I write this article bunkered down in a Melbourne hotel room, clutching tightly to my beloved Kyle Hartigan doll as I dream of being back in Adelaide, where Alex Rance is once again just a name mentioned just before the words ‘is not as good as Talia’. Where Cyril Rioli is the poor man’s Eddie Betts and where accusations of Mark Ricciuto’s bias from Victorian television viewers are drowned out by the similar criticisms Adelaide viewers can level at Every. Other. Commentator.
Speaking of biased commentary, here’s round 10.
GEELONG (11.15.81) DEFEATED PORT ADELAIDE (11.13.79) BY 2 POINTS
Geelong were celebrating their 2007 premiership’s 10th anniversary at their revamped Simonds Stadium on Thursday night as their Grand Final opponents, Port Adelaide, came within a kick of spoiling the party. The party wouldn’t have been spoiled for Steve Johnson, however, who was having a beer with the boys because he was out 'injured' this week (aka couldn't give a fuck). He cares not for protocol nowadays.
Port Adelaide famously lost this game after an unusual circumstance in which the 30-second rule was enforced while Charlie Dixon was lining up for a crucial goal. I’m not talking about the rule where something is still safe to ingest if its picked up from the ground quickly enough, like oranges at half-time for the players, or a party pie off the ground for Stevie J, or cocaine off the ground for Matthew Stokes.
Geelong dominated possession with 385-313 touches, and won the inside-50 count 58-44. Geelong led the inside-50s 18-8 at quarter time but inaccurate kicking kept the Power in front at the first break. Geelong led for the majority of the match but with Port leading in the final minutes a goal from Patrick Dangerfield snatched the lead back for a final time.
“I feel relieved when you win by 10 goals and I feel 10 (times) relieved when you win by two points when it looked for all intensive purposes like we were going to lose it late,” Geelong coach Chris Scott was quoted as saying in the Geelong Advertiser, whose transcriber has never heard the phrase ‘intents and purposes’.
“I think it would be unfair to say we stole it.”
You didn’t steal it, Scotty. The umpires stole it and you bought it. They’re different crimes. Possession of stolen goods instead of breaking and entering. Port Adelaide were entered.
HAWTHORN (12.9.81) DEFEATED SYDNEY (11.9.75) BY 6 POINTS
Sydney’s definite resurgence and guaranteed bullet to the top of the table has been stopped in its tracks by Hawthorn who capitalised on Sydney’s tactic of only playing for 5 -15 minutes of each quarter.
Lance Franklin, wearing #67 for the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round was brilliant with five goals and almost single-handedly dragged Sydney over the line until Peter Burgoyne, wearing #67 for the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round, kicked a crucial final quarter goal before Jarryd Roughead, wearing #2 for…identification purposes, kicked the sealer; both goals came from set shots outside 50.
Dan Hannebery had 35 touches for the Swans while Liam Shiels and Tom Mitchell topped the disposals for the Hawks with 31 each. Alastair Clarkson topped the ‘looking angered and stressed’ count between the coaches 461-3.
"I thought if we'd gotten our noses in front at the final siren it would have been an enormous effort, but unfortunately we didn't,” said Swans coach John Longmire, as Life by Des’ree played in the background.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (13.12.90) DEFEATED ST KILDA (7.8.50) BY 40 POINTS
The Western Bulldogs made the most of forwardline opportunities in a game that saw a lot of wayward forward entries from both teams, with Jake Stringer kicking five goals to lead the Dogs to a 40 point victory.
Stringer had returned from an injury that had seen him miss the previous two rounds, but there was no lethargy as the man nicknamed ‘The Package’ was left relatively unguarded throughout the first half, kicking four. In the modern world leaving a ‘package’ unguarded and unchecked is both negligent and downright dangerous.
Jason Johannisen topped the Bulldogs disposals with 29 while for St Kilda Jack Newnes had 35. The biggest negative from the game for the Bulldogs, however, was the loss of captain Bob Murphy with a hamstring injury. The upside is that means they’ll win the premiership now so, y’know, every cloud.
Nick Riewoldt left quite an obvious hole in St Kilda’s forwardline that they weren’t able to fill, much like Luke Beveridge’s shirt neck holes after they’ve been stretched by his massive head. The brains within Beveridge’s mutant cranium were very crafty in being able to limit St Kilda’s forward movement and to keep his team’s structured pressure constant. Big head, though.
MELBOURNE (18.14.122) DEFEATED GOLD COAST (13.9.87) BY 35 POINTS
This year has seen incredibly high score fluctuations within games and this one was no exception, with Gold Coast leading by five goals at one point in the third quarter before Melbourne over ran them to post an 11 goal turnaround and a six goal victory.
Gold Coast were without Gary Ablett, who is one of the greatest midfielders this game has ever seen, so it made an impact. Melbourne were without a win in two weeks, so it was time for them to alternate their level of effort once again and win this time around, continuing the frustrating fluctuating win cycle that Melbourne have trademarked over the past 45 years.
Clayton Oliver continued his breakout season form with 35 touches while Aaron Hall was one of the lone contributors for Gold Coast with 29. Jeff Garlett was another indigenous player who rose to this week’s occasion, kicking five goals.
"It was just our turnovers, we gave the ball back to them," Suns coach Rodney Eade said. Melbourne won the clearances and the contested possessions, so it might have been a bit of that as well.
