AFL

Meaningless AFL Review: Round 7, 2020

2020 can get in the sea.

As per usual, I had something dull and unfunny written out to begin this week, but given what was announced this afternoon with Shane Tuck’s passing, I figured I had to mention something.

I’m probably not alone in saying I had a soft spot for Tucky, given he had that Hawthorn connection with Michael setting records for success and longevity + his brother Travis (Shane was on Hawthorn’s list before Richmond picked him up), and he had that connection to Gary Ablett Snr and Jnr, with his mum Fay being Snr’s sister.

I remember him being a great servant at Tigerland during that miserable run they had in the 2000s until 2013 – Never the most talented, but he was a tough as nails hard worker that got the most out of himself for 173 games, evidenced by him finishing in the Top 10 of the Tigers Best & Fairest on 7 occasions in 9 seasons, and I’d contend his greatest legacy will be as a mentor for the core of players who formed Richmond’s premiership teams – Cotchin and Martin especially.

The kind of clubman that every club needs.

Anyway, it’s just bloody sad to think about – 38 years old with a wife and two children…. another real reminder it can happen to anyone.

For crisis support, please contact Lifeline at lifeline.org.au or 13 11 14, and Beyond Blue at beyondblue.org.au and 1300 22 4636.


Collingwood 8.9-57 defeated Geelong 5.5-35 at Optus Stadium

THE 2ND ON THE LADDER CURSE STRIKES AGAIN.

In front of the biggest crowd of the year, and with Perth enduring one of our two rainy days for the year, the Magpies pressure was fantastic all night, and pissy umpiring or not, they were the better team for at least 3 out of 4 quarters, far better than their usual 1 out of 4.

They may have been in the game for most of the night, but it felt like the Cats were in a hole the moment Joel Selwood became the latest captain (And the third Cat in 2 games) to suffer a hamstring injury in the 1st Quarter, as the notoriously hard Optus Stadium surface reaped it’s first victim for 2020.

Surely it wasn’t a coincidence that after the skipper went off the field, the Cats hardly got an umpiring decision their way.

And throw in Jordan Clark, back in his home state and playing his first game since Round 1…. Only to end the game with a dislocated right shoulder.

Welcome home, Jords.

In addition, Geelong’s lack of ruck stocks were brutally exposed by Brodie Grundy, while Darcy Moore and Brayden Maynard creamed the Cats forwards, in another feather in the cap for this Pies defensive unit, and in a near best on ground display, Jordan de Goey matched Geelong with 5 goals for the night, in his first game back after what Bruce McAvaney described was a “hiccup”…

Yes, a hiccup so bad that a glass of water couldn’t help resolve it.

With the game on the line in the last term, de Goey bucked Collingwood’s trend of crap finishes off his own boot with 3 goals – The first out of mid-air to put it back to 16 points, the second to seal it with 2 minutes remaining came off the back of Mark Blicavs (Literally, if you ever see the replay), and the third with 15 seconds remaining was a great piece of skill to gather the ball on the boundary line.

The shock post-game was that de Goey’s finger, which he’d had taped during the game, was seriously damaged enough to require surgery to sideline him for up to 2 months.

Some hardcore Collingwood haters will claim he’ll be gone for far longer.

On another note, it was nice to see Channel 7 roll out the unholy trinity – BT, Bruce, and Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zemplas roaming the boundary line.

Just to cap it off, Dennis Cometti wandered on to the 7 broadcast at half-time to catch up, which was like the torturer unshackling their victim for 5 seconds to give them a fleeting bit of hope.

“There’s nothing neutral about this – This feels like a home game for one of these two teams at the MCG” – Lord Mayor Basil

Given Collingwood were the away team, it was clearly a pro-Geelong crowd.

So a prick of an evening for the Cats – Their lowest score in 19 years, Selwood gone for weeks, and Gary Ablett having to leave the Perth hub to be with his son Levi, which absolutely nobody will have an issue with…. in these troubled times.

