Round 7’s gone, and who can pick ‘em? Ten people tipped 9/9 on the AFL website’s tipping competition this week, which I can only guess was achieved by them having a seizure and banging their head repeatedly on the keyboard and submitting whatever was selected before activating their medical alert bracelet.
ST KILDA (16.12.108) DEFEATED GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (12.13.85) BY 23 POINTS
GWS were able to keep control over an enthusiastic and desperate St Kilda side right up until the point that they couldn’t. The Giants led at every break but couldn’t stop the Saints in the final term, much like the famous bible story of the giant and the saint that I just made up.
It was the Jacks that did it for St Kilda with Jack Billings, Jack Stevens, Jack Sinclair and Jack Newnes all cracking the 100+ Fantasy points mark. Jack Steele was a pile of shit and could only manage 74.
St Kilda led the clearances and inside-50 counts against their favoured rivals, but most of that domination came in the final quarter when the Saints kicked six unanswered goals before Tom Scully kicked a consolation goal for the Giants in the final moments.
"Credit where credit's due. It was an arm wrestle up until five minutes into the last quarter then they just took over," said Giants coach Leon Cameron.
“It was like that scene in Over The Top when the guy’s arm dislocated. You know Over The Top? The Sylvester Stallone competitive arm-wrestling movie that had to be made? Like that.”
NORTH MELBOURNE (22.13.145) DEFEATED ADELAIDE (13.8.86) BY 59 POINTS
The Kangaroos have stopped Adelaide in their tracks with a blistering 10-goal first quarter that included three goals from returning forward Jarrad Waite.
Jarrad’s return was worth the Waite. He’s worth his Waite in gold. Adelaide were reduced to a team of Waite Watchers. North Melbourne have the best Waite staff. He left Adelaide prostr-Waite. That one doesn’t work.
Ben Cunnington was the major ballwinner for the Kangaroos with 29, while for Adelaide Matt Crouch had 38 but many were ineffective.
North Melbourne were able to handle the blustery conditions much better than Adelaide, whose fast ball movement and reliance on hitting running targets was poorly executed.
"We’ve talked all year about how bright the future looks and hopefully our supporters got a good look at it today," said Kangaroos coach Brad Scott, perhaps not realising that the game was on in Tasmania and wasn’t on free-to-air television, so only 24 people saw it.
CARLTON (12.7.79) DEFEATED COLLINGWOOD (8.8.56) BY 23 POINTS
After an inspired win against Geelong last week and their first 100+ score for the season, Collingwood have again failed to make an impact on the scoreboard going down to the Blues at the MCG.
Collingwood managed just 45 effective disposals in their forward half for the game while Carlton managed 13 intercept marks in its defensive-50, highlighting Carlton’s superior pressure and defensive set-up.
Carlton’s Sam Rowe was the only man to spend the entire game on the field and was the lowest Fantasy Football points winner, highlighting my inferior selection and Dream Team set-up.
Collingwood won the clearance count and inside-50s count but Carlton won the contested possessions, mopping up a lot of Collingwood’s wayward forward entries and allowing them to build from half-back. Marc Murphy led the disposals for the Blues once again with 30 touches.
“We put a plan in to execute defensively and I think they would have scored from, if my data is right, something around 35 to 40 per cent of their entries,” said Carlton coach Brendon Bolton.
"So that's a good defensive output from our group over four quarters.”
"Our ability to execute going forward and probably more so to keep our shape was not great today," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said.
So we’re all agreed. Now let’s shake hands and move on.
WEST COAST (15.7.97) DEFEATED PORT ADELAIDE (12.15.87) BY 10 POINTS
West Coast continue their form as flat-track bullies, winning their fifth game from their last six starts at Adelaide Oval.
People say that West Coast can’t travel, but their poor away performances only seem to be an issue in the eastern states. That’s why I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the travelling that’s the issue, but rather the lenient quarantine laws on fresh produce that the eastern states have compared to WA and SA. It’s the loquats that do it.
Elliot Yeo was impressive again, taking 10 marks and collecting 27 disposals, preventing many effective forward entries for the Power. He was joined by Tom Barrass who swept up nine marks, many of them of the intercept variety. Port Adelaide had 68 inside-50s to West Coast’s 39, but the Power entries kept bouncing back,
For Port Adelaide Chad Wingard had 34 touches.
"We had plenty of opportunities, 68 entries to 39, to create better scoring, some of that was inaccurate kicking, some of that was their ability to mark and intercept the ball in our forward 50,” said Power coach Ken Hinkley.
“Thankfully next week, due to industrial smog in Shanghai, Gold Coast won’t be able to see where we’re kicking it so we should be able to avoid them.”
GOLD COAST (18.16.124) DEFEATED GEELONG (15.9.99) BY 25 POINTS
Geelong have been handed their second successive underdog defeat, going down to a Gold Coast outfit who are gaining momentum with their third win of the season.
The Suns dominated the possession count 445-378 and, as a product of their disposal domination, the inside-50s 71-48.
Gary Ablett and Aaron Hall had 32 touches each, and they were supported by a great half-back performance from Jarrod Harbrow with 30 disposals and Steven May, who collected 26 touches.
Patrick Dangerfield, who collected 29 touches, again looked ineffective with the ball despite 16 of his possessions being contested. Joel Selwood collected 12 contested possessions on his way to 24 but neither were as remarkable as Gold Coast’s David Swallow whose 23 touches included 20 contested.
"There's clear things in our game that we need to improve, we're going through a flat spot,” said Geelong coach Chris Scott.
"On one level it's easy to identify and hopefully relatively quick to fix.
"What we're delivering at the moment is leading to us being a very mediocre side."
