Jun 15, 2021
The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Thirteen
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.
Port Adelaide (91) v Geelong (112)
A surprising night, most of all because there was no BT or James Brayshaw, instead we got Jason Bennett commentating.
It was weird listening to someone calling the game instead of carrying on and in a new innovation, getting the players’ names right.
Bennett game across as both knowledgeable of the game and aware he is not the reason people tune in. I can’t see him lasting long at Seven with that attitude.
He was supported by Luke Darcy who has carved out a career as a commentator despite struggling with a lot of the basic words that populate the English language.
The game itself was a cracker, with the Cats breaking away early, only for Connor Rozee to singlehandedly turn around Port’s fortunes with four goals in the first quarter.
It was like when a player catches fire in NBA Jam.
Port looked in control for large parts of the game, but the Cats could rely on Tom Hawkins and Jeremey Cameron up front.
Having those two make the Cats always difficult to beat, and they should go far in September right up to the point Hawkins gets himself suspended.
Port just couldn’t hold off the Cats in the end, and while it wasn’t a terrible performance, they again seem to struggle against the top teams.
They have more problems than what colours they are allowed to wear.
Sydney (51) v Hawthorn (89)
As so often happens as the season goes on, you get weird results.
Like the Hawthorn Football Club comfortably winning a game.
I know I speak for all footy fans when I say it’s been tough watching the Hawthorn fans around us struggle, so it’s heart-warming to see one of the true battler clubs of the league finally get a win.
Tom Mitchell led the way for the Hawks, the week it was announced he was open to a trade at the end of the year.
In response he gathered 34 possessions, 16 of them contested, laid seven tackles, and kicked a goal.
The Hawks should announce they’re open to trading all their players if this is what happens.
Sydney struggled under the Hawks relentless pressure all day, exemplified by Hawthorn’s newest recruit Jai Newcombe who laid 14 tackles. He seemed angry. Probably the failed vaccine rollout.
The Swans also struggled against the umpires; a 26-10 free kick count had the Sydney crowd booing more than the audience at one of my stand-up shows.
But the umpires weren’t the real problem, the Swans just looked rattled by the Hawks pressure.
It’s a reminder that anyone can win in this league on any day, resulting in me getting only one wild guess right this week.
Fremantle (76) v Gold Coast (49)
Look, I’m not going to lie to you, we’ve got a relationship based on trust and a shared pessimistic outlook on life; this was a terrible game.
I don’t even know why I persisted with it.
At halftime, the Suns were only two goals down, despite only kicking one in the entire first half.
They did manage to kick eight behinds in the half however, surely grounds for Fremantle to sue them for brand infringement.
The second half was a bit better, both teams started scoring a bit, but being ‘a bit better’ doesn’t mean it was good.
In fact, all this game highlighted is how bad Gold Coast are.
For a team meant to be moving forward, they are doing a fair impression of someone doing the moonwalk.
The good news about footy games is they end, and when the end came in this one, everyone involved breathed a sigh of relief.
St Kilda (60) v Adelaide (66)
When it comes to torturing your own fans, St Kilda are the undisputed gold standards.
They just always find away, no matter what circumstances confront them.
In this game they were up by 36 points, and it was wet. Surely an allegedly professional AFL side can win from there.
But the Saints see that more as an opportunity than a problem.
With great focus, the Saints put enormous effort to ensure the Crows could get back into the game.
With a little coaxing, the Crows eventually accepted this invitation.
Where St Kilda’s mastery of torture was on full display, is despite letting their opponents come back, they seemed like they could still win.
But with a minute to go, Riley Thilthorpe kicked over his head, and with a fatalism usually reserved for a Russian novel, St Kilda fans watched as it sailed over the goal line for the winning score.
It was a great win for the Crows, but really, they should send a nice box of chocolates to St Kilda to thank them for being, well, St Kilda.
North Melbourne (94) v Greater Western Sydney (94)
Everyone got to leave this game unhappy. For starters, the Giants didn’t manage to beat the bottom side, and North blew a 28-point three quarter time lead.
It had a bit of everything this game, including more of Shane Mumford’s playful clumsiness.
Clumsiness being code for ‘being a thug’.
In this case he tried to separate Tarryn Thomas’ head from his body and then drive him six feet under.
Later he threw an elbow at a player but thanks to his ‘clumsiness’ he missed.
The Thomas incident was ruled by the Match Review panel as ‘Misconduct’ proving again that they have no idea what they are doing. Not that we needed more evidence.
North went into the fourth quarter with a four-goal lead, which means they did well to get out of this with a draw.
You just knew the Giants were going to come back but leaving everything to the last quarter is always a dicey strategy.
West Coast (85) v Richmond (81)
Halfway through the fourth quarter Richmond had a 22-point lead, and up against the notoriously flaky Eagles, it appeared a win was just a matter of the clock running down.
But footy is rarely predictable, and the Eagles decided it hates your tips and decided to come back and win the game with a Josh Kennedy kick in the last minute.
Now some might say the kick he marked didn’t go fifteen, but that’s a slippery path to go down.
The 15-meter rule is about as accurate as your mates’ stories at the pub. I’m not saying Tigers’ supporters shouldn’t be annoyed.
It’s just there are a lot of kicks that don’t go 15 meters and are awarded a mark in every game, I’d say conservatively they’d be at least two thousand a match.
What this game taught us is that West Coast can put up a fight, it’s just it doesn’t happen that often.
We also learnt Richmond are good, but not great like in previous years. I think drastic measures are required. Nathan Buckley is available and just led his team to beat the top of the table Demons, time to sack Hardwick obviously.
Melbourne (63) v Collingwood (80)
It hurts writing this.
I mean, I think a servant of the game like Nathan Buckley deserves to go out on a high, I just wish the Demons players hadn’t been so keen to make sure that happened.
Coming off big wins against the Doggies and the Lions, the Dees struggled to get up for this one. That’s ok, I’m told it happens to a lot of teams.
But watching this was incredibly frustrating. Melbourne seemed to be down on effort and made decisions about as intelligent as a teenager in the full throes of puberty.
On the other side, Collingwood were doing things they’ve barely done all year, like going through the corridor and hitting targets up forward.
As I screamed at the TV and threw things at the wall, the Pies managed to pull away, as the Dees faded into their bye with a bit to work on.
The scenes of Nathan Buckley celebrating the win would have been touching to watch if I hadn’t been rage crying.
Buckley got to go out on his high, secure in the knowledge that the Collingwood board will surely make a real mess of choosing his successor.
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