May 24, 2021
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Ten
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 (102) v Richmond (74)
After years of being staggeringly brilliant, the Tigers are curating a thoroughly average season.
So average they sit outside the eight, in ninth spot, triggering a host of ‘ninth’ memes that don’t really have the sting of old. Lots of premierships tend to make you immune from these things, at least that’s what I assume.
The Tigers have a lot of injuries, but then they had those in their premiership years, they just don’t seem at the level they’ve been at in recent times.
Credit must really go to the Lions who showed they were up for the fight after falling behind early.
Early on they seemed in trouble, letting Jack Riewoldt kick three goals which is never recommended.
Brisbane’s real advantage was in the midfield, mainly because Richmond doesn’t have one at the moment.
With so many key midfielders out, the Lions realised they just needed to tackle Dusty Martin and everything would be alright.
The win puts the Lions in the top four. Their shaky start is over and with winter coming, who knows, perhaps they’ll get to play a lot of their remaining game at the Gabba when that third wave inevitably hits.
Carlton (86) v Hawthorn (63)
There were moments in this game when Blues fans stared down the very real possibility that they could lose to the team that lost to North Melbourne.
They certainly have the skill set to lose such a game, but the 2021 Hawthorn model is proving it can lose to anyone in any situation.
A big reason for this is the complete lack of a forward line. They have the offensive firepower of a loaf of bread.
The game itself was a cold mess. There was nothing to recommend it to the neutral fan, except Sam Walsh, whose class stood out like a person with charisma on Big Brother.
Walsh showed up every other player by so much, Hawthorn’s Kyle Hartigan decided to whack him, resulting in a three-week suspension.
Getting three weeks off from playing in this Hawthorn team seems more a reward than a punishment.
Geelong (91) v Gold Coast (57)
Nick Holman’s suspension for two weeks for his tackle on Mitch Duncan has caused quite a bit of outrage, but not from me.
It’s not that I think the suspension is fair, it’s just my expectations of the Tribunal’s ability to provide consistency are so low, they are buried in a bunker so far under the Earth they touch the planet’s iron and nickel core.
The tackle itself was only dangerous in the sense all tackles are dangerous on some level. Footy is a contact sport. As All Black great Tana Umaga once told a referee after being penalised for a tackle, “we're not playing tiddlywinks.”
I’m all for suspensions for truly reckless tackles, when players ram an opponent’s head like Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts executing a DDT, but that was hardly the case here.
Soon you’ll need to get a permit before attempting to tackle someone.
The game itself was nothing too surprising. The Suns continued to advertise their mediocrity, while the Cats did just enough to ensure they won, without having to work too hard.
Adelaide (96) v Melbourne (95)
I travelled over to Adelaide for this, and I must say, aside from the result, I had a great time.
It was the first time I’d left Victoria since the pandemic, and I had an absolute ball. The people were fantastic, and I highly recommend getting over there if you can, a visit to Adelaide Oval is always worth it.
The game itself though was less than ideal from a Demons supporters point of view.
They were off all game while the Crows were very much on.
The focus was on the umpires late but I’m always of the belief that blaming the umpires takes away from your own rather substantial role in the loss.
Melbourne just didn’t play to the level they’re capable of, which always puts you in danger of losing.
Convincing yourself this was as umpire’s fault is a dangerous thought process to get into.
Melbourne’s defence, usually rock-solid, really missed Christian Salem’s calm leadership.
The inability to stop the Crows scoring proved to be a big factor, the Dees just couldn’t get ahead by three or four goals, letting the Crows stay in it and more importantly the crowd, who were incredibly loud.
It was a fantastic win for Adelaide, they deserved it. As for Melbourne, it’s obviously season over with their embarrassing 9-1 record.
Western Bulldogs (144) v St Kilda (33)
Avert your eyes children.
Less a game and more a ritual sacrifice, the Saints put on a display that will have the jungle drums beating for change. The problem with that, is I don’t think anyone involved with St Kilda has the coordination to hit a drum.
In many ways, the 144-33 scoreline flattered the Saints.
The ease at which the Doggies won this only underlined just how poor St Kilda was.
The contempt the Bulldogs players showed for their opponents could be seen across the ground, they barely paid any attention to them.
If there was any justice in this world, the St Kilda Football Club should be visiting every Saints fan this week to offer a personal apology and free counselling.
Fremantle (86) v Sydney (84)
Normally when Buddy Franklin boots six goals you can chalk up a win for the Swans, but Fremantle just didn’t let up in this one.
Franklin showed that he’s still got it, even if he now only works part-time.
Buddy’s dominance was offset somewhat up the other end by Rory Lobb who kicked four.
The final term was a mad scramble with the lead changing four times before Nat Fyfe snapped the winning goal.
That was probably the big change for the Dockers, who finally decided that wasting their opportunities in front of goal is counterproductive.
The Swans were hardly embarrassed, it was a terrific game, but neither side could stop the other from scoring, result in them both just trading blows like two drunks in the pub carpark.
Greater Western Sydney (93) v West Coast (77)
West Coast continues on with their project to convince everyone they’re less than the sum of their parts.
Against a Giants side lacking Toby Greene, the Eagles were in this game until it mattered, then they slipped quietly away like your mate that leaves a party without telling anyone.
The Giants were more measured in the closing term, with stand-in skipper Josh Kelly leading the way, plus a bunch of players I need to learn the names of quickly.
It showed that rumours of the Giants decline are unfounded, there’s still talent galore there.
For the Eagles, it was another disappointing loss on the road, especially given Shannon Hurn was playing his 291st game, a record for an Eagles player.
You would have liked to have seen a bit more effort for his sake.
Collingwood (58) v Port Adelaide (59)
You just knew it was going to happen.
At no stage in this game did Collingwood fans relax and think ‘we’ve got this.’
Such is the year Collingwood finds itself in, an era of ‘if anything can go wrong, it will’.
Before the game fans were signing a petition to spill the board, and the result of the game is hardly going to blunt that momentum.
In a week when a new board member was appointed who is unable to vote due to only recently becoming a member, Pies fans continue to have numerous questions over how their club is being run.
But the real question isn’t why Collingwood appointed Bridie O’Donnell to the board, it’s why would anyone want to join the current one?
A board that let Eddie McGuire run roughshod over any attempts at proper board governance, that oversaw a culture of systemic racism and oversaw list management with less diligence than the laziest Supercoach enthusiast applies to their team.
Not that Port would take a lot of comfort out of the game, narrowly avoiding a loss on the footy field that had previously been contained to the fashion world.
The narrow victory only papered over the cracks in the Power’s lacklustre performance.
But it will be Collingwood that receive the focus. If you constantly tell people you’re a powerhouse club, you better act like one, not a travelling circus whose sole purpose seems to be entertaining the non-Collingwood fans of the world, the one job they are doing at the moment.
Essendon (141) v North Melbourne (69)
Against Essendon, North entered the game with a strategy to allow as many Bombers players to kick goals as possible.
In this regard, they were spectacularly successful.
Essendon had 13 individual goalkickers as they ran riot over a Kangaroos side that looked surprised to be out there.
North rallied a little in the second half but it was very much a case of trying to shut the stable door after the horse had bolted. Even shutting the door after the horse was long gone required too much coordination for them.
The firm of Parish, McGrath and Merrett ran riot all day, gathering disposals with a careless ease, ensuring the North defence never got a chance to get set.
As the goals piled up, that win against Hawthorn seemed very far away.
Perhaps the worst news is that North Melbourne play St Kilda next week in a game that should require the crowd not to wear facemasks but blindfolds.
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