Jul 06, 2020
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Five
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.
Carlton (55) v St Kilda (73)
After briefly threatening competency, the Blues returned to form in this one, that is, they were perfectly average.
It was inevitable, as soon as everyone started talking about how well the Blues forward line was working, it stopped. It was as predictable as Sam Newman saying something controversial to get attention.
The Blues threw in just enough effort for brief moments of the game to nudge this almost into the honourable loss column that they love so much, but Carlton fans are tired of that nonsense. Win or win not. There is no honourable loss.
What Carlton really need is to land a coach like St Kilda’s Brett Ratten, look how well he’s doing at St Kilda. If you get your hand on a coach like him, you’d never let him go, would you?
At the moment everything is working for the Saints, a phrase rarely utilised in history.
Even throwing Jarryn Geary up forward worked.
The only dampener for the Saints was Dan Hannebery doing his hamstring, but being 2020, if that’s the worst thing that happens, you’re blessed.
Collingwood (48) v Essendon (63)
Look, no one likes watching Collingwood struggle, and our hearts go out to them.
Off the field, the Pies appear all over the shop, giving the Crows a real run for their money. On the field, the Pies seem disjointed and a shell of their former selves.
Collingwood seemed to take a leaf out of Melbourne’s book and decide to not score goals for the second and third quarters.
I must admit, I never played at the top level, so perhaps that’s why I don’t understand this strategy.
Intuitively though, I would have thought it was best to kick goals in every quarter, and as many as you can. I’m not Champion Data but deciding to not score goals for two quarters reduces your goal kicking window by 50 percent.
In fact, it could be argued that if the Pies had not adopted this strategy, and attempted to kick goals in all four quarters, they could have won, even if Essendon had stuck with their less nuanced ‘kick goals in every quarter’ approach.
As for Essendon, they had some key contributors, with Jake Stringer, Dylan Shiel, Andrew McGrath and Mason Cox all playing important roles in setting up the Bombers’ victory.
West Coast (77) v Sydney (43)
Contrary to popular opinion, the Eagles can win games of footy, if you organise them the right opponent, a bit like Anthony Mundine’s boxing career.
This was the win the Eagles needed to briefly paper over the cracks. Against an injury plagued, undersized, and not very good Swans outfit, West Coast had periods where they looked like a fully functioning AFL side.
It’s hard to know how much faith to put into this performance, Sydney went into this without any ruckmen and it showed.
The Eagles of previous years would have won by a lot more, but at the moment they just need the four points and aren’t worrying about style points.
Swans fans, so used to consistency and high levels of effort, would be feeling pretty flat at the moment.
It’s the old South Melbourne fans I feel sorry for. Their team sucks and their stuck on the plague-riddled, prison hulk that is Victoria.
Geelong (89) v Gold Coast (52)
When Matt Rowell injured his shoulder, it was as if the voices of a million footy fans suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
We get it 2020, you’re a jerk. You will never let us be happy.
Not since Tony Soprano’s mother have I seen a character so focused on sucking even the tiniest amount of enjoyment out of other’s lives.
So of course, we have to have the most exciting talent in years go down with an injury.
The Suns showed real fight to come back after his exit but Geelong, led by Gary Ablett in his 350th game and Joel Selwood in his 300th, proved just too strong and too experienced, especially at home.
I have to nod my head in acknowledgment, that Selwood got to 300 games.
Western Bulldogs (87) v North Melbourne (38)
When Tim English started his career, it looked like someone had accidentally released a baby giraffe onto the field.
Now it looks like an almost full-grown giraffe is on the field, but one that can ruck a bit and drop back to take a mark.
He, alongside Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae, continually cleared the ball against a rather lacklustre North Melbourne, who suffered from having Ben Cunnington feel a bit like all of us at the moment, sore.
When the Roos weren’t being smashed in the midfield, they were delivering it into the forward line like they had a personal vendetta against Ben Brown.
Wherever it was most unhelpful for the ball to be delivered to him, that’s where it went.
