May 03, 2021
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Seven
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.
Richmond (77) v Western Bulldogs (55)
When Richmond was 25 points down in this game, and their forwards seemed averse to kicking straight, the claims the Tigers were on the slide seemed to ring true.
An hour later, those claims seemed about as accurate as my tips. I tipped three this week, which is actually good for me.
The Tigers turned the game around by getting back to their high-pressure style.
So overwhelming was their pressure, they had stopped the Bulldogs even going into their own forward fifty for long periods of the second half.
Luke Beveridge possibly drew his midfield a map at three-quarter time to show them where their forward fifty was. “Guys, legend speaks of our own forward line, trapped in the mists of time.”
As well as winning the contested ball, Richmond’s forwards, especially Tom Lynch, had decided to start kicking goals instead of points, a clever tactical shift.
The problem for the Dogs, was they had individuals performing well, but when that Richmond side starts swarming, you need the entire team to work as a whole.
The Bulldogs lack of polish when it mattered was perhaps best highlighted when Aaron Naughton managed to kick for goal from a set shot, only for the ball to go off his shin.
We’ve all done that, but that’s why most of us don’t play AFL.
Obviously, at 4-3, Richmond are the team to beat and at 6-1, the Dogs season is now IN CRISIS.
Collingwood (55) v Gold Coast (79)
I’m sure Pies fans, while upset at losing this and sitting 17 on the ladder, are just so happy at winning the jumper battle against Port they barely care.
It’s all about priorities.
Let’s get this straight, the Pies managed to pull together a roster, with a salary bill so high they had to offload very good players to stay under the cap, and still only managed to build a side that’s 1-6.
That doesn’t seem like good list management.
The Pies have long struggled without a forward line, but they seem to be going about removing their midfield and defence too.
The thing is, every Pies fan could see this coming, but the people they pay to run their club could not. In fact, their sort-of-ex president, still argues anyone that questions the trade period is some sort of idiot.
For the Gold Coast, this is exactly the sort of performance you’d want to see from the talent on their list.
An astounding amount of their players hadn’t even played on the MCG before, but on Saturday they seemed like the home team.
Obviously, what separated the Suns and the Pies, is that no one is interested in stealing the Suns jumper.
Adelaide (39) v Greater Western Sydney (106)
The Crows experiment of projecting holograms of their players onto the field has backfired spectacularly when it was discovered holograms can’t tackle or get the ball.
I have to admit though, the technology is amazing, it did look like the Crows players were out on the ground, only when the Giants ran through them was the illusion given away.
After three consecutive losses, Crows fans are feeling pretty frustrated.
One Crows fan I spoke to summed up their feelings by saying ‘I want to sack half the board and a lot of people running the club.”
We’ve all been there at some point.
For the Giants, it was a great game, with Jesse Hogan debuting for them with four goals, and reminding everyone if he can find some stability, he is a freakishly talented player.
This was less a game of AFL for them, and more a competition of who could gather the most possessions, like kids on an Easter egg hunt, although Easter egg hunts are more difficult than gathering possessions against the Crows.
St Kilda (128) v Hawthorn (59)
Call off the search, we’ve found the Saints.
After going missing for six weeks, St Kilda supporters were relieved to discover their team is still alive.
A big thank you should go to the Hawthorn Football Club for helping to find the Saints. Despite being undermanned, and not that good, the Hawks really helped the Saints find some form.
Hawthorn fans watched on perplexed as their team didn’t even score for the first quarter. That caused a lot of confusion, with Hawks fans assuming the opening term was the warmup.
Their players seemed to have made the same mistake.
There’s no doubt the return of Paddy Ryder helped the Saints, Bradley Hill answered his critics, and Zak Jones had 37 disposals and two goals.
The only downside for the Saints is they can’t play Hawthorn every week.
Brisbane (93) v Port Adelaide (44)
Not an ideal display of Port Adelaide’s premiership credentials.
In fact, the Lions took them apart with such ease, you think they were playing the Crows.
One of Port’s big mistakes was mistakenly thinking Harris Andrews was their key forward.
