Apr 01, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Two
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 (66) v Collingwood (110)
Once again, Round Two showed us that round one form does not hold for the year and often doesn’t hold for a week.
In a terrifying display, hopes that the Pies’ run to last year’s Grand Final were a fluke now seem false. A Collingwood Premiership is a clear and present danger, and I hope ASIO are treating it as such.
Unlike last year’s Prelim, Richmond did show up for large parts of the game but didn’t have the answers for the Pies’ midfield or Jordan De Goey’s five goals.
Adding to the happiness for Pies supporters, this is the second game in a row they’ve got through with no injuries. The odds of that were almost as high as Eddie McGuire getting through a season without insulting broad sections of the community.
The Tigers have certainly started the year with the worst luck, losing Alex Rance for the season last week and Jack Riewoldt for four games in this one.
Even more worrying is the Tigers lack of forward pressure, once so strong it could turn coal into diamonds, it’s now about as intense as a weekend at a spa resort.
Getting Tom Lynch seems an even greater move now, as the Tigers try to figure out how to get their spirit of 2017 back with both Rance and Riewoldt missing.
Sydney (62) v Adelaide (88)
As mentioned, Eddie McGuire started the game by insulting Cynthia Banham a double amputee and the Sydney Swans number one ticket holder for the way she tossed the coin.
Now, if someone else had said these comments and then explained they were unaware of the situation they might get the benefit of the doubt, but Eddie seems to be insulting every group in society like it’s a set you have to collect.
He also leans pretty heavily on the ‘it was just a joke’ defence. Sometimes with him, you might buy that but when he used it as a defence for his Caroline Wilson drowning comments and his ‘King Kong gaffe’, it tends to weaken it for when he perhaps was just poorly executed a joke.
That said, I know a lot of people who can poorly execute a joke and still not insult whole groups.
The Caroline Wilson comments are an example of something that wasn’t a joke. When you listen to them again, it’s very clear that everyone discussing it except Damien Barrett, really don’t like her.
In this new case, who knows? Maybe he didn’t know; perhaps he should have known.
In life, after a while, you start to care less what someone’s motives are if they keep performing the same behaviour over and over again. It’s the impact that becomes important.
Lucky for Eddie, the AFL and the people that employ him won’t even whack him with a wet lettuce leaf.
For the Swans, their best friend Eddie’s comments just added to a miserable night.
Sydney has started the season slowly before and come good; they may not even wake up until they get to 0-6.
It wasn’t a complete disaster for the Swans, Franklin was much improved as was Josh Kennedy, but you don’t want to be heading into a Round Three clash against Carlton with the term ‘must win’ hanging over it.
For the Crows, losing at home last week was somewhat corrected as they got this one on the road. The listless nature of last week’s performance seemed to be gone.
It was hardly perfect but when it counted the Crows were almost as tough as their AFLW side but probably lacked their women’s team skill.
Essendon (65) v St Kilda (76)
I felt something for Bomber’s fans on the weekend that I’d never felt before, sympathy.
Perhaps I’m getting old and soft, or my own team’s struggle makes me understand the plight of others better. IT worries me I might be developing empathy.
Whatever it was, it was fleeting but still required me to shower constantly for the next 48 hours.
All you need to know about the Bombers performance was encapsulated in the moment when Matt Guelfi and Kyle Langford walked off to the bench while the ball was in play just meters from them, letting St Kilda take the ball forward unopposed.
It was one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen on a footy field, and I saw Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson play.
Not that you can blame everything on Guelfi and Langford, they were just a bit more obvious in their lack of effort than their teammates were.
Adding to the problems was a skill level that was reminiscent of a junior football game. It’s rare to see that many blunders outside a One Nation media conference.
It meant the Saints, who should be acknowledged for standing up well when things got close, just had to make fewer mistakes, and this proved to be easier as things went along.
The win means the Saints are now sitting 5thon the ladder, a statement I didn’t think I’d be able to write at any point this season. A run at the Premiership is a sure thing for them now.
Port Adelaide (88) v Carlton (72)
Carlton are no longer as awful as they once were, yet they still can’t win, which is an important stat in the AFL.
I’m not as clever as Champion Data, who will probably tell you ‘meters gained’ or ‘disposal efficiency when kicking to a player with a sleeve tattoo’ are more important, but I’ve always ranked wins pretty highly.
You could make a strong argument that if you win every game in a season, you’d have a decent chance of being premiers.
The performance was pretty impressive from Carlton given it was in Adelaide, and they lost Charlie Curnow late in the first quarter, to what has turned out to be bone bruising.
If they keep performing well, I’m going to have to start saying nice things about the Blues, which will take a complete recalibrating of my world view.
