Mar 28, 2022
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Two
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 (90) v Carlton (102)
Are we living in a world where Carlton are a competent football side?
It’s a terrifying thought and the last thing we need in these bleak times.
Carlton have been bad for so long that anyone under the age of 25 can’t remember what it was like when they won regularly.
But like the herpes virus lying dormant in the body for years, the threat has never really gone away. Carlton has always been lurking, threatening to spring back to life.
Only decades of administrative incompetence have protected us but that’s now waning. We need a booster.
The only hope we have, is this start to the season is false hope, but I struggle to think of any examples of Carlton offering false hope early in the year before falling away faster than my mate Darren when it’s his shout.
But Carlton fans should be ecstatic. Their team is so good at the moment they don’t even need to be coached.
Bulldogs fans didn’t even get Bevo chewing out a journalist to distract them from the loss this week.
The Doggies have had bad starts before and recovered, but like someone wanting to be a politician, there is something just off about them.
Sydney (107) v Geelong (77)
Good news for the AFL this week.
They got an iconic moment in a city they’ve been trying to crack for decades, and they saved a fortune on security.
Buddy’s 1000th goal was one of the great moments in footy history.
He is truly one of the all-time greats and has a highlight reel that is a bit like what you dreamt yourself doing on the field when you were a kid. Or as an adult.
When the moment came, it was truly electric, as the fans streamed onto the ground.
Buddy received in twenty minutes more human contact than I’ve had in my lifetime.
Then it got weird.
The AFL had prepared about as well as the US government did on January 6, 2021, except more people stormed the SCG than the US Capitol, and the SCG is a building of enormous importance.
At first, it was fine but as it went on it looked dangerous as Buddy, somehow not ringed by his teammates, was left to fend off thousands of mobile phone wielding fans.
I love the tradition, and everyone seems to be ok, but it really felt like the AFL walked a tightrope and only narrowly pulled it off.
Despite the chaos, there were some lovely moments, like when the woman poured her Nan’s ashes out of a plastic bag, with the ashes gently drifting over the mob. What a wonderful way to honour a memory.
It took 36 minutes for play to resume as the handful of security guards looked like parents trying to calm down a group of kids who had consumed way too much red cordial.
Underlining the complete chaos of the night, was Matthew Richardson interviewing Buddy once he was safely back in the sheds, using a long microphone stand, as heaven forbid anyone got close to Franklin.
This abundance of caution was somewhat undercut by Richo then shaking Buddy’s hand following the interview.
Despite all this, it was an amazing moment, and surely Buddy will be Australian of the Year, rather than wasting it on some doctor who has cured a disease.
Geelong also participated in this game.
Collingwood (100) v Adelaide (58)
Another game, another interruption, with the MCG evacuated during the second quarter following a small fire in a food outlet.
The damage was two pies, three chips and a burger. This being the MCG catering, that adds up to just over $1 million in damages.
If the evacuation had happened in the third quarter, I’m tipping not many in the crowd would have come back, such was the quality of the second half.
The Crows looked like a team unfamiliar with a football as they fumbled, dropped marks, missed handballs and had kicks sail so far over the heads of targets that it’s possible this was a promotion for the upcoming Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
It was the third quarter when things really went off the rails for the Crows, with Collingwood piling on seven goals.
The Pies looked good but were certainly helped by the Crows deciding to let wave at them as they ran through the central corridor, rather than try to stop them.
Collingwood now sits second on the ladder, like we need more signs of the upcoming apocalypse.
Essendon (75) v Brisbane (97)
There was some good news for Essendon supporters this week, their team remembered they had a game on.
So good was their first quarter the Bombers fans were left wondering where the hell had this effort been last week.
Unfortunately, while the first quarter was impressive, the last three quarters was a slowly unfolding disaster for them, as Lachie Neale decided he felt like winning.
His 41 disposals and two goals led the way back for the Lions, helped by the fact that the Bombers seemed keen to experiment with new ways to stuff up forward entries.
To rub salt in the wound, Joe Daniher didn’t even do anything really stupid.
If the scoreboard wasn’t ugly enough, Zach Merrett, who was one of the Bombers' best, suffered a syndesmosis injury and will now need six to eight weeks off, and young Nik Cox also went off injured.
It’s Essendon’s worst start to a season since their last worst start to a season.
Port Adelaide (56) v Hawthorn (120)
For a team meant to be challenging for a Premiership, Port Adelaide are doing a pretty good impression of a team in the running for the wooden spoon.
