AFL

Meaningless AFL Review: Round 4, 2020

“Liam, use your head!”

Well, as far as Rounds of footy go, that was a round of footy – The first in history with a 1 point, 2 point, 3 point, and 4 point result…. Yet it just felt utterly awful to watch.

Even Alastair Clarkson, who was on the right side of that 4 point result, was pointing out how utterly awful the “spectacle” of the game has become, the major point being that the Hawks weren’t paid a single holding the ball from 69 tackles, something he complained about many years ago after a Semi Final against the Dogs.

Case in point – Josh Walker goes to fend off Ricky Henderson in the final term, which is his prior opportunity done right there – Henderson wraps him up, then Walker drops the ball.

TEXTBOOK HOLDING THE BALL – NO WHISTLE.

The only thing that saved that umpire from looking like a bigger dickhead than me was that Breust’s handball lead directly to Wingard kicking what turned out to be the winning goal.

To match the shocking standard of play, it was also a bad round for injuries, which surprisingly took 3 rounds after a limited pre-season to really pile up, rather than immediately happening in Round 2.

Aaron Naughton with a bad ankle injury, Sam Lloyd popped his shoulder, an ACL to Sam Naismith, GWS captain Phil Davis & Zac Williams with hamstrings, Jeremy Howe’s PCL went bang, the big one was Nat ‘Not A Champion’ Fyfe going off with a hamstring injury, Lions captain Dayne Zorko had a calf problem, All-Australian Tom Stewart broke his collarbone in what looked a stock standard bumping duel, and North skipper Jack Ziebell was finished by a hamstring injury.

So when you look at it, that’s 3 club captains who suffered soft tissue hamstring injuries.

It did happen – it just took longer than expected.


Western Bulldogs 10.7-67 defeated Sydney Papleys 5.9-39 at the SCG

Well, the news came through about John Kennedy Snr’s passing, on the same day of his grandson’s 250th game, which was a means of motivating Josh to play well, and an attempt from Kanga to wreck Footscray from beyond the grave, a passion that started back in 1961.

It ended up working as well as Bob Hawke dying 2 days before last year’s election to motivate Labor, because 1.3-9 was the lowest half-time score at the SCG in Swans history… and that included the GWS final in 2018.

The damage was inflicted on the Swans in the 1st Half, specifically from the awesome power of the Bont, who went from strength to strength off the back of beating up the Giants, kicking 2 goals in the space of 4 minutes, and providing a captain’s mark back with the flight of the ball in the 2nd Term, leaving Isaac Heeney in pieces.

That was a summary of the game in 5 seconds.

After a rough start to the year, Tim English arguably put in his best performance for the Scraggers – 22 disposals, 17 hitouts, and a goal to cap off the night, and you wouldn’t even know Callum Sinclair and Sam Naismith dominated the hitouts, because Tall Tim creamed them at ground level.

I’m surprised Tim isn’t a school teacher… because he gave them an English lesson.

The downside was Aaron Naughton went down with an ankle problem, diagnosed as ankle, wait for it…. SYNDESMOSIS, and Sam Lloyd busted his shoulder, which means that Josh Schache would have to get hit by a truck to not play Round 5.

Ultimately, the only Swans player you can legitimately say turned up to play was Tom Papley, who kicked 4 out of the 5 Sydney goals in the best lone effort of 2020, getting absolutely no help from most of his teammates, who sprayed kick after kick in front of goal, to such a degree that they’d racked up 2.8 at 3/4 time, a metaphorical noose around their own neck.

To the eye, in a sea of well-performed small forwards, Papley would be in a forward pocket in a far too early All-Australian team.

So the Dogs kicked a grieving Josh Kennedy on his big night, but if you want to talk about people going through a shit run, think about Sammy Naismith, who lost his sister during the shutdown, and suffered another ACL tear late in the game, which nobody knew about until Horse mentioned it in his press conference:

And that was followed by the news of former Swan Alex Johnston suffering a seventh ACL tear as he was preparing to play for Old Xavierians.

Jesus, is it a requirement for every key position player at Sydney to suffer a gruesome lower body injury?


Greene-ter Western Sydney 10.6-66 defeated Collingwood 9.10-64 at GIANTS Stadium

Is it worrying that I have this bookmarked?

Why is it that every playing surface in Sydney an OH&S hazard?

Deadset, Brodie Grundy managed to take out a divot the size of a landmine in the 1st Quarter.

It was like watching a game at Docklands in the early-2000s.

