May 23, 2022
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.
Carlton (102) v Sydney (87)
There’s a new kid playing for Carlton called Charlie Curnow who you should keep your eye on.
He had six goals on Friday, five of them in the first half and looks like he could be a player.
If you’re a Blues fan, this must be the happiest you’ve been in a long time.
You’re third on the ladder, your coach’s post-match interviews don’t have the air of someone in a hostage video, and in a new development, you have players that seem to be really keen on football.
Even the fact that you give up sizable leads with alarming regularity wouldn’t be too upsetting given you keep winning anyway.
Swans fans would have been less happy. Buddy kicked a nice goal, and they fought back hard, but a lot of the talk about the Swans is how they are going to be good in a few years.
This has been said for a few years now.
There’s a point where you want to see that promise turn into outcomes, like when your UberEats order says it’s going to arrive in 20 minutes, and 20 minutes go by and it still hasn’t been picked up from the restaurant, and then when it does get picked up fifteen minutes later, the driver appears to drop off one hundred other orders across the entire city before coming to your house and then the food is cold and you’re angry, hungry and sleepy.
Anyway. What were we talking about?
Geelong (82) v Port Adelaide (47)
False hope sales firm Port Adelaide certainly delivered on Saturday, as the Cats continued their week-on-week-off effort model.
The Power led by one point at halftime, but in the third quarter, the Cats remembered the Power aren’t very good and kicked away.
They would have kicked away by more but seemed to delight in kicking behinds, which is addictive.
The biggest concern for the Cats was not their goalkicking but another injury to Patrick Dangerfield.
This time it’s a calf injury and that’s never good. I once did both my calves while trying to find a packet of Nerds that had fallen behind my couch, so I can relate to what Dangerfield is going through.
Port Adelaide’s biggest concern is they seemed to avoid going near the ball if a Geelong player was near it.
Look, who doesn’t prefer an uncontested possession? But like all things in life, you get the rewards if you’re willing to do the things most people don’t want to do.
Western Bulldogs (106) v Gold Coast (87)
Collingwood player Adam Treloar celebrated his 200th game in style with a victory over the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday.
The exciting business model of paying players to help other teams win seemed odd to me, but in hindsight, it seems really, really odd.
The Bulldogs showed flashes of their 2021 form in this, but probably not enough to get anyone too excited.
Once again, when things got close, Marcus Bontempelli proved he is the answer to most football questions.
You’d love to clone him, and frankly, it’s a blight on the AFL that we don’t have the technology to do just that.
The Suns certainly didn’t embarrass themselves, but struggled early on, before mounting a significant comeback, only to have Rory Thompson and Jy Farrar go off with injuries.
Thompson must have walked under a ladder moments after tripping over a black cat and dropping a mirror, it’s the only way to explain his luck with injuries.
Some good news for the Suns was Joel Jeffrey, who in his sixth game booted five goals, with plenty of highlights thrown in.
He looks so promising it will be interesting to see what Victorian team he requests a trade to.
North Melbourne (53) v Narrm (100)
For long periods of this, it felt like North were doing incredibly well, only to then look up and see Narrm win by almost 50-points.
You could say they should have won by more, but that’s not really what the Demons do.
They just make sure you don’t win; it's defence first, then they wait until you’re exhausted. Then they pour on six goals.
It’s an interesting strategy and seems to be working for them.
North ran into two major problems on the weekend, Clayton Oliver and the umpires.
Oliver had 45 disposals and 13 clearances and was brilliant or annoying depending on who you barracked for.
As for the umpires, they seemed to have a blood vendetta against North, the incident where Tarryn Thomas tackled Langdon legally and was penalised for it was an early example.
Even the Melbourne supporters around me couldn’t believe it.
I did check with AFL House and there hasn’t been a rule passed making tackling Ed Langdon illegally, although I think there should be.
Adelaide (69) v St Kilda (90)
The Saints’ experimented with a new strategy this week, known as ‘accurate goalkicking’ and it would have to be cautiously given a tick.
Max King certainly showed the benefits of it, booting six goals and no behinds.
