Jun 14, 2022
The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Thirteen
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.
Richmond (77) v Port Adelaide (65)
Is Port Adelaide’s season over early?
Yes, it’s a trick question, it never began.
The Power have improved as the season has gone on, but if you start as they did, that’s not really a compliment.
True to form, Port started badly and that left them with no margin for error to fix things. I would say it’s like a metaphor for their season, but I don’t really know what a metaphor is.
Until recently I thought a metaphor was a mythical animal.
There would be some concerns at Richmond that they gave up a good lead but footy is quite a difficult game and these things happen.
Dustin Martin was quiet by his standards with just 13 possessions, but that included two goals.
Great players are super annoying, even when you mainly stop them, they still do good things.
Perhaps most memorable about this match is the debut of Judson Clark, who booted two goals with his first two kicks.
It’s not a bad start to your career I guess, although I remember watching Clen Denning at the Lake Oval boot six goals with his first six kicks back in 1935.
It was a nice little break from the great depression, and it really picked me up after a nasty bout of pleurisy.
Essendon (54) v Carlton (80)
Essendon celebrated their 150th anniversary by honouring James Hird and losing badly.
It was everything wrong with the club in one night.
Before the game, the ceremony really showed the history of the Essendon Football Club, with all the players you grew up hating being paraded about.
Then Dyson Heppell gave a speech to the players and the legends of the club, and everything was going incredibly well for the Bombers supporters.
Unfortunately for them, the footy then had to start.
It just couldn’t be avoided. Football teams have to play games of football, no matter how ill-suited they are to it.
I don’t know how many times I have to warn people, but this Carlton team are not the basket case we have come to know and love.
Michael Voss could be in trouble though, he gave an old-fashioned spray to his charges at three-quarter time, which I thought was now illegal.
Raising your voice above the volume of a butterfly’s wings is not allowed for AFL coaches.
David Noble would be wondering how Voss got away with it, and the reason is, the Blues are winning.
There’s not much you can’t get away with in footy if you are winning.
Voss’ spray terrified everyone on the field to the point no team kicked a goal in the last quarter.
Fremantle (95) v Hawthorn (82)
What a thrill it must be for Nat Fyfe to get to play with Andrew Brayshaw; it’s something he’ll always be able to tell his grandkids.
Brayshaw had 37 disposals, seven tackles and kicked the goal that sealed the game, in a performance that is becoming routine for him.
Being talented is one thing, being reliable is something else. Being both makes the rest of us feel small.
Dockers fans would have been thrilled with Fyfe’s return, there was a goal, plenty of promising signs and no injuries.
The disappointing thing for Fremantle, and all footy fans, is Hawthorn weren’t that far off the 2022 premiers.
I thought if Hawthorn had lost seven of its last eight games, I’d feel a lot of happier.
But they were close in this and have had some good performances this season.
I don’t, know, I’d just hoped for more misery.
Brisbane (78) v St Kilda (57)
Sadly, the dream scenario of Joe Daniher and Max King having a shootout involving only behinds never eventuated.
Instead, we got terrible goalkicking from the Lions, and everyone single person who has ever played for St Kilda got injured over the course of the match.
The Lions started slow, kicked 10.18 but their defence held up, a pleasant change for Brisbane fans.
When it really mattered Hugh McCluggage carried the team. Get it, luggage, carrying the team? I know, it’s brilliant! I bet only a few thousand people have come up with that before.
He had a lot of support from Lachie Neale and the fact that St Kilda, who had been taking it up to the Lions, lost Mitch Owens and Dan McKenzie to concussion and Zak Jones to a hamstring injury.
Having a heap of people get injured is something to be avoided in almost every situation.
The Lions didn’t have it easy either on the injury front. Dayne Zorko was subbed off with a hamstring injury and Darcy Gardiner got a knock to the back that caused him problems.
After the game, he required medical treatment for fluid on the lungs. Fluid on the lungs is terrible, remember, I had pleurisy back in 1935.
North Melbourne (53) v Greater Western Sydney (102)
I was watching this in a pub, and seats that couldn’t see the television were the most sort after. In fact, two brawls broke out, just so people could get kicked out and stop seeing what was happening.
Unfortunately, my seat had a clear view, and no matter how much I drank, my vision stayed stubbornly unblurred. A first, and an unfortunate one.
Things weren’t going well at all for the Kangaroos' number one draft pick, Jason Horne-Francis who got in an argument with Todd Goldstein at one point and then decided to whack Josh Kelly, which will see him suspended for two weeks.
The real question is how the AFL can expose someone so young to the North Melbourne Football Club and not face child endangerment laws?
When there are teams as bad as North Melbourne and West Coast, basically floating byes, how can we possibly talk about expanding the competition?
There are probably already two too many teams for the talent pool, but the AFL will always dilute its product for money. They’re like bootleggers in that way.
Collingwood (82) v Melbourne (56)
For a team going downhill at a rate of knots, the Big Freeze was a nice backdrop for the Demons' third loss in a row and the most painful of them all.
Melbourne started well, as they have in recent losses, before basically stopping.
This resulted in the Pies booting seven of the last eight goals, a result of harder work and better skills.
Melbourne showed their bad decision-making is not confined to Sunday night catch-ups, repeatedly bombing the ball forward, often to Pies players standing in a postcode with no Demons in it.
At other points, when the Pies were out marking the Dees comprehensively in the forward line, the Dees decided, ‘what if we kick the ball higher in the air as we go forward?’
This did not work at all but that didn’t stop them from doing it for large parts of the game.
The Pies decided to instead focus on not doing anything too fancy but to do everything exceptionally well.
This is almost always the secret to winning football, but people forget that because they think ‘brand’ and ‘systems’ and ‘advanced stats’ are important but then that just confuses teams, and they get too cute, and it all falls apart.
The Pies have all bought into Craig McRae’s way of doing things and it shows.
As for Melbourne, Clayton Oliver can hold his head up high, he had 43 possessions, but individuals aren’t the problem for Melbourne, it’s how they work as a team, something they did perfectly last year.
What Melbourne needs is a team dinner to get back on the same page. Somewhere nice.
Bye: Adelaide, Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs, Geelong, Sydney and West Coast
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