Still, it was another thrilling game against GWS, and another game where Collingwood were left crying and Greene with envy after a loss, this time thanks to a double dose of Tom Green in the middle, and Toby Greene doing Toby Greene things with 3 goals – Like this.

It got to a point where even Brayden Maynard applauded Toby after he’d been beaten in a marking contest with some textbook use of the body.

Still, the umpires once again didn’t seem to appreciate Toby’s performance, in another blatant display of unprofessional conduct based on his reputation, comparable to the double standards against Saint Nicholas Kyrgios.

It really did have the feel of the 4th Quarter of the 2019 Prelim: Phil Davis pulling up lame, Jeremy Cameron kicking the Giants’ last goal of the game from 50 out, the Pies looking like they were going to storm over the top and score a comeback win, only for the Giants to repel them time and again, and managed to eek out the final minutes.

The only thing it needed was 6 Score Reviews and Shane Mumford pulling off an epic blind turn on Scott Pendlebury.

The turning point in the game, right as GWS established a break in the 3rd Quarter and Matt de Boer had Steele Sidebottom in a permanent vice, was when Davis went off the ground for good with a hamstring injury (Joining Zac Williams), as the Giants led by 19 points in the 3rd Quarter.

Right as that happened, Brodie Mihocek made his brief escape from Sam Taylor’s back pocket and kicked 2 goals in 5 minutes, and Pat McAfee’s favourite Mason ‘Coxzilla’ Cox actually turned into a forward threat. without a decent match-up.

The Pies had 15 Inside 50s to 4 in that final quarter – Yet, they kicked a grand total of 1.5 – Chris Mayne missed, Callum Brown missed (That was karma for ducking), and Hoskin-Elliott hit the post from 50 out.

They actually lost the final quarter by a point, and further rubbing it in, the first of the Giants’ two goals in that last quarter – To Josh Kelly – Was the direct result of Maynard stubbing his toe and kicking straight into Brent Daniels.

Gubby Allen to Simon Beasley territory.

And just to cap off a horror evening for the Pies, Jeremy Howe had his PCL absolutely rooted in a high speed collision with Jacob Hopper, and Channel 7 somehow spent the rest of the evening randomly showing more angles of Jezza’s knee getting forcefully hit to a 37 degree angle.

The Zapruder film of President Kennedy’s head going pop didn’t get that many angles.

Well, sadly that’s the last we’ll see of Howe in 2020, and without his unparalleled ability to pluck an intercept mark and set up play, the Pies backline is facing enormous questions.

And the last word, here’s when Taylor Adams was attacked by a bear in the 1st Quarter:

Collingwood had the game there to win after Davis went off, and they pissed it away.

The Giants are back in business.


Port Adelaide 13.11-89 defeated West Coast 6.5-41 at Metricon Stadium

A brave effort by King Charlie Dixon, but his big haul of 6.2 wasn’t enough to knock off the Eagles, who crawled over the line to a 3 point win, thanks to 4 goals to Josh Kennedy.

But, in terms of the overall game, Port were way too good in Brad Ebert’s 250th game, in what was only the second game in league history to end with a scoreline of 89 to 41.

The other? The 1990 Grand Final.

We all remember who kicked 5 goals that day.

Apparently an emotionally crippled Eagles team with a crap attitude was, on paper, Port’s biggest challenge so far in 2020, but that statement obviously wasn’t saying much, because they once again looked like a bunch of homesick puppies, and without Jeremy McGovern once again after his late withdrawal, Tommy Barrass had no answer to the big throbbing Dixon, who put in the best performance by a key forward in a season restart dominated by small forwards.

Will Schofield was a late inclusion for the Gov, and he gave the Eagles the perfect excuse to not even think twice about trying to get McGovern back for Richmond on Thursday, with a headbutt on Zak Butters that earned him a live roasting from Simmo over the phone, and a 1 week suspension.

At the rate the Eagles are putting in these Gold Coast stinkers, by the time they get back to Perth and get their 7 home games in a row, they’ll be closer to the wooden spoon than a Top 8 spot.

The 21st Century Round 1 Leap Year Premier doesn’t lie, and Port are well on the way to proving it again.


St Kilda 15.3-93 defeated Richmond 10.7-67 at Marvel Stadum

Saints win the Jack-Off

They also won Maddie’s Match.

Roof closed, no fans to put pressure on them – Good to see two teams actually make the most of the very definition of perfect conditions and play Docklands the way it was meant to be played… Minus the turf giving out routinely.

