Jul 01, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Fifteen
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.
Essendon (77) v Greater Western Sydney (71)
In a round that reminded us that footy often makes little sense, this match certainly set the tone.
There were two big questions emerging from this, how did the Giants manage to stuff this one up? and can the AFL’s score review system get any more embarrassing?
Giants fans would be furious the AFL’s score review system didn’t pick up the fact Shaun McKernan's goal was actually touched.
How can the system get it wrong so often? Well considering Steve Hocking who oversees the system, came out the next day and said it wasn’t touched, it's not surprising.
It must be nice just to believe what you want to believe. It seems increasingly, that’s what people in charge do.
But Giants fans must concede that terrible score reviews aside, their team really screwed this up.
They were leading by 19 points early in the final term and let the Bombers kick five of the next six goals to snatch it with 30 seconds left.
The victory certainly changes things for Essendon, who were trending towards another year of disappointment, only to have now delayed that disappointment by a few weeks.
Geelong (96) v Adelaide (69)
There were moments in this when Adelaide looked like a team capable of defeating Geelong, but then that cruel mistress reality stepped in.
What was most surprising was the ease at which the Cats dealt with the Crows challenge. Not since I demolished six hot jam doughnuts after a recent game have, I seen such a focused, committed performance.
Once again, the Cats proved they are a level above the chasing pack. Tim Kelly continues to be the star in a team dominated by stars. He looks like a key position player, but there he is, covering ground and gathering possessions. No wonder the Cats didn’t let him go, keeping people against their will is totally worth it if it gets you a premiership.
As for the Crows, there was enough here to build on, but they’d want to consider changing their gameplan when their opponent changes theirs. A revolutionary idea I know.
Hawthorn (71) v West Coast (77)
It was a miserable day weather wise at the MCG, and for the Hawthorn Football Club.
It capped off a week where Jeff Kennett claimed the AFL has a “deliberate” schedule bias against his club. He tweeted ‘“We do not complain! Just suffer in silence! And financially.’
It’s typical of Jeff, always suffering in silence and keeping his thoughts to himself in the most public way possible. It must be hard having to have a bad schedule. Never happens to any other club.
West Coast welcomed back Nic Naitanui, but it seemed they were going to drop this one as the Hawks, who had struggled early, came back to lead in the fourth quarter.
It was Jack Darling who dragged the Eagles across the line with five goals, while Luke Shuey’s 39 possessions, with 20 of them contested, showed he loves the MCG.
In fact, all the Eagles seem to love the MCG, where they’ve now won their last five games.
Does it depress me that the Eagles have won as many games at the MCG as Melbourne has this season? Yes. Yes, it does.
Sydney (93) v Gold Coast (51)
I attended this game, and I can certainly bear witness that it did happen.
Seeing the Suns play live is not something I’d recommend, in fact, I’m not sure why there wasn’t some sort of government warning of what was coming.
The Suns skills, at times made my head hurt. My response was to drink heavily, but I suspect the Gold Coast players had started long before me.
Not that the Swans were much better for long periods of this. They were forced to restructure on the run after Callum Sinclair went off with a shoulder injury.
As time passed, their higher level of skill showed and soon this became a rout.
It keeps the Swans very faint finals hopes alive, but it will be tough with Sinclair now joining Franklin on the injury list.
As for the Suns, they now sit last on the ladder, dipping below Carlton. If anyone cared about them, they’d be feeling the heat.
Collingwood (37) v North Melbourne (81)
Rhyce Shaw continues to paint his masterpiece on the canvas that is the blank cheque the Kangaroos have offered John Longmire.
It’s been a real pleasure watching the North Melbourne players come to work with pure joy on the faces knowing Brad Scott wouldn’t be there.
It presents the Kangaroos with a tough decision over their next coach, but I’m confident their board will pick the wrong one, whoever that turns out to be.
Against Collingwood, they brought a team first attitude based around intense pressure, which the Pies met with an apathy usually reserved for teenagers.
This was one of the worst performances by the Pies in years; this was their lowest score in more than 24 years.