The game was played in Alice Springs to a crowd of just over 5,000, so it’s possible Gold Coast were overcome by the occasion, playing their second consecutive game in the most remote of locations. Heavens knows how they’ll handle their game next week against West Coast in the Earth’s core.
RICHMOND (11.15.81) DEFEATED ESSENDON (10.6.66) BY 15 POINTS
Despite the entire footballing community collectively willing Essendon to a last minute victory all in the name of schadenfreude, Richmond have held on in a seesawing contest to post their first win since round five.
The lead changed hands nine times in the first three quarters and with minutes to go the game was still within two kicks, which equalled more than the aggregate margin of Richmond’s last three defeats.
Trent Cotchin, Brandon Ellis and Dustin Martin all had 30+ possessions for the Tigers, and David Zaharakis was the only Bomber to break the 30 barrier with 35.
There are rumours that Dustin Martin may be going to Essendon next year, but there’s nothing to say that he wants to leave Richmond at all. A lot of ongoing long-time contract negotiations end in happiness for the original club. Well, not always. Adelaide were pretty dirty on Dangerfield, and I guess West Coast wouldn’t mind Scott Selwood back. It seems if Dustin Martin is linked to Geelong, that’s when Richmond should start to worry. That being said, Richmond have had a great history with free agency, as was evidenced in the Ty Vickery move.
"We had 52 forward half turnovers, which is an enormous number, but we just couldn't get the scoreboard reward we were after,” said Richmond coach Damien Hardwick about his team’s first half. 52 is a huge number, but not as huge as 5,000,000. It’s bigger than 3, though.
ADELAIDE (20.23.143) DEFEATED FREMANTLE (6.7.43) BY 100 POINTS
I went to this match. In the cold. In the rain. I was there.
This was Ross Lyon’s first ever 100-point defeat, Nat Fyfe broke the record for the most clangers in a match, and I didn’t win $800 on my bet that Laird would get 30 possessions and Milera would kick three goals. It was a miserable night.
"We embarrassed ourselves,” said Fremantle coach Ross Lyon.
There were 72-40 inside-50s in the Crows’ favour and Adelaide had 102 more disposals. It was the most boring 100 point win I’ve ever witnessed.
For the Crows, Rory Atkins, Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch and Brad Crouch all had 30+ possessions which, on average, means Rory Crouch got a lot of the ball.
COLLINGWOOD (18.21.129) DEFEATED BRISBANE (13.6.84) BY 45 POINTS
Brisbane just aren’t very good. There’s no in depth analysis needed, no state-of-the-union address that needs to be declared from up on high, no crisis meetings that need to be held. They just need to keep playing until they’re better. Or until they don’t exist anymore. One of those two things.
Collingwood stays in touch with the top 8 and Nathan Buckley stays in touch with his personal car park and security clearance.
It’s remarkable that you could take the midfield stars of both these sides and they would be stars in any other side. Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams, Scott Pendlebury and Adam Treloar would displace a lot of the established midfields from higher placed sides, and Dayne Zorko, Tom Rockliff and Dayne Beams would be stars in any team. It’s just a shame that outside the midfield it’s a world of horror for both teams, like the centre square is the real world and outside its boundaries is the upside down world where nothing good can ever come.
Even Eric Hipwood who is The Most Exciting Prospect In The World only had six disposals and kicked one goal, albeit a good one.
“I thought we responded pretty well in the second quarter and for the most part after that, played the way that we wanted to play,” said Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, after his side conceded the first two goals of the match. The way they want to play each week is ‘against the bottom team’.
NORTH MELBOURNE (17.11.113) DEFEATED CARLTON (15.6.96) BY 17 POINTS
Carlton have given North Melbourne a real fright, coming back from 45 points down to lead during the final quarter before two Mason Wood goals regained control for the Kangaroos and the four points.
Bryce Gibbs had 38 touches for the Blues, which is amazing considering everyone decided at the beginning of the season that he wouldn’t try.
"They're no pushover, Carlton. The opposition has to play well to beat them and if the opposition's off their game, they get done," said North Melbourne coach Brad Scott, accurately describing the situation in every elite professional sporting competition that can be applied to any team anywhere in the world.
No team this year is a pushover as results have proven but, realistically, the season has gone on long enough that we can be pretty comfortable knowing that neither of these teams are going to be big players in September. With that in mind, realistically, this review has gone on long enough that we can be pretty comfortable knowing that I have no interest and I’m going to move on.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (14.14.98) DEFEATED WEST COAST (14.6.90) BY 8 POINTS
A thrilling finish that saw Toby Greene kick two late goals to prove that West Coast’s dominance is restricted to not only their home ground but also the year 2016.
The lead swapped hands eight times in the last quarter, like a man with an excited dog on a thin and unforgiving leash. Callan Ward had 33 touches for the Giants while the Eagles had Andrew Gaff at the top with 35. Lewis Jetta was a solid contributor with 28 touches and two goals.
Josh Kennedy’s leg exploded, which wasn’t good for the Eagles either.
GWS had 54 clearances to West Coast’s 31 which seems like a crazily lop-sided number, and it is, but if it weren’t for the final five minutes of play, West Coast could have still won with such a deficit which proves that statistics mean nothing, nothing means anything, life is meaningless and we’re all wasting our time.
"To lose the clearances by (21) and win contested possession … there were some good signs there I thought,” said Eagles coach Adam Simpson, unfazed by the futility of existence.