, it was Cotchin’s fault, he was attempting to defend Franklin, but for some reason, the AFL suspended Buddy.
While the loss is significant in the race for the eight, the real significance is someone in the AFL attempted to use common sense, a worrying precedent.
Brisbane (110) v Greater Western Sydney (96)
Halfway through the first quarter, Brisbane were trailing by 30 points, due to the Lions deciding to experiment with what would happen if they didn’t defend at all.
If not defending wasn’t enough of a challenge, they also decided to see what would happen if they repeatedly kicked the ball to their opponents.
Look, I love a challenge as much as the next person, but this one didn’t seem to serve any real purpose. If you need to know the result of doing these things, just watch West Coast.
The Giants were enjoying it, their only problem was there was still the majority of the match left to be played.
This turned out to be a tactical mistake.
The Lions then went back to playing their normal game style, which involves a lot of Lachie Neale running around and getting the ball.
He must be glad he got out of Fremantle, look where they are now, nowhere!
Geelong (97) v Adelaide (55)
A mixed bag for Geelong supporters this week, with Chris Scott getting a contract extension for another two seasons, but in good news, they also got a win.
Beating Adelaide in Geelong isn’t what you’d call an achievement, it’s like finding a good parking spot at the shops, you’re happy about it but you’re not ringing people to tell them.
The win did break up the Cats win one game, and lose the next pattern, which is nice, but they were helped by the fact the Crows accidentally thought Tom Stewart plays for them.
Stewart had 40 disposals and 16 marks, as Adelaide kept targeting him like he was their key forward.
The most impressive thing Stewart did was not openly laugh each time the ball came to him, which is what makes him such a professional.
This is Adelaide’s fifth straight loss, not helped by the fact that when they get a shot a goal, they approach it like it’s a situation they’ve never encountered before.
It’s worrying for the Crows are only above Essendon, North Melbourne and West Coast, three teams that have turned sucking at football into an art form.
Melbourne (56) v Fremantle (94)
Melbourne may have won 17-matches in a row, including a premiership, but what have they done lately?
Well, they lost to Fremantle, who have bounced back from two very average losses, to beat the premiers at their own game.
And while many would point to a raft of problems that occurred for Melbourne, it would be foolish to think of this as anything but a Dockers victory, built on their hard work and ability.
Which is annoying because I was really enjoying this relentless winning thing.
Winning all the time, like having a girlfriend, is something I’d never experienced before but I can highly recommend it.
I give it five stars.
Now we have to ask, is the Melbourne dynasty over?
Obviously yes. At 11-1, the Dees are a shambles and obviously a board spill and a rebuild through the draft is the only option. No player should be off the trade table.
Fremantle won the game in many areas but stopping your opponent from scoring for fifty minutes was certainly handy.
I was so angry, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t even speak to my driver on the way home.
West Coast (60) v Western Bulldogs (161)
I’d said West Coast would be participating in this game in a ceremonial role, and I now concede I was overselling it.
If you set out to design a team to highlight all that is bad about football, you couldn’t do much worse than this Eagles squad.
The only competition they are a part of is what’s worse, their effort or their skills?
The Bulldogs just cruised to this victory. There are people on a tropical island holiday, drinking cocktails while watching the sun go down who are under more pressure than the Doggies were on Saturday.
The best news for the Doggies is they are now in the top eight.
The only good news for the Eagles is they’ll have Pick 1 in the mid-season draft, so that should fix everything.
Gold Coast (121) v Hawthorn (54)
It’s always hard to go to Darwin and beat the Gold Coast.
Why, fifteen years ago it was impossible.
Hawthorn made it look like that.
After beating the Lions last week, the Hawks have returned to being not good.
Not having a ruckman seemed to not work well for them, but it’s one thing on a long list that didn’t work.
Instead, the Hawks made the Suns look like the Harlem Globetrotters.
The win means the Suns are in touching distance of the eight thanks to wins over North Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Adelaide and now Hawthorn.
That’s less impressive when you list them.
Still, for a side that usually goes into hibernation once round six is over, these are promising signs from the Suns.
St Kilda (103) v North Melbourne (50)
David Noble said after the game that off-field distractions this week did not affect his players, and I agree.
North can get belted any week of the season. They are one of the most consistent sides in footy.
Not that having all this upheaval off-field is a good thing.
Even club great Wayne Carey came out this week and said North is a broken club, which is heartbreaking as no one did more to ensure North Melbourne stayed close as a club than Carey.
Saints supporters would be thrilled with the win after a few told me before the match that it was a danger game.
To be fair, to a St Kilda fan, every game is a danger game. Confidence is not really a part of a Saints fans make-up.
But they should have some confidence. They’re top four, have lots of players who are of AFL standard and don’t seem to actively try to lose.
Brett Ratten is a miracle worker.
Collingwood (79) v Carlton (75)
This is a match that always sees someone you don’t like get a win, but at least it was close, meaning in the dying stages we all got to dream of them both losing.
For Blues fans, this was the worst possible outcome, losing to Collingwood and losing Jacob Weitering.
I’m not sure what stings the most.
The Blues got so close too, kicking the last three goals of the game and Jack Silvagni had a snap in the last 30 seconds that narrowly missed.
Is this the beginning of the end for Carlton? Will we see them begin a slide down the bottom of the ladder bringing untold joy to millions?
Sure, I’d love it but I’m not so sure.
Pies fans would be thrilled with this victory, nice guy Jordan De Goey was in good form and even Mason Cox played well.
Should we worry about Collingwood? I always do, and I’m petrified they have a coach who knows what they are doing.
Where is an interfering Collingwood president when we need them?
Port Adelaide (66) v Essendon (50)
What happens when you put two disappointing teams together? A disappointing game and that’s what we got here.
It’s hard to out disappoint Essendon though, but Port gave it a good shake.
To be fair, the Bombers were pretty busy fighting amongst themselves, with Darcy Parish blowing up on the field at his teammates.
It was reported he was unhappy with the defensive matchups of his teammates, but I think it just suddenly dawned on him that he is playing for Essendon, which is enough to make anyone upset.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this game was that Port won despite only scoring one goal after half-time.
They were certainly helped by Essendon booting 2.9 in the first half.
Sometimes I think the Bombers can’t find a new low, but I’ve been wrong to doubt them, and I apologise.
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