AFL | Round Eleven | 2022
Sydney Swans (106) vs Richmond (100)
This game was much like last week's game between the Lions and Hawks, in the sense that the umpires went out with clear intent to ensure it was high scoring.
It's like the fans demanded high scoring football, and somewhere an AFL executive said "please let these new rules increase scoring," and as he did a monkey paw's finger curled, and a voice from nowhere said "your wish is granted."
Other than that it went completely to script, as Sydney - the team who has come from 5+ goals down to win the most times this year - came back from five goals down to beat Richmond - the team who has given up the most 5+ goal leads to lose a game this year.
Buddy kicked bags and punched on, an umpire indecision to pay a 50m penalty resulted in controversy throughout the week, and Richmond are 9th. Talk about playing the hits.
The AFL gave the all clear to the decision not to pay a 50m penalty as the correct decision, citing "common sense," - which would be fine, had they not also given the all clear to the multiple occasions a player had been too far out to score as the siren sounded and HAD been paid a 50m penalty to put them within scoring range.
Perhaps common sense only occurs after the final siren? These new rules are getting too much for me to understand.
Brisbane Lions (110) vs GWS Giants (96)
This game had a severe case of "don't adjust your television sets, what you're seeing is real," in the first 20 minutes, as GWS kicked six of the first seven goals of the match on Brisbane home turf to stun everyone.
This stunning effect clearly applied to themselves also, as they then only kicked 9 more goals for the match.
Personally I think the biggest error the Giants made was letting Brisbane kick 15 goals between the 20 minute mark of the first term and the 23 minute mark of the final term.
Others might say it was allowing the Lions 15 marks inside 50. Both are fair arguments.
Brisbane used this win to settle themselves comfortably in second position - now in striking position of Melbourne - and surely getting ready for another year of back to back home final losses.
GWS however proved that it really was just West Coast that made them look good - in fact they were the only team for six weeks to outscore them by less than ten goals - and perhaps there was more going on than just the coaching.
Geelong Cats (97) vs Adelaide Crows (55)
After playing Port Adelaide in Geelong last week, the Cats played Adelaide in Geelong this week, in a weird fixturing quirk that saw a two week long ritual sacrifice of South Australian footballers in their Indigenous jumpers.
Thankfully, due to the Geelong men's team opting for a white jumper, unlike their AFLW team who wore navy, there was no clash here, and in fact these two alternate kits looked fantastic together.
It was a shame the same couldn't be said for the quality of the football played. Adelaide have struggled to score at the best of times recently, and without Walker and Rachele it was always going to be tricky.
However, I didn't think it would take six shots on goal - four of them from Adelaide - and almost fourteen minutes for either team to register a major.
One crucial mistake Adelaide made was thinking that all of Geelong's blonde players were on their team as Stewart and De Koning combined for 28 intercepts - even Guthrie finished with seven.
Basically, if you weren't a Cats fan, you really should have been watching the Brisbane GWS game - even if the standard was equally average, the score was closer AND higher.
This was like when you're taking it easy on your younger sibling in a game of backyard cricket, and every time they get a little too close, you just make sure they know their place.
Adelaide got within 8 points of Geelong mid way through the third term before Geelong kicked seven goals to one to run out comfortable winners, with the unlikely bedfellows of Hawkins, Cameron and Stengle combining for another nine goals - two more than Adelaide - with Cameron's solitary point giving the trio the same final score as the Crows.
Naarm (56) vs Fremantle (94)
After embarrassing losses to finals challengers Gold Coast and Collingwood, Fremantle were finally free of their nemesis - wet weather. Who knew that going to Naarm instead of the Gold Coast or Perth would finally see you a clear day?
However, weather aside, Fremantle had other problems - the fact that Naarm are quite good.
To be honest, you would have been forgiven for turning this game off at half time and enjoying a beautiful Saturday, as it seemed Naarm had served their customary single quarter burst, as a four goal to one term saw Fremantle on just two goals at the long break.
However, Fremantled basically decided "whatever you can do, I can do better," and not only beat, but completely outclassed Naarm in the second half, kicking 12 goals to one, and running away comfortable winners.
Turns out there are two keys to defeating Naarm:
Tag Clayton Oliver (easier said than done)
Now listen closely because this one is crucial: knock out Steven May.
Knocking out Steven May is what some might call "a dick move" or "against the spirit of the game" and this is true, however, if you can convince Jake Lever to do it for you, you're in with a genuine shot.
After May went down, almost every inside 50 looked like a scoring opportunity for Fremantle, and almost half of them were, scoring from over 40% of entries in the second half.
Is Melbourne's dynasty over? Of course it is. Long live Flagmantle - until it rains next.
West Coast Eagles (60) vs Western Bulldogs (161)
Why are we bothering to cover West Coast games at this point? Surely there is a blueprint we can fill in each week to make these articles easier.
This week West Coast played [teamname] at [groundname] and did their best impression of blue and yellow witches hats.
[teamname] ended up running out [point] winners, and left West Coast reeling in their worst ever season breaking/narrowly avoiding the record for [new awful record West Coast have broken].
The greatest beneficiaries of this were [half back/wingman] and [forward who kicked a bag] as they were able to rack up incredible figures against West Coast's awful and uninterested team defence.
Here, I'll show you how that would have looked this week:
This week West Coast played the Bulldogs at home, and did their best impression of blue and yellow witches hats.
