Another long round this week, with games spread out over days and a heavy test on the stamina of those ball-watching. It took real effort to maintain interest across the journey, with minds wandering elsewhere and constant thoughts to the rounds ahead.
And that was just for the North Melbourne players during their match.
PORT ADELAIDE (20.17.137) DEFEATED CARLTON (6.11.47) BY 90 POINTS
An absolute ball-tearer to start the round, Port Adelaide monotonously deconstructed Carlton at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
With 84 more disposals, 30 more tackles and 33 more inside-50s, Port Adelaide never gave Carlton a look in. Ollie Wines finished with 35 touches, Matthew Broadbent 32 and Brad Ebert 31, with the latter also laying 14 tackles. Robbie Gray had a comparatively quite night with disposals only claiming 22, but kicked five goals to lead the player rankings.
For Carlton, Patrick Cripps had 37 possessions and if it weren’t for the most disappointing goals of this year from Jack Silvagni and Bryce Gibbs, Levi Casboult would have kicked all of Carlton’s goals with four from his boot.
"What you're seeing is what we said we were going to do a year and a half ago,” offered Carlton coach Brendon Bolton. As football fans around the country were listening on with puzzled admiration at the audacity of a coach to plan a 90-point loss seasons in advance, Bolton went on to clarify that he was referring to the rebuilding process.
"This opportunity, on a Friday night, a lot of viewers, good crowd, good opposition, we were never going to miss that opportunity,” Bolton continued, highlighting Carlton’s contractual obligations.
Power coach Ken Hinkley was pleased with their performance but lamented missed opportunities in the third quarter when inaccurate kicking saw Port Adelaide kick 6.10 while keeping the Blues scoreless.
"Obviously we would have liked to have converted a bit better than that, but you take the good with the bad."
On the plus side for Carlton, with Port’s inaccurate kicking if they were to compare their third quarter score to Carlton’s full game score, Carlton would have won by a point, which is a metric for success sadly undervalued in modern football.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (17.20.122) DEFEATED BRISBANE (14.6.90) BY 32 POINTS
A game much closer than the scoreline suggests, Brisbane at one point led by 38 points in the second quarter, signalling a 70 point turnaround to earn the win for the Bulldogs in Bob Murphy’s 300th match.
The Bulldogs were crucified by Brisbane’s accurate kicking in the first half with the Lions kicking 12.3 to the Western Bulldogs’ disappointing 5.13.
The usual three suspects for Brisbane, Tom Rockliff, Dayne Beams and Dayne Zorko, had 30+ possessions each but the Western Bulldogs were able to outrun the rest of the Lions for an eight goals to two final quarter. Jake Stringer and Josh Dunkley finished with three goals each for the Dogs.
"We were off the back of a six-day turnaround, and the Doggies had a couple more days to get ready than what we did – perhaps that showed a little bit in the end," Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said, despite six days being a perfectly acceptable and normal stretch of time between games.
“We were still in front at the 16-minute mark of the last quarter … unfortunately the dam wall burst."
The thing about dams is that they’re built to stop the flow of a river, but there is no function for them to reverse the flow of a river. Rather than Brisbane trying to emulate dams, they should have instead been aiming to emulate the 1900 Chicago River project that reversed the river’s flow with a series of canal locks. It’s a footballing story as old as time.
ADELAIDE (23.15.153) DEFEATED GOLD COAST (13.8.86) BY 67 POINTS
Adelaide have continued on their high-scoring winning way, beating Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium for their first 5-0 start to a year in club history.
Adelaide had four players to rack up 30+ disposals, including Crouch brothers Matt and Brad, with the Rory pair of Laird and Sloane (no relation) rounding out the four.
Curtly Hampton made his mark on a match for the first time for the Crows, collecting 21 touches including 10 tackles, while Eddie Betts and Tom Lynch fired up forward for three goals each.
For the Suns, Callum Ah Chee was productive with five goals and Michael Barlow collected 36 touches. Gary Ablett had 33 possessions with many of them ineffective due to Adelaide’s pressure.