Port had troubles of their own, with Jack Watts suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle which sounds and looked incredibly painful. Karl Amon also spent much of the game on the bench with a knee injury.
Coming off the win against Melbourne, Port got the job done without it looking pretty.
It’s round two though, and already the war of attrition that is the season is starting to grab hold of a few clubs. The AFL should ban injuries.
Geelong (126) v Melbourne (46)
Even the most pessimistic Dees fans probably didn’t think it was going to get this bad, this quickly.
When you lose like this, everything is wrong.
Geelong were terrific, displaying the look of a team that had trained in the offseason and was putting in effort.
No more was the difference between the teams reflect than the inside fifties.
Melbourne when inside their fifty 25 more times than Geelong. Yet kicked just six goals to the Cats twenty.
Twenty-five more inside fifties!
Melbourne kicked more goals in their 186 loss to Geelong in 2011.
Who knew that just bombing the ball into the forward line, often to a pack that contained more Cats would not work? That’s right everyone watching except the Melbourne players and coaching staff.
And yes, everyone has pointed out to me in another sign, snow has already started falling in Victoria. I would prefer rocks started falling, to be honest, trapping me in a dark hole where no news of this AFL season could reach me.
I’m not giving up just yet though. Despite every temptation, I refrained from ordering my household staff to cut up my membership and have it couriered to the club.
Melbourne takes on the Bombers this week in the ‘Please we can’t be as bad as them’ Cup.
West Coast (104) v Greater Western Sydney (52)
West Coast unfurled their Premiership flag with their mascot swinging off the top of the stadium roof to deliver it. I haven’t seen someone that high at an Eagles game in some time.
Any concerns about a premiership hangover seem to have been swept aside with the Eagles taking care of the Giants.
With Luke Shuey dominating and kicking goals, Josh Kennedy returning and Dom Sheed driving them forward relentlessly, it felt like the premiership band were back together.
The Giants certainly felt the step up in class from Essendon to the Eagles, like going from a game of mini golf to the Masters in one week.
The Eagles’ win sets up a Grand Final replay on Saturday night against the Pies.
There was a great moment after the game when the Eagles and Giants players all linked arms to stand united against racism. It would be a great day when displays like that don’t even have to be taken.
North Melbourne (87) v Brisbane (107)
It seemed midway through the third quarter, with a 22-point lead, that North had put their horror trip to Perth behind them.
The Kangaroos problems begun when the Lions began to cut down on their own mistakes and to fill the vacuum, the North players rushed in to make theirs.
Adding to that, Lachie Neale, with his 43 disposals, almost singlehandedly turned the game, making North’s midfield look like a line of people waiting for a bus.
To lead by 22 points in the third quarter but lose by 20 points tells you everything about how North has started the season. Lucky Brad Scott is there to turn things around.
Brisbane are now looking very good for such a young team. The Bulldogs-Lions Grand Final is going to be amazing this year.
Hawthorn (87) v Western Bulldogs (106)
After a tough start to the season for many fans, this was the feel-good game we needed, with the Bulldogs producing what at times seemed like an unlikely victory.
We can’t talk about this game though without talking about the umpiring, of which some of it was, to put it mildly, perplexing.
You know a decision is bad when you feel sorry for James Sicily. The one that occurred during the centre bounce was not soft, it wasn’t there.
If they call those, then they’ll be forty free kicks before the opening bounce on Grand Final day when everyone bumps each other a bit.
The Bulldogs can only take what’s given to them, and it’s not their fault the umpires had been instructed by AFL House to ensure Hawthorn lost.
The Doggies have to be commended for getting back into the game after letting it slip and for the first time in some time, they showed some slick and enthusiastic ball movement.
Added to that the performance of Josh Schache and Bulldogs fans can have some hope for the year.
The Hawks can’t blame blowing a five-goal lead at three-quarter time solely on the umpires; they’d been giving up a lot of inside 50s all game.
But losing the momentum through those decisions put some context around this loss.
Clarko’s coffee with Gil this week is going to have a lot of yelling.
Gold Coast (61) v Fremantle (58)
Ross Lyon has ensured any excitement building up around his side has dissipated by losing to the Gold Coast Suns in a match that at best could be described as mind-numbingly awful.
The Suns should have won by more, booting 7.19 in a display of goalkicking that made me wish I didn’t have access to Fox Footy.
Fremantle, on the other hand, produced fewer scoring shots than the Suns had behinds. That seems like a familiar story, even with Jesse Hogan and CamMcCarthy now in the side.
Despite the poor goalkicking, the Suns would be thrilled with the victory, after a good showing last week against the Saints.
Is it too early to say they’re not as bad as we thought they were? It probably is too early, but they’re starting to make a case that we’re all wrong about them being the worst side ever.
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