Thanks for those comments, Chris. You’re flat, which makes you mediocre, but you should be able to fix it. Post-match press conferences are such treasure troves for insight.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (11.14.80) DEFEATED RICHMOND (11.9.75) BY 5 POINTS
The Western Bulldogs have come from behind to hand Richmond their second defeat in as many weeks and earning their fifth win of the year, joining five teams who sit behind Adelaide separated by percentage.
Inaccurate kicking threatened to overcome the Bulldogs, with their five-point winning margin coming from five behinds. Clay Smith was not one of the culprits, however, kicking four goals straight to top their goalkicking.
Luke Dahlhaus led the disposals with 31 and Jack Macrae collected 30 while, for Richmond, Shaun Grigg had 29.
Who wants to talk about deliberate out of bounds? Everyone? Awesome!
There was a highly contentious deliberate call against Richmond in the dying moments of the match with the ball in the Tigers’ forward line. I don’t feel this call was too problematic. Jayden Short, diving for the ball in his forward pocket and surrounded by multiple defenders, appeared to hit the ball directly out of bounds without trying to take possession or keep it in. The umpire called deliberate which, with the clock winding down, essentially drew the game to a close.
In real time, it looked like Short hit it straight out. Super slow motion replays show that it was a genuine and unfortunate fumble but the interpretation of the rule wasn’t the problem. If the umpire saw it was a fumble, he wouldn’t have paid it but if he thought it was a clean hit straight out of bounds, which he did, he had no choice.
The one that really had me scratching my head was a free kick in the first quarter when Richmond’s Anthony Miles kicked the ball clear from his defensive-50 and the ball bounced over the boundary line a split second before his teammate Todd Elton was able to take possession. The margin of time was so small that the field umpire conferred with the boundary umpire to check if Elton had managed to touch the ball before it went out of bounds. The boundary umpire confirmed he hadn’t and the field umpire called deliberate.
Surely…SURELY…if there is a teammate so close to taking possession of the ball that it takes two people to confirm if he’d managed to do it in the field of play, that creates enough doubt to suggest Miles may have been trying to kick it to him rather than the boundary?
“Is this Morecambe and Wise, or Fawlty Towers?” asked Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge, unfairly. After all, it seems like the confusing interpretation of the wording of the rules is more like the ‘Four Candles’ sketch by the Two Ronnies.
SYDNEY (20.15.135) DEFEATED BRISBANE (12.9.81) BY 44 POINTS
Lance Franklin has roared back into his trademark form kicking eight goals in Sydney’s comfortable win on Sunday over the Lions.
Tom Rockliff tried valiantly with 32 touches, 11 tackles and two goals for Brisbane but it was all Buddy, with the Sydney forward kicking five goals to half-time including an 80m bouncing goal on the run in the first quarter.
In the post-match press conference Brisbane coach Chris Fagan sang the praises of Franklin’s opponent Daniel McStay after having asked the youngster at three-quarter time if he wanted to swap opponents, having conceded seven goals already to Franklin. McStay said no.
"When I hear that its music to my ears and that’s what we're after as coaches," Fagan said.
“What we want is a stubborn refusal to change something that’s obviously not working.”
It’s this steadfast attitude that has kept Nathan Buckley in a job for the last couple of years and kept Ross Lyon’s game plan consistent all through the 2016 season. It’s what the supporters want to see.
Also, this is the first tip I got correct.
HAWTHORN (14.10.94) DEFEATED MELBOURNE (14.7.91) BY 3 POINTS
Hawthorn returned to a brand of efficient ball movement and effective possessions after a catastrophic loss last week to hold on against a fast finishing Melbourne side.
Tom Mitchell and Luke Hodge led the possession count for the Hawks with 31 and 26 respectively while, for the Demons, Jack Viney had 32 and Bernie Vince 31. Jordan Lewis, in his first game against his old side, had 30 possessions for Melbourne.
Jaeger O’Meara was a late omission for the Hawks, citing knee soreness. Soreness of the knee. O’Meara. Out with a knee. Hawthorn slightly rolled the dice in trading for O’Meara, and right now the dice have landed on their edge and everyone’s afraid to go near them in case the wind knocks them over and it lands on snake eyes. O’Meara is definitely afraid to go near them in case he accidentally steps on one and does his fucking knee.
Melbourne had 430 disposals to Hawthorn’s 356 including 25 more contested possessions and six more inside-50s but they were unable to overcome an early Hawthorn lead, having trailed all game.
"I'm proud that (we) continued to respond when challenged but I'm very frustrated with what I saw early because if you bring that to a game it's not going to stand up too often,” said Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin.
“It’s not going to stand up too often at all, like O’Meara,” he continued.
FREMANTLE (17.14.116) DEFEATED ESSENDON (11.13.79) BY 37 POINTS
A six goal to zero final term has taken Fremantle to their fourth win of the season, and their fourth win after trailing their opponents in the second half.
Lachie Neale and Bradley Hill were everywhere for the Dockers, collecting 77 possessions between them. Hill also racked up 16 marks, all of them uncontested, making a mockery of Fantasy points scoring. Matt Taberner had nine marks, seven of them contested and kicked four goals but Hill was 50% better than him according to rankings points and maths.
For the Bombers, Zach Merrett had 28 touches while Joe Daniher kicked three.
This match signalled the first time since the league expanded to 18 clubs that every club placed lower than their opponents on the ladder were victorious. If you watched every game this week, it’s the equivalent of having watched the Mighty Ducks trilogy three times, although without the comic stylings of Goldberg.
Sorry, spoilers. The Mighty Ducks win. Bruce Willis is a ghost and Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze.