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.
The AFL and its broadcasting partners are reviewing the practice of airing audio captured by on-field microphones during play after an incident on Saturday night in which Greater Western Sydney's Heath Shaw was heard to make an offensive remark.
Shaw was heard to have called Sydney's Tom Papley a 'fucking retard' by an umpire's microphone during live play, prompting immediate apologies from commentator Jason Dunstall during the FOX Footy broadcast, and an apology from Shaw today.
The incident has prompted FOX Footy and Channel 7 to review their practices of broadcasting, without filter, the remarks of aggressive, combative and competitive males who are in the midst of playing a contact sport with frequent head contact who have grown up with an interrupted education.
"It was quite a shock," said Dunstall to Australian Sports Weakly.
"We never thought that permanently monitoring the conversations between AFL players would uncover such ignorance. I remember back in my day the worst any players ever said to each other was 'your breath stinks' or 'I don't agree with your views on social reform'.
"If an Australian Rules football field isn't a place for engaging, informed and inclusive discussion then I don't know where is."
Former Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney told FOX Footy's Game Day Live that he was disappointed in the sledge but that it was in "the heat of battle".
“(I’m) not too sure I want to chastise him too heavily on this one, because we’ve all said it," said Cooney, speaking authoritatively for everyone.
"We all say things in the heat of the battle, but it is disappointing to hear," he continued, referring to the fact that when football players are being paid to play a game of football, which is their job, it sometimes forces them against their will to be racist, bigoted, insulting to minorities and unsympathetic to those less fortunate.
Paul Roos called for the scrapping of on-field microphones when speaking with Triple M.
“People will say, and I won’t disagree with it, that they’re (the players) getting paid a lot of money but I think we still need to work out where that line gets crossed where they should be able to perform their duty without any outside interference," said Roos, genuinely.
"...and sometimes it's necessary in the performance of that duty to offend the disabled, racial minorities or sexual orientations, and that's football," said Roos, subtextually.
Heath Shaw is expected to frown for a while nothing changes.
It’s time for the wrap of round 4, a round that started last Thursday night and carried on for five days. Do you remember five days ago? The world was a very different place. The sky burned bright with the laughter of children and porcelain was used as currency. Now, with what we have learned over the weekend, a very different landscape stretches before us.
WEST COAST (13.13.91) DEFEATED SYDNEY (10.5.65) BY 26 POINTS
West Coast only had a five-day break coming into the opening match of the round, while Sydney had had a three-round break, but it mattered not on the Eagles’ stomping ground.
Sydney kept pace until midway through the second quarter, but once West Coast were able to take control, Sydney were unable to break the 2-4 goal buffer for the rest of the match.
Elliott Yeo mopped up everything that a wasteful Sydney offered finishing with 29 possessions, while Luke Shuey had 30. Jeremy McGovern provided a marking option, sucking some residual marking power from his injured Crows brother Mitch to improve his already impressive skills through an osmosis process that siblings possess. It’s done in a ceremony involving an enchantment spell and the blood of a yak.
Sydney are now 0-4, a position that no side has ever made the finals from since the introduction of the top eight system in 1994. If anyone can do it this year it’s Sydney. Well, the only teams that can are Sydney, Hawthorn and North Melbourne, and Hawthorn look shot to pieces and the last time North Melbourne sang their club song was when Yoplait still did commercials with the Frenchman in the hot air balloon.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (12.17.89) DEFEATED NORTH MELBOURNE (12.14.86) BY 3 POINTS
North Melbourne have forgotten how to win. More accurately, they’ve forgotten how to not lose.
After holding a five goal lead in the third quarter, they squandered opportunities and left the door ajar for the reigning premiers to barge through, allowing them 16 more inside-50s for the match, the majority of which came in the second half.
Lindsay Thomas, in his 200th match, had a shot from the 50m arc to win the match as the siren sounded. He missed, and it took all his willpower to not try to con the umpires and play for the goal.
Luke Dahlhaus had 32 possessions while seven other Bulldogs had between 23-27 possessions in a shared contribution. Tom Campbell held his own with 37 hit outs between the combined ruck power of Todd Goldstein and Braydon Preuss. Clay Smith had 15 tackles for the Bulldogs while Aaron Mullett once again had the worst name for the Kangaroos.
