Jun 19, 2023
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Fourteen
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 (110) v Geelong (72)
Port Adelaide are not mucking around the season.
They’ve won eleven games in a row and sent Patrick Dangerfield home with a partially collapsed lung and a cracked rib.
It seemed a bit excessive.
Dangerfield is tough, he kept playing despite his substantial injuries, and perhaps the worst bit, he had to drive home from Adelaide because you can’t fly with a collapsed lung.
I hope he got to play his playlist in the car, or that would have been torture.
Now the Cats face a long period without him, which they need about as much as I needed that seventh slice of pizza. OK, it was eight pieces.
Fine, I ordered a second pizza. And garlic bread.
The Power were in slight trouble early on; they kicked poorly for goal in the first quarter, only to overcompensate in the third quarter with a seven-goal run.
Quinton Narkle would be thrilled to be joining the Power at this point. It’s like joining the cast of Parks and Recreation after the first season.
Brisbane (97) v Sydney (81)
Not a game you’d watch again, as the Lion butchered opportunities up front while the Swans tried hard but lacked ability, #relatable.
Brisbane has been a bit off recently, so much so that some of their players have chosen not to play anymore.
I didn’t think things were that bad, but this was a return to form, despite the close score.
The Lions' decision to kick 6.14 in the second half was the only thing that kept this close.
Once again, the dangerous tackle crackdown continued, with Jarrod Berry reported for a dangerous tackle on Will Hayward, which was later thrown out.
While it was thrown out, it highlighted the absurdity of where we are now with tackles. No one knows what’s going on.
It’s the perfect AFL campaign, well-intentioned but poorly executed. As always, it leaves everyone operating in a grey zone where no one understands how to approach things.
We are in this position because we are caught between potential lawsuits and the fact that at the top level, especially, Australian Rules is a dangerous game, as are all contact sports.
Trying to square the circle is where you run into trouble. Keeping it a contact sport, while also causing no damage to anyone is like trying to stay sober while drinking Fireball.
The problem is working out what is an acceptable level of risk. Modern society tends to try and eliminate all risks, making tackling a problem in the long run.
It becomes a question, does the AFL need to become exempt from lawsuits to continue? Do people accept the risk because they like contact sports, both playing and watching?
Or does contact get banned altogether?
The current approach is just tinkering around the edges of this bigger question.
Greater Western Sydney (106) v Fremantle (36)
Tim Tszyu handed out the biggest beating of the weekend, but this was right behind it.
Fremantle seemed genuinely surprised to find themselves in the middle of a footy game.
They didn’t even kick a goal in the first quarter and seemed completely uninterested in centre bounces.
It sees them now in thirteenth spot on the ladder in what is shaping up to be an incredibly disappointing season, even by Dockers standards.
The Giants looked impressive, but it was hard to know how much was their performance and how much was the fact the Dockers were phoning it in.
Jake Riccardi certainly grabbed his opportunity after Jesse Hogan was a late withdrawal, kicking five goals.
Toby Greene was also impressive, reaching the 300-goal milestone, matching his weeks suspended.
Richmond (90) v St Kilda (70)
A great result this week for the Tigers with a key win and no players charged.
They celebrated Trent Cotchin’s 300th game in style, with the marquee man inspiring the Tigers to a victory.
Everyone turned out to celebrate the Premiership captain, with Damien Hardwick in the stands, and about a billion seagulls on the field.
Hardwick had that happy look people have when they no longer have to coach.
How do you measure what Cotchin means to the Richmond Football Club?
Easy. Dustin Martin was willing to do an interview after the game to honour him.
Martin usually treats the media with the disdain I reserve for charity muggers, and there he was chatting away about how great Cotchin is.
The Saints are struggling to get any momentum lately, winning a game, then losing then next, then winning.
The good news is they can break that pattern by losing to Brisbane next week.
Carlton (120) v Gold Coast (61)
Midfielders kicking goals, fans not booing them, winning; Carlton were trying some new things on Sunday.
The Suns got off to a good start in this one, enough to make the Blues fans in attendance wonder why they’d wasted another Sunday, only for their team to do a reverse Carlton in the second quarter.
They booted nine unanswered goals in the second quarter, leading their fans to ask, ‘where has this been all year?’
What had changed was the Blues players were tackling and running and doing all sorts of exciting basic footy stuff.
They even went up the corridor a few times.
And in a miracle, it worked!
Now they just need to do this all the time.
The Suns were incredibly disappointing. After looking like they were getting somewhere this season, they seemed shell-shocked.
Socrates once said, ‘if you can’t beat Carlton, you can’t play finals’.
The Suns need to learn from history.
North Melbourne (84) v Western Bulldogs (105)
Fox Footy had Dermott sitting in the stands offering special comments during this match, which I imagine had paying spectators in that section asking for a refund.
The amazing thing was Fox Footy seemed to make a big deal of having someone discussing the game, at the game.
That used to be the norm. It’s not a big selling point, to have your commentators at the stadium, it should always be the case.
Still, kudos for sending someone all the way to Marvel.
The Bulldogs had a rough game, with Liam Jones and Tim O’Brien going off during the first half.
Liam Jones had a fractured arm, and I hope he’s done his own research on how to fix it.
Despite these outs, the Doggies got the win, partly thanks to Cody Weightman booting six goals in his 50th game.
He really got them going, and while it’s fun to hate him for his staging, there’s no one that wouldn’t love him if he was on your team.
North continues its improvement and doing it by being competitive but not winning.
Their approach? Tank, but don’t look like you’re trying to tank.
What do you call it? I don’t know…tank casual?
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