Jun 17, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Thirteen
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.
Adelaide (101) v Richmond (68)
This could have gone a different way. When Richmond sent their VFL side to Adelaide, Crows fans would have been thinking ‘oh, here we go, in what magical way can we stuff this up?’
But with Josh Jenkins and Taylor Walker playing on some Richmond fans who had made the trip over and were pressed into service, the Crows were just too good for the Tigers.
So good in fact that Sydney Stack even congratulated Eddie Betts after Eddie kicked what would be an amazing goal for most players, but for Eddie was just a regulation kick.
I was unsure how to feel about Stack congratulating an opponent. Luckily, Gary Lyon helped me decide by saying he didn’t like it, which means I think it’s great and I hope more players do it.
The Tigers certainly worked hard all night, but their lack of talent was evident.
It was like watching Take That without Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow.
As for the Crows, in a surprise to all of us, they now sit fourth on the ladder.
Could they be good? They must be, as I haven’t heard their preseason camp mentioned once this year.
Essendon (96) v Hawthorn (77)
Dane Rampe set the pace this year for captains going off the rails in a game, but Ben Stratton lifted the bar and then some.
He managed to repeatedly pinch Orazio Fantasia, stomp on Shaun McKernan’s foot and give the finger to the crowd.
It was a masterclass in how to become hated by every football fan in just a few hours.
While he’s straight off to the tribunal, the jury is still out if his campaign to overtake James Sicily as Hawthorn's most hated player will succeed.
Perhaps he was frustrated because the Bombers were running all over the Hawks, reminding Essendon fans that their team can play well, they just often choose not to.
This game again raised the issue of security being overly zealous in their policing of fans.
After denying they’d been an increase in security measures, Gillon McLachlan clarified his comments saying there has been no crackdown on behaviour or increase in security in the corporate areas AFL executives sit in.
McLachlan said he’d consider relaxing security if everyone agrees to pretend to like AFLX.
The problem for security is they’re trying to stop the brawls that have been occurring over the last few years, but at the same time, fans don’t like the increased presence.
That’s our right as footy fans, to hold two contradictory views at the same time. We’re footy fans, not logical thinkers.
Gold Coast (76) v St Kilda (80)
St Kilda fans needed an aspirin and a good lie down after this one. Alan Richardson probably needed something a lot stronger.
Richardson dodged a bullet like Neo, that’s how close this was.
If it were against any team except the Suns, the Saints would have almost certainly lost this.
St Kilda gave the Suns 31-point head-start in this one, and they did it through a creative mix of dropping uncontested marks, missing targets so badly it looked like they were doing it on purpose and just generally being embarrassing.
So bad were St Kilda that the Gold Coast looked good, but it turned out they weren’t, it was all the Saints.
When St Kilda suddenly remembered to play football, the writing was on the wall.
It didn’t help the Suns that they’ve dropped leads of this size to the Saints as recently as last year, so St Kilda had the belief they could come back, and the Suns believed it too.
In the end, Jack Billings was the difference with 33 disposals and a lovely goal from 55 out late in the game.
The Saints now sit 11th, but this could have been a lot worse.
Fremantle (100) v Port Adelaide (79)
I’m enjoying watching Fremantle this year. I know, right? I never thought I’d type those words unless Ross Lyon were holding a gun to my head.
I’m relieved to say he isn’t.
Although, he’d get me to type that wouldn’t he?
In recent weeks, the Dockers have been high scoring, exciting and perfect when the game is on the line. It’s almost like they have a forward line.
It hasn’t hurt that Michael Walters has gone supernova, becoming the player apart from Nat Fyfe at Fremantle that non-Dockers fans can name.
After regularly winning games in the dying minutes, Walters kicked six goals in this including two in the final quarter to make sure of things.
Port was good too, they just didn’t have Walters, and the duel between Nat Fyfe and Travis Boak was worth the price of admission alone.
The problem for the Power is this was a crucial game. They’re battling to stay in the eight, as were Freo and being good but not good enough sums up the Power not just for this game but the season.
Carlton (100) v Western Bulldogs (103)
So, this is where the Bulldogs are at now, relieved to beat Carlton.
In fairness, the Blues under David Teague seemed to have discovered their love of playing football again, something missing at the club since Nokia phones were considered state-of-the-art.
Carlton gave every indication that Brendon Bolton had snuck back into the coaches box, trailing by 34 points late in the fourth quarter.
It was at this point; the Bulldogs didn’t just take their foot off the accelerator, they pulled over and got out of the car and set it on fire.
The Blues suddenly became a team possessed, repeatedly winning the ball and converting every time they went forward. It certainly helped Charlie Curnow played like everyone projects he can play, kicking seven goals.
The Bulldogs weren’t helped by Tom Liberatore going off with a jarred knee, making it easier for the Blues to curb Marcus Bontempelli’s impact.
Patrick Cripps only had 22 possessions in this, appearing human for brief moments.
In his 250thgame, Dale Thomas wound the clock back, running around with a manic energy that he normally doesn’t deliver outside of a charity function.
In the end, it was a very exciting game, which makes you wonder, why isn’t Carlton on prime-time TV more often?
North Melbourne (68) v Greater Western Sydney (91)
North certainly hung in there as long as they could but all game it felt like only a matter of time.
Shaun Higgins absence through injury certainly didn’t help, with the Giants able to restrict Ben Cunnington in his 200thmatch.
The Giants’ Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto then ran amok over the Kangaroos, and it looked like a boxer with a much longer reach just biding their time until their opponent just couldn’t keep it up.
It was Rhyce Shaw’s first loss since taking over as head coach and probably his first real taste of what coaching North is really like. Not only was he faced with a lack of talent, but Ben Brown did a Gary Ablett and got reported.
The problem for Brown is he probably won’t have a three-strike policy applied to him at the tribunal.
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