"I thought we were outstanding in the end to win that game. I thought North Melbourne were almost every bit as outstanding," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said. I guess if you had to represent as a ratio how outstanding the two teams were quantitatively, you’d say it was about an 89:86 ratio for the Bulldogs.
FREMANTLE (16.10.106) DEFEATED MELBOURNE (15.14.104) BY 2 POINTS
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a Melbourne supporter. They’re supposedly the oldest club in the competition, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they just feel like the oldest because their fans just walk around with a tired gaze of sorrowful inevitability. I can’t remember the last time a season began with Melbourne being mentioned as ‘one to watch’, and so I don’t.
If not for the fact that they share their name with the city of Melbourne, home of the MCG and capital of Victoria where the VFL was born that became the AFL, I don’t think I’d remember they were a team.
As I consciously think about Melbourne teams of old now, I can think of some really exciting and legendary players in my lifetime. Jim Stynes, Garry Lyon, David Schwarz, David Neitz, Jeff Farmer, Shane Woewodin, Russell Robertson, Adem Yze…Brownlow medals, All-Australians, excitement machines and strong leaders, and the list goes on. But that’s now that I’m thinking about Melbourne. Ask me again tomorrow when I’m not thinking about Melbourne, like when I’m thinking about cereal or something, and it’ll take me a few minutes to recount them all again.
Anyway, Fremantle won and they looked terrible two weeks ago so good for them.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (16.16.112) DEFEATED PORT ADELAIDE (11.15.81) BY 31 POINTS
Up until midway through the final quarter, this game was in the balance with the Power actually leading at three-quarter time. 13 clearances to 3 in the Giants’ favour for the final quarter just showed how their midfield dominance was able to expose Port Adelaide’s comparative lack of depth.
Tom Scully led the clearances with seven, and picked up 32 disposals along the way. Jonathon Patton was a force up forward, kicking six goals straight.
Despite two losses in a row for the Power, who were top of the table after two rounds, there was still much to like. If they can hold their performances together more consistently for the four quarters, they’re not too far away from bridging the gap between them and the top sides.
"I think we're playing pretty strongly for most parts of games, and our last two games have been against the teams that people say are the best in the competition, and we've been able to push them, but not be able to beat them," Power coach Ken Hinkley said.
If Port Adelaide can more frequently execute their tough and efficient brand of football, they could push for a good place among the top eight. That’s until their season is interrupted with an international trip to run around in a smog-filled atmosphere that will infect their lungs for the remaining rounds.
GOLD COAST (17.6.108) DEFEATED CARLTON (12.10.82) BY 26 POINTS
Gold Coast’s Tom Lynch was head and shoulders above the Carlton defence, kicking seven goals and taking 12 marks to propel his team to their second win of the season.
Lynch was a beneficiary of Gold Coast’s possession dominance, winning the count 441-321 including 11 more clearances. Gary Ablett collected 34 touches which, for an old, injury-hampered ex-captain who’s not trying and everyone agrees is past it, is pretty good.
Brandon Matera was electric as well, collecting 29 touches and hitting the scoreboard three times, while for the Blues Marc Murphy was once again the standout, in the same way Beyonce was the stand out Destiny’s Child member but the other ones had to keep showing up to get their royalties.
"It was a great way to win – I was really pleased with tonight,” said Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade. It’s actually the only way to win, getting a larger score.
ADELAIDE (24.9.153) DEFEATED ESSENDON (13.10.88) BY 65 POINTS
This game was similar to the famed parable of the tortoise and the hare. Adelaide’s hares raced out to a frighteningly dominating early lead, almost breaking the 100 point barrier by half-time with a score of 15.6.96, including five goals each to Eddie Betts and Taylor Walker before the main break.
Adelaide, like the hare in tale, took a nap in the third quarter and Essendon chipped away at the margin, winning the quarter and exposing a lack of commitment from many Adelaide players.
This is where the comparison to the tortoise and hare story breaks down, however, because in the final part of the race I can’t remember the hare waking up, seeing the tortoise gaining ground, and punching the tortoise repeatedly in the face until it died before winning, which is what Adelaide did.
Essendon had more disposals for the match but Adelaide’s efficiency was exceptional, with their dangerous forward line combining almost telepathically on several occasions.
