I LIKE FOOTY A WHOLE BUNCH,
I LIKE FOOTY MORE THAN LUNCH!
I LIKE FOOTY WHEN THEY KICK,
I EVEN LIKE FOOTY WHEN I’M SICK!
I LIKE FOOTY WHEN I’M WEARING SOCKS,
I LIKE FOOTY, I THINK IT ROCKS!
I LIKE FOOTY, OH YES I DO,
I LIKE FOOTY MORE THAN YOU!
I LIKE FOOTY MORE THAN LIFE,
I LIKE FOOTY MORE THAN MY WIFE!
BUT THERE’S ONE THING ABOUT FOOTY I WOULDN’T MISS,
Round 17, you frothy toads.
ESSENDON (17.16.118) DEFEATED ST KILDA (7.15.57) BY 61 POINTS
The wild rollercoaster ride that is season 2017 continues, but it’s a roller coaster ride where you can’t see the track ahead of you, the people running the ride don’t know where the track goes, no-one knows how to secure you in the carriage and somehow the carriages keep changing order.
Basically it’s like a ride at the Royal Adelaide Show.
St Kilda, fresh from their demolition of top 4 Richmond, were demolished by Essendon, who admittedly are on the way back up after being beaten by the bottom side two rounds previous.
Zach Merrett had 37 touches and David Zaharakis continued his great recent form with 32. Joe Daniher kicked four goals which was greatly helped by Essendon’s 61-44 inside-50 count, and his ability to use Jake Carlisle like Wonderwoman uses her shield in order to kill Nazis. Wonderwoman kills Nazis, not Daniher. Although I don’t think he’s a sympathiser. That’s highly doubtful.
"I've seen this group improving across the year," said Essendon coach John Worsfold, confirming that he is watching.
"There's no doubt our footy over the last three or four weeks has been better than what it was in the first four weeks of the year … so we have improved throughout the year,” he continued, including their loss to Brisbane in that timeframe, and immediately throwing doubt over whether he’s been watching EVERY week.
GEELONG (13.10.88) DEFEATED HAWTHORN (12.13.85) BY 3 POINTS
Luke Hodge’s 300th game after announcing his plans to retire was always going to be one filled with emotion.
When Dangerfield went down with a leg injury in the first quarter it looked like Hawthorn may have been able to take advantage. Then Dangerfield moved to full forward and kicked five goals to seemingly carry the Cats to victory! He had a chance to put the game beyond doubt with roughly two minutes to go, but hit the post!
Step up Luke Hodge who, with great poise and skill, kicked a goal from near on 50m to bring the game within a kick! You couldn’t write a script like this!
Although you could, because they reused the script from last year when Isaac Smith missed with the last kick of the game to lose to Geelong. Lazy screenwriting. Overused tropes.
Tom Mitchell had 43 touches including 27 handballs. He’s like Wayne Gretzky. In ice hockey they count goals and assists as ‘points’ when compiling individual statistics. If you eliminated all of Gretzky’s goals, he would still have more ‘points’ than anyone else in the NHL. Tom Mitchell has 578 touches this year, 351 of which are handballs. 351 disposals would place him above Jobe Watson, or Heath Shaw, or Dayne Beams, or 10 Aliir Aliirs.
That’s 20 Aliirs.
PORT ADELAIDE (19.13.127) DEFEATED NORTH MELBOURNE (8.9.57) BY 70 POINTS
Port Adelaide edged their percentage closer to their crosstown rivals with a thrashing of North Melbourne, leaving the Kangaroos just one game above cellar dwellers Brisbane.
Sam Gray kicked four goals and collected 25 disposals to rival Chad Wingard’s three goals and 30 disposals as the main wrecking crew. For North Melbourne Ben Cunnington was the only player who didn’t look like they were suffering an asthma attack, with 33 touches.
"You don't have 88 tackles if you're not having a crack, so we kept working really hard to stay in the game, but Port were just too good," said Kangaroos coach Brad Scott, although his team had 91 tackles but no-one splits hairs when you lose by 12 goals.
Port Adelaide celebrated after the match by heading to the Cumberland Arms Hotel in Adelaide. I know this because I was there. Robbie Gray was walking around the packed venue looking like he was trying to see someone in the distance but couldn’t and was getting frustrated, which is what his face always looks like. Charlie Dixon looked like he was commanding attention, like he always does, and Ollie Wines looked like he’d drunk too much and his face had swollen, like it always does.
COLLINGWOOD (15.13.103) DEFEATED GOLD COAST (13.10.88) BY 15 POINTS
“My only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job but…y’know Bob?...that’ll only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.”
- Peter Gibbons, ‘Office Space’
Nathan Buckley continues to find 1-up mushrooms mere moments before being attacked by koopa troopas to stay in the game for another week. This week the mushroom came in the form of a win away from home at Metricon Stadium against a Gold Coast side that’s also languishing in the bottom half of the ladder.
Gary Ablett again showed that he may be the only thing currently holding the Gold Coast together and preventing them from slipping further down the ladder and further down the country to Tasmania. He had 41 touches, but on the whole Collingwood had much more of the football. The final possession count was 408-332 in the Magpies’ favour.
Oh yeah, and Gold Coast were playing without Steven May and Jarryd Lyons for the second half, so Collingwood weren’t really convincing, per se.
"We were able to finish pretty strong, benefited by the fact they had a couple out - obviously their skipper and a bloke who's been playing pretty well through the midfield," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said.
"So the footy gods were smiling on us tonight and we were able to take advantage of it in the last quarter."
