Mar 25, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round One
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 (64) v Richmond (97)
Welcome to week three of the JLT series, or at least that’s what it felt like with the skills on display this round.
This was an interesting game at times, with Carlton showing some alarming signs of competency.
Things started as expected, with the Tigers all over the Blues in the first quarter, only for Carlton to not surrender and keep trying.
Everyone at the ground was surprised by this; the Tigers players were so shocked they stopped playing for two quarters.
Carlton are improving, but they can only last just a couple of quarters, they can’t go the distance. They shouldn’t feel embarrassed; it happens to a lot of teams.
The Tigers, like someone realising the work day, is almost over and they’ve done nothing all day, suddenly put in the effort to cruise away, but not without losing Alex Rance to an ACL.
It’s a huge blow for the Tigers and reminds us all that football is not only cruel but it’s a long season and none of us has a clue what’s going to happen.
Collingwood (65) v Geelong (72)
Seeing Collingwood at the MCG again brought back a lot of happy memories of the last time they played there.
Pies fans will have suffered flashbacks after Tom Hawkins scored in the dying moments of the game and they lost another close one.
Obviously, the result was just as big as the Grand Final because a round one loss means you can’t win the premiership, at least looking at the media’s reaction this morning gave that impression.
After all, if you lose round one, you only have 22 rounds to turn things around.
While this was close, it was scrappy to the point of almost being unwatchable at times. But at least it was close.
The AFL will probably announce 74 rule changes this week, given the 30 they brought in last year don’t seem to have delivered us the scoring bonanza we were promised.
While Collingwood may have lost, they came away with no injuries, a previously unheard of event. With Jamie Elliott and Darcy Moore in the side, we may have just witnessed a miracle.
Geelong will be thrilled to get the win considering four of their players had never played AFL before. Won’t it be great if the Cats are good again? No fan base deserves some success after the tough times they’ve had.
Melbourne (61) v Port Adelaide (87)
It’s only round one and this season already feels very long.
Melbourne looked like they were playing in Perth, bringing a level of intensity usually reserved for a bunch of teenage stoners.
It certainly raises some questions over the Demons premiership credentials, when Justin Westhoff kicks five goals on you, the top eight may be a pipe dream.
In fairness to the Dees, a lot of their players were extremely underdone, Viney and Jones being the most obvious examples. However, the effort they showed will do nothing to remove the question marks hovering over them.
As for Port, they were incredibly impressive considering they had a lot of new players.
Tom Rockliff gathered 44 possessions, while Jack Watts’ unconventional offseason paid dividends, with all players now looking to include a ‘completely legal white substance’ in their training regime.
We should have known Watts would go well after Robert Walls said his career “could be over in two years.” It’s almost a certainty he’ll go on to be a Hall of Famer now.
Adelaide (55) v Hawthorn (87)
The Crows probably can’t blame this on a preseason camp. Like an alarming number of teams, Adelaide seemed surprised the season had started.
At times it seemed that the Crows had forgotten over the offseason how to perform many of the basic tasks that make up football.
Add to that the fact Tom Doedee did his ACL, and the Power won, and this was the worst weekend for Crows supporters since all the other ones they had last year.
Hawthorn were very ready for this game, with that Alastair Clarkson guy proving again that he knows a bit about football.
When Tom Mitchell went down in the preseason, many of us hoped the constant and relentless threat of a Hawks premiership had briefly subsided.
Our only hope now is that Adelaide are just really, really bad. Fingers crossed.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the Hawks performance was the fact they made it look like the Crows didn’t have a forward line, but in fairness, Adelaide’s own forward line often make it look like that themselves.
Western Bulldogs (82) v Sydney (65)
While the Bulldogs may have lost any credibility wearing their Thor jumper, they at least won the game.
To completely the Marvelfication of the AFL, Thor himself in Chris Hemsworth watched on and brought along Matt Damon, who must have wondered why the game was being played on a surface resembling an agricultural fair.
If the AFL ran a normal workplace, no one would be allowed to walk on the field, let alone run on it.
Sydney were slower out of the gate that Chautauqua, scoring only one goal in the first half.
