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 (90) v Hawthorn (136)
At the end of a long week, the last thing you want is to watch Richmond play, especially if you’re a Tigers supporter.
But when the word went out that Sam Mitchell would miss this one, a lot of people started questioning tipping Hawthorn.
That feeling only intensified as Richmond came out strong, like a professional football side or similar. Could the Tigers beat the Box Hill Hawks and prove the doubters wrong that they are actually better than a VFL side?
The short answer is no.
But Richmond fans knew that. The Tigers only create hope for the sole purpose of taking it away later and so it proved.
As the Hawks got back into the game, then matched it with the Tigers before leaving them behind, Richmond fans looked at each other with the recognition that this is the life they’ve chosen and happiness is not part of the lifestyle.
According to the commentary on the night, Hawthorn’s season continues to spiral out of control.
“Hawthorn aren’t going great,” was the constant refrain. Hmmm.
They’re in sixth spot at 5-2 with half their players out. I wish my team struggled like that.
Collingwood (84) v Carlton (99)
Carlton’s threepeat shows working hard and having Fremantle, Essendon and Collingwood in a row can work wonders.
It will be a rude shock when they get back to playing AFL teams but for now, the Blues are at least showing that a competent coach and effort is much better than the opposite.
Which brings us to Collingwood.
The continuing decline of the Pies under Buckley has been as consistent as it has been enjoyable. It’s going to take a fair bit of misdirection to get the heat off them this week.
This was a performance by Collingwood so lacking in intensity that they could have been at a meditation retreat.
Ask a Collingwood player what a clearance is and they’re likely to answer ‘something the stores do on Boxing Day.
To give you a sense of the size of the Magpies problems is that Jesse White was one of their best players on the day.
Still, we’ve only had five years of Buckley. I think I speak for all opposition fans when I say we need at least another five years before making our minds up about him as a coach.
Geelong (123) v West Coast (79)
West Coast may stop bothering to play away games all together soon and just rest up instead.
I can understand. As a bit of a recluse myself, I know the powerful appeal of home and the comforts that come with it. Going outside is awful because people are awful.
This strategy, while working for me, probably doesn’t work for an AFL side, especially one that has to do a lot of travelling (still, it’s the academies that make the AFL an uneven playing field).
Against Geelong, the Eagles looked like a side who other teams have figured out. A seven-goals-to-one second quarter made claims the Eagles will threaten for the premiership seem fanciful.
Star recruit Lewis Jetta showed he can go missing outside of September, a new string to his bow the Eagles fans are probably not thrilled he’s developed.
Geelong on the other hand showed they can take care of a top team and with relative ease. It was an impressive performance and it was alarming how easily Selwood and Dangerfield ran over the Eagles midfield; a midfield you would normally expect to match them.
The Cats are really starting to impress and next week’s clash against the Crows is something to savour.
Sydney (135) v Essendon (54)
This was actually a pretty good effort by the Bombers, perhaps the best ever for an 81-point defeat.
It’s all about context. Essendon’s ragtag bunch of misfits have probably outperformed most people’s expectations and in this game they managed to stick around for a whole half.
That’s not damning with faint praise, I was actually impressed.
The problem for Essendon now is that fatigue and injury are starting to take their toll. They just can’t stick with teams for four quarters (they’re not alone there though).
Sydney had to work pretty hard to break the shackles but once they did this got ugly fast.
Once the Swan midfield got on top the ball went forward more often than cringe worthy moments during the Logies.
Buddy Franklin feasted on the supply after halftime and finished with six, while Isaac Heeney’s five goals are proof that Sydney’s test tube academy must be shut down.
Gold Coast (87) v Melbourne (160)
There’s something unnatural about a Paul Roos’ team scoring 160. Like seeing a dog talk, amazing but disconcerting.
Don’t get me wrong, this high scoring, free flowing football from Melbourne is something I could get used to, after a decade of soul destroying awfulness.
They just need consistency. It makes no sense that the side that turned in this performance could produce last week’s effort against St Kilda.
Probably the highlight for me was Clayton Oliver’s tackling and attack on opponents around the ball. His ability to not fumble the footy is also a pleasant surprise and a sign that Melbourne’s much maligned recruiting department is now one that works very well.
Gold Coast are another matter. They are so bad no one is complaining about academies or draft concessions. Most people have forgotten they’re in the competition.
It says a lot about the team that they still operate out of portable buildings. Like the AFL know this Gold Coast thing is probably temporary and there’s a plan in a bottom draw somewhere to merge them with the Lions.
