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  • Writer's pictureJack Turner

AFL | Round Four | 2022

This man’s face says it all for Port fans

Port Adelaide (36) vs Melbourne (68)

What a way to start the season. Port Adelaide celebrate their 100th game at Adelaide oval with their equal worst ever start to a season.

I assumed this game wasn’t going to be very interesting, but I thought at least it would be fun to watch Melbourne score relentlessly.

As I sat on the couch 15 minutes into the second term, I wondered if I would ever see multiple goals in a quarter again.

Instead, it was just Port Adelaide goalless at half time, for the first time in their them-against-the-world history. I wonder if we’ll hear about the prison bars this year, or if that only matters when Port are good (and Eddie McGuire is president).

Georgiades took two bounces (over probably sixty meters) only to have the ball smothered on the line in an attempt to kick Port Adelaide’s first, in an effort that summed up their night.

Port did eventually kick four goals, after Melbourne took their foot off the pedal.

Melbourne are great and Port are awful. It’s like Upside Down 2007.

Geelong Cats (80) vs Brisbane Lions (70)

Another season, another late in the game umpiring decision against the Lions costing them a game at Kardinia Park (at least according to every media outlet in the country).

It's always the ones that directly result in (or cost a goal) in the dying minutes that you hear about, rather than the plethora of incorrect calls that happen at other points of a game.

Of course, it was the umpiring that cost this one, rather than Geelong dominating almost every stat for the game, including having eighteen more inside fifties, six more centre clearances and ten more scoring shots.

Maybe it's simply easier to blame the umpires as a sort of common enemy. That and it's hard to admit fault in ourselves - or our sporting teams which are an extension of ourselves, or in some people's case their entire sense of identity.

Geelong rested Selwood, and moments before the bounce lost Stewart, leaving them short a captain and vice captain, but it mattered little. Tom Hawkins bagged another five and shares the lead in the Coleman, despite being 137 years old, if my maths is correct.

Brisbane now haven't won in Geelong since 2003. They've won a game at Princes Park more recently, which is saying something. They also only have two wins at the MCG since 2009. Troubling considering most finals and the Grand Final are played there.

Sydney Swans (86) vs North Melbourne (75)

Like most people, I had this one pencilled in as an easy win for Sydney, but much like the game before it, and several more games for the weekend, one team's goalkicking accuracy became the other's opportunity.

That isn't just to say that North's goalkicking accuracy was the only thing that kept them in this game, they played well as a unit, and without some last quarter heroics from Dane Rampe and Justin McInerney, North may well have won the game.

Who knew all they needed was to put Jack Zeibell up forward, so he could kick five and set one up with a perfect no-look handpass. Coaching is easy sometimes.

But, as Carlton fans learned often over the Bolton years, there are no points for trying, and North Melbourne sits just one spot off the bottom of the ladder, and Sydney well in touch with the pack, having lost just one game.

Oh and Buddy is injured again. I suppose his body figured with that pesky thousand goal milestone out of the way, he could miss a few games. This time it is just a broken finger, so he should be back soon enough.

Collingwood (74) vs West Coast Eagles (87)

There are only a few things funnier than West Coast suffering, and one of them happens to be Port Adelaide suffering, which is going smoothly, and the other is Collingwood suffering, which this all but ensured.

After a disappointing loss to a contender, in one of the biggest choking efforts in recent memory, Collingwood had a perfect chance to continue their promising start to the season against a struggling West Coast.

Instead, they could do little but watch as they kicked to to Jeremy McGovern and Alex Witherden, who in turn sent the ball inside 50, where West Coast's forwards - or those of them who remain - kicked goals with startling accuracy.

Despite winning the inside 50's by a startling margin, West Coast losing Naitanui late, and Jack Ginnivan doing his absolute best to make it another "controversially umpired result," West Coast piled on the last three goals of the game, in a five goal to one final term that is becoming somewhat of a worry for the Magpies.

Now, all I need to never see Nathan Buckley's face on the TV again, and I'll be a happy happy man.

Richmond (99) vs Western Bulldogs (61)

Sometimes when you get in a rut, everything you do seems to go wrong. This seems to be particularly true for the Western Bulldogs right now.

Not content with keeping Sydney in the game last week with their horrendous kicking, this week the Bulldogs decided to let their kicking lose them a game completely.

Much like several other teams this round, the Bulldogs were unable to capitalise on their dominance around the ground, however they did it better than anyone, losing by seven goals.

