The last of the bye rounds and the ladder once again has all teams having played an equal number of games. By now you normally have an idea of how the ladder may shape up as we move into the second half of the regular season, but not this year. Adelaide, on top, were handed their biggest loss by North Melbourne who are third from the bottom. Greater Western Sydney, second, were defeated by Carlton who are fourth from bottom. Richmond, who this year are in the top eight, have somehow managed to give their fans more heartache than any season previous.
Warwick Capper is still mental.
Round 13 wrap, coming up.
WEST COAST (11.17.83) DEFEATED GEELONG (10.10.70) BY 13 POINTS
West Coast, who play Domain Stadium like a man plays his own pool table at home (knowing which cushions rebound more, which pockets are more forgiving and how to play the slight tilt), defeated the Cats who had to travel out of Geelong for the first time in a month.
West Coast outplayed Geelong for the majority of the game despite the scoreline flattering Geelong due to some inaccurate kicking.
Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff were the leading ballwinners for West Coast with 32 apiece while, for Geelong, Patrick Dangerfield had 34. The usually dominant Joel Selwood was largely ineffective, apart from that time when he rammed the back of Sam Mitchell’s head. It was high contact and Mitchell didn’t even raise the arm up to force it. Joel Selwood had never seen that happen before.
"We thought that we didn't really read the conditions really well,” said Geelong coach Chris Scott which looks like an acceptable sentence but the more you read it the more it frustrates.
We THOUGHT that we didn’t REALLY read the conditions REALLY well. That’s the modern day equivalent of the old ‘Single Mum With A Daughter’ lean beef television advertisement when the woman says ‘Well, sometimes the weather…’ to explain her lethargy.
ST KILDA (12.17.89) DEFEATED NORTH MELBOURNE (10.12.72) BY 17 POINTS
Not only does a Thursday night game take away from the exciting ‘opening of the round’ spectacle of a Friday night match, but games like this take away the ‘professional sportsmen being good’ spectacle of the sport.
North Melbourne were a ball of mistakes who actually led St Kilda in clearances and had similar disposal and inside-50 numbers. Jack Ziebell who had the most contested possessions for the Kangaroos with 14 operated at 50% disposal efficiency.
Seb Ross led the charge for the Saints with 32 touches while Billy Longer again took the award for ‘most pornstar name’, just edging out Mason Wood.
"We knew the Kangaroos would come,” said St Kilda coach Alan Richardson, continuing a heavy night of sexual innuendo and filth.
“I’ve come to clean the pool,” said North Melbourne’s Ben Brown, before having the door closed in his displeasing face.
SYDNEY (12.8.80) DEFEATED RICHMOND (10.11.71) BY 9 POINTS
With the exception of their round 6 loss to Adelade, the other four matches Richmond has lost have been by a single digit margin. This is, at once, humorous and heartbreaking. Richmond supporters, after years of frustrating mediocrity and a constant yearning for their team to be A Genuine Contender, have been granted a wish by the footballing gods with a side that has looked able to match it with anyone. For three quarters and 25 minutes.
It’s like the movie Bedazzled where Richmond supporters have said to the Devil ‘Look, I just want us to play competitive football’ and the Devil has decided to teach them a lesson because they never said anything about winning.
Bachar Houli and Trent Cotchin led disposals for the Tigers with 28 each in a side that dominated the first half of football, leading by 36 points during the second term. Sydney started a charge in the second half led by Dan Hanneberry who had 16 second half possessions, but Richmond’s star defender Alex Rance looked to be shutting down most of Sydney’s forward entries. Seeing this, every other Richmond player stopped.
Truthfully, if not for Rance Richmond would have lost this game much earlier. He negated most of Lance Franklin’s influence and frustrated the big man who lashed out and gave away a free kick for pushing Rance over. Of course, this may have been in retaliation to Rance doing the exact same thing to Franklin literally one second before, but we’ll never know. Still, the Rance-Franklin battle (which sounds uncomfortably like a racist accent joke) will be one that will interest everyone over the coming years, like the Jakovich-Carey battles of old, or the Law Enforcement-Carey battles of not as old.
PORT ADELAIDE (18.13.121) DEFEATED BRISBANE (12.9.81) BY 40 POINTS
AFL games that have been expected formalities this year have often surprised and shocked with underdog upsets and engaging battles. This one didn’t.
"We made some mistakes, they made some mistakes, but to come out at the end of the game with a 40-point victory, you've just got to move on,” said Power coach Ken Hinkley, whose unbridled passion and enthusiasm for the result of this game can only be described as ‘palpable’.
Ollie Wines had 29 touches and Chad Wingard kicked three goals but as Hinkley says, you’ve just got to move on.
CARLTON (12.11.83) DEFEATED GOLD COAST (11.7.73) BY 10 POINTS
Bryce Gibbs has defeated the Suns at Metricon Stadium with 43 touches, two goals, 10 tackles, seven clearances, eight marks and adding 50% difficulty to his desired move home to Adelaide.
He’s making it harder for himself, but that’s his nature. Like in the story of the scorpion and the frog, he cannot be helped. He is drowning with a frog, is what I’m saying.
Carlton led for the majority of the match and by as much as five goals on occasion, but Gold Coast were able to hit the lead in the final quarter before two steadying goals each from the reliable legs of both Gibbs and Jack Silvagni sealed the deal.
Also, one of Michael Barlow’s unreliable legs snapped in half.
"It was very poor, wasn't it?" said Suns coach Rodney Eade, referring to both the quality of his side’s performance and the feeling everyone had when they saw Barlow’s leg hanging in his sock.
With the remarkably inconsistent and even performances of all the teams this year, Carlton and the Gold Coast are now both, despite looking like absolute basket cases on occasion, only one game outside the top eight.
MELBOURNE (17.11.113) DEFEATED WESTERN BULLDOGS (8.8.56) BY 57 POINTS
The Western Bulldogs have looked lethargic, disorganised and calamitous for the second week in a row, being soundly beaten by Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
Last week the Bulldogs only managed 6.6.42 against Sydney, to go with their 8.8.56 this week, to give a total of 14.14.98 over the last two weeks. You know how there’s that theory that the first team to reach 100 points has a statistically high chance of winning? That doesn’t apply if it’s 100 points over three games.
The Demons won every quarter, starting with a goalless first term from the Dogs. Tom Liberatore topped the possessions in his comeback game for the Dogs with 29 while Jordan Lewis had 31 for Melbourne.
To add injury to insult, Lin Jong looked to injure his knee quite badly, while Jason Johannisen again had no influence on the game. Jack Watts topped the goalscoring with three which must make Johannisen feel extra bad, because in the 2017 trio of ‘fucking awful hair dye decisions’, Jack Watts and Rory Atkins have both captured match-winning form while Johanissen has not.
If you’re going to bleach your hair a terrible blonde you want to perform, like the AFL poster boy for horrific bleached hair, Jason Akermanis. You don’t want to perform like the entertainment industry’s poster boy for horrific bleached hair, the lead singer of Smash Mouth.
“They looked a bit better across the ground and we couldn't find our footy,” said Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge, perhaps highlighting why the Western Bulldogs have failed to post competitive scores in recent weeks, as they’re mistakenly looking for their own football not realising that both teams have to use the same one.