Jul 05, 2021
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Sixteen
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.
Gold Coast (77) v Richmond (67)
There’s been a lot of people celebrating the end of the Richmond era, but like the end of the Hawthorn era, I must admit, I’m just jealous they had an era.
I would love to live through an era. They can’t take that away from you, unless of course you are Lance Armstrong.
It was obvious from early on that the exhausting travel to Marvel Stadium had taken a toll on the Tigers, as the Suns showed more energy and effort throughout the game.
There’s no doubt this was one of the most important wins in the Suns’ long and proud history.
Touk Miller was again the standout for the Gold Coast, with 36 disposals and seven tackles. He’s so good there’s no amount of money that’s too much for the Suns to throw at him.
Contrasted against Miller’s skill and enthusiasm was Richmond’s older brigade, who seem to have forgotten how to kick. Time and again the ball sailed so wide of any target, it made you wonder if they had a target at all.
Like all great dynasties, the Lions, Hawthorn, when the end comes it seems to come fast, the toll of all those extra finals games seems to build up to a point where it can’t be sustained any more.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.
The question is no longer can they win a premiership, it’s can they play finals?
Geelong (98) v Essendon (57)
Essendon travelled to Geelong for the first time in 28 years, their last game there was in round 21 in 1993.
Considering Fitzroy played more recently there, in Round 5 1995, this is astounding. Given the result, the Bombers will probably hope they don’t have to return there for another 28 years.
Essendon continues to be an incredibly frustrating side. For all the positive improvements that have occurred this year, they’re 12th on the ladder.
Things started off well for them, they went into the first quarter break up by three goals.
Then, in a move not recommended by people who know their footy, they gave up eight goals in the second quarter, while only kicking one themselves.
Jeremy Cameron was the catalyst, he’d been cleared before the game with a fitness test for hamstring tightness by Geelong’s crack medical staff, then, you’d never guess, he did his hamstring, the third such injury this year.
After that rather unfortunate second quarter, the Bombers tried to get back, but it was just too big a gap.
As always, it was Darcy Parish leading the way, who must go close to winning a Brownlow this year, he won’t have many teammates taking votes off him.
He had 43 disposals, and most importantly, when the rest of the team were struggling in the second quarter, he had 15 disposals. That’s a lot.
Melbourne (55) v Greater Western Sydney (64)
No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. No need to panic. NO NEED TO PANIC.
Adelaide (59) v Brisbane (111)
A predictable result at a time when there are few of those, the Lions had to work hard but were never really threatened in this one.
Adelaide hung in there for a lot of the game, but the Lions finally broke them, finishing with eight of the last nine goals.
Things started to go downhill for the Crows when in the second quarter, Taylor Walker slid into Daniel Rich’s knee, almost knocking himself out.
It’s a reminder to us all to never slide into Rich’s knee, or anyone’s for that matter. I’ve made it a key focus of my life to not get kneed in the head, a big reason I never took up Irish dancing.
Brisbane sits in third place now, which considering their awful start to the season, is incredibly impressive.
With Melbourne above them in second place and looking wobblier than Michael Zerafa contemplating fighting Tim Tszyu, a spot in the top two is looking very much on the cards.
Fremantle (64) Carlton (80)
Two wins in a row! Could Carlton go all the way?
Well of course not, but their fans will take it.
Not that they made this a relaxing experience for Blues supporters, squandering a 28-point lead to trail by one point in the fourth quarter.
It was Sam Walsh who rescued the Blues from what could have been another dispiriting loss, snapping a goal from the boundary as if to underline the fact he is really, really good.
While Walsh was a standout for the Blues, so was Fremantle’s goalkicking, they booted 8.16.
Kicking inaccurately for goal is the closest thing the Dockers have to a ‘brand’.
Fremantle’s goalkicking is like giving their opponents an extra two defenders.
The win had some proclaiming the Teague train was back on track, but I think it’s more likely it’s just gone down a siding.
Hawthorn (53) v Port Adelaide (87)
Port Adelaide had no interest in contributing to Shaun Burgoyne's 400th game celebrations, although having both Liam Shiels and Travis Boak chair him off with both teams forming a guard of honour was a lovely touch.
While Hawthorn continued to be much improved, they were nowhere near Port’s level of talent, and while you could argue Port should have won by more, just winning is always good.
Hawthorn’s frustrations during the game where on display when Tom Mitchell pushed over Connor Rozee while he was bending over to get his mouthguard out of his sock, instantly giving away a free and leading to an easy Port goal.
Look, we all get frustrated, I did a similar thing to my grandma during a particularly tense game of UNO, but it was a very silly thing to do.
Tom was just lucky that unlike my grandma, Rozee didn’t get up and clock him; that lead to me having a significantly long stay in hospital and I have never regained full sight in my left eye.
Sydney (118) v West Coast (26)
The above score is correct.
I watched this game and still had to check it several times.
West Coast should have stayed in Perth for all the effort they gave in this one.
Things started poorly, turned bad, then got significantly worse.
In no aspect of our great game did the Eagles best the Swans, who were ruthless throughout the game.
The Eagles play so badly at GMHBA Stadium they should do everything in their power to not play there. Perhaps they should change their name to the Essendon Football Club?
Yet there’s a lot more going wrong for them than location.
They seemed as disinterested in this game as I do when someone tries to tell me about a dream they had.
“Look, I hate to stop you there, but I don’t care much for your actual life, so you telling me about something that didn’t even happen is not going to work for me.”
The Swans couldn’t do anything more than they did, across four quarters they just kept up the pressure, which is hard to do when your opponent is basically curled up in the foetal position.
Collingwood (61) v St Kilda (70)
Collingwood played close to the worst three quarters of football you’d care to see, only to almost win it with one quarter of football.
It was a strange old game alright.
Down by seven goals at three quarter time, it looked like Robert Harvey could be a caretaker coach who got sacked.
The Saints were dominating them everywhere, and the Pies were putting up the sort of resistance I put up towards an ice cream sandwich.
The fourth quarter however saw the Pies come to life, making you wonder what changed.
I’m not saying they were all given crystal meth at three quarter time, it’s just the only obvious explanation for their endeavour in the last quarter.
A five goal to zero last term resulted, and Saints fans got very nervous, and St Kilda got very luck to hold on.
Claims this victory suggests the Saints are back, could only really be made by someone who didn’t watch the game.
Western Bulldogs (108) v North Melbourne (79)
The Bulldogs are back on top of the ladder after taking care of North Melbourne in a good but difficult win.
If you want to judge the improvement by North under David Noble, consider on Good Friday they lost to the Doggies by 128 points. So, this was better.
North’s midfield has improved significantly, and while they still give up too many points, they no longer form a guard of honour for their opponents to waltz through to goal.
The Doggies at times struggled against North’s midfield but the gulf in class was just too big.
By far the biggest concern for the Bulldogs was losing Aaron Naughton to concussion, a reminder that attrition is the biggest concern for the various premiership contenders on the run home.
My biggest take out from this was the Doggies are very good and have perhaps the most eclectic collection of hairstyles in the league.
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