AFL Round Six
Geelong Cats (73) vs Brisbane Lions (46)
I'm sure nobody needs reminding that we live in truly strange times, but this week we get to witness none of the nine "home teams" playing in their home state. To start us off we have Geelong and Brisbane in uh.. Sydney. Because, sure, that makes sense.
Geelong shocked everyone last week by winning two games in a row for the first time in over a year, and disappointed everyone by ending Matt Rowell's season, meanwhile Brisbane surprised nobody by still being quite good at football against Port Adelaide.
Now throughout this year, I've strongly advocated against teams only remembering how to play for one quarter, but I may have to rescind those comments after Geelong decided that the third quarter of this game was the only one that mattered. With two rotations down on the bench, and Brisbane looking in control of the game, Geelong kicked the last two goals of the second term, and followed it up with a seven goal to zero third term, in one of the more dominant quarters of football in recent memory. Patrick Dangerfield is quite good also.
The issue here for Geelong though, is that in beating Brisbane in this game, they have leapfrogged them into second, a position on the ladder which is still yet to win a game in 2020. Luckily for Geelong, they get two home games in a row, with the next one being against Collingwood in uh ... Perth. A true home ground advantage.
Collingwood (59) vs Hawthorn (27)
Now I know Alastair Clarkson is a great coach, but I am truly at a loss as to how the game plan of "don't kick the ball forward unless you absolutely have to," is one that's going to win many games this year. Call me cynical, but I think, unless you're actively trying to kick goals, you're at a severe disadvantage.
I would like to say the worst thing about this game is that Hawthorn may have played Collingwood back into form, but then I remembered what Hawthorn's performance in this game was like to watch, and was immediately reminded that nothing about the game could have been worse than that.
The Hawthorn team we've seen since the resumption of the season looks a far sight from the side that dismantled Brisbane in Round One, and I take a lot of solace in the fact that they might genuinely not be very good this year. The part that makes that most concerning is that their injury list has been less troubling than recent seasons also. Of the seven sides currently sitting 3-3, Hawthorn definitely seem to be the worst.
I'm sure I could go on about how disappointing Hawthorn are, but I feel like I've said enough. I certainly don't want to talk Collingwood up any more either. So let's move on.
Fremantle (79) vs St Kilda (73)
I have a few points I would like to make about this game;
Last week, St Kilda ran all over Carlton, following up a win against last seasons premiers in Richmond, and the talk was "Maybe the Moorabbin recycling plant is going to be good this year," but then you lose to Fremantle after the biggest opening term of the year, and suddenly the story is very different. The story - rightfully - is; How on earth do you give up a 37 point lead, in shortened quarters, in 2020, against Fremantle, who hadn't looked like winning a game until they came up against Adelaide? It turns out the answer to that question is score very little in the second term, and then don't score at all in the third, and then let Fremantle run home with the game.
As for St Kilda, you've let Fremantle head home with consecutive wins and a head full of confidence and dreams. I'd like you to sit in a corner and think about what you've done. Thankfully for the Saints, they have the bye (Adelaide) this week, so will have some time to recover. Except for Ben Long, who will have several weeks to recover, after asking very rudely for Sean Darcy to eat his ass.
West Coast Eagles (67) vs Adelaide Crows (34)
The now infamous tweet that this game was prefaced by was much more interesting than this game. Personally I have to wonder how you tweet something like that by accident. Either O'Brien has been writing his pre-match notes in his Twitter drafts, or some how he "accidentally" opened notes, opened that specific note, hit the share button, tapped twitter, and then hit tweet.
It's amazing how sentient phones can get when they break.
I feel like I'm going to run out of things to say about Adelaide games before the season is over. I really can't put too much thought into why the opposition won, because the answer to that question is simple: they played Adelaide.
Adelaide are currently sitting as far on the bottom as a team ever has after six rounds, in possibly the most even start to a year in history. For reference, only two games separate second and 17th. A further two games separate 17th and Adelaide.
West Coast probably needed this win, at least for morale reasons, but you do have to wonder, if Gibbs, Greenwood, Cameron, Betts, McGovern and Lever (just to scrape the surface) were playing for the Crows on the weekend, would they have put up more of a fight?
Melbourne (80) vs Gold Coast Suns (63)
This game felt so inconsequential, that I barely remember what happened, but checking the scores again, it appears that Melbourne won. The result of this game has not remotely changed my opinion of these two teams, so they might as well have simply not played it.
