May 29, 2023
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 (77) v Carlton (51)
Board members fighting, board members quitting, embarrassing losses, heaps of injuries, kicking for goal like they’d never touched a footy before, giving up when the game is on the line.
Whatever you say about Carlton, they do have a brand.
Friday night was about as bad as it gets for a team, especially one that is supposedly on the rise.
But that’s the Blues, always on the rise, without ever rising.
The Swans have hardly been shooting the lights out this season, but against Carlton they looked like a top four side, seizing the game when it was in the balance, and showing a passion that was lacking in their opponents.
The Blues were facing an undersized and undermanned defence, and with Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay up forward, this should have been a massive advantage for them.
But like in junior footy when one team is a few short, some of the opposition players play for them, and Curnow and McKay played for the Swans.
Curnow finished with one goal and three behinds, while McKay butchered the ball with great enthusiasm.
Some of his shots for goal were so bad you had to wonder if he was doing it on purpose.
Blues fans are angry, and so they should be. But they should remember they have Michael Voss and as a coach, just think of the success he had in Brisbane and at Port Adelaide.
It’s all going to work out.
St Kilda (78) v Hawthorn (88)
At home, against Hawthorn, and up by 20 points in the final quarter, there’s no way the Saints could lose this one.
But in a David Copperfield like performance, the Saints managed to escape a victory by letting Hawthorn kick the last five goals of the match.
To be fair, the Hawks had been shooting themselves in the foot all day, it was the most accurate thing they did.
They kicked for goal like Harry McKay was their goalkicking coach. They finished with 12.16 to St Kilda’s 12.6.
A big reason Hawthorn dominated was James Sicily, who finished with 42 disposals, 21 intercept possessions and 17 contested possessions.
This being James Sicily, he also picked up a one-game ban for his bump on St Kilda’s Anthony Caminiti. Just a complete game for him.
The Saints were very lucky this wasn’t a bigger loss. They looked well off and will probably welcome next week’s bye.
But it does raise they question, if Ross Lyon is the answer, is it a question worth asking?
Melbourne (72) v Fremantle (79)
The Dees are in struggle town. After winning the premiership in 2021 and starting last season off well, they’ve been an average team ever since.
There are flashes of the 2021 team, but it occurs for a quarter or so and then fades.
Teams run all over them at clearances, and with Clayton Oliver out, this only becomes more pronounced.
To be fair, the Dees only just lost to Port last week and Fremantle this week, but against Port they only played one good quarter and against Fremantle, they were at home and Sean Darcy was subbed out late in the second quarter.
This should have set the stage for the Dees star ruckmen Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy to go for the kill, but instead Luke Jackson destroyed them with an ease that is worrying for Dees fans.
There’s a sense at the Dees that a second premiership would just happen, that now seems to be wishful thinking.
The Dockers have certainly turned things around after a terrible start to the season. Jackson is no greater example. He’s gone from bust to saviour in about four weeks. Not a bad effort.
Geelong (74) v Greater Western Sydney (81)
Winning in Geelong is hard, both in life and in footy, which made this performance even more impressive from the Giants.
It was Toby Greene’s 200th game, in what has been a quiet and uncontroversial career and he sparked them early with four goals.
The Giants then saw off a late charge from the Cats to hold on for a famous victory.
Except, it’s not that famous for the Giants, they have won their past three games at the horribly named GMHBA Stadium, making it look easy.
It certainly helped this time that the Cats have a lot of injuries. It’s hard to know how long their injury woes will last.
Their injury is is harder to decipher than the Voynich manuscript. The Cats give away less information the ASIO.
The Cats did become the first club in AFL/VFL history to field three Irish players, which is a worry.
They come over here taking our jobs. It’s outrageous. Add in Mason Cox and soon we’ll be lucky if any Australians are playing in the AFL.
Gold Coast (84) v Western Bulldogs (77)
Look, if you did well in your tips this week, you know nothing about football.
In Darwin, the Suns led by 22 points early in the final term, but the Doggies came hard, only for the Suns to just hold on.
Matt Rowell and Jack Lukosius were huge for the Suns, with Rowell regularly killing the Dogs momentum.
