Apr 03, 2018
The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Two
Footy is a passion, not some cold hearted, spread sheet dominated rational exercise.
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.
Adelaide (118) v Richmond (82)
So, Adelaide’s season isn’t over. This win means they now effectively move to 2-1 (they play St Kilda next week).
One of my favourite footy traditions is how we are all shocked in round two that round one form isn’t going to hold firm for the entire season.
And this round was a brutal reminder of that.
It seems the psychological warfare conducted on the Crows players at their Gold Coast training camp worked, as an undermanned Adelaide outfit overcame their nemesis Richmond.
I guess when you’ve experience hell, everything else seems easy.
Unlike the Grand Final, the Crows took a new approach and had their forward line show up.
They also dealt with Richmond’s pressure this time, which it should be said was nowhere near the level of the last time they met.
In fact, Damien Hardwick probably showed the most intensity, when he got into an argument with a Crows supporter.
Apparently, the supporter yelled out ‘I really rate Zack Snyder’s vision for the DC movie universe,” so we should cut Hardwick some slack for reacting as he did.
North Melbourne (95) v St Kilda (43)
Watching this game gave you a real sense of how Jesus must have felt on Good Friday.
Like Jesus, seeing this made me wish someone would put me in a cave and roll a boulder over the entrance. I wouldn’t be coming back.
Perhaps this was the deal the AFL did with the churches to get footy on Good Friday.
“Don’t worry, we’ll give them North and the Saints, it will make going to church seem like a trip to Ibiza.”
St Kilda turned in one of the worst performances by a side that was well rated before the season that I’ve ever seen.
There was nothing they did well and how bad they played was highlighted by Jarrad Waite being best on ground.
The first half was painful, like pouring all three of the specialty salts Etihad Stadium offers directly into your eyes painful.
Neither side could execute any of the skills required to play Australian Rules. In fact, many people tried to donate directly to the two teams through the Good Friday appeal.
In the second half, North lifted. St Kilda did not go with them.
North fans would be thrilled with their players, as it was pretty impressive from a team the AFL tried to drown last week.
The Kangaroos may be bad, but they now can say proudly that they’re not ‘St Kilda bad’.
St Kilda’s problem now is you can’t drop an entire side. Their fans would be rightly furious with this performance; it would have been unacceptable at under-tens level.
Carlton (67) v Gold Coast (101)
There was a lot of discussion during this game about how poor Carlton’s skills were, but even using the word ‘skills’ in that sentence, is complimenting them.
Under Stuart Dew, the Suns have decided to give tackling a go for the first time in their history, and it seems to be working.
The Suns always had talent, but their effort has been more patchy than the surface of ANZ Stadium. If they start doing things like tackling, working as a team and playing defence, they could be really good.
Carlton’s major problem was their defence was about as organised as Cricket Australia’s response to the ball tampering incident.
Tom Lynch made Liam Jones look like Liam Jones again, and the rest of the Blues’ defence seemed to have decided to take the long weekend off.
Lynch is so good, we all have to hope he never does end up at Collingwood. He seems to want to play finals, so I’m not too worried.
The Blues will be hoping this was just a bad day at the office because at some point ‘rebuilding’ becomes ‘just not very good.’
Collingwood (79) v Greater Western Sydney (95)
This was only the Giants second win ever at the MCG and the way they played makes you wonder if they can ever win a Grand Final while it’s played on the MCG.
It was a brutal game, with ambulances leaving the ground quicker than Saints supporters did at three quarter time on Friday.
Collingwood’s Tim Broomhead broke the tibia and fibula in his left leg as he tried to soccer a goal and connected with the goal post. It was a horrible sight, so naturaly,, media outlets showed it a lot.
Tom Scully was next to go down, with a fractured ankle, after it got trapped in a tackle.
Collingwood were further hampered when Darcy Moore had a problem with his hamstring injury and didn’t play the second half.
It was a familiar story for Collingwood, a poor showing one week, followed by a good one against an impressive opponent, only to by hurt by injuries.
And the Pies were certainly impressive in terms of effort. That’s never really been questioned, it’s their execution that is the problem.
In this, they were also significantly helped by the Giants putting together some truly awful passages of play. In the end, talent shone through and Collingwood just can’t get close on that.
While it’s normally enjoyable to watch Collingwood go close and then lose, the earlier injuries certainly took the edge of that, plus, I knew my Demons were playing the Lions that night, so it was bad timing to get too cocky.
Brisbane (74) v Melbourne (100)
With Melbourne’s loss to North scheduled for next week, there was a period in the third quarter where it seemed the Dees were destined to be 0-3.
It was a position they should never have been in, but Melbourne’s game plan seems to only cover three-quarters.
Dominating the first half, the Dees decided that with a 42-point lead in the third quarter, it was sleepy time, and let the Lions come right back into it, to be level in the fourth.
In fact, if a few Brisbane points had been goals in the fourth, this would have been a very different result.