Now, the Holy Trinity of Sleepy Hollow has been reduced to the Holy Ghost – Patrick Dangerfield.


Western Bulldogs 14.9-93 defeated Essendon 7.9-51 at Metricon Stadium

Those are exactly my sentimonies Sir

It truly is incredible how the Beveridge Bulldogs continue to cream Essendon the same damn way for 5 years running – Physical superiority in the midfield.

Ah yes, and there was TIM ENGLISH putting on an all-round clinic from the ruck, with 22 disposals, an equal-best 6 clearances, he kicked a goal himself, but the funny part was the Dons won the hitouts 36-16, it was just English made a habit of palming the Sherrin down Marcus Bontempelli’s throat, and in general, played like a 5th midfielder.

To think he was as good as a eunuch in bed after what Brodie Grundy did to him in Round 1…. Turns out young ruckman probably need time to develop.

The 1st Quarter was a genuinely entertaining rollercoaster, both on and off-field.

First, someone spilled their Coke on a power board and took down every camera at Carrara, giving us viewers the markedly improved sound of static, as meantime on Fox Footy, Eddie McGuire had to call the game on Fox’s own boundary camera for 10 minutes until the feed was restored.

Unfortunately for Essendon fans who watched the game on Fox, that was pretty much the only good period they had.

After things returned to normal and the Dons and Dogs traded goals, along came the ARC with their vintage 240p quality score reviews, starting with that Josh Bruce goal, with some Bristle thoughts.

ARC: Shows grainy footage

BT: “That’s cleary touched”

ARC: Confirms the goal

BT:

And 3 minutes later, there was another Score Review for Jayden Laverde’s toe poke goal… and wouldn’t you know it, the goal stood because the footage was too crap to prove otherwise.

Then along came Cody ‘The Flea’ Weightman, marking deep at right forward some 40 out for his first kick in league football.

It went rather well.

And as the Dons wasted a couple of chances late, the quarter ended with Luke Beveridge being such a unit that he charged through the coaches box door instead of turning the knob.

From there, it was totally one way traffic the way of the Dogs – English and Bontempelli powered them to an unassailable lead at 3/4 time, kicking 11 goals to 1 between the first and last quarters, which wasn’t quite 21 goals in a row, but it was still more than enough to show the Dogs are still contenders.

It’s like these teams are mirrors of the other – One week, the Dogs get thumped and aren’t Top 4 material, while conversely, the Bombers are premiership contenders…. Now the ever fickle hivemind that is the footy fourth estate are whistling the opposite tune.

With the biggest Essington of the year, we remember once again that nobody hates Essendon quite like Essendon supporters.


Brisbane Lions 13.10-88 defeated GWS 10.8-68 at Giants Stadium

Stuff GWS needing to respond, Fagan’s disciples needed to give a response after a disappointing , and within 10 minutes, you knew we were going to see the real Brisbane on Saturday.

4 goals to none, and it was so easy that at one point, Lachie Neale walked goalside with nobody looking, got a handball from Lincoln McCarthy, and kicked what might be considered a Joe The Goose goal.

Still, the Giants, sans Toby Greene, did get a run-on in the 3rd term and came from 32 points down to get within 8 points, as the Lions suffered some familiar premiership quarter jitters, but there were two crucial moments from Cam Rayner either side of 3/4 time that kept the Lions in the straight and narrow.

The first was his pack mark from 8 deep with 2:30 to go, 40m out from goal straight in front, and in a rare sight given Brisbane’s recent goalkicking troubles, the kick snuck in to put them 14 points up.

The second was the opening goal of the last quarter, which came after 5 minutes of struggle, as the Lions got a ball forward, Hipwood got a handball to Cameron, on to Rayner, and from 30m out on the boundary, he defied the wrath of Jason Dunstall by once again taking his opportunity.

20 points, goodnight, thank you for coming GWS.