The Bulldogs ended up running out 101 point winners, and left West Coast reeling in their worst ever season, breaking the record for most consecutive 50 point losses, now at seven - and allowing the Bulldogs to record their greatest ever winning margin.
The greatest beneficiaries of this were Bailey Dale (28 disposals, 1 goal) and Aaron Naughton (4 goals), who were able to rack up incredible figures against West Coast's awful and uninterested team defence.
There, see how easy that was?
The good news for West Coast is that two of their next three games are against Adelaide and Essendon - and the bye, so for their sakes hopefully the consecutive 50 point losses record ends here.
Gold Coast Suns (121) vs Hawthorn (54)
♫ WE ARE THE SUNS OF THE GOLD COAST SKY ♫
Is this finally it? The year we get to see Gold Coast play finals? They teased us so cruelly the year Ablett went down with that shoulder. We get to hear that trumpet after every goal at home. It's getting exciting.
Hawthorn, fresh off of beating the good Queensland team in Tasmania, travelled to Darwin to play their jealous younger sibling - and get the absolute shit kicked out of them.
♫ WE ARE ONE IN THE RED, GOLD AND BLUE ♫
Make no mistake, this was a Suns domination from beginning to end, controlling the game all over the ground. Possibly most exciting is how the team of rejects are travelling, with Ellis, Collins, Chol, Casboult and Weller all starring - along with the usual subjects in Witts and Miller.
There's a real life to this Gold Coast team, so much so I've forgotten to write many jokes about this game. That's fine though, when the joke is Hawthorn.
♫ WE ARE THE MIGHTY GOLD COAST SUNS ♫
The most fascinating thing is, as the fight for the bottom spots in the eight heats up, Gold Coast have by far the most favourable draw.
With North twice, West Coast for a second time, Essendon once and Hawthorn again, paired with games against Geelong and Collingwood in Queensland - 8th is theirs for the taking.
♫ WE PLAY TO WIN THE FLAG FOR YOU ♫
Between the flattering draw possibly helping them home to finals - along with the self sabotage of sides around them (looking at you Collingwood losing to West Coast) - and Collins set for a potential AA berth thanks to an injury in a game later in the round, I'm thinking someone at the Suns needs to get in touch with Steven Bradbury to serve as their mascot in September.
St Kilda (103) vs North Melbourne (50)
North, who are travelling about as well as "West Coast With a Game Plan," continue to lose, in what is fast becoming one of the certainties in life.
St Kilda being consistent is a little weirder, as this win saw them slide into the top four, as they start to make their fans wonder if they are ready to trust again.
Winning against North has been a rite of passage for every team in the AFL this year except West Coast, who in a funnier twist of fate got their win against Collingwood.
St Kilda's backline is good, King is a freak, and North are awful. Even watching this game I couldn't bring myself to pay attention to it.
Collingwood (79) vs Carlton (75)
Now you may have seen the news this week, but it turns out that Weitering - Jacob that is, in case you know any others - might be quite good.
In fact I would go so far as to say that Carlton would have lost at least three if not four more games had he not been playing this year. Unfortunately for them, the first game he missed just happened to come against Collingwood, something several of their fans punched on about in the carpark after the game.
Charlie Curnow is still quite good, but when all of the other pillars get taken away (McGovern, Weitering, Pittonet, McKay, McDonald), even the strongest of castles will begin to crumble.
Turns out that Weitering just happened to be a load bearing pillar, and took the whole building down with him. Even worse was that he injured himself only because Jordan De Go(do your community service)ey crapped his dacks and took his eyes off footy, taking a fresh airy in the process, and resulted in Weitering tearing his AC joint.
It's never good to see someone you love hurt, especially not by someone you hate.
Even worse for the footballing world, Collingwood are now in touching distance of the top 8, leading many (me) (and my dad)... (and my housemate) to believe that Nathan Buckley was perhaps not a very good coach, and considering his severe case of FIGJAM and role in the racism saga at Collingwood, should perhaps get his giant noggin off the telly (and also stop referring to Pies players on a first name basis in commentary).
Carlton's season is clearly over if you ask the media - the same media who said Fremantle's season was over last week - as they have slipped to the untenable position of ... *checks notes* ... two games behind first! The sky is falling! We need a full review.
Port Adelaide (66) vs Essendon (50)
Someone forgot to tell Essendon that the Doug Nicholls games were still going, as they somehow managed to be the only team for the round to not wear their indigenous jumper. I guess we should be thankful they showed up at all as they seem to have forgotten to do that enough times this season.
Perhaps they learned from last week and realised that wearing a predominantly black jumper against another side in a predominantly black jumper would make the game hard to watch. If only there was a way they could have known in advance which teams they were playing in round 10 & 11.
Not that it really mattered, as this game was a pretty boring affair played between two sides who don't appear to be very good. It couldn't even be made interesting by being close, as Port looked like winning all game, and didn't get pushed too hard at any point, despite Essendon's impersonation of a comeback in the third term. The final quarter of this game was entirely goalless, which was about what it deserved.
Missing Mason Redman not only meant that nobody from Port got elbowed in the chin, but also that nobody really got defended, with Ports biggest enemy for most of the game was their own footballing ability.
The most fight Essendon showed was with each other, as Darcy Parish got heated with his teammates about their inability to defend - only about ten weeks too late. The good news for the Bombers is that they do still have games against West Coast and North Melbourne to come. The bad news is that they don't get to play themselves.
Next week both of these sides will attempt to make history by losing to the bye. It's long odds, but I believe either one of them could do it.