Only six games this week, or five and a half if you don’t count Hawthorn’s first half, so it’s a short, sharp one.
Let’s do it. Round 11.
PORT ADELAIDE (13.20.98) DEFEATED HAWTHORN (7.5.47) BY 51 POINTS
This was Hawthorn’s worst first half of football of all time. It was painful to watch. The last time a club looked so far from the mark over an entire half of football was back in the final days of Fitzroy when their last two seasons saw a win-loss record of 3-39. Even then they only failed to kick a goal in the first half once, against Essendon in 1995 when they didn’t score at all.
I guess what I’m saying is that Hawthorn are worse than Fitzroy were and that just proves that Hawthorn should have been part of a merger all those years ago because, as history has shown, it’s just been a constant procession of failure since then.
A lot of commentators and pundits have said that Port Adelaide let their foot off the pedal in the second half, which may be true, but Port Adelaide kicked 4.12 in the second half compared to 7.2 for Hawthorn. They still had 16 scoring shots to 9 and if they’d kicked straighter it could have easily been a 100 point margin.
Charlie Dixon rebounded brilliantly from his final quarter hiccup against Geelong to kick four goals and collect 20 possessions, including eight marks and six tackles. For Hawthorn, (editor: Look up something Hawthorn did and insert before print. There has to have been something, right?).
“We couldn't have had a worse start," Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said, in another shameful attempt from an AFL representative to erase Fitzroy from history.
The game also saw the first time Port Adelaide have kept a team scoreless in the first quarter, which is understandable because the Power played their first game in 1997 and Fitzroy played their last in 1996.
God, Fitzroy were shit.
GEELONG (13.18.96) DEFEATED ADELAIDE (10.14.74) BY 22 POINTS
Adelaide can’t beat Geelong. Adelaide especially can’t beat Geelong at Kardinia Park. The last time Adelaide beat Geelong in Geelong was in 2003, when Gary Ayres was coach. Ayres understood the gravity of an Adelaide win in Geelong as is evidenced by this level-headed reaction to a three-point win there in 2002.
Adelaide succumbed to superior ball pressure and a tougher attack on contested possession, with Joel Selwood the perfect example collecting 35 touches including 21 contested with his head leaking blood.
Rory Sloane was again shut down which has been a common thread in Adelaide’s three losses. Tom Hawkins may be in trouble for a jumper punch very shortly after the AFL announced they were taking a harsher stance on jumper punches, which has been a common thread in people with eyes so close together.
It’s one of those games that makes it very hard to judge where the teams are at because Adelaide never play well in Geelong, and Geelong have had three games in a row at their stadium so they’re in peak condition. Apart from Selwood whose head is still dripping.
GOLD COAST (11.14.80) DEFEATED WEST COAST (11.11.77) BY 3 POINTS
“OK Colin, you haven’t put in your tips for this week!”
“Oh, right. Well, West Coast are objectively better than Gold Coast so they should walk this in…
...wait, where’s the game? Do West Coast have to fly beyond Adelaide? They do? Here, bring the sheet back over.”
This was Gold Coast’s first ever win again West Coast which is surprising given that the Gold Coast has always been on the opposite side of the country to Perth.
Gary Ablett had 36 touches and was uncontainable in his return match from a shoulder complaint, while Sam Mitchell had 33 for West Coast, a player that the Eagles can really build their future around.
Gold Coast won the contested possession count for the fourth time this year. This was also their fourth win. Try and guess if there’s a correlation between those two statistics…hint: there is.
“We haven't been able to close it out last week or this week. We need to find a way,” said West Coast coach Adam Simpson. One way may have been that guy that stands at the front and kicks all the goals, but he’s injured so I think you may be shit out of luck until he gets back.
Another way might be to get an injection of pace and exuberance in the midfield. I’ve been hearing heaps about some gun midfielder called Ben Cousins who used to play over in WA. Maybe they should look into him.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (18.9.117) DEFEATED ESSENDON (15.11.101) BY 16 POINTS
Remember in Rocky Balboa, the sixth Rocky film, when Rocky is an old grizzled man who’s been out of the game for a little while but he has a fight against the plucky, young champion who’s just hitting his prime?