Time and again they hit him on the lead. If only their own forwards got that level of service.
Kicking the ball to your own players is a really important component of our great game. It seems so obvious it often goes unspoken, but perhaps it should be highlighted more.
With Harris Andrew not letting the Power score, the Lions had a lot of fun up forward, with Charlie Cameron destroying the Power defence with four goals and Joe Daniher booted no behinds! Oh, and two goals.
It seems the Lions season is not only back on track but also picking up speed, for the Power, they need to show the passion on the field they show off the field for fashion choices.
Sydney (90) v Geelong (88)
A classic game, and a controversial one, with numerous free kicks paid or not paid right up to the final siren.
As a neutral observer, I thought the umpires got a lot wrong on both sides, and while you notice the ones at the very end, there was a lot throughout the game that affected things.
The suddenly enforcing of kicks travelling fifteen meters showed the AFL’s midweek tweaking of the rules at work again.
For years, players have gotten away with ten-meter kicks, now, even twenty-meter ones are being called ‘not fifteen’.
It’s what makes our game so fun, the changing of rules every five minutes, the way they can be interpreted forty different ways in ten minutes by the same umpire, the overcorrecting.
Cats fans certainly seemed to think that was a lot of fun.
Umpiring aside, the Cats had this game under control early on, but the young Swans showed a lot of spirit to fight back.
My adrenaline was pumping so much after the game, I required a second cup of tea. It was a wild Saturday night.
North Melbourne (73) v Melbourne (103)
One weird outcome of the Demons winning a lot this season is a new phenomenon called ‘Deesplaining.’
This is when a non-Demons supporter says to me, whenever I express any happiness about this season, ‘you know it can still go downhill for you guys.’
Really? Football can hurt you? When it appears to be travelling well something so bad can happen that it breaks your soul?
Tell me more.
I didn’t realise that; being a Melbourne supporter who has only known joy and sunny skies all my life.
Of course, things can go downhill, Adam Tomlinson knee injury is another example that footy is a cruel business.
But I’m going to enjoy things when they are going well because I know what bad times are, that’s the secret to life and footy, enjoy things when they go well because if you don’t, you’ll hate the good times and the bad times.
Even this game, where the Dees were very off in the first half, had its positives, in that, being a long-term Dees supporter, I know we once would have lost this.
Instead, despite being fairly average, we won by 30 points. That’s amazing. I’ve never known a Dees team to play terribly and win by 30 points.
In recent years, we would have lost this game nine times out of ten.
What it does show, is that you don’t need to be off by much to look bad in this league. North, instead of looking like the winless side they are, showed they are finding ways to improve.
They’ll get something out of this game, and they’ll have good times again, and someone will bob up then and say, ‘you know it can still go downhill for you guys.’
Essendon (107) v Carlton (123)
Does this mean Carlton’s rebuild is now ahead of Essendon?
That’s right, it’s a trick question, rebuilding suggests at least one of these teams is moving forward.
That’s how these two teams work, they look like they’re starting to be good, they lose a game, they look like they’re about to bottom out, they win a game, they look like they’re starting to be good, they lose a game, they look like they’re about to bottom out, they win a game.
On and on it goes, like a football Groundhog Day their fans are trapped inside.
West Coast (132) v Fremantle (73)
Terrible news for footy fans as they were banned from this game, although for Freo fans, it was more a blessing.
The shots of the empty stands fuelled my anger that sports fans are not being prioritised in the vaccine rollout.
Aside from the fact sports fans contribute to the economy, the main reason they should be prioritised is they’re just better people than non-sport fans.
I’m not saying just let non-sport fans die, that would be cruel, I’m just saying let's increase the chances sports fans live.
The Eagles, fresh from being belted by the Cats, knew they could rely on the Dockers to make them feel better about themselves.
West Coast was like the person who got dumped last week, only to then run into someone who hasn’t had a partner, well, ever.
You could just see the confidence return, the cockiness.
I don’t pretend to speak for Fremantle fans, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say they would be very keen to stop losing to the Eagles all the time.
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