Jul 04, 2022
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.
Brisbane (108) v Western Bulldogs (67)
Am I to believe you’re not allowed to push your opponent into an umpire anymore? What a nanny state.
Why, one of the great joys of childhood was shoving an opponent into an umpire and watching them both go down in a heap.
Now those killjoys at the AFL want to take that away. First, they take away a player’s right to abuse umpires, and now they want to take away the joy of pushing a player into an umpire.
Eric Hipwood has been directly referred to the AFL Tribunal for pushing Ryan Gardner into an umpire in the third quarter.
Hipwood, with his opponent tangled up with the umpire, then ran forward took a mark and kicked a goal.
To me, this should be a fun new way to lose an opponent.
One person who didn’t need to push their opponent into an umpire, because bhe didn’t seem to have one, was Charlie Cameron, who had four goals and five goal assists.
With the Bulldogs looking well in the fight, Cameron tore them apart in the third quarter and made it look easy while he was doing it.
It wasn’t all good news for the Lions, Dayne Zorko lasted five minutes before injuring his hamstring, and Daniel Rich also went off with a hamstring.
For the Bulldogs, after working so hard to make it into the eight, they drop back out again. A reminder that sometimes it’s not worth trying because things will turn out badly anyway.
Carlton (78) v St Kilda (93)
I’m not sure I know what to make of this result.
I mean, obviously, Carlton’s season is over.
Even stranger, St Kilda’s season may not be over.
After three games where the Saints played so badly that even their own fans discovered new ways to be embarrassed, they suddenly pop up and beat Carlton.
Even more astounding was the fact that in a game where one side kicked atrociously for goal, it wasn’t St Kilda.
This is a miracle. St Kilda and bad goalkicking are like bacon and eggs.
The Blues, risking copyright infringement, decided to miss shots that the Auskick kids were slotting at halftime.
Carlton really spread the load with multiple behind kickers, but Charlie Curnow booting 1.4 was a highlight.
Perhaps even more surprising, is that when the Saints needed goals, they kicked accurately.
It was like seeing a goldfish conducting heart surgery. It just felt unnatural.
Carlton fans shouldn’t worry too much, they’ve won two of their last five matches and just lost to St Kilda who had lots of injury issues during the game. Nothing to worry about.
Dylan Shiel (95) v Luke Parker (86)
If St Kilda beating Carlton was a surprise, then this was, well, more of a surprise.
It’s my way with words that’s got me where I am today.
Sydney embarrassed Essendon back in round nine, but Essendon has been embarrassed a lot this season.
It was Luke Parker mocking Dylan Shiel that made it, well, more embarrassing.
It turns out that all the Bombers need to be motivated to win is their opponents openly mocking them.
If I was Ben Rutten, from now on I’d pay opponents to mock my players.
Because Essendon was as good this weekend as I’ve seen them this year, and while that’s a bar so low a baby could crawl over it, it would have been heartening to see for Bombers supporters.
Less heartened would-be Swans supporters who just saw their team lose to a 16th placed who lost to West Coast last week.
That’s not an outcome that would fill you with confidence heading into the finals weeks of the season.
The Swans started strong, and this really looked like a belting coming the way of the Bombers, only for Essendon to then kick five straight goals in 13 minutes.
If you’re new to AFL, that’s an impressive turnaround, and it made the Swans look like they were new to AFL.
The Swans fought back however and led by 16 points nine minutes into the fourth, only for Jake Stringer to suddenly ignite his team with two goals.
This being Stringer, he also then gave away a fifty-metre penalty that almost cost them the game.
Luckily for him, the bombers held on, making this a victory for Essendon fans to saviour and wonder where this performance has been all year.
Adelaide (65) v Melbourne (94)
These big, long-term contracts just mean players take the foot off the accelerator once they’re signed.
Take Clayton Oliver for example.
Signs a monster contract during the week and then what does he do?
He phones in a disappointing 36 disposal performance, with 20 of them contested, has seven clearances and just 13 tackles.
He’s going to need to lift if he wants to earn that salary.
I could analyse this game, but the only thing I will remember about it was Darcy Fogarty dislocating his finger, then running around for what seemed like forever with his finger sticking out in a way that was very unsettling.
He even came back on after that, which is brave, given if anything did that to my finger, I would never do that thing ever again.
The Crows showed a lot of heart all night but probably let themselves down with their strategy of relentlessly kicking the ball to Melbourne’s defence.
If I was Matthew Nicks, I probably would have let the Crows players know at some point during the game that Jake Lever no longer played for them.
