Jun 29, 2020
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Four
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 (39) v Western Bulldogs (67)
As I write this, news is breaking that round five fixture is being redone due to the Queensland Government not wanting Richmond into their state due to the Coronavirus craze currently underway in Victoria.
Seriously, 2020 is like being forced to live with the worst person you know.
Just. Go. Away.
At least we got a full round in this week, which these days is quite the achievement.
Sydney are a flexible side these days. They can lose at home with or without a crowd.
The Swans had no answers for Marcus Bontempelli, in fact, they didn’t even seem to know what the questions were.
It reminded me of when I sat my year nine German test and the only phrase I’d learnt that year was ‘Deutsche Heute’, which was the title of the textbook, so not exactly a firm grasp of the language.
Bontempelli ran all over them as if the Swans were witches hats, although in fairness to witches hats, once placed on the ground, they hold their structure.
The Swans are hardly Robinson Crusoe. There may be more ordinary teams running around than any other season in recent memory.
As for Bulldogs fans, they’d be thrilled with this recent turnaround. It wasn’t that long ago that they seemed in really trouble. But then it wasn’t that long ago they were Premiers.
Greater Western Sydney (66) v Collingwood (64)
We all love a Collingwood loss, but even the most heartless footy fan had to feel for the Pies losing Jeremy Howe to injury. The game is just better with Howe in it and I say this as a bitter Melbourne supporter.
At least this was an entertaining game, a reminder that footy is still wonderful, even if it’s struggling at the moment due to the world being a hellhole from which there is no escape.
Toby Greene reminded everyone that aside from the periodic outbreaks of violence, he can play footy, and his three goals were probably the difference.
He is an innovator Greene, so much so that Mason Cox took a leaf out of his book, sticking his leg out to kick his ruck opponent.
The umpire didn’t call a free, which is interesting that they worry about minor infringements all the time, but you can just kick someone and they let it go.
The umpires have form here for missing big things. After all, a bloke climbed the goal post in front of them once and they didn’t even notice.
Port Adelaide (89) v West Coast (41)
Charlie Dixon looks insanely fit at the moment. It’s almost like he didn’t spend lockdown eating choc mint ice magic and playing Animal Crossing, which was my approach.
His six goals were a joy to watch on the weekend, especially considering the entire Eagles team only beat him by three points.
Port Adelaide are the best team in footy because they are playing as if there wasn’t a lockdown.
A big part of their success, and a reason they are winning, is they are playing like they care about the game.
Caring about winning is an underappreciated part of the game.
The Eagles gave every impression of not wanting to be there. Trust me, I know that look, it’s my resting position at ever social event I’ve ever been to.
Their frustration boiled over when Will Schofield headbutted Zak Butters.
When Scholfield went to the bench, Adam Simpson gave him a bake over the phone that contained more swear words than an entire season of Deadwood.
The Eagles fall into the category now of ‘teams that should engineer a positive COVID test’. Perhaps they could contact the Victorian Government about how to do that.
St Kilda (93) v Richmond (67)
Like the majority of us, Richmond have no interest in 2020. They are currently not even a shadow of their Premiership winning team.
I don’t understand it. A lot of us, myself included can’t even do our jobs at the moment, if we were allowed, we’d be grateful and give it a real go.
Even worse for Richmond was their former teammate Dan Butler ran all over them. I imagine that’s what happens when an ex shows up at a party looking good with a new partner.
I say imagine because I’ve never had anyone go out with me. Can’t get hurt if you never start.
St Kilda look a transformed side under Brett Ratten. It’s getting to the point where the Saints might want to sack him and hire Mick Malthouse.
The ease at which St Kilda dismantled Richmond would have the alarm bells at Punt Road.
At least they get Melbourne now this week, if any team is going to play you back into form, it’s the Demons.
Essendon (51) v Carlton (52)
It was the falcon heard around the world.
A lesser player would have punched a potential game winning goal away from the line, but not Liam Jones.
When Jacob Townsend, marked 45m out and directly in front of goal, you could just see Jones’ mind ticking over. How could he add a degree of difficulty to saving the game in the dying seconds?
As the ball headed towards goal, Jones rose in flight, like a condor soaring on an updraft, a heady mixture of grace and power, and then he met the ball cleanly with his face.
It’s arguably the most beautiful bit of play the game has seen. Easily the best this century.