Delivery into the forward line seems to be a lost art in the AFL. Across almost every team, it seems midfielders believe the best way to get it into the forward fifty, is to kick it as high in the air as possible and give the defence as much time as possible to set themselves.
I’ve noticed recently, that if a kick is speared in flat and marked by a player on the lead, the commentators and the players seemed shocked it worked. The players then seem to decide ‘hey that worked, but let’s go back to the bombing the ball in.’
Brisbane (85) v Port Adelaide (48)
I was really looking forward to this, a rare event for me and Saturday night.
Port however seemed keen to squander any chance it had to stay undefeated, booting 1.6 in the first quarter. It was an exercise in self sabotage, something I’m all too familiar with.
Then came the second quarter, when the Lions woke up and in the first nine minutes, booted five goals. Everything they did worked, and for long stretches, the ball didn’t even enter the Power’s forward fifty.
I even forgot Port were playing for parts of the second quarter, thinking it was a Lions training drill.
After that quarter, Port were a broken team. There was no comeback. It was like when two fighters throw everything at each other, and one breaks.
The Lions would have to be favourites now, and the question is, will Port recover, or will they do what they’ve done in recent years, and revert to the very definition of average?
Adelaide (34) v Fremantle (54)
To think this was beamed into the United States during prime time. As if they citizens of the United States aren’t going through enough hardship at the moment.
This was just awful to watch. A study in poor skills and decision making.
For long periods, it was a competition for who was the worst at football.
Fremantle certainly were competitive in this area, but the Crows always had a new depth they could reach.
When they weren’t butchering the ball in the midfield, they were missing very gettable goals.
Matthew Nicks looked like a man having a nightmare while awake. Watching the Crows players try to execute basic football skills was like watching a dog work a computer. It was amusing but not if it’s your computer.
I’d give you more analysis of this game, but I like you, so let’s move on.
Melbourne (52) v Richmond (79)
This would have been the worst game of the day if not for the one preceding it.
Richmond are not good. That was plain for all to see, they are so far off what they’ve been in recent years.
With the hubs starting, and a bunch of players not going with them, you feel this is just not a year Richmond are really invested in.
Luckily for them though, they were playing Melbourne. The most insipid, pointless team in the AFL. Since been briefly good in 2018, the Demons have returned to being their normal awful selves.
There are no excuses for it, they are just lazy, and they can complain about negative vibes, or bad pre-seasons, or the draw or whatever. These excuses are all just manifestations of their problems.
You don’t mind paying for a membership that you can’t use when your team is giving you all their effort.
I’ve thrown so much money away at this club over the course of my life, and I have to wonder why.
Setting a big pile on cash on fire would at least give off some heat for a while.
Instead I get excuses, heartbreaking performances, multiple logo changes and decades shaved off my life.
Aside from Christian Petracca, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s improved over the last two years, and you can find plenty who have gone backwards.
I don’t care how hard your pre-season web series says you worked, if you don’t work hard in games.
And how long does it take to address entries into the forward fifty? For Melbourne it takes years.
Anyway, I’ll stop now because I’ve got that numbness all down one side of my body starting to come back.
Greater Western Sydney (83) v Hawthorn (49)
It will be interesting to see what rule changes Alastair Clarkson will blame this week.
A coach doesn’t have to do much these days to distract from how their team is travelling.
Perhaps a rule where Hawthorn players can’t be tackled?
The Giants are finally looking like the team that made a Grand Final last season.
It’s taken this long to recover, but that’s record time compared to how long it took the Crows to get over their pre-season camp, something they actually haven’t got over.
I wonder if our grandkids will talk about the Adelaide pre-season camp?
It appears they will the way that story has hung around. There have been wars forgotten quicker than that camp.
Whether the Giants can get back to the Grand Final is yet to be seen. Partly because, we don’t know if they’ll even be a Grand Final, or where it will be held, or if any of us will even care anymore.
I love footy, and appreciate it being on, but with each week this season goes on, it feels more a farce, and less a real season.
But I could be saying that because my team is an embarrassing shambles.
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