He thrived with this being a night game. Playing in the day in Darwin would be a dangerous thing for a man of his complexion.
He would have had to wear a suit that covered his whole body.
Perhaps the strangest moment of the match was when Bailey Williams took an intercept mark around 70m from goal.
Ben Ainsworth stood the mark exactly where Williams took the mark, which apparently is now an instant fifty-meter penalty. That means the other umpires all missed a few hundred fifties this weekend.
In fairness, the umpires had gone fairly unnoticed, so they needed to do something to insert themselves into the game.
They had only up until that point given Cody Weightman a free for staging. Remember, you’ve got to reward the stager in this game.
The Bulldogs main problem was they just couldn’t convert going forward. It wasn’t Carlton levels, but this was certainly one that got away.
West Coast (46) v Essendon (96)
Even Essendon can’t lose to the Eagles. At times they seemed like they were thinking about it, but it’s proved too hard.
The Bombers were hardly in the best form, but even then, they pulled away in the final quarter to make this look easy, because it was easy.
It should have been even easier for them.
For West Coast, the effort was much improved compared to last week, but then, everything had to be better than last week.
It does mean they’ve now lost nine games in a row, a club record. They’ve done that before though, three times in two seasons.
Excitingly, they have a chance to set a new club record next week by losing ten games in a row.
Their opponent is Collingwood, so get the champagne ready because it’s happening.
And ten losses in a row is just the start I reckon. The Eagles can really set their sights high.
Richmond (67) v Port Adelaide (77)
I’m beginning to suspect the Damien Hardwick era is over at Richmond.
A big clue for me was when he announced he was stepping down as coach.
My suspicions were confirmed when he wasn’t in the coaches’ box on Sunday.
Instead, some other guy was.
What an era though. It’s sad when an era ends, but it at least meant you had one. Many clubs would be thrilled to have an era to mourn.
Hardwick watch the game from his couch at home, and I hope he liked an error-filled game.
He would have enjoyed the 17th-minute mark of the first term, when the Richmond fans stood and applauded to thank him.
Going a step further, David Koch honoured Hardwick stepping down by stepping down himself from Sunrise. It was a heartfelt moment but probably over the top.
Port were far superior, so it’s strange they only won by ten points. This was mainly due to their goalkicking, a theme this week; actually a theme every week.
The good news for Port is despite this, they held on for their eighth victory in a row.
They are now favourited to lose to Collingwood in the Grand Final.
Collingwood (105) v North Melbourne (70)
The man with the greatest name in football Steele Sidebottom, didn’t really get a chance to celebrate his 300th game, going off early with a knee injury.
It was a rare blip for the Pies this year, who are cruising and that’s what they did against the Kangaroos on Sunday.
So much so that at three-quarter time, they were up by 53 points.
Now, you need to be up by 53 points at three-quarter time to have a chance of beating Collingwood, so safe in the knowledge they’d won, the Pies decided to just hit the showers.
That meant North managed to kick six goals in the last quarter as the Pies had a shower, sprayed some Lynx, and got in their cars and beat the traffic out of the stadium.
Mason Cox also had a milestone game, his 100th. It’s still worrying to me that someone can just learn our game late in life and then go on to play 100 AFL games.
Most of us play it from childhood and play zero AFL games.
Adelaide (95) v Brisbane (78)
While not always consistent, the Crows are making a strong argument that they are no longer rubbish.
So much so that they now sit in the top eight and ended Brisbane’s seven-win streak.
Izak Rankine was a huge reason for this win, he was connecting everything up front, something the Lions couldn’t do.
They kicked 1.9 in the third quarter, when they really should have run all over the Crows.
Things weren’t helped by Joe Daniher not touching the ball in the second or third quarters. It was a real drop off from his recent form.
In fairness, this didn’t make him the Lions worse key forward, as Eric Hipwood had just three touches for the game. That’s less than you should have at this level.
The Lions problems didn’t end there, with Dayne Zorko appearing to eye-gouge Adelaide’s Luke Pedlar.
It does appear he didn’t actually get his fingers in Pedlar’s eye, so perhaps it’s just an attempted eye gouge, which is fine among friends.
Zorko has such a good record with these sorts of things; I’m sure he’ll be fine.
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