In a developing story, the Saints returned to something that the Dromana Drive-In will hope is the new normal (At least at Marvel), while the defending premiers continue to struggle without any form of noise of affirmation from the Tiger Army, and this week they were left eating dust by a Saints team full to the brim on leg speed and pressure.

I wonder what would’ve happened if an injured Paddy Ryder hadn’t been withdrawn for Dean Kent, because it looked like Clark’s younger brother made a dangerous Saints forward line even better.

As the Tigers continue to struggle, the positive was that at least we got to see a Richmond premiership-winning small forward play superbly.

It was Dan Butler in a St Kilda jumper.

3 goals from 13 disposals, with the highlight being the textbook snap from the boundary 35m out, right as Dylan Grimes came through and laid him out.

With the spate of small forward getting the job done in 2020, don’t the Tigers wish they had a small forward who could actually perform right now, let alone speak English.

To think, the Saints got him for Pick 56.

After this latest performance, there’s now a pattern where St Kilda in odd numbered rounds can’t kick for crap in front of goal, as if the ghost of Ben Dixon returns to haunt them, and in even numbered rounds, where they’ve played at Marvel, they kick at goal like they’re throwing 180s at a dartboard for fun.

15.3 – And 2 of those kicks hit the post.

After kicking at below 50% for the past 3 years, through 4 games in 2020, they’re kicking at 61% in front of goal, which is on the same level as the most accurate team in history – The 2004 Saints.

The plausible reason as to why the Saints are suddenly hitting targets is Jarryd Roughead going straight from retirement to Moorabbin, and it doesn’t surprise me that Roughy could pull off a task as gargantuan as fixing the Saints kicking woes.

He did knock cancer on the head – Trying to fix St Kilda was easy.

Anyway, I’m also declaring it.

No Brandon Ellis = No Richmond


Gold Coast 10.4-64 defeated Fremantle 8.3-51 at Metricon Stadium

VICOTRY TRUMPETS

THE FIRST HALF IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME WITH 100% SCORING ACCURACY.

Of course it happened in 2020.

And it also happened with Matt Rowell on the field.

Is there nothing that boy cannot do.

So the build-up was the clash between Rowell and the 2-time Brownlow Medalist in Nat Fyfe.

They did meet at least once during the game.

Fair to say I’ve added it to my growing list of Matt Rowell Gifs:

In a weekend where Mick Malthouse made his latest ‘Old Man Yells At Cloud’ comment and said Fyfey wasn’t in his list of “Top quality players” in the league, I think Nat learned a lesson about how true champions play the game on Saturday.

Expect to see see Nat tuck his guernsey into his shorts in Round 5.

Still, it was another contest where Freo, despite conceding 5 goals in 10 minutes at one point, were right in contention for victory, and right in contention to win that half-time brawl, but even as the scores were tied at 3/4 time, everything went to shit the moment Fyfe hurt his hamstring.

Surprise surprise, Freo struggled to kick anything in a final quarter that had all of 2 goals, one of which was Jack Lukosius goaling from a kick that was was apparently a centering ball for Alex Sexton, but if you remember Darcy Macpherson last week, this was no centering kick.

Yep, it’s just another week in the life of the Fremantle Football Club.

So in a feelgood start, Suns are in 2nd, they have the exact same record after 4 games as they did in 2019, albeit with a daylight difference in their performances, and now they travel to Geelong for a shot at picking up an unlikely 4 points, and with the current state of Victoria, COVID-19.


Carlton 7.10-52 defeated Essendon 8.3-51 at the MCG

Another week where Carlton prevent Kade Simpson from equaling the Most Defeats record.

The good news for Blues fans is they’re not getting the Blues watching Carlton.

They’re getting heart attacks instead.

On that note, to my dear friend Nunz, hope you survived.

3 games in a row decided by 2 points or fewer, and the latest was decided by the most Liam Jones thing that Liam Jones has ever Liam Jones’d.

Saving the game on the goal line…. WITH A FALCON.

No wonder Cale Hooker, his direct opponent stood 2 metres over the line from the contest.

Something dangerous could’ve happened if he’d gone in there… like getting hit in the face.

It was a hilarious ending to another thrilling, yet very low standard Blues-Bombers clash, as Eddie Betts gave away a dubious 50m penalty to Adam Saad (Who had taken off) at full-back in the dying seconds, which the umpire obviously didn’t mentally track out, because it turned into a 62.4m penalty and put Essendon nearly on half-way.

It’s always good to know that in a sport devoted to numbers, we’ve got officials who couldn’t even finish 2A mathematics.

