Apr 04, 2022
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Three
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.
Western Bulldogs (71) v Sydney (60)
Like starting up the car, pressing the accelerator, only to realise you accidentally put it in reverse, the Bulldogs have not exactly had an auspicious start to the year.
On Thursday, they found the right gear, at last, only to keep the Swans in it by kicking 9.17.
It was a real team effort, with numerous players missing shots, proving once again that goal-kicking inaccuracy is more contagious than the latest covid variant.
While the Bulldogs piled on the points, the Swans looked flat after last week’s events.
Buddy seemed to be moving like he still had 10,000 people surrounding him.
Their lack of energy wasn’t helped by a free kick count that wildly favoured the Dogs.
I’m not saying the umpires are biased towards the Doggies but try to find someone who loves you like the umpires love the Bulldogs.
Bulldog fans get upset if you point this out, so point it out often when you’re speaking to them.
Melbourne (99) v Essendon (70)
How good is Christian Petracca?
So good he can kick a goal even though it’s touched and despite then telling people it’s touched, the umpires still give it to him.
Such was the Dees night, where despite Essendon’s effort, things just worked out for them.
There was no greater example than Ed Langdon’s goal, when surrounded by Essendon players on the boundary, he threw it on his boot, and instead of it clanging into one of them or sailing out of bounds, the ball instead broke the laws of physics and went through for a goal.
You know it’s a freak goal when the player, his teammates and even his opponents all looked more stunned than if the AFL had announced a sensible rule change.
Essendon, operating under the curse of Mick Malthouse tipping them for the premiership, have had their worse start to the season in 55 years.
They played better than the result suggests on Friday. Peter Wright has been impressive, and Tex Wanganeen booted his first AFL goal, but not playing round one has upset the balance at the club.
To break the curse the club must get Malthouse to admit he was wrong, so the curse could remain in place forever.
Adelaide (96) v Port Adelaide (92)
This was one of the best Showdowns ever, so it’s great it was on a Friday night.
Not great was the fact that it had to compete with another AFL game.
Port seemed to have the edge for most of the night, but Adelaide, like a 90s footballer in the media just hung around way longer than anyone expected.
Despite the young Crows giving it a real crack, Port still led by 19-points halfway through the fourth quarter.
Port had the chance to kill off the Crows numerous times, only for their inaccuracy in front of goal to keep Adelaide’s chances alive.
There’s two things Port don’t seem to want to do this year, ruthlessly finish off teams, and win.
This lack of a killer instinct left the door open for some late heroics, mainly from Elliott Himmelberg who kicked two goals in the dying stages, setting up a moment that Crows fans have already watched a few thousand times.
Down by two, with seconds left, Lachie Murphy received a free kick for following a Sam Mayes high challenge that had the subtlety of an Adam Sandler movie.
Murphy went off holding his neck like he’d just gone through the Spanish announcers' table, and it was left to Jordan Dawson to take the kick as the siren sounded.
With everyone holding their breath, Dawson’s kick seemed to be heading into the carpark, only for it to curve, I’d say conservatively by at least two kilometres, and sail through the uprights for a goal.
The Crows fans went ballistic, while the Port fans experienced hell, a loss to the Crows, while surrounded by Crows supporters.
Greater Western Sydney (83) v Gold Coast (57)
All you need to know about this match is Touk Miller was held to 17 possessions, the same amount of possessions he had in one quarter last week against Melbourne.
Miller’s worse performance in memory was a direct result of Lachlan Ash tagging him, so I look forward to more explanations of how tagging doesn’t work.
The Giants midfield was supreme. Stephen Coniglio continued his return to form and it’s no surprise that no longer being the sole captain has helped him.
And why wouldn’t it? Anyone that’s done it knows that managing people is awful. Having to pretend to care about other people’s concerns is exhausting.
I remember when I was managing people, a long time ago, one person complained to me they hadn’t been invited to a meeting.
Imagine wanting to go to a meeting? That’s like wanting to go to the dentist or wanting to watch The Bounce.
And I had to pretend to take this complaint seriously. Exhausting.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Giants performance is they managed to play this well despite playing in front of a daunting crowd of 4,014 people.
Collingwood (91) v Geelong (104)
Watching Collingwood choke is always fun, but it was slightly offset on Saturday by Geelong winning.
It was in the third quarter that the game exploded.
The Pies put on one of their best quarters in years, pouring on goals and getting under the skin of the Cats.
A chase down tackle on Joel Selwood resulted in a goal, only for Tom Atkins to drag Jack Ginnivan to the ground after he shoved Selwood, resulting in another Collingwood goal.
Selwood, who was breaking the record for the most games played as captain, was booed throughout the night.
Selwood is a rare beast. His ability and competitiveness are admired by all, his staging for free kicks, not so much.