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, after tossing the coin pre-game with Eddie Betts as a response to indigenous vilification the week previous at Adelaide Oval, was a shining light for Essendon in their second half, kicking four goals. No-one was a shining light in the first half.
"The game was played really open and fast and Adelaide are better at that than us,” said Essendon coach John Worsfold. One might argue that open and fast are two descriptors that really separate the AFL from the lower state leagues and each team should aim to master those traits. What Worsfold could have said was ‘Adelaide are better at football’.
ST KILDA (9.15.69) DEFEATED COLLINGWOOD (7.13.55) BY 14 POINTS
St Kilda are trying a never-before seen tactic this year, aiming to win games almost entirely by kicking behinds. They defeated Brisbane last round with a score of 14.23.107 and this week followed it up with a winning score of 9.15.69, combining for a total of 23.38 for the last two rounds.
Hey, whatever works.
Taylor Adams led the game’s possession count with 39 touches for Collingwood. Remember years ago when a 30+ possession game was something newsworthy, and a player with that much midfield dominance would often be the difference between the two sides? Now you can almost get as many possessions as your team’s score. I tell you, the disposals stats have really changed since the AFL introduced multiball.
"I think we'd all acknowledge it wasn't an amazing game of footy from a technical or skill perspective,” said St Kilda coach Alan Richardson.
“I don’t know,” said one neutral football fan.
“I really enjoyed watching that game,” he continued before slicing open his testicles with a disc sander.
"We weren't going to win with that score,” said Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, sadly interrupted before he could continue listing other things that they’re not going to win with, including their game plan, skill level and coach.
RICHMOND (17.17.119) DEFEATED BRISBANE (10.7.67) BY 52 POINTS
Despite not yet playing the top teams, Richmond fans can take comfort in the fact that they’re making easy work of teams like Brisbane, never really looking tested. Richmond fans can be pleased about their team’s start to the season, the best since 1995, which has set them up well for a push for the finals. Richmond fans can be excited about their non-reliance on Dustin Martin to win matches, with a dominating performance despite the star’s uncharacteristically low 16 possessions.
Richmond fans will do all of those things because they never learn.
"Outside the footy club things will be beat up, but the reality is we’re four rounds into a long season," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said, which sounds suspiciously like there’s a subtext stating ‘Watch out, we might do what Richmond always does’.
Shaun Grigg stepped up for the Tigers with 31 touches, and Jack Riewoldt and Jason Castagna kicked four goals apiece.
For Brisbane, Tom Rockliff had 33 touches including 11 tackles, while Dayne Zorko had 26 touches, eight tackles and two goals, which goes to show that while Brisbane may not push for finals, their players will carry Fantasy Dream Team and Supercoach teams to finals all over the country.
GEELONG (20.14.134) DEFEATED HAWTHORN (6.12.48) BY 86 POINTS
Earlier in the round, Nathan Buckley said that his side weren’t going to win with a score of 55. Well, that just proves how little he knows about football because they could have convincingly beat Hawthorn by seven points if they had have played each other.
Geelong were a lot better than Hawthorn at football. Motlop had 33 touches with three goals. Sam Menegola, a couple of weeks after I traded him out of my Dream Team, had 31 touches and 10 tackles. Tom Hawkins kicked four goals, Daniel Menzel kicked three, Mitch Duncan had 32 touches and Alistair Clarkson had an existential crisis.
“I’m hoping like hell it’s not a whole season of this sort of ‘rubbish’ that we’re playing at the minute,” said Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson.
When asked about whether he thinks his side can turn around their form sooner or later, Clarkson responded abruptly.
“I don’t want to keep answering the same question.”
Alastair Clarkson, at a press conference about a game in which his side were demolished, as the head coach of Hawthorn, didn’t want to answer questions about Hawthorn’s performances now and in the near future, but this is ok because he is a genius.
Upcoming video game AFL Evolution has revealed their player ratings ahead of the game's release, with Fremantle's Nat Fyfe earning the highest in-game rating of 94, ahead of Gold Coast's Gary Ablett on 93.
Zac Dawson has been rated 74 ahead of Travis Cloke on 73, but a little bit behind Ty Vickery on 76. Vickery is rated higher than Adelaide's Matt Crouch, on 75, while they all put Melbourne's Clayton Oliver to shame, at 65.
