Apr 11, 2022
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.
Port Adelaide (36) v Melbourne (68)
Port Adelaide spent most of this game trying to figure out new and exciting ways to be terrible a football.
And Port Adelaide fans spent most of this game trying to figure out who will coach them after round ten.
To be fair, the Power did try to take it up to the Dees, but like a boxer facing an opponent who doesn’t have a knockout punch, Melbourne just sat back, absorbed whatever Port were trying to do, then hit back when the opportunity presented itself.
It was a night where Melbourne’s best defensive players were Port Adelaide’s players.
Like Zak Butters who gave away an off-the-ball free kick to Jake ‘11-0’ Bowey, just as the Power were a chance to kick their first goal.
And Mitch Georgiades, who managed to not kick a goal despite being in a position where a goal was the only possible outcome.
It was interesting stuff.
Melbourne it must be said seemed to be in first gear, hardly dominating the game, but the big difference was the Demons had a second gear and even used it occasionally in the second and third quarters.
The only interesting part of this game was seeing how long it took Port Adelaide to score their first goal.
The answer was 22 minutes into the third quarter, which, if you’re new to Australian Rules football, is quite bad.
Geelong (80) v Brisbane (70)
Geelong were left reeling before this game after Tom Stewart was ruled out with gastro and Esava Ratugolea with an ankle injury.
It was a big blow with Joel Selwood already being rested, and immediately raised the question, who would step up for the Cats?
The answer was the umpires.
Late in the match, with the game on a knife-edge, Tom Hawkins’ fifth goal came after he pushed Harris Andrews in the back.
The umpire said it wasn’t a push in the back as Andrews’ ‘forward momentum’ carried him forward, not the almighty shove from Hawkins. I know we’re not allowed to bag the umpires anymore, but could they meet us halfway?
Should it have been a free kick to Andrews? Well, if someone who had never seen a game asked you to show them what the Platonic ideal of a push in the back free kick looked like, you’d show them this vision.
To be clear, Geelong were on top all night and didn’t need the umpires, especially if they kicked straight.
I only add this because lately, some people have mistaken this for a real footy column, not the ravings of a madman. Some have even tried to enter into a debate on these ravings. Can you imagine?
Despite umpiring problems, Brisbane did not help themselves, like when Cam Rayner ran to the top of the goal rectangle and somehow managed to kick the ball out on the full.
That’s not easy to do, in fact, I would have thought it was almost impossible if I hadn’t just seen it done.
You could have lined up ten toddlers from there and eight of them would have kicked it.
Sydney (86) v North Melbourne (75)
Hang on. I’d listen to the media all week and North Melbourne were finished for the season.
So bad was their 108-point loss to Brisbane that you could hear columnists readying their ‘move North to Tassie’ think pieces.
It turns out, all David Noble needed to do to completely turn his team around, was move Jack Ziebell up forward. Footy coaching is so simple.
Ziebell responded with five goals and was doing things like no-look handballs to set up goals.
While North fans would have been thrilled to see the effort, a loss is still a loss, and in the end, Sydney just had more composure.
It certainly helped when Justin McInerney gathered 14 possessions in the final quarter and kicked a goal late in the game.
He did all this while looking like the frontman for an English New Wave band. Impressive!
Oh, and Buddy is injured again.
Collingwood (74) v West Coast (87)
A few weeks ago, I equated seeing Collingwood high up on the ladder, as akin to seeing a cow on the roof.
You could see it was there, you weren’t sure how it got up there, but you knew it didn’t belong there.
Well, I can happily report that the cow is well and truly off the roof.
Losing to a West Coast side that is more understaffed than the hospitality industry, is a sure-fire way to bring you back down to earth.
And while it’s been fun watching West Coast not winning, this was funnier.
West Coast fans will be thrilled with their effort, given all the constant changes, and maybe, just maybe, this whole nightmare might unearth some very handy players.
The Eagles were certainly helped by an issue that’s affected the Pies for about a decade, a lack of key forwards.
You’d think that’s something they’d fix.
Adding to all that, Jamie Elliott looks set for a length stint on the sideline.
The people may change but Collingwood keeps playing their greatest hits year after year.
