May 27, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Ten
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.
Sydney (73) v Collingwood (80)
The Journey to Hell we’re all on continues as the Pies continue to win with a relentlessness that is not only causing me sleepless nights but is turning my days into a living nightmare.
There were moments when the Swans appeared to be about to give us some hope, but like all things, Dane Rampe has to ruin it for everyone.
This week he gave away a 50m penalty to Chris Mayne who had missed a set shot but got to have another go, except this time from the goalsquare.
Rampe would be the guy who got you all cut off the night there’s a free bar.
The Swans had been in control, but what happened? Well, Brodie Grundy happened.
There’s not a better ruckman in the league at the moment, and the Pies midfield were like sharks in a feeding frenzy.
That included Scott Pendlebury, who seems to not only be able to avoid opponents with a grace that is bewildering to watch but also ageing.
Perhaps it’s that basketball background we hear about so rarely.
The loss pretty much sticks a fork in the Swans for the year but it’s not as bad as ‘John Longmire is off to North’. I mean the team is struggling, but they’re not North.
Hawthorn (80) v Port Adelaide (49)
Well, Port’s season is over a little earlier than usual.
Add Ken Hinkley to the growing list of coaches who may not see next season.
Everything about this performance was bad. Hawthorn had fill in rucks and still managed to fight Paddy Ryder to a draw.
Hawthorn were certainly helped by the fact that the Power produced skill errors that had the Auskick kids watching on really believing they would one day play in the AFL, as early as next year by the looks of it.
Add to that a Tom Rockliff hamstring injury, and this was a day that felt, well, like a lot of Port Adelaide days in recent years.
For the Hawks, they had Jack Gunston turning back the clock with a six-goal haul and their opening quarter took advantage of what the people of Launceston call a light breeze, and people on the mainland call a gale.
Alastair Clarkson described his team as ‘middle of the road’ recently, which is also a fair description of the Power.
Western Bulldogs (90) v North Melbourne (115)
With the announcement that Brad Scott would cease coaching the Kangaroos, effective 2016, the players were motivated to give this one their all.
Unfortunately, the Doggies only had self-respect to motivate them and if there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s that’s self-respect is a terrible motivator. Anyone that’s bumped into me at three in the morning knows that.
But the Kangaroos drew on the emotion of Brad Scott’s ‘conscious uncoupling’ from the club for the spark they needed to win this.
The emotion was high throughout the game, with Brad lining up Fox Footy analyst David King at one break and giving him a spray. Perhaps this will become a wonderful new tradition whenever a coach is let go.
Losing to North is pretty bad, and it will be understandable if Bulldogs fans take some time off work to avoid the embarrassment. Just until the end of September should do.
Adelaide (73) v West Coast (85)
Since the 2017 Preliminary final, the Crows major aim seems to be disappointing their fans, and on Saturday they certainly came through again.
At home and leading by 33 points early in the third quarter, the Crows somehow managed to lose.
I mean, those four premiership points even thought they belonged to the Crows in the third quarter and were as surprised as anyone to find themselves winging their way west.
Perhaps even more surprised were Eagles supporters, who had resigned themselves to a night of recriminations and alcohol.
What was obvious watching it, was the West Coast players knew they were looking at a defeat that would underline the averageness of their season and decided that wasn’t for them.
That internal belief and the way they worked their way back into the game was a reminder of the mindset that won them last years’ premiership.
It was terrifying.
When Jack Darling slotted the sealer, the only thing more terrifying was the wrath of the Crows’ fans, who certainly had a collective mind on what they thought of their team’s capitulation.
Gold Coast (64) v Geelong (91)
There were quite a few moments in this game where you began to believe the Suns could pull this off.
They were not only playing well; they were taking it up to the Cats in physicality.
Not that Geelong took a backwards step, with Gary Ablett showing that he can do it all, elbows, fists.
Who knows if he’ll get suspended? You can’t question his desire to. If he doesn’t, he may need to bring some sort of weapon out onto the field next.
It makes me wonder if someone made a bet with him if he could get suspended. If they did, they probably didn’t realise the lengths he’d go to.
Gold Coast’s problem is why they could match the Cats for three quarters when they fell away, they fell away fast.
It wasn’t really surprising, Geelong have the firepower of a modern battleship, while the Suns are three blokes fishing in a tinny.
Still, the Suns have won me over this year. They were meant to be the worst list in history according to some, but the effort they put in shames some of the clubs seen as having much better lists than them.