With fierce debate raging online, the developers of the game have announced that there may be some in-game boosts to help your favourite players.
"The ratings system is just a base guide," said the head developer Max Setting.
"We've added a bunch of power-ups and in-game items that can have your favourite player playing to their full potential. For instance, Travis Cloke is 73 but if you can find the hidden glove in the dragon's fortress, his marking rating boosts to 86.
"Jordan de Goey has a rating of 75 but if you find the butcher's bone early in the quest, and use it to distract the dog in level 3, you can prevent yourself from slipping to 64. Bryce Gibbs is 83 at the moment but we'll be releasing a patch in a year's time that should move his character onto the South Australia map and boost his rating to 86.
"And if you're playing as the Essendon guild if you use the mysterious potion you take critical damage and miss a whole turn."
Some other player comparisons have generated interest.
In the battle of the Josh Kennedys, Sydney's Kennedy comes out on top with a player rating of 91, to West Coast's 90. Nick Riewoldt also beat out his namesake Jack Riewoldt by 1 ratings point, 89 to 88.
However, the player comparison that has generated the most interest, the ratings of Carlton's two Ciarans, has resulted in a draw with both Ciaran Byrne and Ciaran Sheehan rated 70. This prompted one keen video game fan lining up a month in advance for the game's release, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the phrase "#teamsheehan", to say the ratings are "fucking bullshit".
AFL Evolution is set for release on May 5.
After three rounds the AFL season is starting to take shape and we’re starting to get a gauge on who’s up and who’s down, who to look for and who we can ignore, who will be making a run for the eight and who will be the also-rans.
Just kidding. Fremantle beat the reigning premiers, Gold Coast thrashed Hawthorn and Carlton got over the line. Up is down, dogs are cats and Coke Life is the best Coca Cola variety. Nothing is as it seems.
COLLINGWOOD (11.14.80) DEFEATED SYDNEY (11.13.79) BY 1 POINT
Collingwood have held on for a gutsy one point win away from home against a Sydney side that, although depleted, would have loved to lift for Buddy Franklin’s 250th game.
Collingwood led for the vast majority of the game, sacrificing the lead midway through the final term before rebounding and scrapping out the final few minutes to prevent Sydney from walking through the door and Nathan Buckley from walking out of it.
I haven’t seen Buckley this happy since Strauchanie said that joke about being overweight and then smiled and looked around at everyone until they laughed.
Collingwood’s tackle count was very impressive at 115 to Sydney’s 88 and, as the contested possession count and clearance counts were basically at parity, this could be seen as the difference between the two sides. Not a single Collingwood player finished without a tackle to their name. Heath Grundy, for the Swans, was the only tackleless player. He didn’t wrap up an opposition player either. Strauchanie!
The AFL website reported that the Swans have been hit hard by early season injuries, forced to field five debutants already, but that Sydney coach John Longmire “made no excuses”.
"We always try to be competitive no matter how many young players we have in the team,” said Longmire, which sounds very suspiciously like a thinly-veiled excuse.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (15.19.109) DEFEATED NORTH MELBOURNE (10.7.67) BY 42 POINTS
North Melbourne have now lost 14 of their last 17 games and are sitting winless this year after being comfortably defeated by the Giants in Hobart on Saturday.
Despite slightly leading the possession count, North Melbourne were unable to make decisive forward entries, resulting in a lopsided inside-50s count of 71-49 in Greater Western Sydney’s favour. Twice as many scoring shots, if it weren’t for some inaccurate kicking it would have been a bloodbath not seen at Arden Street since Anthony Stevens. The thing with the glass, not the personal turmoil.
Josh Kelly led the way for the Giants with 31 disposals and seven tackles, while Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene kicked three goals each. Tim Taranto once again was the player with a name most resembling a lovable cartoon spider.
Tall Kangaroo Braydon Preuss impressed again in only his third game with two goals and 26 hit-outs, showing that Todd Goldstein may not leave such a big hole if he’s absent in the future.
“(He) took another step forward again today after a step forward last week,” said North Melbourne coach Brad Scott about the big man, equalling two steps forward which, with his 206cm gait, equals roughly 1.4 metres gained if at walking pace.
RICHMOND (11.10.76) DEFEATED WEST COAST (8.17.65) BY 11 POINTS
The first of a couple of wayward kicking victims on Saturday, West Coast have gone down to the Tigers by two goals despite having four more scoring shots.
