Apr 03, 2023
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 (67) v Brisbane (53)
Well, this is just silly. The Bulldogs looked like one of the more uncoordinated Auskick teams in the first two rounds, only to look like a real, proper AFL side on Thursday.
This now means Melbourne beat the Bulldogs, then Brisbane beat Melbourne, only for the Bulldogs to beat Brisbane, which equals my tips being stuffed.
The Lions brought the sort of low-key energy that works in a Wes Anderson movie but not in an AFL game.
They were bad across the ground, but their forward line did some wonderfully bad things.
Only Jack Gunston seemed to have a passing acquaintance with playing up forward.
It was another Joe Daniher masterclass, missing easy shots and a classic move of his, attempting to pass off but turning over the ball in the process. He finished with 0.4 in a performance that had Essendon fans feeling good briefly.
The Bulldogs needed someone to get them going, and Marcus Bontempelli set the tone, trying and managing to do everything early on.
He was well supported by some of those other players you may recognise from the 2016 Grand Final and that tall, skinny blonde guy in the ruck, oh and the headband guy.
So good was the headband guy that in the dying stages, he took a key contested mark and then chased down Keidean Coleman to pretty much seal the game.
The Brisbane forwards looked on in wonder, not realising forwards are allowed to tackle.
Perhaps the key difference between the two team was Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who booted five goals in the win.
Unfortunately, this was a bit overshadowed by him repeating Nicky Winmar's famous gesture from 30 years ago.
It would be nice if, 30 years later, he didn’t have to make such a statement again.
Collingwood (63) v Richmond (49)
It was messy, ugly, and Collingwood won. What a nightmare.
With Richmond well off the pace and Tom Lynch not playing, the Pies decided the best way to challenge themselves was to kick for goal like someone who had just slammed down six vodka sodas.
The Pies ended with 8.15, and while that was fun to watch, it didn’t put a dent in the approaching dread Collingwood’s form is producing in me.
Perhaps the only negative for the Pies was that Nick Daicos was having an off night with a disappointing 33 possessions.
There was also the injury to Darcy Cameron.
He could miss up to eight weeks, which is a problem for the Pies.
Their ruck stocks are thin, with Mason Cox out with a haematoma, which I have been informed is not a delicious foreign dip; apologies for claiming that in an earlier column.
At first, I thought Richmond’s major issue was the Pies kept running away from them at full speed, while the Tiger’s players preferred a light jog.
Then I realised they were running at full pace; it’s just they are slower than a large family going through Ikea.
Hawthorn (80) v North Melbourne (61)
I’ve said it a thousand times, no Luke Davies-Uniacke, no North.
Alastair Clarkson famously flew over on a different plane to the Hawks, and he flew home on a different plane to the four points.
Luckily there are no bad feelings between Clarkson and his old club.
While winning is not part of the Hawks strategic plan in 2023, the suspension of Jy Simpkin and injury to Davies-Uniacke made it very hard to lose this one.
They gave it a go, but as the game went on, it became apparent that the Hawks were going to have to wear a win on their record this season.
It’s a blow, but I’m confident it won’t become a regular thing.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing for North was Harry Sheezel failing to get to 30 possessions for the first time in his career.
He finished with 25 disposals, and I think we can now acknowledge that he is another draft bust for the Kangaroos.
Greater Western Sydney (64) v Carlton (74)
I mean. Every. Single. Time.
Some clubs have a killer instinct, but the Blues prefer to nurture their opponent.
This time the Blues didn’t just leave the door open for their opponent; they held it open for them.
They did it by kicking for goal with an inaccuracy that was fun to watch if you don’t barrack for Carlton, so I enjoyed it immensely.
Despite all the coaching changes, the rebuilds and fresh starts, the plan still seems to be ‘everyone hop on Patrick Cripps back and let him carry us home.’
Carlton were helped by the Giants being poor.
Lachie Whitfield must have thought he’d been traded to Carlton in the offseason, so often did he kick the ball to them.
As for Toby Greene, he must have thought he was Gary Rohan in a final, he was rarely sighted.
St Kilda (92) v Essendon (74)
With the Saints celebrating their 150th anniversary, it was a fair expectation that the team would lose convincingly, but no!
Instead of giving fans their normal gift of mental anguish, followed by more mental anguish, they gave them a thrilling victory over Essendon and a 3-0 start.
