Western Bulldogs (90) vs Carlton (102)
If you had told me last year that I would be eagerly anticipating this match last year, I would have told you that you were kidding yourself. If you’d told me it would be game of the round - and one of the best of the year so far - even more so.
Carlton have a habit of scoring 100 points against the Bulldogs, so maybe this should have been no surprise. The last three times they’d met, they’d tonned up twice, and got above 90 the third time. So I guess it’s just me that's stupid.
The Bulldogs are employing an interesting tactic this season, one that they used to perfection in the grand final last year; if the opposition has an absolute huge unit in the midfield capable of having 30+ and bombing goals, just let him.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked for them. After Petracca had 39 and 2 in the Grand Final, and then 38 and 2 in round one, naturally Patrick Cripps had 35 and 2 on Thursday evening. Heeney could have the Coleman sewn up on Thursday if he gets similar treatment.
After watching Cripps, Walsh and Kennedy run rampant through the middle for a half of footy, the Doggies remembered that they ALSO have a talented midfield unit, and Libba, Macrae and Treloar kicked into action cramming all of their effort into the second half.
As someone who remembers university, I can certainly relate to this last-minute mentality. I can also relate to it breeding sub-par results - mostly due to Jacob Weitering, who, after getting plenty of the footy while Naughton was off the ground, simply resorted to spoiling everything that came his way in the final term once Naughton was back out there, denying the Bulldogs any chance of a win. Are Carlton good? It’s clearly too early in the season to say, however I assume there are a few lids slightly ajar in bluebagger households across the country.
Sydney (107) vs Geelong (77)
This night was all about Buddy, and boy did he deliver. He averaged 4 goals against the Cats at the SCG, and 4 goals was what he delivered, hitting the milestone exactly, as the AFL forgot to employ any kind of security.
Geelongs strengths last week were their weaknesses this week, with Cameron, Dangerfield and Stengle who kicked seven goals between them last week managed a few measly behinds, as the Cats rued inaccuracy in front of goal and when kicking inside 40 inside 50.
Geelong never really looked in this game, as Sydney cost themselves several opportunities while trying to seek Buddy out inside 50, and in the final term they finally reached him. His kick was true, and sailed through the sticks as tens of thousands of fans rushed onto the - *click*
Nathan Lyon after getting the breakthrough wicket of Babar Azam earlier in the day, strikes at the tail dismissing Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi, taking a hard-earned first Michelle Pheiffer for the series, and leaving Pakistan 9 down and Australia tasting victory.
Pat Cummins brings himself on to bowl, and strikes true, clean bowling Naseem Shah and the stumps go cartwheeling (take note of how good that looked Cricket Australia) and Australia seal the series win.
Cummins is clearly relieved to come away with the win as he explains that the declaration target was designed to be very reachable, as he had faith in his bowlers and *click*
More than half an hour has passed, and the security at the SCG still haven’t cleared the ground to restart the game. Zach Tuohy returned a mans car keys, and two Swans players have ended up in the car park.
The disruption of play clearly broke the flow of the game, as what had been a high scoring affair until this point yielded one more goal, as Geelong managed to save their percentage a little with a late consolation prize.
Lance “Buddy” Franklin has - in all seriousness - been an absolute pleasure to watch in my lifetime, and I am certain we will never see another footballer like him. Here’s to you Bud.
Collingwood (100) vs Adelaide (58)
This game was where the sadness began to sink in. One poor standard game could have been an anomaly. Two in a row had me worried. As the round went on my fears were realised and there truly wasn’t much footy worth watching this weekend. All bar the third term of this game took more than ten minutes for the first goal to be kicked, as Adelaide allowed Collingwood to get the hard ball, and then failed to punish them on the turnover. Doing two things bady is always quite impressive, and I think it’s important we praise a side’s ability to multitask.
As for Collingwood? Well. I’m not sure who decided that as well as a plague, a war, and an upcoming federal election we needed Collingwood to start winning games of football, but they truly are a cruel god.
The most exciting part of this game was when someone lit a pie on fire in a food outlet, and for five minutes everyone thought they were going to have to evacuate - except that the doors to the outside were still locked, creating a log jam.
As it turned out, this was a false alarm - much like Adelaide’s respectable performance in the second half last weel - and the fans eventually returned to their seats. Adelaide fans probably regretted this decision soon after, as The Pies piled on seven goals in the third term.
The only satisfaction I get from watching Collingwood win, is the idea that it was Buckley holding them back all along. Now if only I could get his face off of my TV screen.
Essendon (75) vs Brisbane (97)
Much was made of the fact Essendon would have to come out strong this week after their embarrassing performance last weekend - and come out strong they did.
The first term saw them boot four goals to the Lions one, as Peter Wright could do no wrong. However, much like a virgin on prom night, they came on strong, but their finishing left much to be desired.
While Brisbane looked like a team ready to play four quarters, Essendon seemed to misinterpret their game plan to come out strong FROM the start as simply come out strong AT the start, and slowly faded into the background like Scott Morrison during a national crisis.
Brisbane did little to prove they mean business after a slippery showing last week, but as the old adage goes, a win is a win, and Brisbane sit with the leading pack 2-0, regardless of how they won them.
