It seems like I barely have time to have a shit and a shave before the next round of football is upon us! I’m serious, I’m in constant pain and my beard is to my navel.
ADELAIDE (13.13.91) DEFEATED GEELONG (10.10.70) BY 21 POINTS
Dangerfield recovered from an exploded leg and Sloane recovered from a decapitation to face off in a top of the table Friday night clash that saw Adelaide run out winners in convincing fashion.
Adelaide were far cleaner in possession, often managing to extricate themselves from tricky positions with a quickfire series of handpasses. Meanwhile, Geelong looked often like patients in physical rehabilitation after losing spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination with the amount of balls they fumbled and mishandled.
Rory Sloane, as mentioned, overcame a complete frontal lobotomy within a week to register 28 touches, three goals and seven tackles in a best on ground performance. Harry Taylor tried to lift the Cats to victory with five second half goals but despite Adelaide’s terrible kicking for goal (they kicked 0.8 with their last eight scoring shots, right after Bruce McAvaney complimented their goal-kicking accuracy, because he exhibits powers of voodoo), Adelaide were able to keep the margin comfortable.
Not content with allowing the top two sides to have the spotlight, the umpires also thought they’d make a mark by awarding 61 free kicks, probably the most in the history of the universe.
"We were minus 19 clearances at three-quarter time, that was the biggest reason we were six or seven goals down,” said Geelong coach Chris Scott. I’m sceptical that the biggest reason for the goal discrepancy was Adelaide getting the ball away from stoppages. I think the bigger reason may have been Adelaide getting the ball through the goals.
ESSENDON (20.12.132) DEFEATED NORTH MELBOURNE (16.9.105) BY 27 POINTS
Five goals from Cale Hooker has got Essendon across the line against a North Melbourne side that came out strong but couldn’t hold on, like the final minutes of Hans Gruber’s life.
Hooker was well supported by the twin un-towers of Orazio Fantasia and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti who kicked four and three goals respectively.
Essendon dominated the clearances 50-27, with Zach Merrett contributing nine by himself.
The main talking point of this match was Brad Scott going ballistic on the phone to Majak Daw, who had been outmuscled in a contest. To be fair, Majak Daw is the strongest and fastest man in the AFL, and he gets tossed around like a rag doll. His strength is his biggest strength, and he doesn’t use it. Brad Scott’s strength is his anger and if he didn’t use it he’d be a hypocrite. Imagine how angry Daw would have been if instead of getting yelled at by Brad Scott, he got coached and his team’s game plan was tactically tightened.
MELBOURNE (13.10.88) DEFEATED PORT ADELAIDE (9.11.65) BY 23 POINTS
Melbourne kept Port Adelaide goalless for the majority of the first half to set up a commanding lead that the Power was never able to overcome, securing their spot in the top eight for another week.
Melbourne applied a contested pressure that has been missing in various games throughout this season but is undoubtedly one of their great strengths.
What is amazing is, after 20 years of competition, how Port Adelaide games can still inspire headline writers everywhere to use their team name, the ‘Power’, in never tiring play-on-words. ‘Power outage’! ‘Port Adelaide Power-less!’ Port Adelaide lose against a top eight side again because they lack Power!’. Clever stuff.
Michael Hibberd had 36 possessions and Clayton Oliver 30 to command control, with the latter picking up 20 contested possessions. Travis Boak did his best to lead his team with 24 touches and four goals but his Power of influence were Powerless against the Power of Melbourne who were Demons-trably better.
"It was probably the way we played (that was most pleasing),” said Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin, helpfully.
"We were just totally outplayed,” said Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley, corroborating claims.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (16.14.110) DEFEATED GOLD COAST (8.8.56) BY 54 POINTS
A nine-goal thrashing of the Suns has come at the right time for the Bulldogs who have been looking for a game to jumpstart their season back into life after languishing mid-table for the better part of the year.
Liam Picken kicked six goals in the Bulldogs’ first win outside of Victoria this year, in the famous stronghold of Cairns.
The Ablett-less Suns had no midfield spark, while Lachie Hunter collected 31 possessions for the Dogs.
There’s nothing of any note to report here. If you can’t beat an Ablett-less Suns at what is essentially a neutral ground, there would be alarm bells ringing. Even the AFL website’s match report has no comment from Luke Beveridge on the game’s result, instead quoting him on how sad it is for Dale Morris, who broke his arm in a marking contest.
"It's a pretty serious injury,” said Beveridge.
SYDNEY (14.17.101) DEFEATED ST KILDA (9.5.59) BY 42 POINTS
Sydney were given a 0% chance of making the finals after their 0-6 start, and now they have a 150% chance of making the finals after finishing the round 10-7, which just highlights exactly how fallible maths is.
Kurt Tippett kicked five goals in the curtain-raiser, putting up his hand for selection with Callum Sinclair looking like the man most likely to make way. At this, Callum Sinclair said ‘hold my beer’, like in that internet meme, and kicked five of his own, then probably did the Harlem Shake. He wasn’t a grumpy cat!
It was a great team performance from Sydney who have almost 22 even contributors who are coming together with great cooperation and belief. Like the opposite of the Republican party in America.
Memes and politics, I’m scraping here.
"Our 18-man defence was pretty strong for the entire game, the opposition is always going to have a turn at some point, but I though we pushed back pretty well and our work was first rate,” said Sydney coach John Longmire, but with an 18-man defence as well as Franklin and Sinclair up forward that equals 20 men, so he may have given up his side’s secret weapon – cheating.