Since the last quarter against Carlton, where they attempted to win with behinds, the Bulldogs have now kicked 18.43. You have to wonder if it's deliberate at this point.

Richmond, however, continue to confuse and perplex the competition. Maybe the answer is that they are a team somewhere in the middle of the pack pressing to make finals? An answer like that is not enough fun for AFL journalists. It must be either dynasty over or a sleeping giant.

Bulldogs fans are now likely reminiscing on simpler times, when their biggest issues were losing games to Melbourne, and Bevo scolding sexist journos.

Fremantle (88) vs GWS Giants (54)

I went into this game unsure what to think of these two sides. I am still unsure what to think of these two sides.

These sides were neck and neck all game, until GWS decided it was all too hard and decided to take the last quarter off, allowing Fremantle to kick six unanswered goals.

For Fremantle it must have been a relief to be the side kicking unanswered goals, after the patches of dominance they allowed Adelaide and St Kilda to have. Even more of a relief to win a game without Fyfe or Mundy - however having Sean Darcy back makes almost as big of a difference as he is a big man.

Will "steak knives" Brodie had another great game, as Andrew Brayshaw continues to dominate games, making for a scary proposition when Fyfe returns. The Backline of Chapman, Young and Logue operated like a well-oiled machine, making up for the lack of Alex Pearce.

As for GWS, they have now slumped to 1-3 yet again, and are showing just how important Toby Greene is to their team. It's just a shame he has a small radish for a brain, and keeps missing important games, or long stretches of seasons.

GWS at least get a nice rest next week, playing an away game against the undefeated Dees, who haven't lost a game since round 19 last year.

Essendon (103) vs Adelaide Crows (99)

This was a game Essendon really had to - and were expected to - win, so of course, they barely scraped across the line, allowing Adelaide back into the game at every opportunity.

Tex Walker impressed on his return from being racist, kicking four goals, and almost kicking a winning fifth that just fell short, preventing a complete social media breakdown.

During the week Adelaide's social media made the bizarre decision to highlight Walker’s return from suspension, rather than let it happen quietly and it went about as well as you would expect.

Both of these sides now sit at 1-3, and either one of them could easily be 0-4, with get out of jail wins. Does that mean Adelaide are okay, or Essendon are far worse than we thought? Or is round four far too early to be making form assessments?

Hawthorn (73) vs Gresham, Hill, King, Membrey (98) & rest of St Kilda (44)

This match marked the end of the “thrilling contests” portion of the weekend, and commenced the much shorter and far less popular “absolute snoozefests” segment.

After losing to Carlton, and breaking their undefeated streak - which actually dated back to Round 20 last year - Hawthorn clearly decided that they were happy to return to the form eveyone expected from them, and hardly fired a shot.

As for St Kilda, they dominated this game so thoroughly, four of their players managed four goals each, and one of them was Brad Hill.

St Kilda have developed a style of football this year where they kick the vast majority of their goals in bursts, and cruise for the rest of the game.

As someone who did similar at uni, I can certainly respect that outlook and behaviour.

What is really scary though, is that with this win, St Kilda have surged into the top four, setting up a home game against Gold Coast that could see them jump as high as second or fall as low as tenth. Truly a nightmare for Saints fans.

Gold Coast Suns (92) vs Carlton (62)

Carlton showed up to this game sitting undefeated, third on the ladder, and left this game licking their wounds just one Hawks goal away from 11th spot on the ladder.

Gold Coast dominated this game, helped mostly by Carlton not having a ruckman, and then also not having Patrick Cripps to make up for not having a ruckman. A rough day.

I saw a surprising number of headlines and articles since the weekend suggesting Carlton fans pop the lid back on, but the Carlton fans I know are more hesitant to take their lids off than the kid who wore a rashy to swimming lessons in primary school.

Instead, it has been the media hyping Carlton up as if they were premiership favourites, or making the "threepeat" jokes about the three wins in a row - FoxFooty even lovingly put together a video package they showed every second ad break about how good Voss's Blues were.

Well it turns out that no matter how strong this new Carlton is, their awful record at Metricon is stronger. They even managed to lose back to back games there against the hapless Brisbane Bears back in 1989 and 1981. More specifically, they're 0-3 when playing Gold Coast at Metricon in Round 4.

Regardless, Gold Coast are now just percentage out of the 8, in their annual seven weeks of looking like a contender, so if you have them - particularly on the Gold Coast - in the next three weeks, be careful.

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