The rounds are going past faster than your childrens’ birthdays as you rapidly approach an inevitable death. Let’s mark another one down as we continue to search for this year’s AFL premier, who will of course fall away into the dusty pages of time in the relative blink of an eye.
Life is meaningless.
HAWTHORN (14.12.96) DEFEATED ADELAIDE (12.10.82) BY 14 POINTS
Adelaide are worryingly inconsistent, as are Hawthorn but their inconsistency isn’t as worrying because they’re not in contention.
Adelaide have shown that on their day they can play the most exciting and damaging attacking football we’ve seen in years. On another day, they couldn’t kick a badger off a bridge (as the old saying goeth).
Hawthorn played well and applied great pressure, but Adelaide’s skills by foot and their decision making was at times woeful. At other times it was more woeful.
Tom Mitchell keeps the possession counter ticking over at a furious pace having collected 38 touches while for the Crows it was Matt Crouch again with 35. Ryan Burton was one of the best for Hawthorn, keeping Taylor Walker to a very quiet second half while popping up with two goals of his own at a critical stage of the third quarter.
"For whatever reason, our execution tonight was miles off the level that we've experienced,” said Adelaide coach Don Pyke. One is unsure if the use of the word ‘experienced’ refers to Hawthorn’s execution in the myriad of previous games Adelaide have lost agonisingly to the Hawks.
SYDNEY (11.20.86) DEFEATED ESSENDON (12.13.85) BY 1 POINT
One of the most remarkable finishes this year, Sydney have come from behind with the last three goals to snatch a victory from Essendon when it looked impossible.
It looked impossible when they needed three goals against the momentum with four minutes remaining. It looked impossible when Joe Daniher marked strongly in defence with Essendon a goal up in the final minute. It looked impossible when Essendon had possession from a behind with their team five points up and under 30 seconds remaining. When Brendon Goddard, veteran and noted efficient disposer was smothered after taking too long to release the ball from the kickout…well, it kinda looked possible then.
Josh Kennedy had 36 touches and Zach Merrett 33. Orazio Fantasia would be second-guessing himself after having kicked 1.4 for the match, possibly distracted by Brian Taylor’s desperate attempts to inject some form of life into one of the most lacklustre commentary teams ever assembled by loudly and violently mispronouncing his name.
Please come back Dennis Cometti. I would say ‘all is forgiven’ but you did nothing wrong for us to have to forgive. You were perfect. It hurts.
PORT ADELAIDE (13.15.93) DEFEATED COLLINGWOOD (9.8.62) BY 31 POINTS
Port Adelaide have churned out another pedestrian and monotonous win which, while disappointing for the neutral supporter and football blogger, is a great sign for the club and its fans.
Collingwood have been in a rather impressive clump of form having previously won three of their past four. They looked off the pace tonight, despite Port Adelaide playing on the MCG for the first time this season. It’s remarkable that in a competition that plays its most important game of the year at the MCG, a genuine finals contender has played in another country before playing at the ‘home of football’. It’s also remarkable how much iPads have killed the puzzle placemat industry so beloved at Pizza Hut restaurants of old, but that’s unrelated.
Robbie Gray was wonderful, kicking five goals and collecting 20 possessions in a display that Collingwood had no answer for. The Collingwood engine room of Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Adams and Treloar all had more touches than any individual player for the Power, but there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’, although there are the words ‘Pelican Wisdom’ in ‘Collingwood Magpies’ if you rearrange the letters.
"It's the best opposition we've had. They were really impressive," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said, not counting doorstopping journalists.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (22.14.146) DEFEATED BRISBANE (12.14.86) BY 60 POINTS
GWS have reclaimed top spot after dispatching with bottom placed Brisbane by ten goals at the Gabba.
Dayne Beams left the ground thanks to a Shane Mumford bump and was unable to play the majority of the match, and from that moment it was a foregone conclusion.
66 inside-50s for GWS to Brisbane’s 42 was a telling statistic, as well as 100 gamer Dylan Shiel’s 38 possessions.
Do you remember, dear reader, in the first few seasons of Port Adelaide’s AFL history The Footy Show would claim that every match between the Power and Fremantle was for the ‘Fat Rat’s Clacker Cup’, insinuating that no-one cared about the match? Despite the multitude of upsets this year…this game was a contender for that trophy.
"On the scoreboard we lost by 10 goals, but we had lots of little wins,” said Brisbane coach Chris Fagan. Rhys Mathieson’s career-high 32 touches was one, as well as the crowd reaching five figures.
Fantasy footballers who have stuck strong with Heath Shaw in defence after his stellar year last year would not count his 29 fantasy points as a little win, despite it being his 250th match.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (15.17.107) DEFEATED NORTH MELBOURNE (16.10.106) BY 1 POINT
Every time there’s a match decided by under a goal, the AFL release the final 2 minutes of the game to stream from YouTube and their website. Each of these videos is sponsored by Tissot watches. They have got their money’s worth this year.
North Melbourne were able to tie the game at 106 apiece with just over a minute to go with a behind, and the resulting kick out found its way to Jake Stringer with only two kicks in between. North Melbourne have lost 16 of their past 20 games with a single digit final margin. Richmond must be wondering what they have to do to shake their reputation.
Ben Cunnington was the only player to collect more than 20 possessions for the Kangaroos, a statistic which seems like it would be really rare but I can’t be bothered doing the necessary research to verify. Let’s just say it’s never happened in the history of the universe.