Even Essendon got them a present, giving the two early goals from 50m penalties and not starting the game until the 19-minute mark.
It was a lovely gesture.
The Saints also rolled out all their club greats as part of the night. Nicky Winmar, Tony Lockett, that guy they set on fire, Neil Roberts, Leigh Montagna, and Nick Dal Santo
This being St Kilda, the path to victory wasn’t easy. At one point, they were up by 34 points, only for the Bombers to get back and tie it up in the fourth.
Bombers fans may be happy their team mounted a few comebacks, but it seemed like a return to normal programming for Essendon, they seemed to not really have a gameplan, and they stuck to not having one all game.
All in all, it was nice to see the Saints have a nice night, like seeing one of those comets that visit Earth every century or so.
Port Adelaide (86) v Adelaide (117)
One thing you should never do, is lead by four points at the 11-minute mark of the last quarter and then let your opponent booted the last six goals.
The Ancient Egyptians knew that, the Romans did, as did the Mayans and the Assyrians, who never stopped warning people about it.
Unfortunately, the Power did not know that.
What had been a tense and captivating Showdown quickly turned into a party for the Crows, as their new young core flexed their muscles.
Izak Rankine was superb and Riley Thilthorpe, who sounds like a character from Poldark, had five goals.
Crows fans went home happy with where their rebuild currently stands, Port fans went home unhappy about the whole thing.
To capitulate like that in a Showdown, and in a year when the Power were meant to be going somewhere is not how you make yourself popular, no matter how historic your jumpers are.
Gold Coast (73) v Geelong (54)
As so many of us predicted, at the end of the three rounds, the Saints sit on top of the ladder, and Geelong sit on the bottom, the only team without a win.
Geelong seems to be having a nice little sleep-in after the premiership.
Against the Suns they hit the snooze button again.
The Cats hard edge seems to have left the building along with Joel Selwood, as the Suns did whatever they wanted around the ball.
It’s tough for Cats fans how have certainly had a tough time over the past fifteen years.
The Suns just needed to play the reigning premier to get into some form, after a slow start to the season.
A big difference was Jack Lukosius who booted five goals, with one coming from about 65 metres out.
It was ridiculous; after marking in the centre square, Lukosius went back and pointed to the goals to let everyone know he was taking a shot.
The reaction was laughter as it was a ridiculous thing to suggest, only for Lukosius to go back and slot it with ease.
Signalling what you are going to do before doing it is not always a good idea.
Like the time I signalled for a circle to be formed on the dancefloor, only for me to dive into the worm, but instead of landing it, I split my chin and in agony accidentally took out three people, one of them holding a tray of those shots that are on fire, which sent flaming alcohol over the entire crowd and set parts of the upholstery on fire.
I want to apologise again to all the patrons at Frankston’s 21st Century Nightclub who were there that night.
Melbourne (134) v Sydney (84)
Sydney returned to the scene of their 2022 Grand Final loss to the 2023 Wooden Spoon favourites and it would be fair to say there’s still some trauma there.
And I get it. It would be like me going back to 21st Century Nightclub.
The big difference on Sunday compared to the Grand Final is Buddy Franklin was playing.
The Swans certainly worked hard to get back into this game, after conceding an early lead, but just as they got close, the Dees turned it on.
A big part of the Dees success was the fact that with Max Gawn out, Brodie Grundy was his back up.
That’s like you’re Ferrari breaking down, so you have to drive your Maserati for a few weeks.
Dees fans had a reason to look up from their cheeseboards on Sunday with the debut of Jacob van Rooyen.
The nineteen-year-old is already a fan favourite because fans can yell out ‘Roo’ when he gets the ball, he’s one funny haircut away from being a cult hero.
Fremantle (108) v West Coast (67)
The Western Derby presented an opportunity for Fremantle to reassert their recent dominance in the west, and for almost every Eagles player to get injured.
In reality, the Dockers weren’t as dominant as they should have been, while West Coast showed real heart to overcome injuries to Luke Shuey, Jeremy McGovern, Jamie Cripps, Liam Ryan and Alex Witherden.
Ryan was even asked to play for a while despite being injured in a sign of just how desperate the Eagles got.
The Dockers were fine all day, and never truly challenged given all the problems the Eagles had on their bench, but Fremantle still seem a bit off this year.
I wonder if they’ve ever considered poaching a coach from elsewhere, like say, oh I don’t know, just looking at the ladder, St Kilda?
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