"It's hard to look through and find players who didn't contribute in some way or capacity and that's how we want to play our footy,” said Adelaide coach Don Pyke, with Troy Menzel’s extremely disappointing four possessions flattered by two goals.
I am hinting that Menzel was guff.
There was once again a contentious deliberate behind call made that resulted in a goal, although it had less of an impact on the result. Kade Kolodjashnij slipped over on the final line of defense and, with Menzel literally standing over him, conceded the behind. The umpire deemed that there was no immediate pressure because he does not understand football, the concept of distances, the definition of pressure, how to eat solids or what day it is at any given time.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (15.15.105) DEFEATED SYDNEY (9.9.63)
Sydney kicked the first four goals of this contest, but then they did less of that for the rest.
Sydney have now started the season 0-5, their worst start since 1993 when North Melbourne handed them their fifth straight loss with a 35.19.229 to 16.9.105 defeat. John Longmire kicked nine goals that match. Heh.
Toby Greene kicked four goals for the Giants, while Lance Franklin kicked three for the Swans, including his 800th career goal.
No Giants player was able to reach the 30 disposal mark, which shows the even contribution from their midfield. Giants coach Leon Cameron was pleased with their effort.
“Like every team in the competition is trying to have 22 contributors every week, we’re no different,” said Cameron, insightfully.
Honestly though, 35.19.229 to 16.9.105 in 1993. John Longmire didn’t even top the goalkicking with nine. Adrian McAdam kicked ten. Maybe that’s why Longmire looked so forlorn in the coaches’ box during Saturday’s match. Bad memories.
FREMANTLE (9.13.67) DEFEATED NORTH MELBOURNE (9.8.62) BY 5 POINTS
Speaking of looking forlorn in the coaches’ box, spare a thought for North Melbourne coach Brad Scott, who’s lost his fifth game this season for the worst Kangaroos start in 45 years. Has your thought been spared? Good, let’s move on.
Fremantle have now won their last three games in a row following their round 2 demolition by Port Adelaide. Their last two matches have been won by under a goal, meaning that immediately after this most recent win, Fremantle were in the top 8 with a percentage of 78.36.
North Melbourne, who are second to bottom with no wins, has a higher percentage of 81.68.
Isn’t it funny how maths works? I hope so.
"It's getting frustrating," said Brad Scott, when asked about North Melbourne’s final quarter fade outs and close defeats, before his head turned comically red, smoke came out of his ears and he flipped over the table and kicked a dog.
"Eventually things turn your way,” said Fremantle coach Ross Lyon about his side’s recent momentum swing, before shrugging his shoulders, picking up his bindle and wandering off into the distance whistling a merry tune.
GEELONG (19.12.126) DEFEATED ST KILDA (13.10.88) BY 38 POINTS
Geelong kicked eight goals to one in a dominating final quarter performance to seal their fifth win from five games to start the season.
The scoreboard flattered Geelong in what was, for the most part, an even contest with St Kilda going into the final term with a five point lead.
Joel Selwood turned in one of the great performances of this season, collecting 43 touches including nine tackles, eight marks and a goal. The television broadcast commentators, however, pointed out that in 1973 Leigh Matthews, who was also part of the commentary team for this match, had 41 touches and kicked 11 goals which just goes to show that Joel Selwood is actually a pile of shit.
To highlight Selwood’s courage and determination, ASW would like to quote AFL.com’s match report which read:
“He (Selwood) picked up five free kicks for the game but, despite the howls of the Saints crowd, only one was debatable as he put his head in holes that wild dogs would step back from and bark.”
Selwood’s performance was so good it turned the AFL.com reporter into Allen Ginsberg.
Zach Tuohy, Mitch Duncan and Patrick Dangerfield also collected 30+ disposals each while George Horlin-Smith collected 27.