In the film, Rocky gives a respectable performance and leaves the fight happy, despite ultimately losing while the young victor has a hollow victory that doesn’t really teach him anything about himself.
That was this game.
Brendon Goddard celebrated his 300th game by being a lovable guy who’s been around the block trying his best but still struggling to find success. He threw a tantrum in the rooms and knocked a bowl of food on the floor in a fit of rage, so he’s susceptible to flights of anger and will often blame those close to him, but at the end of the day he’ll be there for you.
So he’s Paulie.
In this comparison, so far, Essendon is Rocky Balboa, GWS is Mason Dixon and Brendon Goddard is Paulie. I haven’t yet mentioned Josh Kelly, who almost single-handedly won this game with 38 touches, 10 tackles, a goal and three goal assists.
So, I guess that would make Josh Kelly ‘Dutch’, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Predator. It’s a different film franchise but it still checks out.
“He's a very good player (but) we weren't prepared to just put a straight stopper on him,” said Bombers coach John Worsfold about Kelly.
“I mean, when the meteor is headed for Earth in Armageddon, do they send a crew to try and stop it? No, they don’t. They let it hit the Earth and everyone dies, and we took a lesson from that.”
RICHMOND (14.17.101) DEFEATED NORTH MELBOURNE (9.12.66) BY 35 POINTS
Richmond may actually be a genuinely good side. They’re 7-4 after 11 matches, and of the four games they’ve lost only one of them has been by more than a goal. Some may argue that really good sides don’t lose close matches, but I also argue that not good sides lose all their matches, often by lots. I am a sports expert.
Dustin Martin was clearly the best, and often looked like he was just turning it on when he needed to, which is scary. 38 touches, nine clearances, two goals and six tackles. To put that in perspective, for North Melbourne, Jarrad Waite was shit.
When the game was in the balance and Waite was clear on goal directly in front from 25 metres out he opted for a dribble kick. Given that I’m writing about it, we all know how this story ends. North coach Brad Scott looked like someone had stolen a delicious spoonful of soup on its way to his mouth as he looked around in disbelief, anger and sadness.
When Todd Goldstein tried to snap a goal on his left boot in the dying minutes from 15 metres out and missed everything, Scott laughed. He laughed in the way Donnie Darko laughs as he waits for the plane to kill him.
"We got slaughtered in the centre bounces 18-8 with what should have been a dominant ruckman, we got outworked in transition, we were terrible with our ball use going forward (and) we succumbed to pressure,” said Scott.
"There wasn't much to like about tonight,” he continued, besides the fact that he was able to figure out how to most effectively use Dustin Martin in his own team’s line-up next year.
COLLINGWOOD (15.15.105) DEFEATED FREMANTLE (12.13.85) BY 20 POINTS
Collingwood kicked the last four goals of the game to defeat Fremantle in WA despite every Magpie on the field being injured.
Daniel Wells injured his calf, Jamie Elliott did his ankle, Tyson Goldsack did his shoulder and Levi Greenwood had a corkie.
The final quarter, when it was in the balance, saw the second tier of players step up with Will Hoskin-Elliott having a stellar quarter, while Fremantle’s players made costly errors, like Bradley Hill’s open goal miss from 20 metres out directly in front on the run.
Without a word of a lie, after seeing Goldstein and Waite’s terrible goal attempts for the Kangaroos, and Hill’s guff for the Dockers, I took my wife and the dog down to the oval today to kick the football for the first time in about 8 years. If you discount the speed they were travelling at compared to how fast I can run, discount the lack of pressure and discount the fact that I wasn’t using a regulation football, I can safely say with hand on heart…
‘I could have kicked those.’
“I thought we were a bit helter-skelter with our ball use - a lack of composure,” said Fremantle coach Ross Lyon. I’m here if you need, Ross.