Rayner only had 8 disposals for the game, but as Hugh Greenwood apparently once Tweeted, it’s not the amount of disposals, it’s the impact on the game – And Cameron had a major one.

It also turned out Rayner’s massive pack mark wouldn’t even be the best aerial display of the afternoon, because along came McCarthy for….

THE BIG RIDE, PART II

As for the Giants, what an absolute pack of teasers.

Enough talent to pack out every gaming room at Rooty Hill RSL, but with the rate they’re going at, they’ll never get any closer than 89 points to a maiden premiership.

3-4, the exact same record as a god-awful Hawthorn team.

Happy 150th Leon.

And thus, Lord Fagan’s Disciples learned a great lesson of life.

Games are much easier to enjoy when you kick goals instead of behinds.

Unfortunately, they’re now back up 2nd, so, commiserations, you’ll probably lose in Round 8.


Gold Coast 13.14-92 defeated Sydney Swans 9.6-60 at the SCG

Sound the victory trumpet

A rare moment in human history, as the Suns travelled from Woolongong to the SCG expecting to enjoy a routine victory against the Swans, and they thoroughly made the most of the occasion, starting with Izak Rankine demonstrating his trademark uncanny ability to create goals from thin air.

The kid’s a freak o’ nature.

That set off a trend that lasted 3 quarters – Gold Coast would kick a couple of goals in a row to start a quarter, then the Swans would kick a couple in a row and peg them back.

In the 2nd Quarter, the Suns kicked 4 goals in 10 minutes and led by 27 points, but in a very welcome change of gameplan from last week, the Swans took the game on, and kicked 3 in a row to trail by 9 points at half-time.

Then in the 3rd Quarter, in a sea of Suns behinds, Jack Lukosius kicked a goal from 52 out through sheer talent, Will Hayward and Ryan Clarke responded, Ben King marked on the lead and goaled from 50, and Jarrod Witts provided 2 superb pieces of ruck work to advantage – The first allowed Lachie Weller to get goalside and snap a nice goal, the second was a tap with 16 seconds left that went straight to David Swallow, who hit Rankine in stride to kick a massive goal from 40 out.

The only problem was they were cancelled out by Tom Papley and Hayward kicking his 2nd goal.

Something that also popped up again in my head – The Swannies do love a goal celebration.

Papley goes off like a 6-year-old on a sugar binge after he kicks a goal, then when Hayward casually nailed that enormous snap from 50 out on the 3/4 time siren, Pap jumped over his head in a manner that would get him a start in the Grand Annual next May.

Perhaps fittingly, given how oddly amazing that kick was, it was the Swans’ last goal of the game.

It took 13 minutes, but the Suns pretty much sealed the win when Sammy Day got a free kick for a hold and goaled, David Swallow pushed it past 4 goals, and in the shadows of full-time, Nick Holman got a 50m penalty, and capping off a long-awaited 50th game, kicked a goal.

The Suns played very well with the weight of expectation, and sure the Swans lost again, but at least they did it with dignity.

QUEENSLAND 2 – NEW SOUTH WALES 0.


Richmond 11.11-77 defeated North Melbourne 2.11-23 at Metricon Stadium

Look on the bright side North fans.

2 goals is only your second-worst goalkicking performance under Rhyce Shaw.

It’s quite fitting that North once called Arden Street home, because they are in a giant hole right now, and they aren’t getting out anytime soon.

18 players out, 2 more injured from Saturday (3 if you count Zurhaar pre-game), and their kicking at goal is still a crime.

It may as well be 21 players gone, with how thoroughly Ben Brown has been marked out of games.

Carrying on a theme that started with letting Ben Cunnington play with a crumpled back, Jack Ziebell was cleared to play on Saturday despite obviously not being 100% a fortnight on from a hamstring strain.

Wouldn’t you know it, just like Fremantle with Nat Fyfe, Ziebell pinged his ‘string again half a quarter in, and in a familiar story, North were pushing crap uphill all night long, and it only got better after Kyron Hayden was knocked out in a commendable display of reckless bravery.