Geelong (144) v North Melbourne (32)
Geelong held an open, non-contact training session on Saturday, and they were kind enough to let the North Melbourne Football Club watch on. I assume it was part of North Melbourne’s review they’re currently holding.
It’s tradition, if you write about footy, to offer solutions on how to fix things, even if you’ve never run a club before and have no qualifications for doing so.
With that in mind, here’s my five-point plan for fixing North Melbourne:
1. Stop losing by so much
2. Get better players
3. Get rid of the bad players
4. Start winning
5. Win lots of premierships
You’re welcome North Melbourne’s Board, I just saved you a lot of money.
Geelong did well to not look bored during the game and in many ways being made to participate in this is beneath them.
Gold Coast (62) v Collingwood (67)
If you’re Collingwood, putting Peter Daicos out to stud must be a top priority.
There are probably a few legal issues to be worked through, but he’s already provided the genetic material for two of Collingwood’s best team, so just twenty more offspring to go.
I’ve long argued players after retirement should be put out to stud, only for people to claim it would be ‘morally wrong’ and ‘a legal minefield’.
But none of those complaints have come from current or ex-players.
Collingwood may not have an official breeding program, but you wouldn’t know that watching Nick and Josh Daicos running around, helping the Pies get across the line in this one.
It was a hectic final quarter, where Collingwood fought back from 14 points down to get in front, but they lost Darcy Moore to what looked like a serious knee injury.
Despite that rather large negative, this was Collingwood’s sixth win in a row, so things are getting serious now, and I’m keen to see what our new Federal government are planning to do to stop this.
Surely fixing our relationship with France is a distant second to what’s happening in our own backyard. The fact Collingwood are sixth on the ladder and play North next week, so are about to get their seventh win in a row.
As for the Suns, this loss probably means they won’t play finals, but you feel they have the core of a very good team there.
Is competency in danger of breaking out up there?
Richmond (128) v West Coast (93)
Dustin Martin has suffered what people in the AFL refer to as ‘hamstring awareness’, and they say it with a completely straight face.
The fact clubs say this stuff and AFL media types don’t laugh openly at it, but repeat it, is all that’s wrong with the industry. Well not all, hiring Wayne Carey tops it.
Hamstring awareness is trying to sound smart but proves you’re not. It’s the same as corporate jargon. Just say a ‘tight hammy’.
That said, I have often suffered from ‘hangover awareness.’
One thing the Eagles season has taught me is that you are better when your good players are playing, and conversely, you are worse when your good players aren’t playing.
The return of Nic Naitanui certainly made a difference straight away, and Tim Kelly enjoyed his return, with 40 disposals and two goals.
That’s how I imagine we’ll all feel when we get back to having enough hospitality staff so that getting a beer at the footy won’t take four quarters.
And before people start telling me that hospitality staff don’t get paid enough, I couldn’t agree more.
If it was up to me, their wages would be linked to politicians’ salaries, so they would always get pay rises, even when no one else does.
Actually, bar staff should get paid what the politicians get, because bar staff do something positive for the community.
Greater Western Sydney (72) v Hawthorn (50)
As we all suspected, category B rookie and former Gaelic footballer Callum Brown was the big difference in this game, finishing with four goals.
It was an impressive performance given players had to don snorkels with all the rain falling.
There was further good news for the Giants, alongside the win, with James Hird ruling himself out of their hunt for a senior coach.
That leaves the chance of a fairy tale return to the Essendon top job, and as someone who doesn’t barrack for Essendon, I couldn’t be keener for this to happen.
For Hawthorn, they have lost nine of their past 10 matches. It’s what I call a good start.
The occasional good display of footy from them this season had me worried, but Sam Mitchell has steered them through that, and I think they’re on the right path now.
Fremantle (99) v Port Adelaide (91)
This was a cracking game, the match of the round by some margin, with star performances from Ollie Wines, Travis Boak, Andrew Brayshaw and Rory Lobb.
It didn’t start off that way. Fremantle were cruising early, but they’re nice guys at Fremantle.
Up by 40 points late in the third quarter, they stopped and let Port Adelaide catch up.
It was a display of sportsmanship rarely seen these days.
Disappointingly for Fremantle, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t change its spots.
Despite giving Port every chance to win, they had to watch Todd Marshall and Robbie Gray miss easy shots to seal the win.
Therefore, reluctantly, and despite their best efforts, Fremantle took the four points, but you could see they were disappointed with Port, which is how every Power fan feels about this season.
The good news for Fremantle fans is they are now in the top four and anyone that got a Flagmantle tattoo can hold out hope it can still come true.
Getting a tattoo early is a great way to manifest something into reality. You'll never regret it. At least that’s what reading The Secret taught me.
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