Jun 22, 2020
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Three
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.
Richmond (39) v Hawthorn (71)
First up, the good news for Tigers fans, Richmond just blew past the 36-points they scored the week before.
On their currently trajectory, that daunting 40-point barrier could fall as early as next week. Exciting times.
If only the Tigers could get their hands on two key forwards.
You could say Dusty being out was the difference, but that alone doesn’t explain the Tigers’ new aversion to tackling. For a team based on putting the maximum pressure on their opponent, this is a counterintuitive approach.
Last week, Hawthorn lowered their incredibly unflattering colours to Geelong, and it seemed a week of Clarkson being angry with them really paid off.
Especially in the first half, the Hawks looked fast and skilful, two words you couldn’t associate with them last week.
The return of Jaeger O'Meara certainly had a big impact, it was like a Ferrari engine had been dropped into a Corolla.
This result was an ominous sign that tipping this week was going to be a nightmare.
Western Bulldogs (57) v Greater Western Sydney (33)
Now this was fun.
The Giants came out to intimidate the Bulldogs, Marcus Bontempelli in particular, and like their game plan, it didn’t work.
It was an added embarrassment to the night, instigating a fight you then lose is always a bad look.
When I was at school, the local bully picked on a kid for months on the school bus. This kid silently took it. Occasionally some of us would tell the bully to knock it off, but he was one of those twelve-year-olds who looked like a 20-year-old, so he didn’t really listen.
One day the whole thing escalated. The bully swung a punch at this kid who was literally half his size. The kid dodged it and landed two jabs and then an upper cut. The bully went down hard. He was semi-conscious.
It turned out the kid’s dad was a former amateur boxing champion and this kid had been in the ring since birth.
It was beautiful.
I learnt an important lesson that day, while a bully is half knocked out, you can steal his wallet and his discman with Live’s Throwing Copper in it.
Perhaps my favourite bit of this game was when the brawl broke out and the person in charge of the fake crowd noise really pushed the volume up to eleven.
The AFL have now fined fifteen players for this scuffle, meaning the AFL’s Christmas party is now fully funded, especially considering they can only have twenty people at it.
North Melbourne (60) v Sydney (71)
I was thoroughly enjoying a day of football when during this match the news broke that Victorians are ruining it for everyone.
While every other state is getting back to normal, Victoria is racking up coronavirus cases like Tom Mitchell racks up possessions.
Typical of this latte sipping basket weaving state that they’re just letting people with Coronavirus wander around.
Even worse, as I flicked on the media conference announcing the reintroduction of restrictions in Victoria, news broke on Twitter of Conor McKenna testing positive and in the space of a few minutes I went from thoroughly enjoying a footy match to realising 2020 is never going to let up.
2020 is like the worst family member you have, destructive and never going away.
North Melbourne might want to change their mind on relocating to Tasmania to get out of this disease riddled state.
It certainly made the Premier Danial Andrews mocking of South Australia even more stupid than it was. Why would you want to go to South Australia? So, you can go to a pub sometime in your life.
The Swans continued in this to show they play better away from home than at the SCG. We all do this a bit. How much nicer are your family when visiting others than at home?
As for North, what can we read into this performance? Nothing. This season will never make sense, because the world no longer makes sense.
To win the premiership this year, you need to be less Usain Bolt, more Steven Bradbury.
Collingwood (81) v St Kilda (37)
St Kilda went into this like I went into 2020. Full of hope and keen to leave the ghosts of last year behind.
And yes, in this analogy, Collingwood are the coronavirus.
The Pies just dismantled the Saints in a brutal display. St Kilda kicked just one goal in the second half, adding to the trend of teams just going completely missing for large periods of the game.
If a team can figure out how to play four quarters this season, they’ll win the premiership easily.
Ratten said after the match that playing two ruckmen didn’t work, but against Brodie Grundy you could play eight ruckman and still struggle.
He should have just listed the things that did work to shorten his post-match media conference. He would have only had to list a couple of his players.
Jaidyn Stephenson’s return was a success, making me even more nervous that a Collingwood premiership, the ultimate embodiment of what an awful year 2020 has been, is still very much on the cards.
Brisbane (74) v West Coast (44)
No wonder the Eagles want to get away from the Gold Coast. It will be so much nicer when they can sleep in their own beds after a loss.
