AFL Round Two
Updated: Feb 4
Richmond v Collingwood
The best thing about Thursday night football, is that I have another night where I have a reason to avoid all social interaction. Another Thursday night, and another MCG blockbuster for Richmond, this time a chance for redemption for last year's shock Preliminary Final thumping at the hands of a determined Pies outfit who pressured them out of the game. Unfortunately for the Tigers, this time they had no Rance or Houli.
This time Collingwood employed the simple tactic of "if we don't let Richmond have the ball, we can't really lose," and it worked remarkably well, with Collingwood setting a new record number of marks, and out marking Richmond by almost 100 marks and recording a whomping 44 point win. Collingwood's banner also had a dick joke on it directed toward Richmond supporters, and then they found out that Riewoldt has a fractured wrist. With so much going wrong for Richmond at the moment, they must be getting a safe nostalgia. Just like old times.
The good news for Collingwood fans is that they can all rest easy for the remainder of the season, as the media have declared them certain premiers. As we all know that worked remarkably well for Adelaide and Richmond over the past few years, and there's zero chance that things might change before the end of the year.
Sydney Swans v Adelaide Crows
After both of these sides suffered shock upsets last week, they were determined to get back onto the right foot. The worst thing about this game was that it was the first time this week that the commentators got to tell us how grave starting a season 0 - 2 is. I say worst, not because it's a bad stat, but because I think I heard it roughly five thousand more times by the weekend's end.
This was technically a Sydney home game, but if their record in recent seasons is anything to go by, it's like they're just house-sitting and are technically homeless, as they have now lost seven of their last 13 home games. After seeming to think that the JLT series was still going last week, Adelaide seemed to bounce back to some sort of form for this game, but it's hard to say if it was an improved Adelaide side, or just a really lacklustre Sydney one.
Buddy Franklin was mercurial at times, much like the one focused person in a 22 man group assignment. If you've never experienced someone in a group assignment who hasn't pulled their weight before, I have bad news for you. You're the Tom Swift of group assignments. Oh that's right. Adelaide won.
Essendon v St Kilda
Did you know that if you start a season 0 - 2 then you're statistically very unlikely to play finals? You did? Okay I was just making sure. This game was interesting because both teams seemed determined to prove that round one wasn't a fluke. Essendon proving that they are a poor enough side to lose that badly to the Giants, and St Kilda wanted to show just why they almost managed to lose to the Suns at home. Last week Essendon coach John Worsefold said that his players had already mentally played their game before the actual game. It's a problem that effects many men and they shouldn't feel ashamed.
It felt at all times like whichever team figured out that their opposition was rubbish first, would win this game. Turned out that side was the Saints. St Kilda were clearly the more cohesive unit, with six of their players sharing the name Jack, whereas Essendon don't even have two players in their side with the same name. Where's the sense of unity? It's just not good enough from a professional sporting outfit.
After being premiership fancies for many, Essendon now look to be more in the hunt for a wooden spoon than any silverware. St Kilda, interestingly have now started the season 2 - 0. They haven't been convincing wins, but they are wins. They're already half way to their total wins tally for last year with 21 games to go. Unfortunately, in future weeks they may come up against teams that know how to play football.
Port Adelaide v Carlton
Ken Hinkley said last week that it was the club's best win in his tenure. It's always dangerous to make a statement like that, because people will accuse you of playing your Grand Final early. 26 or so weeks early in this case. 42 000 fans came out to see Port almost lose this game to last year's wooden spooners, in yet another gallant defeat from the Blues. The good news for Port fans is that they didn't lose to Carlton. The bad news is they almost lost to Carlton. And lost Jack Watts and Karl Amon. Carlton also had their share of bad luck with Charlie Curnow succumbing to a knee injury. If there are footy gods, it feels like they're still punishing Carlton for their salary cap sins of the 90's. Maybe someone needs to come up with a Footy Confessional, where teams and players can go and confess their sins, and be forgiven in the eyes of the one true god Gary Ablett. Who would Ablett confess his own sins to though? Or does he need to find a system of self forgiveness, to atone for his sins? Does this have anything to do with that bizarre photo of him on a couch with a saxophone? Sorry I got a little sidetracked there. Port won this, and would be happy with a 2-0 start to the season.