Doesn’t that sound like the words of a man who is literally looking up at the heavens during each game and just asking ‘please’?
SYDNEY (14.12.96) DEFEATED GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (12.11.83) BY 13 POINTS
After starting the season with six consecutive losses, Sydney are now within a game and percentage of the top four. This is a remarkable achievement, considering they started the season 0-6. Certainly, the way they’re playing is not way you’d expect a side that started the year with six winless rounds to play!
Sydney were much more effective with their disposal efficiency, unlike how they played for their first six matches. Their midfield of Hannebery, Kennedy, Lloyd and Parker is gelling well, which they were unable to do for the first month and a half of the season due to injuries and interruption. Some feel that these challenges contributed to their opening losing streak, and the fact that the team has been able to play mainly uninterrupted as a unit since then has resulted in an upturn in form since all those defeats.
Sydney look to be a premiership contender, but they previously didn’t because they kept losing.
Sydney are the in-form side of the competition, which is quite impressive given their out-of-form beginning to the year.
Sydney lost a bunch at first, but now they’re not.
0-6, 0-6, 0-6, 0-6, 0-6.
SYDNEY GOOD NOW.
ADELAIDE (17.14.116) DEFEATED MELBOURNE (10.10.70) BY 46 POINTS
Adelaide have reclaimed top spot after travelling all the way to Darwin to meet the home side, Melbourne, whose home ground advantage wasn’t enough in the humid NT weather.
Melbourne playing a home game in Darwin, in the second half of the season when bodies are getting more battered and bruised, is silly. The long distance travel really exacerbates the gap between two teams, as was evidenced here, as well as earlier in the year when Port played Gold Coast in China. I can only imagine when Sydney play North Melbourne on the surface of the moon, Buddy may kick a bag.
Rory Laird and Matt Crouch were again the major ball-winners for the Crows with 34 and 31 possessions respectively.
A major talking point came in the form of a head injury to Rory Sloane following an awkward landing in a Dean Kent tackle. Sloane fought with his own medical staff to stay on the field despite being clearly dazed, and it took Taylor Walker and Eddie Betts to convince him to head to the bench. He will undergo testing during the week to see the extent of the concussion.
Tom Lynch was another big star for the Crows, collecting 27 touches and kicking three goals just two weeks after being in intensive care with viral meningitis.
Given Lynch’s turnaround time, recovery and performance, we can reasonably expect Rory Sloane’s cognitive capacity to rapidly improve and he should be able to crack cold fusion by next Tuesday and perfect a perpetual motion machine come finals time.
RICHMOND (16.16.112) DEFEATED BRISBANE (12.9.81) BY 31 POINTS
After Richmond’s wake-up call against St Kilda last week, no conclusions were ever going to be reached against the bottom side, Brisbane. The best they could hope for would be to grind out a win and try to play themselves back into some kind of form.
They did some kind of version of that.
Dustin Martin again cracked the 40 possession mark, as well as kicking two goals. Jack Riewoldt topped the goalscoring with four of his own.
So, essentially, Richmond beat the bottom side, Dustin Martin was by far their best midfielder and Jack Riewoldt by far their best forward option. Like I was saying, we learned nothing.
Watching this game was like watching an episode of Geordie Shore. You knew how it was going to end, with everyone drunk, disappointed and screaming, and you weren’t that interested in how it got to that stage.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (12.10.82) DEFEATED CARLTON (9.8.62) BY 20 POINTS
The Bulldogs have grinded out a win against a Carlton side that was again able to maintain pressure against a team with finals aspirations before failing to take that final step.
Carlton had opportunities to bridge the margin but failed to capitalise efficiently in their forward 50. One of the best examples of this was in the final quarter when Levi Casboult hit the post from a set shot at the top of the goalsquare.
For an AFL footballer to miss a goal from the goalsquare…I can’t even fathom how that happens. That’s like if Gordon Ramsay, instead of cooking a delicious beef bourguignon, accidentally vomited into the outstretched hands of a homeless orphan. Gordon Ramsay’s job is to cook food for people that want food, and Levi Casboult’s job is to kick goals. He did the exact opposite when that was the harder thing to do.
Jack Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli were the Bulldogs’ two main ball-winners, with the latter kicking two goals.
Luke Beveridge and Brendon Bolton are two of the most matter-of-fact and honest coaches in their post-match interviews, so it’s very hard to make fun of anything they say. So, for the sake of this article, let’s pretend that Beveridge had his fly undone and Bolton had sauce all over his cheek.
WEST COAST (11.8.74) DEFEATED FREMANTLE (5.14.44) BY 30 POINTS
Remember last game when I described Levi Casboult’s terrible goalkicking attempt? Now how about you imagine a team of Levi Casboults, and instead of kicking with lovely football boots they all kick with boots made entirely from Rubik’s cubes. That’s what Fremantle’s goalkicking was like.
Shannon Hurn was unstoppable with 34 touches and 14 marks, most of them intercept marks. Honestly, if Fremantle had just imagined that Shannon Hurn was standing in between the goalposts every time they kicked for goal, they would have won by plenty.
Andrew Gaff also collected 35 touches in what was the final WA derby at Subiaco oval, a match that will go down in footballing history as ‘whatever’.
"I wouldn't say it was the complete game," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
You’re right there, Simmo. The complete game would be a game like Monopoly, a combination of luck, skill, tactics and betrayal, and a great big boot. If we were to compare this match to a boardgame, it would be more like a boardgame where the players all have flesh-eating bacterial diseases that prevent them from having the necessary dexterity to roll the dice.