AFL Round Fourteen
What started as a chore at work, and became a weekly hobby; It's The Weekly Turnaround!
West Coast Eagles vs Essendon
This game was both on a Thursday night, and played in Western Australia, so I can only assume most people in Victoria didn't even know it was on - especially considering the start time of 8:10 Eastern Standard Time. From what the media tells me most people in Melbourne are either in bed, or fighting African gangs at this time.
This game started as if both teams were on very different kinds of drugs, as Essendon kicked the first eight goals of the game, as even the umpires couldn't help West Coast who were not only struggling with the fact that almost their entire forward line is injured, but they also forgot how to get the ball in there. They worked their way back into the game in the second quarter, but couldn't convert, doing their best St Kilda impression, and kicking 2.11 across the second and third quarters, including a wonderful swing and a miss from Scott Lycett on the goal line that I'm sure he'd rather never see again. West Coast will be looking to rebound against Adelaide next week, as their form line has been sharply down since Darling was injured during the third quarter against the Saints.
Port Adelaide vs Melbourne
Friday Round Fourteen: Adelaide Oval. The "Neither of Us Wants to Play Jack Watts Cup,"
After trying to pick the scraps from every team in the AFL during the off season last year, Jack Watts was nowhere to be seen against his old club, with even the scum on my boot heel Lindsay Thomas lining up again against the Demons, who are now getting accustomed to losing to any team that looks like they could have a tilt at the flag. Melbourne kicked the first three goals of the game, and led at all three changes, with the result threatening to have more-feral-than-usual Port fans run rampant after the game, but a crisis was avoided when Melbourne forgot that you need to kick goals in all four quarters, allowing the home side to Power home, and win by ten points, saving themselves, and my tipping, from yet another embarrassing upset.
Hawthorn vs Gold Coast Suns
With Launceston being Hawthorn's quasi home ground, and potentially the Suns' new one, I like to think this was simultaneously a home game for both, and neither team. Surprisingly the Suns were the better team for the first two quarters, but couldn't convert this onto the scoreboard, managing to not score a goal in either the second or third terms. I've heard many experts say this isn't how you go about winning games. But what would they know, they thought it was a good idea to set up a sporting team on the Gold Coast. Clarkson looked so worried, that I was wondering if he was going to book another coffee date or closed training session with Gil Mclachlan. For much of this game the teams seemed to be having a competition as to who could miss the easiest goals, and while it was tight, the Suns definitely won this battle, managing 5.13 in a game where there were almost double the amount of behinds kicked to goals, more than double if you factor in that the Hawks certainly kicked the Suns behinds, running out 53 point winners. In a refreshing change of pace though, Gold Coast actually managed two goals in the final term. Two! I actually checked the rules after the game, and apparently there's nothing to disallow this, which goes against my prior knowledge.
Brisbane Lions vs GWS Giants
You know what, I admit it. I like watching Brisbane play football. It's exciting.
This was another one of those games at the Gabba, where if Brisbane were just a little bit better, or perhaps if their best defender and arguably most important player hadn't been elbowed in the jaw in the first quarter ruling him out for the game, they definitely could have won. In fact it's getting to the point where I think that the Lions should just change their motto to "Lose Honourably."
The scoreline pretty accurately reflected the game, with the Giants being about a goal a quarter better than the spirited Lions, who looked like fighting back into the game at any moment. Something that their northern friends in the Suns could probably learn something from. With the Giants looking to fight Hawthorn and North Melbourne for the last spot in the final eight, losing Jeremy Cameron for an extended stint probably won't be ideal, though I'm sure Ben Brown feels a little more confident about his Coleman Medal hopes, as after Cameron, Franklin is 9 goals away. The AFL should be happy too, as finally a Victorian is going to win the medal again.
Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne
This had the highest attendance, of possibly the lowest attended Saturday in AFL history, with a mere 26000 fans showing up, which was still more than the other two games got combined. Before the round started, I definitely didn't think this was going to be the game of the round - possibly even of the bye rounds - and apparently according to AFL protocol, because both teams scored less than 80 points, I have to say that football is dying and we have to make changes.
While the Bulldogs got off to a flying start, kicking the first three goals of the game, and even leading by 24 points at one stage, once the Roos fought their way back into the game, there was no way of knowing who was going to win. Ben Brown extended his lead in the Coleman, bagging a lazy five goals, before Jack Ziebell snagged a goal with just twenty seconds to go, to snare a two point win for North Melbourne, and keep the premiership dream alive. I was shamelessly cheering for the Bulldogs, however North Melbourne winning keeps the dream of the Hawks missing the finals again alive, and that can only be good news. This makes the last five games between these teams decided by less than four goals, and the last three by less than one. But I can't stress this enough, it was low scoring, and therefore wasn't one of the most exciting games of the year.
Collingwood vs Carlton
I don't think I will ever know hatred quite as strong or passionate as between the fans of these two teams, as well over 50 000 fans showed up to see this relative lack of interest game between the teams now fourth and last. It truly is a sight to behold - preferably from a distance, and behind some very strong perspex. This game was less a blockbuster, as it was a "reason to turn the telly on," unless of course you don't have Foxtel, in which case I hope you enjoyed whatever was on TV, because it wasn't this. Considering most pundits had Carlton losing this game by in excess of ten goals, they were incredibly competitive, which just makes their effort last week against Fremantle that much more horrifying. I had a horrible feeling in my stomach as I barracked for Carlton in this game, with Charlie Curnow showing why he's one of the most exciting young players in the competition clunking 10 marks all around the ground, and finishing with three goals, along side Patrick Cripps. Carlton lost Levi Casboult before the game, which probably heavily contributed to their accuracy in front of goal. All in all, they weren't quite good enough, even though they showed fight to the end. Perhaps they should have taken a leaf out of Jeremy Cameron's book and knocked out Grundy in the first quarter. They probably would have won then.
At least the bye rounds are over now.