Jun 20, 2022
The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Fourteen
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 (81) v Carlton (66)
Richmond didn’t get the memo that their dynasty is over!
It’s annoying, as we all sent it to them numerous times and the media trumpeted it after every loss for the last year and a half.
But the Tigers, instead of looking like a spent force, are very much in the premiership race, which has gone in the space of a month from looking like a one-horse race to ‘Wow, heaps of teams can win this.’
The Richmond turnaround has been swift, Tigers fans barely got a chance to get off the bandwagon before they all have to now pour on again.
Lucky they’ve had lots of practice getting off and on that thing.
On Friday, it was the Tigers of old, lots of pressure all over the ground and a ruthlessness, which included Tom Lynch, channelling Ric Flair, attempting to blind Adam Saad.
Carlton, somewhat taken aback by Richmond’s willingness to maim them, gave up the first six goals, which is never ideal.
In previous years, this would have been the end of things, but the Blues players are more scared of their coach than their opponents, so they didn’t give up.
In fact, three goals to Harry McKay almost saw the Blues snatch victory, only for the Tigers to steady.
Part of this was due to a Shai Bolton goal, in which he taunted Sam Docherty after an earlier scuffle.
People were furious about this, many of them are the same people who will at another point in time complain that AFL players have no personality anymore.
St Kilda (72) v Essendon (107)
Oh no! St Kilda’s season is over!
It was all going so well too, but on Friday night, they lost to 16th placed Essendon, so they’re probably best to just pack up for this season and get ready for 2023.
The Saints didn’t seem on from the moment the game started, but it was entering the forward line where they frustrated their supporters the most.
Every surge forward was embraced by the Saints as an opportunity to make incredibly bad decisions, and then execute those decisions poorly.
Mason Redman really enjoyed St Kilda’s efforts, picking up a career-high 31 disposals across the back half, as the Saints repeatedly handed him the ball and then got out of his way so he could send the ball forward for the Bombers.
Essendon couldn’t believe it. Usually, they’re the ones shooting themselves in the foot, but suddenly they didn’t need to defend, safe in the knowledge the Saints midfield was doing all the defending for them.
Is this a sign of better things to come for the Bombers?
Well, no. While basing your team strategy on St Kilda imploding is tempting, it doesn’t stand up when you’re not playing them.
Port Adelaide (82) v Sydney (59)
You always had a feeling Port’s disastrous start would come back to haunt them, and it certainly feels like that when they’re beating top eight teams like Sydney.
The Power are still vaguely in the hunt for finals, it’s not quite time to grab the calculator to work out if it’s mathematically possible, but it’s close.
And this performance, without Travis Boak and Ollie Wines, showed the Power really have underperformed this season.
At one stage they were up by 42 points, only for Isaac Heeney to drag the Swans back into the neighbourhood of respectability.
The frustration of Sydney was evident when former Power player Peter Ladhams punched Ollie Wines, while Wines was lying on the ground.
You can’t hit a player while they’re lying on the ground, defenceless and not looking at you, the AFL take a dim view of it.
Take me back to the good old days when cowardly punching someone behind play made you tough.
Footy has gotten so soft.
West Coast (63) v Geelong (81)
In one of the more shocking moments of the season, West Coast have put up a vaguely competitive performance over four quarters.
Fans looked on bewildered as the Eagles tried, occasionally hit targets and even tackled.
I know, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it either.
At one point I got excited, imagining the joy of seeing Geelong lose to the Eagles, but you don’t go from being a mid-tier WAFL side to beating an AFL side overnight.
Worryingly though, you may no longer be able to pencil in the Eagles as a certain four points anymore. They’re now more an ‘incredibly likely’ four points.
Geelong may have had a slight scare, better they were never in real trouble.
A real highlight was Tom Hawkins booting his 700th career goal.
It’s an extraordinary achievement, and he becomes the first player to kick 700 goals with 400 of them coming from staging.
Greater Western Sydney (105) v Western Bulldogs (125)
When the Bulldogs piled on six of the first eight goals, this looked like it could be over early, but luckily, both sides had about as much interest in defending as most people have in the Logies.
It was a real battle of the irritating small forwards, as Cody Weightman kicked five first-half goals, while up the other end, Toby Greene booted seven for the game.
Weightman would then dislocate his elbow in what looked an incredibly brutal injury, and he then kept playing.
If I’d dislocated my elbow, I wouldn’t even play PlayStation.
Say what you like about Weightman, and we all do, he’s tough.
In fact, this was less a footy match and more an event to injure people.
Taylor Duryea didn’t last 10 minutes before going off with a knee injury, then the Giants lost Braydon Preuss and James Peatling.
Weightman had done his elbow and both Jesse Hogan and Ryan Angwin appeared to be in trouble too.
Not since Channel Nine’s Dancing on Ice have I seen so many people injured in such a short period of time.
The difference is, seeing celebrities getting injured is fun, but seeing footballers get injured is no fun at all.
Gold Coast (116) v Adelaide (73)
While the Giants-Bulldogs game was brutal, this game had Wil Powell go off with a leg injury so bad the broadcaster didn’t replay it a thousand times, like they usually do.
It’s a reminder of just how tough and brave you have to be to play this game at any level, but especially at the AFL level.
Anyone who has sat near the sidelines of an AFL game knows the sound of the impact when these guys run into each other is something you won't soon forget.
Hopefully, Powell makes a quick and full recovery.
Powell’s injury took the shine off what was an impressive victory for the Suns, who have played past April and have even given themselves a chance to play into September.
The Suns were assisted in this match by the fact they were facing Adelaide, always a pleasure, and even more so when they’re spraying kicks at goal like a hose with a kink in it.
In fairness to the Crows, returning to the Gold Coast comes with a fair degree of psychological trauma that other teams don’t have to worry about.
Bye: Brisbane, Collingwood, North, Hawthorn, Fremantle and Melbourne
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