Geelong Cats v Melbourne
MISSING PERSONS: THE MELBOURNE FOOTBALL TEAM. LAST SEEN GETTING OFF A BUS ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON NEAR MOORABOOL STREET. SOUTH GEELONG. After two games decided by a kick after the siren, followed by a comfortable Melbourne win in the Elimination final last season, there was a fair bit of interest leading into this game. Geelong is not a happy place for the Melbourne Football Club. Last season they held a six goal lead in the last quarter, only for Zach Tuohy to kick a goal after the siren for a Geelong win. As recently as 2016 they lost by over 100 points at Kardinya Park, and famously in 2011 Geelong monstered Melbourne by 186 points, the biggest loss in the AFL era. I can only imagine a trip to Geelong for Melbourne players would be like those team meetings at work you have to attend. It's not going to be fun. You're going to feel worthless once it's over. But you'll lose your job if you don't go. Geelong had the game on their terms in the first quarter, racking up 24 more contested possessions than their opposition, to turn in 24 point leaders at the first break. They only increased that lead by one more point in a low scoring second quarter. And then Melbourne players were confronted with their Kardinya Park Demons, as Geelong piled on the goals. Geelong kicked 12 of the next 13 goals. I'd say it was like watching a car crash, but I've never watched a car crash, and I think you'd call 000 straight away if you did. Some Dees supporters would probably be forgiven if they did just that on Saturday night. Did you know that when a team starts a season 0-2 they're statistically unlikely to make the finals?
West Coast Eagles v GWS Giants
Now I'm not sure if you know this, but when a team starts the season 0-2 they're statistically unlikely to make the finals, so I'm sure you understand what an important game this was for West Coast (I'll stop now, but you see my point). This was a chance for West Coast to unfurl their fourth flag, a feat that sees them rivalled only by Hawthorn in terms of the modern era of football. Being that they're not from Victoria, of course, they can't possibly be as good. Just ask Robert Walls.
West Coast were massively upset last week against Brisbane, where by some scheduling mix up, Dom Sheed was the only Eagles player who rocked up to the Gabba. Thankfully there wasn't the same mixup this week, and the whole team turned up - much to the disappointment of GWS, who last week had the benefit of Essendon not showing up to their game. West Coast won this game, and won comprehensively, showing why they were last season's premiers in a display that saw them kick away in the second quarter and never look back. Perhaps most impressive was the smother job that Mark Hutchings did on Stephen Coniglio, wearing him about as closely as a virgin during his prom's slow dance section.
North Melbourne v Brisbane Lions
There's a lot of hype around Brisbane this season, and perhaps rightly so. They claimed some great scalps last year, and recruited well in the off season. And then backed it up with a win against the reigning premiers in round one. North Melbourne however, let a Ross Lyon coached football team kick more than 20 goals against them. Which is potentially the Holy Grail of awful starts to a season. North Melbourne, potentially since the departure of Wayne Carey, seem to be that team that's just alright. Never a real threat. Just. Alright. They led this game for most of the first half, but let it slip when an exciting young Brisbane team overran them for spirit and skill in the second half. Did you know that there are players in this Brisbane team that wouldn't be old enough to remember when Brisbane were the powerhouse of the AFL? Hugh McLuggage, Jarrod Berry and Cam Rayner wouldn't have even been in year one when Brisbane won the third of their three premierships in a row. A fact that I find both incredible and terrifying. Brisbane, after finishing in the bottom four last year, sit second on the ladder after round two. I know it's a bit early to be making rash statements, but Brisbane are definitely* going to win the premiership. (*definitely here translates to probably won't)
Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs
The Bulldogs won a premiership three years ago. I have to remind myself this every week, because it still doesn't seem like a fact. After a convincing win last week the Hawks went into this game as heavy favourites, and when they turned into the final break five goals up, it looked like it was done and dusted. That was before injuries to Burgoyne and Shiels left them two short in the final quarter and the Doggies got on a roll that saw them record a nine goal to one final quarter. Not since I last watched a Christopher Nolan film have I seen a twist and turnaround quite so dramatic as this one. It's a real shame, because it's been so long since Hawks fans tasted success. They're such a long suffering club.
Gold Coast Suns v Fremantle
There was so little interest in this game that the AFL website didn't even bother updating the scores until after half time. They just pretended it wasn't even on. The Gold Coast Suns came into 2019 a depleted team, whom many picked to struggle to win a game. They almost won against St Kilda last week, and came out determined from the get go to come close to a win this week. Perhaps the players were told in the off season "If we do too poorly this year, we're all going to have to move to Hobart. No more Surfers Paradise recovery sessions. You'll be swimming in the frosty Tasman off Bellerive," Whatever the message, it seemed to work, as they came out intent to win this game. It wasn't an easy game to watch, and thankfully not many had to, with the crowd barely reaching 10 000. The Suns kicked 7.19 for the match. Which is truly dreadful. The only thing worse than kicking 7.19 for a match, is losing to a team that kicked 7.19. For Fremantle fans it was just a reminder of that familiar feeling of bitter disappointment that other supporters call "football season,"