AFL Round Eleven
Updated: Feb 3, 2022
What started as a chore at work, and became a weekly hobby; It's The Weekly Turnaround!
Sydney Swans vs Carlton
Round Eleven marks the last full length round of footy for three weeks, and somehow it still started with Carlton on a Friday night. This makes two weeks in a row that Carlton have shown enough to be annoying to their opponents, without actually being good enough to give them a scare at any point. Bolton's Blues continue, with this loss pushing Carlton to 1 - 10, and floundering comfortably on the bottom of the ladder with a percentage of just 63.5, which is staggeringly close to their average score per game of a meagre 64.8.
Sydney, on the other hand would be happy to have gotten away with the win, even if they weren't at their best, given that it has them one game clear in the top four having them well on their way to play finals for the twentieth time in twenty one years. It's kind of like that kid that won best and fairest for your team growing up every year except for that one where the coach felt bad and gave it to someone else.
Western Bulldogs vs Melbourne
With Etihad Stadium brawls showing how much ground the AFL is making on soccer and rugby, it was evident that recent crowds at this stadium have shown more fight that the Bulldogs seem to. If you take out the top 4 scoring quarters from the Bulldogs last three games, they have scored a remarkable total of four goals from eight quarters. And I thought my hangover on the weekend was bad, at least it hasn't lasted two years.
This game was reasonably entertaining until half time, and then Melbourne seemed to suddenly realise that they were a much better football team than their opposition, and played a comfortable 8 goal to 3 second half. After a poor start to the season, the Demons are set to play finals for the first time since John Howard was Prime Minister, and Sandi Thom had the biggest single in Australia. You'd be forgiven for googling "who the hell is Sandi Thom,"
Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide
Ah, Tasmania, the AFL's favourite state to ignore, and the Hawks' favourite state to play in. You'd think they were a separate country with the AFL's blatant refusal to give them a football team. Actually, given the way they're trying to expand into China and India, Tasmania might have a better chance of getting a football team if they were a different country.
Either way, this shaped up to be the most exciting game of the round, with Port Adelaide in good form taking on Hawthorn and the Umpires (or at least that's how Port fans have told me the story). Even Ken Hinkley stated that he was less than impressed with some of the calls, but to be fair, he's usually less than impressed. Nevertheless the umpires Hawthorn were definitely the better side in the final quarter, and were only let down by poor kicking, as they continued their incredible record in Tassie.
Gold Coast Suns vs Geelong Cats
This shaped up to have a small amount of interest, Tom Lynch returns to the Gold Coast lineup, Gold Coast returns to Metricon, and Gary Ablett plays against the club he won a Brownlow Medal for, while playing for the club that he also won a Brownlow Medal for. I got confused even writing it.
However, barring the first quarter, the Cats barely broke a sweat, with Gary Ablett delivering a best on ground performance in front of all fourteen Suns fans, who booed him all game. The Suns managed a measly four goals, and not even 300 disposals, in an effort that made them look like witches hats, as Geelong practically jogged the ball from end to end. To add injury to insult (see what I did there) the Suns lost three of their best in Aaron Hall, Aaron Young, and Steven May.
Essendon vs Richmond
It was dream time at the G, and Richmond certainly caught Essendon napping in a dominant performance that seemingly showed the Tigers roaring into top gear for the first time this season. It wasn't that Essendon were bad, it was more that they simply weren't prepared for the onslaught of pressure that they were about to face. Alex Rance took one of the most spectacular dives anyone has ever seen, perhaps in a bid to make his Hollywood good looks, into a genuine career in acting. This round was top 9 v bottom 9 and this game really showed the divide that exists there as the ladder starts to take shape. Richmond are still very, very good at the MCG, and conveniently the next 40 grand finals are going to be played there.
West Coast Eagles vs St Kilda
One player from each of these teams was reported last week, and we learned two things:
Jake Carlisle learned you can't punch a man in the face, and that Ray Chamberlain actually quite liked being bum patted by Willie Rioli. With the poor form and shocking goal kicking St Kilda had displayed going in to this match, my main thought was "how much drinking will it take to make this game entertaining," and coincidentally by the time I'd had enough to drink, St Kilda also remembered how to play football. It also helped that West Coast had lost Darling for the day, and pretty much didn't try in the last quarter, but the 13 point margin, whilst flattering to St Kilda, should give them some confidence going forward.
North Melbourne vs Brisbane Lions
The only negative North will probably take from this game is that they let an undermanned Brisbane score so much, allowing Geelong to steal their mantle as the stingiest defence in the AFL. The margin may lead you to believe that Brisbane, being second last on the ladder were poor, but truth be told, North Melbourne were frighteningly good. They pressured and harassed Brisbane at every turn, and their stronger and more experienced bodies around the ball proved too much for an improving Brisbane side to counter. When a team manages 21 goals, and only two of them come from the Coleman medal leader, you're doing something right. What makes me upset is that I - like most people - was looking forward to spending the whole year making fun of North Melbourne, and now my team is in real danger of losing to them next week.
Collingwood vs Fremantle
I feel for Fremantle fans, I really do. They have to watch these games with their hearts fully invested in wanting their team to do well, unlike myself who watches it with a bowl of popcorn and a laugh track buzzer on the table. Fremantle learned today that when you lose over 1000 games of experience between matches, it usually doesn't work too well for you. The rest of us face the stark reality that Collingwood will probably play finals this year, and Nathan Buckley might be a good coach. Thankfully Ross "Flossin'" Lyon gave us someone to laugh at yet again, seemingly finding dental hygiene more important than the atrocious amount his team was losing by, because as we all know, a rebuild starts with a quality smile.
Adelaide vs GWS Giants
The week concluded with not only the battle of the two longest injury lists, but also with an (almost) return to form from GWS that ruined an otherwise perfect week of tipping for the most of us. In a seesawing affair between two teams that started the year as premiership fancies, now fighting to make the 8, the Giants held the ascendancy for most of the match, before Adelaide burst to the lead at the start of the final quarter. However, much like their injured players, Adelaide collapsed, allowing the Giants a sixteen point win, and leaving their fans with very little to crow about. They haven't been the "Pride of South Australia," this year, so much as roughly as disappointing as the state itself.