Apr 23, 2019
The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Five
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.
Brisbane (61) v Collingwood (123)
So how are your tips going? Not well I imagine unless you’re a backpacker with no knowledge of footy and joined the tipping comp at the bar you work at. You’re probably winning the comp by fifty already.
Remember when you’d dream of tipping nine for the round? Now nine for the season seems like a stretch target.
Collingwood stamped their premiership credentials all over this game which is terrifying. The Pies made the Lions look like the Lions of the past few years, not the exciting young side that captured hearts in the first few rounds.
Brodie Mihocek reminded everyone that while other young forwards get the attention, he gets the goals.
Collingwood’s pressure was back to 2018 form, locking the Lions into the Pies’ forward 50 with the relentless of a charity mugger.
For Brisbane the night couldn’t have been worse, they were outplayed in front of a sell-out crowd and lost Harris Andrews to a hamstring injury.
There was a moment where Luke Hodge was interviewed on the sidelines while getting a rub down.
Not the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to someone while getting a massage but not a great look when your team is getting flogged.
That said, it’s hardly Hodge’s fault.
The push for greater ‘access’ during games is driven by the broadcasters.
Personally, I find the whole thing annoying. It’s not like it’s providing astounding insights and I prefer to leave people to their jobs when they’re at work.
It won’t be long until someone is being interviewed while lining up for goal. It’s becoming a circus. This isn’t the BBL; footy is life and death, it’s serious, let’s treat it as such.
North Melbourne (58) v Essendon (116)
There was a period in the second quarter of this game when the Essendon midfield might as well have been out there on their own.
North’s midfield was harder to find than a shop assistant in a department store.
In response, Dylan Shiel, Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett and Andy McGrath shared the ball like a group of kids playing pass the parcel, except the music, never stopped.
For the Bombers fans, this was heaven, their club, so insipid in the early rounds, now look like what the membership brochures had promised.
Even a fine for bringing Joe Daniher in late caused no pain for Essendon, who will be thrilled to pay that amount every week if it gets them four points.
North fans have every right to be furious about this performance. It was embarrassing.
There have been calls to strip them of the Good Friday game in response, but that hardly seems fair.
Taking a blockbuster game off a club because of a few poor performances would see every club stripped of one at some point.
North needs a blockbuster game. Looking after the big clubs only is a pretty short-sighted strategy and one the AFL in the past have been guilty of.
I’m as guilty as anyone of making jokes at North’s expense (because it’s fun and easy, my two favourite things), but they’re a club that’s important to people, and the competition is better with eighteen strong clubs, not the haves and have nots.
Plus, any Good Friday footy is better than having it filled with time spent with family instead.
West Coast (53) v Port Adelaide (95)
If you needed any proof that this season is completely nuts, this was all the evidence you needed.
Port, who lost at home to an under-strength Richmond last week, flew over to Perth and beat the reigning premiers, easily.
The commentators seem to think the result was based on the fact it was raining, but that takes away from the effort of Port and the lack of effort from the Eagles.
It’s an old adage, but Port just wanted it more.
Sure, there’s no doubt the Eagles seem better when it’s not wet, but that doesn’t explain the strangeness of their performance, although they did this a few times last year and still managed to win it all.
Eagles fans will be hoping this was just an off night and a five-goal haul to Jack Petruccelle gives them something to cling too ahead of a tough week.
Ollie Wines, Tom Rockliff and Sam Powell-Pepper monstered the Eagles vaunted midfield, in a display that had Power supporters wondering why this couldn’t be the norm.
It left us wondering who are the real Port Adelaide? The one that lost to Richmond last week or this team, an alarmingly competent side that could beat anyone?
Perhaps they’re both, an inconsistent side that has been put on Earth to shorten the lifespan of Port supporters and ruin the rest everyone else’s tips.
Greater Western Sydney (82) v Fremantle (106)
After the Eagles game, we didn’t really need another reminder that this season is out to ruin any sense we have a clue what’s going on, but we got this anyway.
The Giants, coming off a win that underlined their grit and determination, showed us none of that grit and determination.
Perhaps they were flat after giving it their all last week in Geelong. They certainly seemed lethargic and deciding not to tag Nat Fyfe was a tactical mistake which even someone of my limited footy knowledge could spot.
Every time Fyfe got a clearance I thought ‘this guy seems like a decent player, perhaps tag him’. This same thought didn’t seem to be occurring in the Giants coaches’ box though.
While the Giants looked off, the Dockers did a lot right, and players who have struggled until now stood up, with Jesse Hogan having a great game, with 14 marks and three goals.
The win means Fremantle are now sitting third on the ladder in a further sign that the apocalypse is upon us.
Melbourne (55) v St Kilda (95)
As I walked to the MCG for this, I had a deep sense of foreboding, not an uncommon feeling for me.
Over the next few hours, all my nightmares came true as the Demons took to the MCG with some of the laziest, half-hearted footy they’ve produced in years.
Melbourne brought all the enthusiasm of a casual working their last ever shift a Macca’s to the endeavour.
At least at Maccas, there is some sort of organising principle, while the Demons seemed to be a team that not only didn’t have a game plan, they were unaware such a thing even existed.
This is to take nothing away from St Kilda who showed why they’re sitting second on the ladder. Yes, second on the AFL ladder after round five. It’s an Easter miracle.