To lose to Hawthorn, who are meant to be rebuilding, on Adelaide Oval, and in the way they lost, is hard to put into words.
Luckily, Ken Hinkley did it for us, saying of the performance, "It's maximum disappointment.”
‘Maximum disappointment’ could be the Power’s membership slogan this year.
Worryingly for Port, they got heaps of the ball, they just didn’t know what to do with it when they got it.
Hawthorn, to their credit, just did everything well, and when your opponent is shooting themselves in the foot every couple of minutes, that’s all you need to do.
Up forward, Mitch Lewis booted five goals, including four goals in 28-minutes, which, when you consider Port only kicked seven goals from the game, is a big impact.
Port certainly had chances up forward, and their 14 behinds were certainly on brand, if their brand is ‘Maximum disappointment’, which it is.
The result sees Hawthorn sitting top of the ladder, which, like a Clive Palmer ad on YouTube, no one asked for.
Gold Coast (69) v Melbourne (82)
When I grow up, I want to be Jake Bowey. In his nine games of AFL football, Bowey has never experienced the sting of defeat and he’s already won a premiership.
AFL football may seem easy for Bowey, but it’s never been any easier than Saturday night, as the Suns kept kicking the ball to him as if he was wearing a lifeguard uniform.
Bowey had 34 disposals, and 16 intercepts as he feasted off the Suns' poor entry into the forward fifty.
Not that the Suns were bad. They clogged Melbourne up, made them earn everything.
Touk Miller set the tone for the Suns early with 17 disposals in the opening quarter which is frankly ridiculous.
Many of us wouldn’t get 17 disposals in an entire game of footy.
Not be shown up, Christian Petracca picked up 41 possessions, while Luke Jackson showed that you can be 6.5 and still move like a cat, which shouldn’t really be allowed.
It’s like being good looking and clever, there is something unnatural about it.
North Melbourne (74) v West Coast (59)
The question, 'can North Melbourne beat a WAFL side?' Has finally been answered.
The Eagles had 14 changes from last week’s side, so rather than a game, this was more a meet and greet for the players.
With all the changes, it perhaps isn’t surprising the Eagles struggled and Jack Darling, on his return to the side, had just six disposals and had trouble injecting himself into the game.
North had the benefit of all their players having met each other before, but they didn’t have everything go their way with Tarryn Thomas going off injured.
Luke Davies-Uniacke was another casualty, part of Willie Rioli’s campaign to injure an opponent in every game this season.
North’s greater cohesion was evident throughout the game, with Nick Larkey being the main beneficiary with six goals.
The Eagles though did give it a fair crack, but it’s almost like making 14 forced changes in a week is not conducive to good football.
Richmond (109) v Greater Western Sydney (73)
The last time these two played on the MCG was the 2019 Grand Final when the Giants played a solid single quarter before getting out of the way of Richmond’s celebrations.
Back in 2019, it was a far simpler time.
A lot has changed since then, but again some things never change.
Like Razor Ray throwing up during this match. Is there anything this guy won’t do to get attention?
Things didn’t start well for the Giants, with Phil Davis going down with a hamstring injury.
Key outs were a real problem for the Giants, while Richmond were at full strength, missing only fringe players Dustin Martin, Dion Prestia, Dylan Grimes and Jack Riewoldt.
Richmond were just better organised and had the luck.
When Davis did his hamstring, it was chasing Noah Balta, who would go on to kick four goals, proving again what a great key forward he is.
Just how good are Richmond? I could see them being the team AFL commentators describe as ‘not at their best but you wouldn’t want to meet in the finals.’
Fremantle (55) v St Kilda (65)
Less a game and more a competition to see who could let down their fans the most.
St Kilda started strongly in this regard, relying on their strong suit, missing easy shots at goal.
They finished the first half 2.7 as Saints fans threw things at their TV.
But Fremantle aren’t slouches when it comes to decimating their supporters’ morale.
And it was the third quarter where the Dockers produced a masterclass, with a display of disposal so poor, it had to be seen to be believed.
It was the creativity of their turnovers that I really admired.
The Saints, despite their strong effort in the first half, suddenly lost the ability to miss goals, with Max King and Jack Higgins both kicking three in the third quarter.
It led to a fourth-quarter where both teams tried to lose, but found it difficult, Fremantle however, able to disappoint their fans in person, found another gear, neutral.
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