AFL Round Four
Sydney Swans vs Western Bulldogs
So first of all I want to say that I'm impressed we got a full nine games in this week, and would like to blame the absence of The Weekly Turnaround last weekend on the spike of Covid cases in Victoria over the last fortnight. What's that? I don't live or work in Victoria? I don't see how that's relevant.
On paper this game seemed pretty simple. Sydney's home game, club champion's milestone match, Dunkley out for the Bulldogs. Sydney in 7th, and the Bulldogs sitting a miserly 16th. So of course that meant the Bulldogs were going to win. It's 2020, get with the times.
Sydney were never really in this game, continuing the trend of teams that forget the game starts in the first quarter and not the second, the Swans managed to go goalless for the entire first term, and managed just two goalscorers for the entire evening. Meanwhile the Bulldogs form line is about as hard to follow as the story your mate is trying to tell you while ten beers deep.
At least I now understand why Sydney went to such lengths to keep Papley from moving to Carlton. Without him they would have managed a grand total of 1.7.13.
GWS Giants vs Collingwood
Remember in the Semi Final last year, when GWS held on to win against a Collingwood side who really only had their own inaccuracy to blame for them not running away with the game in the final term? Apparently they were screening it again on Friday night in Sydney.
Collingwood drew level early in the final quarter, and even hit the lead by a solitary point at one stage, before dominating the inside 50's to finish the term with 1.5 to GWS 2 goals straight to lose by just two points. Just think, had only one of those five behinds gone through the big sticks, Collingwood fans would be insufferable today. Sometimes 2020 can be a blessing.
To add injury to insult for Pies fans, Jeremy Howe's knee did its best impersonation of that shape streetpoles make after a cartoon character runs into them and it humorously bends to accommodate the outline of the character. All in all it did not look comfortable.
Port Adelaide vs West Coast Eagles
I have to hand it to West Coast, they really are embodying the Australian spirit during all of this. When you see them playing golf and hanging out, all seems well, but then as soon as they get to work, you can tell they don't want to be there, and they really phone it in.
I don't want to take anything away from Port Adelaide... wait no, yes I do.
Port, as of yet, haven't played a team since the end of lockdown that have looked like they actually care about football. Getting excited about comfortable wins against Adelaide and West Coast this season is like when you used to get excited when you got your mum out in backyard cricket after she finally agreed to play after hours of nagging. Sure you still did it, but what was it really worth?
West Coast have at least avoided taking on Richmond next week, which I'm not sure is a blessing with the way the Tigers are travelling at the moment, while Port will face their first real test in Brisbane. Not a sentence I thought I would be typing two years ago.
St Kilda vs Richmond
I would like to say it would have taken a brave person to tip St Kilda here, but I tipped St Kilda, and I think it was more out of dumb luck and stupidity than bravery. In my mind, how to tip in 2020 goes somewhat like this: Are they a certainty to win? Tip them. Are they the favourite but not a certainty? Don't tip them. As it now stands, Richmond aren't a certainty against anyone except maybe Adelaide.
St Kilda were actually quite good here, and the real surprise packet was Dan Butler, who played like someone who maybe deserved to be traded for something better than Pick 56. I have long been of the opinion that beards make you better at your job, and I would like to thank Dan Butler for providing more evidence for the highly professional study I am performing on the subject.
On the other hand, Richmond only have an insipid Carlton first quarter to thank for the fact that they aren't winless. The only positive they can really take out of the game is that they cleared the 40 point barrier for the first time since the season restart - and just after half time too! Quite an achievement. In a strange twist of fate, Richmond have now had their game moved from Queensland, where they've won their last seven in a row, to Victoria, where they've failed to win their last three. 2020.
Essendon vs Carlton
At least one thing in 2020 is normal. Carlton doing Carlton things. After last week, almost losing the game to Geelong in just one quarter, this week the Blues decided it would be fun to see if they could dominate almost every facet of the game, and still somehow lose. The umpires joined in, thinking this would be fun, paying a bizarre 50m penalty against Betts that was probably closer to 80m, and seeing Essendon take a mark inside 50 just before the final siren.