The Saints made the Demons look slow.
Every time the Dees went forward and dropped marks or kicked direct to a Saints player, St Kilda rebounded like they were running past those people who walk slowly in shopping centres that everyone hates
People are calling the Demons downhill skiers, but downhill skiers seem to fall over a lot less. I certainly wish Melbourne had the speed of downhill skiers.
The Saints are fulfilling all the potential they seemed to have last year and additions like former Demon Dean Kent, who kicked three goals, made them look genuinely dangerous.
Perhaps what’s most impressive is the Saints are now confident and playing as a team. The more footy changes, the less the team nature does not. You can’t carry passengers, everyone has to do their bit, the theory isn’t complicated, but the doing is.
It’s why you can never fully predict what is going to happen and why we both love the game and also wonder why we do this to ourselves on a regular basis.
Richmond (89) v Sydney (67)
The main thing you need to know about this game is Richmond have a player called Sydney Stack.
His name summed up the Swans start to the season, with the long anticipated, previously long held off, decline of the Swans arriving, as they slumped to 1 and 4.
Sure, the Swans have been 0-6 before but what was perhaps most worrying for Sydney was the nature of the loss.
They turned the ball over to the Tigers so often that if you were new to the sport, you could be forgiven for thinking that was the aim of the game.
Buddy kicked four goals and went past Matthew Lloyd on the all-time goal kickers list, but the highlights ended there for the Swans.
Richmond, on the other hand, seem to be handling this ‘all our stars are injured’ period quite well. They’re doing it by applying relentless pressure on their opponents.
It’s almost like a whole team defensive effort is more important than having stars. But that can’t be true because the media write about ‘not having the cattle’ all the time like they’re all writing for Livestock Weekly.
Anyway, the important bit is Richmond have a player called Sydney Stack, one of the greatest sporting names since former Wallaby Stirling Mortlock or US swimmer Misty Hyman.
Western Bulldogs (57) v Carlton (101)
It was an Easter miracle. The Blues have risen, and this was a bigger miracle than anything Jesus ever pulled off.
Because let’s face it, even Jesus would have struggled with Carlton over the last few years.
To put this in context, the Blues have only won three matches since mid-2017 and haven’t scored more than 100-points since round 11, 2016.
So what does this result tell us?
Well first, the Bulldogs are awful. They stunk up Marvel Stadium so much fans were requesting they open the roof.
I’m not even really sure what they were trying to do. They seem like a group of players thrown together for a quick pick up game at the park.
There didn’t seem any serious endeavour except for a few. If one of them had lit up a cigarette in the forward pocket mid-match, it wouldn’t have looked out of place.
Carlton on the other hand suddenly had everything clicking. Harry McKay looked like he was fulfilling Charlie Curnow’s potential, marking everything he could get his hands on.
Patrick Cripps and Sam Petrevski-Seton were outstanding, supported well by 2019 Rising Star winner Sam Walsh, and it looked like this midfield was something other clubs will need to start paying attention to.
But it was up forward that was the difference. Carlton could score.
McKay booted four, and Levi Casboult had three, and then a host of other contributors chipped in.
When Sam Walsh kicked the Blues past 100 points for the first time in 1051 days, the place erupted, and with the final siren, something amazing happened, the ground staff pressed play on the Carlton club song after the siren.
Bolton said after the game they’d been building to this. They sure had, for decades and the Blues fans celebrated appropriately.
Adelaide (119) v Gold Coast (46)
Even though my tips are abysmal, and my team is terrible, watching Eddie Betts reminded me of why I love our great game.
The Gold Coast Suns were relegated to just a bit part in Betts’ 300thgame, a celebration of more than a player, a celebration of the joy that footy can bring to both the individual and the group.
Eddie, a man beloved by so many opposition fans, showed the big stage is where he belongs, booting six including one from the left pocket that he does so often we all know it’s no fluke.
The first quarter of this game was terrible with neither side covering themselves in competency, let alone glory.
You could feel the tension at Adelaide Oval as the Crows fans started to think ‘here we go again’.
But in the second and third the Crows seemed to remember how to play their style of footy again, and the Suns, so good for much of the year seemed to be flat.
But while this was a great game for Adelaide as a whole, it was Betts who captured the spotlight, with the crowd going nuts every time he went near the ball.
We need Eddie. It so nice having an exciting player, who you can cheer for regardless of their club and who also seems like a nice person. A rare combination.
Hawthorn (90) v Geelong (113)
While this didn’t exactly live up to the usually Cats-Hawks standard, that more speaks to how high that standard is.
While the Hawks made several runs at the Cats, they never seemed to have the extra gear to go with Geelong, especially late in quarters.
Geelong were also helped by Joel Selwood being back in the centre and Gary Rohan continuing his excellent form at the Cats with four goals.
Gary Ablett reminded everyone when he’s not liking homophobic posts and then quickly unliking them when people notice and then offering inane excuses as to why he’s pretty good at footy.
The big take out from this is that the Cats are the real deal, while Hawthorn still have a bit to go.
Unfortunately, the crowd was a bit low, with 66,347 people attending, but considering you can take two annual leave days this year and get about a million days off, a lot of people would have been away.
Still, time to strip these two of their blockbuster and give it to North.
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