He falls very much into the category of players you love to have on your side and hate them if they’re not.
The media criticised the Collingwood fans for booing him. Imagine spending all your life around footy and still being shocked by the behaviour of Pies fans.
If only the media had reacted like that when Adam Goodes was being booed. Still, consistency isn’t their thing.
Selwood though would have the last laugh.
Collingwood’s 37-point lead quickly evaporated in the fourth quarter as the young Pies natural talent was outdone by the crafty Cats.
One side had realised the game wasn’t over.
The Pies supporters, on cloud nine after the third quarter, watched on in horror as Geelong went past them in their mobility scooter.
Jeremy Cameron made a huge difference, but it was Selwood, willing himself into the contest and refusing to lose that really got the Cats back into the game.
He may be old and slow, but Selwood proves that effort counts more than anything in footy.
We should wait for the dust to settle, but I suspect the review will identify that not playing the fourth quarter was a tactical mistake by Collingwood.
Brisbane (156) v North Melbourne (48)
It was always going to be tough going from playing a WAFL side to playing an AFL side.
It was a big step up in class, and North tripped on the step in spectacular fashion. It wasn’t the only uncoordinated thing they did on Saturday.
Brisbane are obviously a top team, but it was less what they did and more all the things North didn’t do.
When the Kangaroos didn’t have the ball, which was a lot, they seemed to just stop participating in the game.
Lions players looked genuinely perplexed as they were able to stroll through the middle, or away from stoppages, with a casualness usually reserved for a walk along the beach.
David Noble looked like a man defeated at the end of the match, but in fairness, the real question is how North got this bad?
Noble has inherited a mess not of his own making. He now has to clean it up, and we all know, cleaning up someone else’s mess is the worst.
Carlton (74) v Hawthorn (73)
I was expecting this game to show us that one of these teams was a pretender.
When the Blues went 41-points up in the second quarter, I had my answer.
Hawthorn were frauds!
I was thrilled, although disappointed that Carlton were therefore the real deal.
But then Carlton turned back into the real Blues, choking as is their style, as Hawthorn kicked nine goals to two from that point on.
Wait, were Hawthorn the real? I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.
As Blues fans settled into a familiar feeling, I moved Carlton back into the fraud category. I decided to leave Hawthorn in the fraud category too, but more for fun than what I was seeing.
But then, the Blues, in a shocking display of competency, didn’t lose.
At the same time, Hawthorn had done enough to prove they weren’t bad, in fact, they were possibly good.
I was left not knowing how to feel. Is it possible that both Carlton and Hawthorn are good? Is this something anyone asked for?
Is this an 80s trend no one really wanted back again?
All in all, it was a match that delivered more questions than answers and left me feeling confused and hungry.
St Kilda (117) v Richmond (84)
Richmond had St Kilda and Max King under control for most of three quarters on Sunday, only for all hell to break loose in the fourth.
Saints fans, used to things not going their way, were left both happy and shocked, when St Kilda began to get back into the game in the third, only to then cruise to victory.
Richmond seemed well in control for a lot of the game, and St Kilda seemed to be in real trouble, with Jack Higgins going off after being grabbed by Hugo Ralphsmith.
Higgins landed on his head in a display more awkward than my appearance at my high school social.
I’ve watched the replay several times and am still unsure how Higgins managed to land as he did.
Perhaps nothing summed up the game better for the first three quarters than when Toby Nankervis and Dougal Howard both went for the ball and clashed at full speed.
It was a case of the immovable object meeting the very resistible force, as Howard went flying and Nankervis acted like he had been caught in a light breeze.
Nankervis followed it up with a goal.
It was the Saints midfield that lifted in the third to get things back on track, but it was Max King who tore the game wide open.
Suddenly, everything was working out for him, resulting in him booting four goals in the final quarter
It certainly helped that Dylan Grimes had gone off with a hamstring injury, but that shouldn’t take anything away from King.
He marked everything and going against St Kilda tradition, he started to kick goals, not behinds.
It’s the sort of behaviour that could lead to St Kilda regularly winning games if they’re not careful.
Now they just need to play like that for four quarters.
West Coast (47) v Fremantle (102)
Last week, Justin Longmuir labelled his team’s performance as "horrific" but this week, West Coast showed him the true meaning of the word.
In what was a performance for the ages, but not in a good way, the Eagles had West Coast supporters calling for the return of the WAFL top-up players.
To call this a contest would be stretching that word beyond all meaning.
The Eagles were never really in it; their continuing dumpster fire of a season has seen them churn through 39 players, with only six of them playing in all three games.
West Coast's greatest opponent this year has been Health and Safety Protocols.
To everyone’s surprise, even Fremantle couldn’t figure out a way to lose to a side with so many problems.
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