Izak Rankine dazzled and amazed with close to the most impressive first three goals ever seen on a football field. The first of which with his first kick. Meanwhile in the middle of the ground, Hugh Greenwood took a slips catch that would have made Ricky Ponting blush.
During the week an unnamed football commentator (Garry Lyon) named his "redraft" of the top 10 from 2018, and put Izak Rankine at number three. Yes, that's correct, he put a player who has played one game, ahead of possibly the greatest rising star winner of all time Sam Walsh, and absolute midfield jet Bailey Smith. After one game.
Anyway, these two sides will probably play somebody this week, and there is a good chance they will either win, lose or draw. Moving on.
Essendon (67) vs North Melbourne (53)
After what was a very promising start to the season from North Melbourne, they have fallen off the perch in a most North Melbourne fashion. I have discussed in recent weeks the Roos midfielders complete disinterest in kicking the ball anywhere within reach of Ben Brown - a remarkable feat considering his arms are roughly 12m long - but they took that to new levels this week.
The final scoreline (and the fact that North led for most of the first half) might not indicate it, but it never really felt like North were in this game. David Zaharakis also remembered how to play football in his new forward role, popping up and kicking three goals.
Essendon will, however be without Dylan Shiel for a few weeks, after he mistook Curtis Taylor's head for a bump bag. An easy mistake to make of course. They tried to take the argument to the tribunal that if Shiel deserved to be suspended for this, then Cotchin shouldn't have played in the 2017 Grand Final. Which of course they're right; Cotchin shouldn't have played in the 2017 Grand Final.
What is alarming is the ever growing in confidence Essendon supporters in the comments section of football threads, who are very loud for fans of a team who haven't won a final since 2004. For reference, in 2004, GWS and Gold Coast didn't exist yet, John Howard was Prime Minister and Shannon Noll and Anastacia were atop the charts. I'm not saying Essendon aren't doing well, just maybe pipe down a tiiiiny bit.
Port Adelaide (63) vs GWS Giants (46)
Now I would like to say that, to me, this was the surprise of the round, but I got a grand total of three tips right, so everything is surprising to me these days, not least of all that I actually still wake up every morning.
Port Adelaide responded to their shock loss last week in most un-Port Adelaide fashion. By showing grit and determination and actually showing up the next week. In a strong team effort, where no player kicked more than a goal, Port Adelaide went from trailing by three points either side of three quarter time, to running out comfortable 17 point winners.
Forget Covid, I'm most scared of the idea that Port Adelaide might be good at football. After all they still sit atop the ladder, and by a whole game and a hefty amount of percentage. I never thought I would say this, but they face a real challenge in Carlton next weekend.
Richmond (34) vs Sydney (26)
I would like to take this opportunity to issue a formal apology to both the Fremantle and Adelaide football clubs (and to a lesser extent Collingwood). Last week I expressed my opinion that the Fremantle and Adelaide game may have been the worst game of football of the year. This game might be the worst I've ever seen.
Never in my time watching football have I witnessed two teams so disinterested in kicking a winning score. Hardwick may have had a point in criticising Sydney for placing the entire Peoples Liberation Army inside defensive 50 for much of this game, but Longmire would have equal right to be irked about Richmond's decision to make sure the ball never left packs resulting in ball up after ball up.
Watching this game, it looked like both sides were deliberately turning the ball over directly to a loose man inside 50 any time they looked like scoring, resulting in great games for Nathan Broad and Callum Mills.
There were only 11 contested marks taken in this entire game, and honestly, the fact that the number is that high surprised me. Now excuse me while I try and wipe this game for my mind forever.
Carlton (103) vs Western Bulldogs (51)
If I hear that promo where Jonathan Brown talks about Cripps' "Farmers Shouders" one more time, I might need to resort to permanently deafening myself.
This game however was very entertaining. I would have gone so far to say the game of the year up until three quarter time. However in the final term, the Bulldogs caved to Carlton's relentless pressure, and the Blues ran away with the game, comfortably recording the highest score of the round.
Carlton do love to dine out against the Bulldogs with three of their top scores over the last three years all being recorded against the Doggies.
In winning this game, Carlton locked themselves in as the ninth "home team" to win for the weekend, all outside of their home state. Carlton are now:
In the 8 for the first time since 2012
The only side to have beaten either Geelong or Essendon since the resumption of the season.
The team that ended the Bulldogs winning streak
And all of that without much influence from Cripps or Walsh. Truly terrifying times we live in. 2020 is relentless.