I’ve done some calculations, and if he’d not kicked that accurately, he would have had less than six goals. The maths is irrefutable.
While St Kilda would be keen to continue the experiment, they should be cautious, replicating the experiment against anyone but the Crows may be difficult.
The Crows certainly weren’t practising ‘accurate goalkicking’, instead self-sabotaging by booting 9-15.
Self-sabotaging is when we deliberately hinder our own success and well-being by undermining personal goals and values, which could be the Crows' motto.
A way around it for the Crows may be to get some mind experts in to run a few sessions. Can’t hurt.
Richmond (80) v Essendon (48)
The Dreamtime at the ‘G game returned to the MCG and fans honoured the occasion by having more than 50 people ejected for bad behaviour, someone bit a police officer, two fans ran onto the field and another person hit a man over the head with a didgeridoo.
This doesn’t seem to be the spirit of this game.
The police blamed fans “pre-loading” on drinks which does make sense when alcohol cost so much at the footy that you need a pre-approved loan to buy a round.
But why blame alcohol for the fan violence at Dreamtime at the ‘G, when we can blame the large amount of Richmond and Essendon fans in attendance?
Seems like we’ve got the answer right there.
Essendon talked all week about playing a ‘tougher’ brand of footy, and they did, if you compare it to last week’s effort, proving the theory that if you set the bar low enough you can usually clear it.
The result is still worrying for Essendon, Richmond still cruised to victory, with Tom Lynch and Kane Lambert sitting out the final quarter.
Could the Tigers be about to end their long premiership drought?
Greater Western Sydney (138) v West Coast (86)
Worse than watching this live, I watched a replay of it. That meant I knew this was going to be terrible, and still put myself through it.
To be honest with you, and I think we have that sort of relationship, I did a lot of other things while watching it.
I did my tax return, which is always fun, learning that I pay more tax as a very average comedic writer than a multinational corporation does.
Then I read all the coverage of the election and came away with a sense that the thing that worries me most about all politicians, is they want to be politicians.
Personally, I think people should be drafted into parliament against their will, surely the results couldn’t be worse?
Speaking of being drafted against their will, that’s how the Eagles play at the moment.
Hawthorn (117) v Brisbane (112)
The umpires, now free from dissent, unloaded 63 free kicks in this game, the most in a match since 2012.
Now, I watch football for the umpiring, but I know a small minority of you don’t, so you may have found this game annoying.
For me though, this was exciting, there is nothing more majestic than seeing an umpire award a free-kick, and like all great music, it’s not what’s written on the page, but how individuals interpret it, and there was a jazz level of improvisation going on in this game.
In fairness to the umpires, the AFL is the composer of all this mess. They write music that’s almost impossible to play and then when criticised just tell everyone they’ve looked into it and concluded that everything is going great!
While the umpires had a great day out, the Lions did not, losing the game and Hugh McCluggage to a hamstring injury.
A moment that summed up their day was when Charlie Cameron booted a goal and celebrated with his signature motorbike celebration, only to crash and fall over.
Luckily, he was wearing an imaginary helmet.
Hawthorn are making a real habit of beating Brisbane and most impressive was the fact they fought back several times when it looked like the Lions were going to run away with it.
Obviously, Brisbane’s season is now effectively over.
Fremantle (44) v Collingwood (80)
There are few things worth than losing a game you should have won, at home and to Collingwood.
Fremantle ticked all the boxes on Sunday in a performance that suggests if you want to stop them, just add water.
Last week in the wet, Gold Coast made them look ordinary, and this week Fremantle handled the rain like they were made of suede.
Collingwood did something very strange, they adapted to the conditions, turning up the pressure and the tackling.
This was wizardry to the Dockers who thought adapting to the conditions was beneath them.
Instead, they adopted an approach of constant fumbling, which weirdly didn’t work.
For Collingwood, this game was perfect, they’re always good in terms of effort and the rain meant their skills didn’t matter that much.
Dockers fans would be wondering why does this always happen to us! Are we never allowed to be happy?
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