Jack Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli were the best for the Bulldogs with 32 and 28 touches respectively, and Liam Picken’s 3.1 made him the highest scoreboard contributor.
"Any one-point result that you're on the wrong side of does (leave a sour taste in your mouth). You tend to go back and isolate certain things that let you down," Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said.
“Like all my fucking players.”
MELBOURNE (15.9.99) DEFEATED WEST COAST (14.12.96) BY 3 POINTS
I’ve been really thinking about getting a Tissot watch. I hear their build quality and workmanship is second to none.
Tom McDonald, holding off a tackle from literally every West Coast player, in the dying minutes, got boot to ball and snapped his fifth goal of the match to win the contest for Melbourne, their first victory over West Coast in their last 10 matches.
Clayton Oliver was the subject of a lot of scrutiny after milking contact more than Rivaldo at the 2002 World Cup. Rivaldo was getting ready for a corner kick when an opposition player kicked the ball to him a little harder than was polite. The ball hit him in the thigh and Rivaldo fell to the floor clutching his face. In fairness to him, the expectation that on a soccer field you would get hit on the legs with the ball is very low. It took him by surprise. Likewise, Oliver was surprised that Will Schofield had elbows and when the gentle breeze generated by one of them blew across his chin his natural reaction was to collapse faster than Richmond (editor note: change this to North Melbourne before print).
Melbourne look like they’re going to make the finals while West Coast look like they’re going to make the most of Drew Petrie and Sam Mitchell in the coming years.
GEELONG (10.14.74) DEFEATED FREMANTLE (11.6.72) BY 2 POINTS
Seriously, have you guys ever even seen a Tissot watch? They’re so luxurious and have an understated class that has no equal. I’ve ordered four. One for each arm and each leg.
Michael Walters missed a shot at goal from open play to bring Fremantle within two points but there was no time left to play as the siren sounded just as the umpire was signalling the minor score. It was heartbreaking for the Dockers who took it to Geelong all game at Geelong’s ‘fortress’.
Other stadiums described as ‘fortresses’ before this round include Adelaide Oval for the Crows and Domain Stadium for the Eagles. Based on this definition, other ‘fortresses’ may include Hitler’s bunker, Saddam Hussein’s foxhole and the house in Pakistan that Osama bin Laden used to wank in.
Geelong were without Joel Selwood for basically the whole match after he was knocked out in the first few minutes, before he awoke, ran off the field and probably yelled at his concussion to ‘fuck off’.
Tom Stewart also sustained an eye injury, Darcy Lang injured his leg and Scott Selwood had hamstring tightness. So basically Fremantle were able to defeat Patrick Dangerfield who continues to try and pull Geelong along single-handedly. It’s like if the reindeer were able to rise up against Santa Claus and, after years of servitude, forced him to pull their deadweight along as the sole sleigh-puller, while they all rode next to the toys as the elves forced Mrs Claus into a life of sex slavery.
That last bit wasn’t critical to the analogy, it’s just a personal dream.
"That is AFL footy,” said Fremantle coach Ross Lyon, or at least that’s how AFL.com are reporting it. Their punctuation may be incorrect, as I imagine he may have actually said ‘THAT is AFL footy?’.
RICHMOND (11.18.84) DEFEATED CARLTON (8.10.58) BY 28 POINTS
Why did I order so many fucking watches? That was stupid. I can’t afford four watches.
An anti-climactic game after a string of thrillers, Richmond controlled the game against a wasteful Carlton. Carlton won the clearances 35-25 but Richmond were able to capitalise on skill errors and pressured fumbles to send the ball inside their forward-50 62 times to 41.
Dustin Martin and Bryce Gibbs were the two players to reach 30 possessions for the two clubs, while Jack Riewoldt led the goalscoring with three. If you had have asked me before the game to predict the top goalscorer and the leading possession getter for each club, those three would be my guesses, so I don’t know why we even played this match.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick admitted that the game was sloppy, but was happy with the win.
We've played better games but lost, if that makes sense.”
Yes, it makes complete sense. Games against really good teams, for example. It’s not a difficult suggestion for us to comprehend, Damien. Like all those games that you’re really, really famous for, where you somehow lose after dominating the whole game. The games sewn into the fabric of your every supporter’s being. Those games.
ST KILDA (14.19.103) DEFEATED GOLD COAST (10.12.72) BY 31 POINTS
I can’t afford these watches. I can barely afford one, let alone four. I can’t believe I’ve done this. I got carried away. I hope my wife doesn’t find out. Does anyone want to buy a Tissot watch?
They’re good, apparently. Or so I thought. I don’t know what I was thinking. A watch on each limb? Who the fuck does that? I may as well have bought shoes for my hands. A hat for my knee. Why didn’t I just buy a fucking crown for my neck? All that’s left for my neck is a noose.
Yeah, a noose. That’s the answer. All my financial problems could be solved by a noose. The debt collector can’t get me from beyond the grave! Or maybe I can jump off a bridge. I’ll jump off a bridge into the river and I’ll weigh myself down with all these fucking watches. Then when they dredge the canal they can see the life of excess I’ve irresponsibly lived and it could serve as a lesson to all those who come after.
They can call me Father Time. There’ll be stories for years to come. How the clocks all stopped when Father Time struck. Maybe my ghost could haunt the moors forevermore, the distant sound of four windswept alarms ringing from my floating water-ravaged limbs.
“Would anyone like to buy a watch?” I’ll hauntingly cry.
“I fucking hate watches.”
Jack Billings got 30 touches and Nick Riewoldt kicked three.