Luckily, the Dees woke up in the final quarter and Jeff Garlett grabbed the wheel and swerved to miss the giant 0-2 chasm they were heading towards.
Jesse Hogan was a shining light for the Dees and showed that when he’s not suffering through one of the worst years anyone could have, he’s a star.
I remember too well those in the media making out he was some sort of disappointment when he was recovering from the death of his father and cancer.
The Lions have certainly improved this year. Their endeavour was there but while Melbourne played three quarters, they only played two.
Charlie Cameron was a star for the Lions again, another reminder that the Crows have done more to populate the League with talent than any team since Carlton.
Fremantle (106) v Essendon (90)
Fremantle kicked over 100 points in, which is like the equinox, in that it only happens twice a year. Very fitting for Easter.
In a shock to us all, Jake Stringer seems to not be working out for the Bombers. Sometimes these things are impossible to predict. I’m sure he’s smart enough to figure things out though.
The Bombers are hardly the first side to look ordinary in Perth and they faced a Dockers side that had decided to not turn the ball over constantly like they did in round one.
Again, the Bombers left everything to the last minute and this time there was no miracle comeback. It goes to show, that even at Easter, you can’t base your game plan around miracles.
In fact, the Dockers at times played some exciting footy, which is like seeing a mentally well-balanced person on a reality TV show, rare and somewhat disconcerting.
It’s not panic stations for Essendon, they play the Bulldogs next week.
Western Bulldogs (70) v West Coast (121)
After this game, Easter eggs were placed on the ground and kids were then all allowed on to get them.
There was more intensity, more brutal tackles and shirtfronts than the Bulldogs had shown in the four preceding quarters.
Showing that last week was not a one-off, the Bulldogs turned in an insipid performance that left fans wondering how things had gone so wrong, so quickly.
The Bulldogs played like a side whose team rules punished you for hitting a target, and they appeared to pass to Eagles defenders like they were their forwards.
At half time, the AFLW Premiers got a lap of honour and the Bulldogs faithful at the ground could be heard asking them if they could play the second half.
That’s the difference between the AFLW sides and a few of the AFL sides this week, in the AFLW, the players are keen to be there.
Luke Beveridge said after the game "Last week we had three and half write-off quarters and this week just one, so that's a step in the right direction.”
I’m not sure the Doggies fans in attendance saw things the same way.
The Eagles look amazing and it’s hard to tell how much was them and how much was their opponents.
They certainly made the Bulldogs pay for every turnover and when your opposition is committing so many, that’s all you need.
West Coast rolled out the latest Rioli model, Willie Rioli, as the AFL continues to move towards its target to have 78 percent of its players Riolis by 2034.
Sydney (71) v Port Adelaide (94)
After a rather lacklustre weekend of football, with the Good Friday debacle fresh in mind, we needed a good game and this one delivered.
The Swans have been known for their tough edge for a long time, Port Adelaide less so, but in this, the Power showed this year they are willing to get their hands dirty.
Footy is not that difficult a game, in that the entire team being willing to work is the major part of any team’s success and no one signalled this more than Ollie Wines.
Wines is a freak and if anything, underrated in the league.
He had 35 disposals and 19 of them were contested. He acted like the ball was his and he was affronted that anyone else was trying to get it.
Watching Wines barrel into a pack, rip the ball out and send it forward is one of the game’s great sights.
Sydney were certainly in the game, but seemed to keep shooting themselves in the foot, dropping easy marks and missing teammates.
John Longmire spent a lot of the match looking like someone reacting to the giant plot holes in The Last Jedi in real time.
Geelong (117) v Hawthorn (118)
Compare the Easter Monday game to the Good Friday one and it’s like watching two different sports.
This had stars, drama and more excitement than the rest of the round put together.
These two teams have more classics between them than Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.
The chance to see Geelong’s stars play together was reason enough to tune in.
It was obvious the old chemistry was there between them from early on, with Joel Selwood and Razor Ray proving once again they share an almost telepathic connection.
Ray seems to know what free kick to award Joel before Joel even tells him. It’s spooky.
Of course, Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett were also playing.
It was with some sadness I watched Ablett run around, just thinking about how the Gold Coast had spent all that time developing him only for Gary to take off.
Dangerfield returned from injury and was stunning again, but while the Cats may have three of the best midfielders in the comp, Hawthorn has Tom ‘one-man midfield’ Mitchell, who had a disappointing 40 possessions, with only 23 of them contested.
He certainly seemed to do a lot of damage, even if I know that can’t possibly be true.
While Geelong have the star power, the Hawks have Alastair Clarkson, who seems to have already begun crafting a new top side.
It’s like in Die Hard, when you think Karl is dead, only for him to suddenly emerge very much alive.
Hawthorn had corrected a lot of the mistakes they made in the first round and just executed incredibly well when it mattered.
But you just knew the Cats were not going to give up and the last quarter was more stressful than making small talk with a stranger.
In the end, the Hawks had the composure, with Roughead playing a huge role, but this was a reminder that football is just better than anything else life serves up.
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