The Pies, who have been showing signs of problems for weeks, seemed allergic to physical contact.
What’s worrying for them is the loss to Fremantle was meant to be the wakeup call the Pies needed, and instead they seem to have just got worse.
I’m not yet confident that a Collingwood premiership is no longer a risk, but the signs are good for us.
Port Adelaide (41) v Western Bulldogs (66)
Nothing sums up Port more than beating the Cats one week, then losing to the Bulldogs the next.
Ken Hinkley described his team as ‘untrustworthy’, which while accurate, probably isn’t the best thing to describe everyone you work with, especially when you’re in charge.
But playing at home, for a possible spot in the eight and losing like this just makes you not very good.
The Bulldogs certainly handled the horrible conditions better than the Power, with their ‘Let’s rely heavily on Marcus Bontempelli’ strategy delivering in spades.
Josh Schache was a focal point up front, and you can see the young group the Bulldogs are building around.
As for Port, you could only see the disappointed faces of their fans who had braved the downpour only to see a performance they’ve seen many times before. You could tell they thought it was getting old.
St Kilda (70) v Richmond (103)
St Kilda will still be weighing up their coaching options for next year after another loss, especially with both Rhyce Shaw and David Teague potentially available.
Alan Richardson said he’s ‘really comfortable’ about his job, which must mean he knows he is gone too.
Sometimes in life, it’s just easier to let go. When you know you won’t be working somewhere next year, you can just enjoy all the problems because they won’t be yours to deal with.
St Kilda’s major problem is their skills, or to be more specific, the complete absence of them. At times their players seem genuinely surprised when the ball ends up in their hands.
Richmond were not that impressive either, but the return of a few senior players bodes well for their run home.
Sydney Stack continues to dazzle everyone, this time with a turn up forward, booting four goals in a performance that would have earnt a high five from Eddie Betts.
Brisbane (107) v Melbourne (74)
Brisbane continued their march to finals in a dominant performance, only slightly blemished by some poor goal kicking.
All it took was Eric Hipwood getting fed up with the game being close, so he booted four goals in a very short period of time in the third quarter.
The fact it was close flattered the Dees, as the Lions continually wasted chances up front.
Melbourne were again shameful considering the talent on their list. It wasn’t helped by Max Gawn being injured but the drop off once he was, made this very embarrassing.
This has been a season so poor that Carlton is certainly a chance to beat them this Sunday and overtake them on the ladder.
It’s amazing that more hasn’t been made of the Board ticking off on the extension handed to Simon Goodwin earlier in the year.
All things being equal, he’s arguably produced a worse coaching season given the talent available than the two coaches who have already been sacked and the third one about to be.
Fremantle (75) v Carlton (79)
Well there you have it; David Teague has rebuilt Carlton in less than a month. Wasn’t hard at all.
See how quickly things can happen when you get a competent tradesman in?
Ross Lyon said after the game ‘we were unrecognisable’ and so were Carlton, who displayed a level of commitment rarely seen when Bolton was in charge.
With Patrick Cripps and Harry McKay not playing, it looked like a disaster when Charlie Curnow went down in the first quarter.
Instead, all three will struggle to get back into the side.
Teague has already doubled Bolton’s wins for the season and seems to have unlocked a desire to try and then keep trying in his players.
Fremantle started well and seemed to have the game in hand at quarter time. I’m not sure what Teague said at quarter time, but it changed everything.
I like to think he said “Guys, I’m not Brendon Bolton, there’s no happiness here, no smile. I will end you all if you don’t lift.”
And lift they did.
From there, the battle was on, and it seemed that the Blues were on their way to another honourable loss when Sam Switkowski kicked a goal with just a minute to go.
Again, the Blues kept coming, with Marc Murphy curling a snap through the big sticks with 31 seconds left.
It was an incredible win for the Blues, against quality opposition, in Perth, with injuries galore and nothing handed to them.
Dockers fans could only look on in shock; their team had just been outworked by Carlton, something most people thought was impossible, except for the Blues players.
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