But it wasn’t like Richmond didn’t have players out either – They also lost Josh Caddy to the dreaded massive hammy pull before half-time, but the enormous difference was they’ve got a much better ‘system’, and the players they brought in pretty much all performed.

Derek Eggmolesse-Smith filled the Bachar Houli role across half-back, Shai Bolton played well in the middle, and then there’s young Jake Aarts, who did play well….. he just couldn’t hit the side of a barn door trying to kick his first goal.

After 3 massive shanks, he eventually got there in the last quarter, and kicked another goal to boot.

The only North players that elevated themselves to any great heights were Shaun Higgins ….

And Josh ‘Sky’ Walker.

That mark is also a great testament to whichever company glued on Josh’s plugs – They barely moved at altitude.

It’s also quite telling about Ben Brown’s sheer lack of form that Walker can start a game in defence, get thrown forward with the game as good as toast, and still provide a better target than Sideshow Bob… Walker ended up kicking half of North’s goals.

So just like that, Richmond fell arse-first back into the Top 4, with at least 1/3 of the team missing.

We’re all screwed, aren’t we?

Rhyce Shaw said post-game that the Roos “Don’t have enough blokes rowing the boat”

Well that’s the obvious problem – They’re rowing instead of playing football.


Port Adelaide 9.10-64 defeated Carlton 9.7-61 at The Gabba

Billy Schmidt, Doug Strang, Malcolm Blight, Peter Burgoyne, Ben Dixon, Peter Ricciardi.

They’ve all kicked goals after the siren against the Bluebaggers.

WE CAN ADD ROBBIE GRAY TO THAT LIST.

NEVER PASS THE BLOODY BALL AGAIN ROBBIE.

It was the 50th winning goal after the siren in VFL/AFL history, and what an ending to what was a cracking contest.

The lighting start by both teams, the key forward duel between Charlie Dixon and Harry McKay, Sam Walsh playing so well he set aside 2018 draft class comparisons for at least 2 days, Eddie Betts joining the 300 goal club for 2 clubs, Kane Farrell wheeling out the farrell Barrell again, and we can’t forget the contribution from Sam Mayes on his Port debut, playing his first game since he played for Brisbane in Round 14 of 2018 (Ironically also at the Gabba) to spear that kick to Gray with 15 seconds left.

I reckon both teams would’ve been stiff as a corpse to lose this one.

Port with all those shanked kicks from dead in front in the final minutes – Gray himself missed from 20 out on an angle, Dixon missed from 10 out directly in-front, and Todd Marshall shanked one from 10m out directly in front after Gray made the big brain decision TO NOT TAKE THE SHOT AT GOAL.

Thankfully, he made up for it.

And Carlton, after looking like they were going to win after kicking 3 of the first 4 goals and leading for a huge chunk of the final term, only to come out on the wrong side of their 4th game decided by a kick in 6 games.

What a way for Kade Simpson to get handed the all-time most defeats record.

But, one team had to lose, and it was Carlton, who lost to Port after the siren 20 years after Peter Burgoyne did it to them at Footy Park.

A pretty brave f**king win indeed, Kenny.

A pretty brave f**king win, indeed.


Melbourne 14.7-91 defeated Hawthorn 7.6-48 at GIANTS Stadium

All I see is 7 minutes of Christian Petracca porn

I can say without any form of hyperbole, that this is the worst I’ve ever seen a Hawthorn team play football.

And I was a firsthand witness to the 2004 Hawks.

There is absolutely nothing redeeming about them – Their once vaunted foot skills are an attack on the senses (Max Gawn was at half-mast with all that intercept marking practice), the contested game is a figment of the imagination, the skipper is more suited to leading a rave than a footy team, half of them are old enough to slot straight into a retirement home, and main side effect is that there’s next to no leg speed.