So that 50 led directly to the contest where Jacob Townsend ended up flying through to take an uncontested mark, but his damn good effort from outside 50 was obviously held up by the cold air, and fell short by a metre, where Jones’ noggin saved the day.

Out of a game that will be remembered fondly by nobody except Blues supporters, being the first 1 point win over Essendon since the Fraser Brown tackle in 1999, a particular talking point was the Zac Merrett late swing at Jack Silvagni’s midriff, which proved so effective that Silvagni was done barely 3 minutes into the game, and he went to hospital with a fractured rib and lung bruiding.

Michael Christian has a fetish for punishing players based on outcome, so it wasn’t surprising to see Merrett cop a week.

Carlton losing that game would’ve been a fitting punishment for bad goal kicking, but they won, so, who gives a crap.

James Brayshaw at the siren: “Listen to this!”

LISTEN TO WHAT JIM, THE CRICKETS CHIRPING “WE ARE THE NAVY BLUES?”


Brisbane Lions 10.23-83 Adelaide 7.4-46 at Fagan’s Fortress

10.23

10 GOALS, 23 BEHINDS.

I FEEL ANGRY TYPING IT.

Hugh McCluggage and Lachie Neale kicked 1.11 between them, a performance so bad that Lachie had to apologise to the mug punters who had him kicking a goal in their multis.

How on earth can any self-respecting member of the football community stand for this, and how will whoever claims to be Brisbane’s goalkicking coach not end up being used a human sacrifice to appease Lord Fagan.

The Lions could’ve been 9 goals up at Half Time, and they had the chance to win this game by a lazy 15 goals – BUT THEY DIDN’T.

After a shocking 2nd Quarter in front of goal, the kicking got even worse out of the break, especially watching Sir Charles ‘Harley Charlie’ Cameron attempted a snap instead of a set shot from 15 out dead in front.

In the biggest motorcycle stacking since Mick Doohan at Assen 1992, Harley Charlie hit the post, the Crows went down the ground, and Ben Crocker, tatts and all, cut the gap back to 3 goals.

Because of Brisbane’s goalkicking, we had to listen to Dwayne Russell, Gerard Healy and Dermott call Adelaide like they were a special needs team who had a hope of an upset at 3/4 time.

2 quick goals to Brisbane to start the final term somehow didn’t stop Tweedledee, Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber from claiming the Crows had a small chance of winning.

In a sign of confidence from a gun small forward, Charlie got back on the bike, and used Reilly O’Brien’s head to impersonate Evel Knievel jumping the Caesar’s Palace Fountains to take the Mark Of The Round.

He promptly passed it off to McCluggage, who kicked another of his 400 behinds.

Anyway, the Lions were way too good, they kicked themselves out of a 15 goal win, and the Crows, despite being locked into last place, at least showed up for a quarter.


Geelong 7.5-47 defeated Melbourne 6.8-44 at the MCG

Geelong may have won on the scoreboard, but nobody won watching this game.


Hawthorn 8.10-58 defeated North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium

Rhyce Shaw to Alastair Clarkson:

It was another perfect coincidence that John Kennedy Snr died just as the Hawks decided to wear their John Kennedy ‘Mayblooms’ guernseys, but moreso because he died before the weekend that the two teams he coached faced off.

Some may overlook Kennedy’s time at North, considering the most notable thing he did there was ignite The Battle of Britain, but if you think the legend known as Kanga didn’t have an impact at the Kangas, consider that these were some of the players from North’s superb 1990s teams who debuted under his tenure from 1985 to 1989.

Wayne Carey, John Longmire, Mick Martyn, Craig Sholl, Wayne Schwass, Darren Crocker, Anthony Stevens, Anthony Rock, and Brett Allison.

And we can’t forget, Alastair Clarkson debuted at North under Kanga.

What a legacy.

Anyway, the game itself was a fitting tribute to Kanga, in that it was an ugly tough contest with a scoreline to match a 1950s VFL game.

It was also fitting, because the Hawks nearly killed their own supporters with another pathetic final quarter.

Despite holding North scoreless for almost a half of footy and leading by 31 points with 10 minutes remaining, the Hawks managed to concede as many goals in 10 bloody minutes as they did in the previous 2 hours.

We’re A Happy Team At Hawthorn?

Based on what I saw after the siren, that statement is an absolute load of BULLSHIT.

With the way this game ended, nobody was happy.

And the Hawks are in the Top 4.

We couldn’t care less.

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