For my Essendon fans out there, I want to happily let you know this is statistically the worst time in history to be an Essendon supporter, as never before have (after more than one game) Carlton, Hawthorn and Collingwood all been undefeated, and Essendon winless. Just some food for thought.
Port Adelaide (56) vs Hawthorn (120)
Isn’t it great to see a struggling team so starved of success up the top of the ladder? Oh… what’s that?... Hawthorn are the most successful team of the AFL era… and this fact makes most people including myself angry and confused?
Yes that’s correct. The team tipped to win the wooden spoon by many, belted the team tipped to win the premiership by a few to the tune of eleven goals, in a display so poor, it hasn’t been seen by a South Australian side since an hour ago.
I can’t imagine how bad it felt being a Port fan watching this game at home, drinking a nice Barossa Red, and seeing Kochie sitting with Amanda Vanstone in the crowd. Almost like adding insult to injury.
Every now and then a coach throws out a term that I truly love, and for this game that term was “Maximum Disappointment” which when I heard from the presser I was barely listening to made me look up from TikTok to make sure I hadn’t accidentally opened Tubi instead of Kayo.
Hawthorn will now play Carlton in a top of the table clash. The world truly has gone topsy turvy.
Gold Coast (69) vs Melbourne (82)
The time for honourable losses may be well past for Gold Coast, but I think we let them have one more. One would have expected Melbourne to completely outclass Gold Coast, however they stayed with them all day like that bit of celery that gets stuck between your teeth - you can live with it, but it’s frustrating as hell.
The coaching from Dew in this game was great, meaning it will be even more of a shame when the AFL shoehorns Alastair Clarkson into the side next year, trying to prove that a sporting team really can succeed on the Gold Coast.
The defence in this game was great from both teams, with Sam Collins and Caleb Graham spoiling everything at one end, while at the other Bowey and May marked the ball instead. Bowey and May’s tactic worked out marginally better, as despite having more inside 50’s, Gold Coast got torn apart on the rebound.
Torn apart on the rebound sounds like the vague plot synopses of a rom-com where the lead gets brutally dumped, rebounds and accidentally finds the love of their life and then gets brutally dumped again. Rereading that it may be more of a tragedy than a comedy. A bit like Gold Coast really.
Anyway, Petracca is going to win the Brownlow and the Dees are going back to back.
North Melbourne (74) vs West Coast XI and WAFL XI (59)
After we had the mass pitch invasion for Buddy’s thousandth goal, followed by the Hot Pies debacle at the MCG, this game had half a team wiped out with Covid, ironically having to rush back the player who had missed the whole pre-season for refusing the vaccine.
All the Kangaroos had to do was win this game, and that really was all they did. Completing the bare minimum is something I can relate to in my professional life also.
The Eagles old heads were impressive, as they had to marshall a bunch of blokes they had never met, and probably wouldn’t even talk to in the changerooms if they crossed paths. Well, the old heads except for Jack Darling, who looked a little lost, particularly when kicking for goal. If only he’d taken a few shots pre-season he may have been more prepared.
The Kangaroos also had injury troubles, with Tarryn Thomas heading off the ground after half time. However if I had kicked the fastest coast to coast goal of all time from about 80 meters out, I would probably just go home for the day also.
West Coast should get a lot of players back next week, and hopefully have experienced their biggest wave of top-up players, but at 0-2 it’s a long way back. Someone tell Robert Walls he was just a few years too early.
Richmond (109) vs GWS Giants (73)
It’s not very often, it seems, that Richmond and GWS play at the MCG. What it does mean though, is typically a bad day for the Giants. From the time the Tigers kicked their third goal, they never looked back, running away with this one like Balta ran away from Davis - leaving the Giants sore and beaten in their wake.
I have to have some sympathy for Davis. Imagine absolutely blanketing Buddy one week, and then having a former fellow full back run away from you so quickly you do your hamstring, and have to watch him kick four from the sidelines.
GWS also join the group of 2021 top 8 sides with an 0-2 record, as the ladder continues to make absolutely no sense.
Richmond are becoming one of those annoying sides that just make things work, much like Hawthorn and Geelong did for so long. Riewoldt gets injured, so Balta goes to full forward and kicks four, while Broad covers for the extra work in defensive 50.
How good are Richmond this year? I’ll tell you what I told the person who asked me the same question earlier today: “who are you, and how did you get this number?”
Fremantle (55) vs St Kilda (65)
Oh the horror of supporting either of these two sides.
Ross Lyon has to be cursed, as it is the only reasonable explanation for how these teams can consistently promise so much, yet deliver so little.
Fremantle looked like they were going to win this game comfortably, until much like last week, they took their foot off the pedal, and forgot to engage cruise control, allowing their opposition to kick a wealth of unanswered goals in rapid-fire in the third term.
Max King kicked three goals in less than 150 seconds. That’s more goals than I used to kick most seasons. Sure I wasn’t good at football, or 200cm tall, or play in the forward line, but my point still stands.
Spare a thought for Luke Ryan who managed to keep Tim Membrey goalless as he watched his teammates allow goals through like water through a sieve.
This game featured the lowest winning score and lowest losing score of the year so far, so it’s good to know we’re getting back some kind of normalcy.