"Sydney's defence was outstanding. We just struggled to get through,” said Saints coach Alan Richardson, but when the other team have 25 men on the field, it’s hard.
"Given we only had 37 entries, I wouldn't blame the forwards.”
37 entries is a very low number, but navigating the 38 players Sydney had on the field was always going to require precision and their execution just wasn’t up to it. Sydney, with their 62-man zone, were able to rebound quickly and efficiently, which will make it tough for Kurt Tippett to find a man to replace in next week’s 116-man squad.
HAWTHORN (15.10.100) DEFEATED FREMANTLE (7.6.48) BY 52 POINTS
Pavlich is gone, Walters is now injured, McCarthy can’t hold a mark and Ross Lyon is coach. That Fremantle managed seven goals at all is a miracle.
The Dockers look like a team without a goal. Well, without many literal goals, most games, but in a more ideological sense it’s hard to see where they’re heading.
The Dockers languished at the bottom of the ladder last year and their fellow cellar-dwellers (Brisbane, Essendon, Carlton, and so on) are all making definite steps towards a culture and a game plan that looks, potentially, to be moving them towards success in coming years. Fremantle look like, to give an appropriate maritime analogy, they’re on the Titanic moving slowly towards the iceberg. However, unlike the Titanic, they can see it ahead of time, they can plan to avoid it, they can steer around it, but instead they’ve chosen to try and duck under it, betraying the laws of buoyancy and the ill-equipped nature of their ship to act like a submarine.
Tom Mitchell again topped the possession count with 37 touches including 78 handballs, while Jack Gunston also chipped in with 35 touches to give Alistair Clarkson a win in his 300th game as coach.
“Irrespective of ladder positions it's always a tough game in Perth, and we are really pleased with the way the boys went about it,” said Clarkson, which was a telling statement as prior to the match Fremantle were actually ahead of Hawthorn on the ladder. Only mathematically, though.
RICHMOND (9.10.64) DEFEATED GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (6.9.45) BY 19 POINTS
In a low-scoring wet-weather affair, Richmond out-muscled and out-pressured GWS to claim the victory despite being held goalless in the first term.
Richmond held their position in the top four, now a game ahead of the fifth-placed Power, and equalled GWS on points after GWS failed to win in their fifth game of their last six.
Dustin Martin pushed his contract negotiation figure higher again, if possible, with a 31 possession performance when most were struggling to deal with the conditions. Nick Vlastuin was valuable down back for the Tigers with 21 disposals including 11 marks and his rebound was pivotal.
Toby Greene was once again thrust into the spotlight for something other than his play, with the mini, Snickers-less, Joe Pesci wannabe reported for striking Alex Rance in the first quarter.
“It flattens you,” said Giants coach Leon Cameron, describing his reaction to seeing Toby Greene again show a violent lack of restraint, and describing Greene’s intentions towards everyone who makes fun of his 12 year-old haircut.
Steve Johnson also tried punching Alex Rance later in the game, but he tried to punch him in the stomach which meant he just broke his hand.
"I was really impressed with Trent and Dustin and Alex and Jack,” said Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, which is like Phil Jackson saying, at the height of the Chicago Bulls, that he’s really impressed with Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. Yeah, I think they may be good players, Damien.
COLLINGWOOD (13.15.93) DEFEATED WEST COAST (13.7.85) BY 8 POINTS
Oh boy. West Coast conceded five goals to one in the final term to be overrun by Collingwood.
Jordan de Goey kicked four goals, all in the second half, and Adam Treloar collected 35 possessions to overpower a West Coast team that seemingly can’t win away, or at home, or against a side outside the eight with a four goal head start with 20 minutes to play.
"We were able to hang in there and that was enough," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said, a perfect allegory for his coaching tenure.
Controversy in the final minutes, however, when Jeremy McGovern was judged to have infringed on Ben Reid in a marking contest by simply ‘being at the same venue’, resulting in a direct kick and goal for the Magpies player, sealing the win.
It’s obvious that Jeremy McGovern is not a natural fit in West Coast’s backline and he should really come to Adelaide to play with his brother, Mitch (said by an Adelaide supporter trying to flip the narrative of Mitch returning to Perth, and who witnessed Geelong fans cheering Dangerfield on in his last game for the Crows at Kardinia Park, knowing he would go to Geelong, after years and years of unsuccessfully trying the same thing with Matthew Pavlich and Bryce Gibbs).
BRISBANE (17.10.112) DEFEATED CARLTON (11.16.82) BY 30 POINTS
Brisbane are disgusting. They’re on the bottom of the ladder, they’ve had years without success, their crowd numbers are poor but yet for some reason their youngsters (Hipwood, Mathieson, Cox, etc.) actually seem to be enjoying playing football.
Brisbane, thanks to a monster first half where they kicked 12 goals to three, have moved to within percentage of avoiding the wooden spoon.
Dayne Beams had 30 touches, Dayne Zorko had 26 touches, and both kicked three goals. Tom Rockliff, the one I chose for my Fantasy team, had 10 touches and kicked no goals.
Brisbane had 381 disposals to Carlton’s 292, and despite the inside-50s being practically even, Brisbane were able to run the ball and move it to much greater effect. Bryce Gibbs only had eight touches, which just proves that he’s not a natural fit in Carlton’s midfield and he should really come back to Adelaide to play with Jeremy McGovern, his not at all brother.
"Our guys, like usual, showed character and fought really hard,” said Carlton coach Brendon Bolton, worried at the growing budget required for all the ‘Best Team Man’ and ‘Most Improved’ trophies he’s going to have to give out.