With the weather turning from sunny to thunderous in the second half, Richmond held their nerve in a tough slog to keep them undefeated for 2017, their best opening to a season since 2013 when they also did nothing by the end.
Dustin Martin had 15 clearances despite a fractured cheekbone, with 40 disposals by the game’s end. Trent Cotchin finished with 34.
Daniel Rioli was exciting including a magnificent goal from the pocket after winning the ball on the boundary and evading two defenders and, with Richmond undefeated and Hawthorn without a win, ripping Bruce McAvaney’s heart in two in the process.
"I sort of get that you can't win every game,” said West Coast coach Adam Simpson.
GEELONG (20.6.126) DEFEATED MELBOURNE (13.19.97) BY 29 POINTS
Six more scoring shots and a five goal defeat is what met Melbourne at the MCG against Geelong on Saturday.
Melbourne had the chance to put their mark on the game with 12 more inside-50s to the Cats including 11 set shot misses. Leader Nathan Jones kicked 0.3, Dean Kent 2.3 and Jeff Garlett and Billy Stretch kicked 1.2 apiece. At the other end, Tom Hawkins looked good (despite his face full of attractive-when-looked-at-individually-but-don’t-really-work-together features) kicking five goals straight.
The major ballwinners were, as you’d expect, Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield with 37 and 36 touches respectively. Another player to register over 100 fantasy football points was, as you’d expect, Sam Menegola after I’d traded him out of my team following two weeks of non-selection.
"It was frustrating. Clearly you've got to kick goals to win games of footy and we didn't do that today," Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said, which is not strictly true. If they had have kicked the same score but were able to generate 30 more behinds, they would have just scraped over the line. ASW would suggest practising both their goalkicking and also a gameplan to generate 62 scoring shots over the coming week.
ADELAIDE (15.10.100) DEFEATED PORT ADELAIDE (12.11.83)
Adelaide have squared the Showdown ledger at 21 games apiece after handing Port Adelaide their first loss of the season at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
The Crows once again gave their opposition a head start before overtaking them as the game progressed, with Port Adelaide enjoying a four goal lead midway through the first term.
Matt Crouch and Rory Sloane were the major ballwinners for the victors, with 32 and 31 touches. Rory Sloane again led the tackle count for Adelaide with nine, equal with Curtly Hampton.
Taylor Walker provided inspiration as captain with four goals, including two from outside 50 metres in the final quarter, and ten marks.
For the Power Ollie Wines had 30 touches and Paddy Ryder had one big touch of Riley Knight late in the match, after the result was a foregone conclusion, because he is a big tough cookie.
The game was again soured by racism towards Eddie Betts, this time coming from social media where a Port Adelaide fan again made animal comparisons, while claims are also being investigated that a Crows fan made racial slurs against Paddy Ryder.
As a football fan in South Australia, I can understand the racism. After all, from Port Adelaide’s point of view, apart from inaugural club captain Gavin Wanganeen, Norm Smith medallist Byron Pickett, current star and former club champion Chad Wingard, previously mentioned ruckman Paddy Ryder, last year’s Gavin Wanganeen medallist for best player under 21 Jarman Impey, and countless others throughout the years, the Power have never been well served by indigenous players.
Likewise, Adelaide have never been exposed to Aboriginal talent, with the notable exceptions of arguably their greatest player Andrew McLeod, current crowd cult favourite complete with cardboard face cutouts and personalised chant Eddie Betts, five-time club champion top 5 finisher Graham Johncock and explosive Mark Bickley Emerging Talent award winner Charlie Cameron, amongst others.
FREMANTLE (13.11.89) DEFEATED WESTERN BULLDOGS (10.13.73) BY 16 POINTS
“Lyon: Freo beat Dogs at own game”
That’s one of the headlines accompanying Fremantle coach Ross Lyon’s post-match press conference on the AFL website.
The game is football, and Fremantle played it this week, with goals and handballs and guernseys and everything.
Stephen Hill, Nat Fyfe, Lachie Neale and David Mundy all had 30+ possessions in a Fremantle side that shared the workload wonderfully and were able to shut down the run of the Bulldogs midfielders.