Richmond (73) v Essendon (50)
Horrible. That’s all that can be said about Essendon for large parts of this game.
With the rain negating Essendon’s pace and ruck advantage, the Tigers clinically picked them apart early, helped by the fact the Bombers were tackling like… well, a group of people who had never tackled before.
There were a ton of problems for the Bombers, from a lengthy injury list, a lack of a plan B for the weather and allowing Bachar Houli to collect 37 disposals across half-back to keep setting up the Tigers.
Perhaps the one positive for Essendon was Darcy Parish, a midfielder, who Worsfold actually played in the midfield this week, and would you look at that, 31 disposals and eight clearances.
Richmond have now won six of their last seven games. Not bad with all their injuries. They were meant to just hang in there with so many players out, but instead, they’re in the top four and have stars to come back. Not a bad spot to be in.
The highlight of the night was the war dance performed before the game as part of Dreamtime at the ‘G.
Richmond’s Sydney Stack even threw an imaginary spear at the Essendon players, but there was no outcry like when Adam Goodes did it towards Carlton supporters.
Perhaps that’s progress, or perhaps it’s just the fact everyone knows Essendon players have had plenty of experience of sharp objects being poked into them.
Melbourne (68) v Greater Western Sydney (94)
What rubbish Melbourne are this season. In a performance that had the Demons supporters looking to see if Mark Neeld had returned to coach the team, Melbourne looked like a team that couldn’t be bothered.
There were players strolling, standing with hands on hips and generally acting like the game was over. This was in the first quarter.
They were lucky too; the Giants could have annihilated them in the opening quarter but kicked poorly for goal, ending 2.5 at the first break.
The Giants have struggled at the MCG, but against this Melbourne side, they couldn’t have lost if they tried.
There’s not much to read into this performance for them, like their game against Carlton, it was like pushing against an open door only for the entire house to collapse.
Since this game ended, a lot of people have helpfully pointed out to me that Aldi are having a sale on snow gear.
I sense it’s a sledge, but I don’t know what an ‘Aldi’ is. I also don’t know what a ‘sale’ is.
I’ve asked a few other Demons supporters, and they don’t really know either, but one said he’d heard his household staff refer to it and he believes it’s a type of market where poor people procure goods.
Whatever it is, Melbourne deserves all the sledges they get.
St Kilda (68) v Carlton (55)
I’d just watched Melbourne play, so this seemed like a high skilled contest, but really it was like watching two drunks fighting in a bar when something connected it was more through luck, not skill.
This wasn’t even an honourable loss for the Blues, because the Saints were awful too, only doing just enough to not send their season into a full-blown crisis.
St Kilda wasn’t impressive by any stretch of the imagination, but they are less awful than the Blues.
Another loss and Carlton are now truly rusted onto the bottom of the ladder for another year.
They’ve got a solitary win, when their competitors for the wooden spoon the Suns, Melbourne, Sydney and North all have three.
Bolton said after the game the club has a strategic plan and won’t be taken off course.
I’m sure that the strategic plan is bringing a lot of comfort to Blues fans. You wouldn’t want to deviate from a plan that means you now have more wooden spoons than a commercial kitchen.
What nonsense about a strategic plan. Their plan had them trading away a draft pick to the Crows that is currently the number one draft pick.
Therefore, we know the brains trust didn’t foresee this bad a season. So at what point do you start wondering if this ‘strategic plan’ is about as useful as a collection of GWS castoffs?
Fremantle (73) v Brisbane (72)
Well, there’s something you don’t see every day, an entertaining Fremantle game.
And this was very entertaining, with the Lions bringing their usual high tempo style and the Dockers actually deciding to match it.
Brisbane blitzed the Dockers early, but then the Freo midfield went to work and slowly began to reign the Lions in.
However, it didn’t seem like the Dockers would get there, as Harris Andrews kept repelling every attack like a one-man missile defence shield.
He kept Jesse Hogan to just eight possessions, not one of them a kick.
To their credit the Dockers kept trying, it wasn’t always pretty, but they were relentless, and the Lions were tiring.
With less than two minutes to go, a Nat Fyfe miss delivered a behind that tied the game, and then in the dying seconds, Michael Walters marked 40 meters out on a 45-degree angle.
Any score would win it, which was lucky for him, as he banged it into the post, but there was the victory, and the Fremantle supporters celebrated with an intensity rarely seen outside of a 5SOS concert.
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