Horlin-Smith has now earned the nickname ‘The Hyphen’, despite having one of the most easily pronounceable hyphenated names. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti must be scratching his head in bewilderment, while past hyphenated greats such as Trent Ormond-Allen must wonder what they would have had to have done to earn such a nickname. Ormond-Allen beat Peter Everitt in the ruck, for God’s sake, and he was about 4’10”. He missed a premiership with glandular fever, can we at least give him this?
HAWTHORN (19.11.125) DEFEATED WEST COAST (11.9.75) BY 50 POINTS
West Coast have once again gone down in a disappointing MCG performance, further fuelling the suspicion that they struggle when playing away from home.
During the week, Wayne Carey spoke to Triple M about Adam Simpson’s Eagles, and how Simpson gets defensive whenever the topic of West Coast’s away performances is raised.
"If they get beaten by Hawthorn on the weekend, you know what Simmo? No more of this, 'oh we're not that bad away',” said Carey,
"You know what Simmo? You're crap away,” Carey continued, burning the first ex-teammate bridge of his illustrious career.
Hawthorn showed glimpses of past years with an efficient performance, and Mitchell v2.0 amassing 37 touches for the Hawks.
The goalkicking was spread well with Tim O’Brien, Jarryd Roughead, Luke Breust and Jack Gunston kicking three goals each.
Luke Shuey was West Coast’s best with 33 disposals.
Matt Priddis laid 11 tackles which puts him on top of the all-time tackle leaderboard since tackling records have been kept with 1502. Of course, Leigh Matthews played before it was a recorded statistic and he probably laid 4000 tackles.
RICHMOND (12.16.88) DEFEATED MELBOURNE (11.9.75) BY 13 POINTS
Richmond have come from behind in front of a crowd of 85,000 to defeat Melbourne on Monday night at the MCG.
Jack Riewoldt was the star with six goals while Dustin Martin once again led the disposals for Richmond with 32.
Toby Nankervis is quickly developing into the competition’s premier ruckman with 56 hit outs against an admittedly severely depleted lineup. His pressure at ground level was also very impressive with seven tackles.
Oleg Markov was extremely quiet for the Tigers with only eight possessions, but that’s probably because he was spending all his time coming up with ways to kill James Bond.
“Mr. Bond, I’ve been expecting you.”
“Forget it, Markov. You can’t keep this momentum going all year.”
For Melbourne, Clayton Oliver was the standout with 32 touches. As has recently been reported, Clayton Oliver has been given a surprisingly low player rating for the upcoming video game release AFL Evolution, and he’s also in the game as a ruckman. Perhaps he is the answer to Melbourne’s woes after the loss of Max Gawn and Jake Spencer?
ESSENDON (15.10.100) DEFEATED COLLINGWOOD (11.16.82) BY 18 POINTS
Essendon have defeated Collingwood in their traditional ANZAC Day clash and, in the process, have probably sparked a flurry of ‘Last Post’-related headlines about the demise of Nathan Buckley. Thanks, Essendon.
Joe Daniher took home the ANZAC Day Medal with three goals, eight marks and 16 touches, which included him playing further up the ground. Zach Merrett had 33 touches for Essendon including an influential final quarter, while Adam Treloar was a clear standout for the Magpies with 39 touches and 11 tackles.
This is the worst start Collingwood has had under Nathan Buckley. Of course, Buckley has had it tough trying to field a side that their recruiters have stacked with exclusively midfielders.
It’s like Buckley’s trying to play Scrabble and he’s been given all ‘E’s. ‘E’, without doubt, is the most useful letter, but you can’t do anything with a rack full of them. They’re longing for a forward to kick a score just 5 games after giving away the admittedly troubled but better-than-nothing Travis Cloke.
Travis Cloke was a ‘Q’. ‘Q’s are useless a lot of the time but occasionally there’ll be an ‘I’ next to a Triple Word Score and with the word ‘Qi’ you can get yourself out of a tight spot. Without Travis Cloke they’ve lost their ‘Qi’ potential, and even I’m surprised by how many layers this analogy has turned out to have. Colour me impressed.
Not with Collingwood, though. They’re shit.