They then booted eight of the next ten goals like someone pulling an all-nighter to finish an essay.
Buddy Franklin looked underdone, and a bunch of other Swans looked like they were surprised to be back playing football already.
So, what can we read into the result? That Chris Hemsworth has lulled Matt Damon into a false sense that barracking for the Bulldogs brings happiness.
Poor Matt, someone should warn him.
Brisbane (102) v West Coast (58)
Being Premiers, West Coast were rewarded with a trip to Brisbane and they… lost.
I mean, they really lost. If it wasn’t for Essendon, Adelaide, Melbourne and North, this could have been the worst loss of the round. Eagles fans will argue it was.
It may have been the run of nine unanswered goals by the Lions that raised some concerns about the Eagles.
A big problem for the Eagles was that only Dom Sheed turned up. It must have been a logistic mix up with planes or something. If the Eagles are going to go back-to-back this year, they will need to go back to having their entire team turn up to games.
The Lions did nothing to lessen the hype around them. The last time the Lions beat the Eagles was 2012. That was when Gangnam Style was a thing.
Lachie Neale was great for the Lions, and Charlie Cameron and Lincoln McCarthy worked well up forward.
So good were the Lions that I’m resigned to having to learn more of their names this season, something I haven’t bothered to do in a decade.
Liam Ryan was reported in the dying moments after being kneed while on the ground and reacting. Once again, racist trolls targeted him on social media in what’s becoming a depressingly regular occurrence.
People are the worst.
St Kilda (85) v Gold Coast (84)
This was a fierce battle for the wooden spoon, with St Kilda struggling to beat NEAFL side the Suns at Marvel Stadium.
Sometimes a win feels like a loss and Saints supporters are certainly going to wonder what sort of year they’re going to have when beating the Suns at home is an incredibly big ask.
The good news for St Kilda fans is they’re already a quarter of the way to their win total from last year.
For the Suns fans, this at least gives them some hope that things perhaps won’t be as bad as predicted. Having a bunch of players that seemed to actually want to be there made a big difference.
Perhaps the most amazing performance of the day came from the emergency umpire who had to replace divots in the surface.
It’s dire when the umpire had to act as a groundskeeper. I wondered where the groundskeeper was, but looking at the surface, I realised Marvel Stadium doesn’t have them.
Greater Western Sydney (112) v Essendon (40)
It was the result every non-Essendon supporter had dreamed of, the Bombers, supposedly on their way back to the finals and success got belted to the tune of 72 points.
It’s hard to put into words just how completely non-existent the Bombers were as the Giants one of the great training sessions of the modern era.
Considering the Giants didn’t have Josh Kelly and Callan Ward, this was one of the worst losses the Bombers have had and made the Hird era seem like the golden days.
Tackling, running, catching a ball, feigning interest in what was going on around them, all seemed beyond Essendon.
John Worsfold looked on like someone wishing they could fire Mark Neeld again.
Dylan Shiel looked like a man who had made the worst mistake since, well since deciding to go from the Giants to Essendon.
The Giants probably can’t really judge too much from this. You can’t feel too good when your opponent seems to be actively helping you win.
On the plus side, Shane Mumford got through the game without being reported. Yes, I know he wasn’t playing, but it’s still an achievement by him.
Fremantle (141) v North Melbourne (59)
Just when it seemed the Essendon had well and truly locked down the worst performance of the round, here came North with a performance so lacklustre that the Fremantle Dockers had over 100 points in the third quarter.
Yes, a Ross Lyon coached team put 141 points on the board. If the AFL Integrity Unit isn’t investigating the Kangaroos, then we know the whole comp is crooked.
North seemed overawed by the occasion, like a group of fans had been accidentally ushered onto the field in a seating mix up.
Fremantle looked amazing to be fair. It will take a few rounds to know if this was due to North or them, but it was an impressive display.
Cam McCarthy booted five in a sign the Dockers may actually be building a forward line for the first time.
Brad Scott has promised to launch a forensic review into the defeat, which should bring Roos fans an enormous amount of comfort.
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