Considering the Lions were without Dayne Zorko and Stef Martin I don’t think a move home will fix everything.
The Eagles look far off their form of the last few years, and it would be understandable if given the state of things they’re lacking motivation.
I think of this season a bit like going on a date. Odds are it’s going to go badly and you aren’t going to get through the whole thing before someone calls it off.
Brisbane have an insane amount of young talent and suddenly, with the Suns also firing, Queensland suddenly isn’t the joke it once was in AFL circles.
Imagine an all Queensland Grand Final. You could even hold it at the Gabba because by the time the Grand Final occurs, Victoria will be like a scene from the movie I Am Legend.
Geelong (77) v Carlton (79)
I’m not sure what is worse, losing to Carlton or proving Alastair Clarkson right.
It’s losing to Carlton isn’t it?
Carlton fans watched this with a burst of happiness, descending into the ‘it’s going to happen again isn’t it? Why can’t we be happy? Why!!’ phase, only for them to surprise everyone and hold on.
Leading by 42 points, this should have been an easier victory, but this is the Blues, and they always make things harder for themselves.
What would have Carlton fans ecstatic was the performance of Eddie Betts who kept setting up scoring chances and laid a match winning tackle. Life is just better with Betts around, something the Crows are quickly earning.
As for Geelong, they suffered from the forgetting to play a few quarters that almost all teams are suffering from at the moment.
If there’s one thing this season is showing is that pre-season is important.
But Geelong have to be honest, losing to Carlton is never good, after all, they’re not that good.
Gold Coast (82) v Adelaide (29)
It’s true that Hugh Greenwood is not going to be playing in the Crows next premiership side, no one currently alive is.
This was the second worst thing to ever happen to the Crows on the Gold Coast.
It was if Essendon said ‘Well, we've had the worst week’ and Adelaide responded, ‘watch this’.
We should at least congratulate the Crows on getting to 29 points, it didn’t feel like they played that well.
Adelaide are awful at the moment, and their strategy of losing all their good players and retaining the bad ones doesn’t seem to be working.
The Crows are ripe for a George Costanza strategy, do the complete opposite of what they’ve been doing.
Perhaps their best option in the short term would be to encourage their players to go get COVID. If they arranged a different one to get it each week, they could get out of this whole season, a best-case scenario at this stage.
As for the Suns, they looked amazing. They were hitting targets, applying pressure, scoring, all the things you used to not associate with them.
They weren’t just a bit better; they are light years ahead of where they were last year.
Their next step is to go from the current, ‘people like us because we were terrible and are now ok’, to ‘we hate you because we’re sick of you guys winning’, the phase every fan hopes their team achieves.
Fremantle (41) v Port Adelaide (70)
Starting at 8pm on a Sunday night isn’t ideal. That’s normally my bedtime, but I stayed up, powered by a rather reckless three cups of tea. I was buzzing.
I’m not sure this was worth staying up for, the Power were superior for all but a bit at the start and Fremantle approached the wet conditions like Victorians are approaching the pandemic, refusing to adjust their behaviour to the conditions.
Fremantle is 0-3 and they should thank the Crows for taking away the limelight this week. In fact, that should be the Dockers slogan for the year ‘We’re not the Crows.’
Port have set up their year perfectly, in that we still don’t know how they are going to blow a 3-0 start to just miss the finals. Every Power fan is confident they can ruin it from here.
But what if they don’t? The normal rules no longer apply. I used to understand this league.
My tips used to be awful because I knew too much, now they’re awful because I know too little.
Who knows when?
Essendon v Melbourne
I partly want to get on my high horse and say Melbourne should get four points because Essendon had a player breach the COVID regulations and caused this game to be postponed, but then I remembered Melbourne had two players suspended last week for doing the same.
Sure, they didn’t test positive but that was just good luck, not something usually associated with the Demons.
And in fairness to Essendon, despite the whole peptides affair, they haven’t really ruined an AFL season for everyone else since 2000.
The reality is that any system that relies on hundreds of blokes in their twenties to not socialise is a system set up to fail.
The only positive I took out of the whole weekend is despite new restrictions in Victoria, that you can only have five people over to your house, I can still have all my friends over.
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