They were unlucky in this with injuries but this isn’t the first time they’ve been supremely disappointing in recent times.
There was a lot of talk about Gary Ablett calming down a fan at the game. I originally thought he was actually asking if anyone in the crowd could play football and could they tag in for a few of his teammates.
The most surprising thing about the incident is that the Suns have fans and who care enough to actually get angry.
If one thing the Giants can point to as a defense against accusations they’ve have too many advantages, it’s the Suns.
Western Bulldogs (123) v Adelaide (108)
What was an incredibly exciting game was overshadowed by the fact the free count kick was 20-5 in the Bulldogs’ favour at three-quarter time and 28-11 for the entire game.
Usually you would have to be watching Fremantle to see something so one sided.
If the Bulldogs had any money you would suspect bribery.
I don’t believe in conspiracies though. I just don’t believe the AFL has the competence to carry them out. I do believe in bad umpiring. I’ve seen that with my own eyes on numerous occasions.
I don’t blame the umpires though. Can you imagine umpiring our great game? It would be a nightmare. Not only is it a fast, 360 degree, nonstop sport, the interpretations are so nuanced.
They’re also constantly being changed, sometimes mid-season. It’s an actual miracle it’s as good as it is overall.
None of that’s going to make Crows fans happy and nor should they be. Footy isn’t about calmly assessing the situation over the long term and forming a nuanced view. It’s about being furious in the moment.
Umpiring aside, this is another game that adds to the high quality season we are having. Its been a blast this year and these two sides are a big reason why. Both play exciting footy.
The Bulldogs seemed to get their mojo back in this one, looking more confident and solid than in recent weeks, while the Crows keep proving they are a finals calibre team.
If only the AFL didn’t have a vast conspiracy to keep the Crows out of the finals.
Fremantle (77) v The Riverina All-Stars (95)
I’m beginning to think the Dockers aren’t going to play finals this year. Actually, I’m beginning to think they’re not going to play AFL this year.
What the Dockers are finding is it’s very hard to win in Perth. Their 0-7 start to the season is nightmare to Leicester City’s fairytale.
Fremantle weren’t a complete embarrassment in this. There was even a flicker of their old competitiveness but it was short lived and quickly stamped out.
It was with considerable ease that the Giants opened up Fremantle at the stoppages and Shane Mumford’s 42 hit-outs showed that without Aaron Sandilands, Fremantle struggle.
There is no doubt the Giants are coming and everyone knows it but unlike Carlton, they may actually show up.
St Kilda (75) v North Melbourne (82)
Who thought a visible shot clock was a good idea? Really only the AFL but that’s also the only people the AFL listen to, so we have one.
Not a surprise then that Mason Wood let it run down instead of having a shot at goal in the dying seconds. That’s not bad sportsmanship, it’s doing what every single AFL player in the league would do.
The law of unintended consequences has never been something the AFL has come to terms with.
The fact it was close at all was testament to the Saints who looked to be done before staging a remarkable comeback. Perhaps more controversial than SHOTCLOCKGATE, was a free kick to Todd Goldstein that with just 90 seconds remaining.
It was ruled Tom Hickey blocked Goldstein’s run at a ruck contest. There’s an argument it looked like he did but you could argue just as easily that Hickey was simply trying to get a feel for Goldstein, hardly unusual in a ruck contest.
Either way, it meant Wood’s effort annoyed Saints fans a lot and they left feeling hard done by and not for the first time this season.
It’s no certainty they would have won but St Kilda fans will be hoping a few breaks go their way later on in the season.
Port Adelaide (136) v Brisbane (59)
Ken Hinkley said after this that Port are ‘not a sexy football side’. It’s a slightly unnecessary statement.
As someone who’s not sexy in the slightest, I’ve never felt the need to point that out to people. Run quiet on your weaknesses talk up your strengths, that’s why I mention whiskey drinking a lot and never talk about building deep, meaningful relationships with other people.
Brisbane are neither sexy or consistent. They can produce some solid efforts but then turn in a performance so bad I had brief hallucinations that Port are a good side.
The positives for Port is they are starting to head in the right direction and the dizzying heights of 10th on the ladder is something that Power fans could only dream about a few weeks ago.
Not that this was an enjoyable game to watch. It was the sleeping pill you took after the excitement of the Saints-Kangaroos game and boy did it work.
Still, a blowout is nice because no one focuses on any controversial umpiring decisions, a rarity in this round.