The game though was saved, by none other than Liam Jones' magnificent schnoz. It rose spectacularly from the back of the pack, and presented itself to the ball, taking the full brunt of a match saving falcon as he headbutted the ball across the line. Personally I think that falcon should be on all Carlton promotional material from now on.
I would also like to note that Zach Merrett accidentally revealed his secret identity as superman, as his light rib tickler in the tackling action managed to crack one of Jack Silvagni's ribs and bruise his lung. If only Essendon had put as much effort into winning this game as Merrett did into that punch.
Gold Coast Suns vs Fremantle
Of the AFL's two remaining winless teams, I think it's fair to say Fremantle are the better of them. Which, when the other side is Adelaide, isn't saying much, but we have to give them something.
This game was a lot closer than many people expected - including myself - which makes me wonder if Freo are better than we thought, or if Gold Coast aren't as good as the hype currently surrounding them. But then I watch Matt Rowell kick a goal and my brain is removed of all thoughts except for "haha the wunderkind is good at footy ball,"
In the end the Gold Coast never looked too troubled by Fremantle in this game, but also never looked dominant, but a lot of that would have been to do with Nat Fyfe having almost zero influence on the game before going off with a hamstring complaint. It's always annoying when you're relying on someone else to do all the work for you and then they bail early.
Brisbane Lions vs Adelaide Crows
When your opposition almost doubles your score, and the scoreline is still flattering, you're not doing a very good job. Possibly the most bizarre part of this game was the commentators talking about how much Adelaide seem to have improved on previous weeks, and I had to wonder if we were watching the same game.
After calls for him to be dropped echoed throughout the football world the past fortnight, Tex Walker decided this week was the right time to put in one quarter of quality football - which, in his defence, is one quarter more than most of his teammates have put in this year. Walker almost single handedly dragged his side into the game in the third term, with eight disposals, two goal assists and two goals one. A shame he managed three disposals and no score involvements for the other three quarters.
Lachie Neale was set to ruin everyone's multi this week, bagging a classy 0.6. He wasn't alone in his awe defying inaccuracy, as the Hughman Suitcase (McLugage) managed to kick 1.5. from his six shots on goal. If Brisbane had kicked straight they probably would have been arrested for manslaughter. And as for Adelaide; I don't think I've seen an AFL team this bad since someone accidentally let Mark Neeld coach the Melbourne Football Club.
Melbourne vs Geelong Cats
Do you remember the Alien vs Predator poster, with the catchphrase "Whoever Wins... We Lose."
Well this game felt a lot like that, except it was more of a "Whoever Wins... Football Loses," I'm sure I have seen worse games of football played in my life, possibly even this season, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you what they were (Richmond v Collingwood).
Geelong seemed determined to not win this game, and Tom Stewart's collarbone seemed to be in on the deal, collapsing under a pretty bog standard bump from McDonald off the ball. When that didn't work, Tom Atkins decided to lend a hand by actively avoiding possessions for the whole afternoon.
In the spirit of close games this week, the umpires decided to call another mystery 50m penalty in the dying stages to the side that was behind, that yet again didn't effect the outcome of the match, but may have caused several people across the country to go into cardiac arrest.
They say a win is a win, and I agree, but I think I'd rather watch 1997's Batman and Robin than sit through this game again.
Hawthorn vs North Melbourne
Not to be outdone by how awful the Geelong win over Melbourne was, the Hawks and Roos really went out of their way to make sure I had a boring Sunday. Also to ruin my perfect round of tipping up until this game, for which in my mind, the blame solely lies with Ben Cunnington's back.
Hawthorn dominated this game from start to finish approximately half way through the final term, when they clearly decided their work here was done, and swung away like El Nombre. Meanwhile the Roos who hadn't scored since before half time decided that now was the time to literally double their score for the match in the space of fifteen minutes.
Jy Simpkin truly is experiencing his Hot Girl Summer™ in 2020, and went a long way toward getting his team across the line in the final term, before a frantic snap from him barely missed in the dying seconds. If I'm being honest, all I want to come from Simpkin's new found form is for him to develop a fan following who refer to themselves as The Simps. At least give me this 2020.
At least unlike the Hawthorn game last weekend, I wasn't forced to endure a weird patch of commentary about how attractive all the commentators think Jaeger O'meara is, which was somehow worse than the quality of football in this game was.