Apr 26, 2022
The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Six
On a Tuesday, you want irrational reaction. You want emotion to trump reason.
What you really want is idiotic hysteria.
You've come to the right place.
Greater Western Sydney (60) vs. St Kilda (77)
Like the drummer in Spinal Tap, being a ruckman at St Kilda is a high turnover position.
With Paddy Ryder already out due to a suspension, St Kilda lost Jack Hayes to a potentially season-ending knee injury in the first quarter, proving once again that the footy gods have zero chill.
This was followed by Rowan Marshall receiving a corked quad and spending more time on the bike than Cadel Evans.
The result was Josh Battle had to have a run in the ruck, and St Kilda’s tactic was to ignore the Giants massive advantage there and just let GWS stuff things up, which they duly did.
Perhaps the best example was when Matt Flynn marked close to goal, only to handball it to Harry Himmelberg, who called for it, who then promptly kicked it out on the full.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Giants, Max King was huge for them in defence, keeping them in the game way longer than they deserved to be, and by my count stopping seven goals.
Jack Higgins was the difference with four goals and only three behinds, which is a good ratio at St Kilda.
Western Bulldogs (62) vs. Adelaide (63)
The Bulldogs are slowly but surely building up a body of evidence that they are not very good.
On Saturday, they added to that case by crafting a one-point loss against the Crows
It could have been a bigger loss with Adelaide booting 8.15, which unfortunately for the Crows, wasn’t the most inaccurate goalkicking of the round, but it was a good try.
What has gone wrong with the Bulldogs? They would be the most disappointing team of the season if Port Adelaide didn’t exist.
A big problem is their defence, which handles tall forwards like a uni student handles Fireball; it gets messy very quickly and doesn’t end well.
The Crows are putting together a season that doesn’t make their fans wish football had never been invented.
They sit in tenth spot and have at times done a fair impression of a competent football team.
Even better, they’re ‘playing the kids’ which is usually a recipe for disaster, but in this case is working.
In fact, all they probably need is one more good pre-season to make it back to finals, and I can recommend them a very good firm that runs such things.
Port Adelaide (117) vs. West Coast (33)
During the week Adam Simpson said Port Adelaide were "probably the best 0-5 side in the history of the competition" and on the weekend his players helped him prove that.
Port certainly needed something after being awful from round one, but this was a bit like belting the punching bag at the gym. It makes you feel good, but you can hardly walk around claiming you won a boxing match.
Still, this could be the jump-start the Power needed, but let’s see how they go against St Kilda next week before deciding if there’s life in them.
As for the Eagles, I’m going to go out on a limb and say they won’t play finals.
I’m not afraid of making the big calls.
If what has happened to West Coast this season was happening to a Victorian team, the outcry would be so loud it would be the number one story every day.
Luckily, it’s happening to a non-Victoria side so everyone can just chill and not really talk about it.
Fremantle (97) vs. Carlton (62)
Carlton Fremantle are the real deal!
Could a Dockers supporter be any happier right now? They’re second on the ladder and the Eagles are delighting them on a weekly basis.
So good are the Dockers that I can name several of them who aren’t Nat Fyfe, which is a new and exciting thrill.
Why, I’m going to predict that by the end of the year, everyone will be able to name at least four Fremantle players and maybe even as high as seven.
Carlton fans have seen this sort of start to the season before, hope slowly being eroded before their eyes.
Sometimes not so slowly.
Like in the second quarter when the Dockers poured on five consecutive goals, as the Fremantle small forwards flew around the Carlton defence like it was King Kong, a King Kong that wasn’t that good at football.
The Blues are 4-2 though, so it’s not panic stations yet, and who knows?
Maybe this time things will be different.
I just hope the players don’t start focusing on all the times this has happened in the past and start to create a self-fulfilling prophecy because that would be terrible.
North Melbourne (61) vs. Geelong (121)
I sat through this on Sunday, to say I ‘watched it’ would be probably pushing it.
Mostly I was surfing the web, I had a few coffees, made myself a sandwich. It wasn’t interesting, but it was still more interesting than this game.
Played in Hobart, I’m not sure either team could write this off as a work trip.
North wasn’t in this at any point and there were visitors at MONA who covered more ground on Sunday.
Geelong treated the game like a wonderful opportunity to test out some of their more ambitious set plays.
The Cats forwards were not troubled by North’s defence, mainly because they rarely saw them.
Gold Coast (80) vs. Brisbane (132)
After watching Geelong run circles around North, I was glad to switch it over to the Q-Clash, knowing, if history was any guide, this would be a high quality, close game.
Imagine my surprise when the Q-Clash was not an entertaining, high skilled clash that reminded me of why I love football.
The Suns problem was they could get it into their forward fifty, but like the dog that catches the car, they didn’t know what to do next.
Up the other end, Zac Bailey was not suffering from this problem. He was more like the T-Rex that caught the car in Jurassic Park.
He was kicking very difficult goals and making it look easy, which must have hurt the Suns’ feeling as they weren’t kicking goals and were making that look very difficult.
Bailey ended up with six and the Suns ended up wondering if this is becoming a wasted season, to go with all their other seasons.
Richmond (54) vs. Melbourne (76)
The Demons faced their toughest opponent of the season on Sunday night, their woeful goal kicking.
In what I can only assume was an attempt to make the game more challenging, the Demons decided to try to beat Richmond by kicking behinds instead of goals.
I’m not a mathematician, but I believe that this is a less efficient approach.
It worked in the end, they kicked 22 behinds and won by 22 points, but I felt it was all rather unnecessary.
A reason the Demons pulled it off was that Richmond turned the ball over so regularly that the Richmond supporters didn’t know whether to yell at their players or the umpires, so they did both.
In fairness to him, the umpires were rather frustrating although a SWAT team stormed my house when I wrote that.
The general vibe of the crowd commentary was how much people hate the new dissent rule, while also calling for the umpires to award frees against the opposition for dissent every time a mark was taken.
That’s the beauty of being a footy fan, if the AFL isn’t consistent, why should we be?
Hawthorn (68) vs. Sydney (109)
It’s not every day you start the game 32-0 and manage to end it 41 points down.
Hawthorn, however, like the David Copperfield of the AFL, made a 32-point head start completely disappear!
After piling on five goals without the Swans scoring, Hawthorn weirdly got all their laurels in a big pile in the middle of the ground and then lay down and had a rest on them.
Sydney, suddenly realising the game had begun, began to show an interest in the football.
Callum Mills led the charge with 37 disposals, six clearances and five tackles, taking full advantage of Hawthorn tiring themselves out after one-quarter of football.
The big negative for Sydney though was Paddy McCartin suffering another concussion. If there’s any such thing as karma, he’s certainly due for one of the longest runs of good luck ever to occur.
Essendon (82) vs. Collingwood (93)
Draco Malfoy has led Slytherin to victory over Essendon in the ANZAC Day Clash with a five-goal performance.
Malfoy had the Golden Snitch on a string, massively assisted by the Essendon defence, which seemed more confused than an audience watching Tenet.
I know ‘Essendon Defence’ is a bit of a misnomer, it more refers to what part of the ground they stand on than what they do.
Essendon did play better than they have for most of the season, a low bar to jump mind you, but Collingwood were just one step ahead of them all game.
Worryingly for the Bombers, Jake Stringer and Zach Merrett did make it back and still, they slide to 1-5 and 16th on the ladder.
Collingwood fans however would be thrilled. In lieu of post-season success, the ANZAC Day is their Grand Final, the only difference being, Essendon are in it.
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