You know you’re in trouble when Demons fans don’t even feel frightened when they go 7 goals up on you.

And why would they, because unlike any time in the previous 18 months, they moved the ball superbly, they put scoreboard pressure on, and it’s taken 5 years filled with plenty of lows, but Christian Petracca is absolutely now consistently playing like The Bull he gets hyped up to be.

I reckon he burned Tom Scully for sheer pace on at least 3 occasions – Tom Scully, a player renowned for his running capacity, even with one ankle made of silicone.

So good was Petrac, that the star of House of Bulger, former Brownlow Medalist and Hawks great Shane Crawford said he’s currently the best player in the game.

Woah woah woah, he’s good yes, but fair dinkum, even Jason Gillespie looked like an elite batsman when he faced Bangladesh.

The Hawks are well and truly up Shit Creek without a canoe, and there’s nothing Clarko can do to turn them around…..

Well, at least we didn’t trade away our 1st Round pick for an injury-prone midfielder.

Not yet, at least.


West Coast Eagles 9.8-62 defeated Fremantle 5.2-32 at Optus Stadium

Fremantle in Derbies with Matthew Pavlich: 19-15

Fremantle in Derbies without Matthew Pavlich: 1-16

The first Freo home game since August 17, 2019, and the Purple Haze were treated to a heartwarming familiar sight.

Matt Taberner doing Matt Taberner things.

Nick Riewoldt on Fox Footy did very well to not violently scream as he suffered a Vietnam flashback to the 2010 Grand Final Replay when Gary Lyon mentioned the word librarian.

The frustrating part was Tabs actually had a very good opening quarter, kicking both of Freo’s goals from contested marks… But that play-on was almost the epitome of his career.

For every good Taberner moment, there always seems to be an annoyingly simple, mind-numbing mistake.

Another example I can definitely remember was that contested mark 40m out in the last quarter when Freo had a bit of momentum…..

The kick went out on the full.

Combine that with Lobb missing from 20m out in front after doing his Fred Flintstone routine, and the Eagles had crushed them again.

While one key forward got trigger happy and got crash tackled by the dreaded librarian, the other led the way in a low-scoring Derby.

Josh Kennedy celebrated game 250 with 4 goals against Freo’s depleted, undersized defence, earning him the Glendinning-Allan medal ahead of Tim Kelly and Brad Sheppard.

10 Derby wins in a row for the Eagles, beating their previous best of 9 from 1995 to ’99, and it was all set up by consigning Fremantle to the first-ever scoreless quarter in a Derby in the 3rd Quarter.

Well, at least this time the Dockers got to 31 points without kicking 2.19


St Kilda 12.6-78 defeated Adelaide 8.7-55 at the Adelaide Oval

I can see why St Kilda would celebrate knocking off the clear wooden spoon contenders like they’d achieved something enormous.

No wins at the Adelaide Oval from 10 attempts, with an average losing margin of 49 points, and they hadn’t won in Adelaide since 2011.

They also hadn’t defeated the Crows since 2011, having lost 10 in a row.

In fact, they hadn’t even defeated either of the South Australian teams since 2011.

They also had to endure a frightening night of heads or tails to decide holding the ball.

And unlike last week, they were good enough to respond and win when the Crows made a serious charge at them in the final term with the crowd at their back.

It’s all about perspective.

Matt Crouch – 26 disposals, 8 kicks…. 25% kicking efficency.

ONCE AGAIN, IT’S NOT HOW MANY TOUCHES YOU GET, IT’S ABOUT WHAT YOU DO WITH THEM.


The ‘Kicked More Goals Than North Melbourne’ Club:

5 goals – Jordan de Goey, Fremantle

4 goals – Josh J. Kennedy

3 goals – Mitch Wallis, Harry Himmelberg, Charlie Dixon, Harry McKay, Sam Weideman, Jack Gunston, Dan Butler, Tex Walker.

Actually, that’s fewer than I imagined.

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