This is the footage I’d be using to promote the game around the world.
As for Essendon fans, it’s just more of the same.
They’re used to whatever could go wrong, going wrong, and while Liam Jones headbutting a ball away from goal was probably not on their list of things that they expected to happen, it wouldn’t have been ruled out entirely.
Adding to their problems, Zach Merrett will miss a week after again running around punching people for absolutely no reason. Sure, he probably got the week partly because Jack Silvagni went to hospital, but it’s actually quite easy not to hit people for no reason.
Why, I must know at least a dozen people who can get through a day at work without hitting a single person, despite us all wanting to.
None of us like a Carlton victory, but if it’s going to happen at least it was against Essendon.
Gold Coast (64) v Fremantle (51)
Everyone is raving about Matt Rowell because he makes you rave about him.
It’s like he’s playing AFL on the easiest setting, it’s unfair.
He’s 18 years old and he’s already one of the best players in the league. I wasn’t even good at anything when I was eighteen and things haven’t improved.
He is so young that the movie Gladiator is older than him and he is five years younger than every member of One Direction.
And it’s not like he’s good for eighteen, he’s just good. It’s so annoying and makes me feel small.
The Dockers tried hard for parts of this but when their midfield went off with a hamstring injury, you knew they’d be in trouble.
Apart from Rowell, the real highlight was another melee. It’s possible we’ll drag ourselves out of this recession through melee fines and I’m fine with that.
Brisbane (83) v Adelaide (46)
If you listened to the commentary, and unfortunately you kind of have to, you would have thought the Crows were playing really well.
The Fox Footy team kept talking about how improved the Crows were compared to recent weeks.
At best this was damning with faint praise but in reality it was more like when the Iraqi Minister for Information Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf proclaimed there were no American tanks in Baghdad, when they were only several hundred meters away from where he was speaking and you could hear gunfire and explosions in the background.
The Crows are rubbish and were super rubbish in this game.
Claiming this was an improvement is just cruel, false hope is the worst.
Sure, in the third quarter the Crows at least turned up briefly, but they were a cameo, not a true member of the cast.
The Lions didn’t even seem to get out of second gear for a lot of it, and when it looked like the Crows might challenge them they pulled their finger out and finished them off with a worrying ease if you’re a Crows supporter.
None of this is news to Crows fans, they known the reality, us fans always do, because we watch this nonsense for some strange reason.
Melbourne (44) v Geelong (47)
If the coronavirus was a footy game, this would have been it. A painful experience that just sucks away what little enjoyment of life you had.
The only difference between the two teams seemed to be that Geelong had some idea of what to do when they entered their own forward fifty, and even this they got wrong a fair bit.
Steven May and Jake Lever did their job for the Demons, but the Melbourne midfield aren’t that interested in doing things like manning up or running back to fill up their defensive fifty after a turnover.
Then there is their entry into the forward fifty.
The Demons have the offensive capabilities of the Bolivian navy. They are a boxer with no power, they can’t knock you out and every team knows this and plays them accordingly.
The club is currently asking for donations to cover losses from the coronavirus and this week launched a Demons Proud To Belong guernsey to raise money.
Because I’m an idiot, I’ll definitely donate, and I’ve kept my membership this year despite losing ninety percent of my income for 2020 and not being able to go to a game (probably a blessing).
Wouldn’t it be nice if the players met us fans halfway and wore the jumper with the same commitment Melbourne members show year after excruciating year?
Charities do have to show that donations are being put towards fixing the problem.
Hawthorn (58) v North Melbourne (54)
Hawthorn fans were enjoying a nice Sunday evening, probably sitting around having dinner in their resting state of smug arrogance, only for all hell to break loose in the form of a late North Melbourne comeback.
Being 31 points up halfway through a shortened final quarter, you could have been forgiven for just relaxing and enjoying the evening but the Kangaroos, who for some reason decided to only score in bursts in the game, almost pulled off a miracle comeback.
A Jy Simpkin snap in the last 30 seconds almost had the Kangaroos over the line, but it just missed.
Up until that point, everything was wonderful for the Hawks, their journey towards learning to love Chad Wingard was going well, and their ageing team, who are in the COVID at risk group, seemed to be going well.
Then it all fell apart.
The real question is what happened to North? They went missing for long periods of the game. It was like they were playing hide and seek.
Not that I can blame them, this year makes me just want to lay low and wait until it is all over.
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