It’s not all bad news, in Jack Ginnivan Collingwood have found a player that opposition fans can hate for at least a decade.
Richmond (99) v Western Bulldogs (61)
Remember when the Bulldogs' biggest issue was arguing over the song Freed from Desire?
Those were happier times.
Now they have multiple issue. Aside from the losing, there’s also the goal-kicking inaccuracy.
Against Richmond, they started with 1.7, not so much as keeping the door open for the Tigers but helping usher them through it like a concierge at a hotel.
It didn’t get a lot better from there. They finished with 7.19. Unlike in politics, in footy, inaccuracy can cost you.
Up the other end, the contrast couldn’t have been starker, when Jack Riewoldt, marked outside the fifty on three-quarter time.
Going back to take the kick after the siren, he told the umpire he was going to kick a torp, to which the umpire responded, ‘good luck.’
He said, ‘good luck’, but he meant ‘you have no chance’. Probably because the umpire was a Bulldogs supporter.
Only the torp sail through.
An umpire with poor judgement! Rare.
Fremantle (88) v Greater Western Sydney (54)
It’s a legal requirement that every AFL story mentioning Fremantle must begin by mentioning Nat Fyfe is out injured.
With that out of the way, we can get onto the game, which confirmed the Giants are only OK and Tom Green is the only reason to watch them.
When Leon Cameron finishes up at some point this year, their next coach will make locking in Tom Green a top priority.
Fremantle on the other hand are quietly putting together a good season. In a way, they do everything quietly.
They are like Snuffleupagus in that they do exist, but like the adults in Sesame Street, the Melbourne media never see them when they do something.
The Dockers sit in third spot on the ladder and have shown they are certainly good enough to make up the numbers in September.
Essendon (103) v Adelaide (99)
The Bombers have finally won a game, but it didn’t come naturally to them.
In a game way more entertaining than it deserved to be, both sides seemed completely unable to stop the other from scoring.
The game was notable for Tex Walker’s return, and he responded with four goals.
Unfortunately, in the last two minutes, Walker missed a shot at goal that could have won the game, and would have turned this into a fairy tale return from *checks notes* suspension for racial abuse.
Interestingly, Essendon are undefeated this season when Ben Rutten isn’t coaching them.
It’s a small sample size but it’s obvious it’s time to sack him and install Blake Caracella, who has never lost a game while coaching Essendon.
Hawthorn (73) v St Kilda (142)
This was the most one-sided beating I’ve seen in recent memory that didn’t begin with a G.I. Jane 2 joke.
Any concerns that Hawthorn are good were brutally laid to rest as the Saints, ran all over them in a manner so brutal that children were asked to leave the MCG during the third quarter.
Hawthorn’s approach to the game was to lay down on the ground, tuck their knees into their chest and wrap their hands around their head.
Sam Mitchell looked about as unhappy as a human can be and my only complaint was there wasn’t a camera on him the entire time. ‘Press Red for Sam Mitchell being sad’ would be an innovation I’d be right behind.
Saints supporters on the other hand were losing their minds.
Here are just some of the texts I got from Saints supporters during the game:
“Is this even legal?”
“We will still stuff this up” (send with three minutes left in the game).
“Please stop texting this number.”
Gold Coast (92) v Carlton (62)
Carlton have returned to form, that form being brutally shattering the hopes of their fans.
It raises the question, have they changed at all?
They still overly rely on Patrick Cripps, highlighted by them falling apart when he went off early with a hamstring injury.
And they still self-implode better than any other side in the competition.
The third quarter would have had Carlton supporters feeling a lot of familiar feelings.
There was Nic Newman giving away a 50m penalty that led to a certain goal, then another 50m penalty was given away not long after that, gifting the Suns another goal.
Perhaps most concerning for the Blues is that without Patrick Cripps, Touk Miller and Noah Anderson ran amok, with almost no one trying to stop them.
With things going badly, too many Carlton players revert to being passengers and the Suns, despite lacking a lot in certain areas, don’t lack in effort and they had a field day.
The look in Michael Voss’ eyes during the second half was of someone wondering what they had gotten themselves into.
After all his success as coach of Brisbane, and his role in building the dynasty at Port Adelaide, could he experience failure for the first time in his coaching career?
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