Fremantle fielded a team that included two debutants, Griffin Logue and Harley Balic (who both have turn-of-the-millenium names if ever I’ve heard them), and didn’t include Zac Dawson. If Zac Dawson and Ty Vickery played a game together, I think all their teammates would die of scurvy by half-time, such is their influence.
Ross Lyon, while obviously pleased with the win, was philosophical in keeping the match in perspective.
"One swallow doesn't make a summer, does it?” questioned Lyon, either as an example of Fremantle not getting ahead of themselves, or a genuine enquiry into birds and the seasons.
A heavy focus on the migratory habits of swallows may explain the previous lack of evolution in Fremantle’s on-field performance, but now that there is clarification for the Dockers, the future should look brighter.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was quite matter of fact about his side’s poor game.
"They jumped us obviously, clear as day,” said Beveridge.
ASW is unsure if the clear day was a summer’s day or just a clear day amidst the throes of spring, autumn or winter. No swallow data was available for further analysis.
ST KILDA (14.23.107) DEFEATED BRISBANE (11.10.76) BY 31 POINTS
Another potentially massive margin has been limited by inaccurate kicking for goal, but St Kilda have earned their first win of the season against the Lions at Etihad Stadium.
Nick Riewoldt was the star, collecting 28 touches including 12 marks and three goals on his way back from a knee injury, proving once and for all that he is a valuable member of this team. I won’t hear any arguments to the contrary.
While the 59-46 inside-50 count to St Kilda was obviously indicative of their superiority, the marks-inside-50 count was far more damning at 22-6 in the Saints favour.
"It was one of those games where when we actually did what we planned to do against St Kilda, we were well and truly in the game," Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said, which was true. The bus arrived when they planned it to arrive, they fielded the necessary number of players and all of them wore boots.
Truthfully, Brisbane have surprised many with their competitiveness this year and if it weren’t for Nick Riewoldt grabbing the entire club and dragging them slowly across the line for the billionth time in his career, the game could very well have gone the other way. It’s a good thing Riewoldt has seven years left in him.
CARLTON (7.15.57) DEFEATED ESSENDON (6.6.42) BY 15 POINTS
Captain Marc Murphy has led Carlton to their first win of the season as the only multiple goalkicker with 32 touches and ten tackles, beating Essendon in sloppy conditions at the MCG.
Despite the low-scoring affair Carlton had almost twice as many scoring shots as the Bombers which, if they’d converted more consistently, if you haven’t already got the idea after I’ve mentioned this multiple times this article already, could have resulted in a larger margin.
AFL.com.au reported that “coach John Worsfold said the Bombers are still finding the chemistry required to sustain their performances” which is the worst possible phrase to use in Essendon’s circumstances.
Bryce Gibbs had 35 touches in the wet and Sam Docherty had 20 touches, all kicks, which is the highest kick:handball ratio this year at infinity.
There were few highlights in this game, which means I’ve had to resort to maths-based humour.
GOLD COAST (21.13.139) DEFEATED HAWTHORN (7.11.53) BY 86 POINTS
This round has just furthered confusion as to where we should be ranking each team in our expectations. Port Adelaide were on a high after defeating Sydney at the SCG in round 1, but Collingwood have now done it as well. Fremantle were completely dismantled by Port Adelaide last round, but now they’ve defeated the reigning premiers. Essendon were on the way up after their first two games but have come unstuck against the winless Blues.
Hawthorn look fucked.
This was the biggest win in Gold Coast’s club history. Hawthorn are bottom of the ladder.
Brandon Matera was dominant around the goals with six, while Gary Ablett collected 36 touches and kicked two goals in one of the best ‘Fuck You’ performances in recent memory after a week of criticism.
"We were challenged publicly, and obviously internally, so I thought it was a great response," Suns coach Rodney Eade said, in the second best performance.
"We played against a side that were just a bit hungrier and more desperate than we were tonight and that was evident around the ball," Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said. And around the goals. And the kiosks. And the bars. And at least 20km from Metricon Stadium in every direction.
Gold Coast had 498 disposals to Hawthorn’s 343. 51 clearances to Hawthorn’s 26. 64 inside-50s to Hawthorn’s 36. Hawthorn couldn’t touch the ball. They couldn’t touch the Suns. They couldn’t reach them. They weren’t quick enough. They’re not going to get quicker this year.