AFL Round 15: The View From Shepparton on Round 15 and Other Things

So the Wallabies lost to the Lions. Once again no doubt due to my colossal ignorance, this game, and indeed the sport lost me. Oh I made all of the attempts to get into the atmosphere of the thing. I invited the family around to watch Foxtel “High Definition without commercial breaks”. Had some drinkies, someone asked “what is a fly half”? I had no idea of course so the resident oracle in New Zealand was contacted and advised accordingly, having no doubt “Googled” the term, something along the lines of and here I quote Wikipedia, “The positions as named by the International Rugby Board are full-back, wings (left and right), centres (inside and outside), fly-half, scrum-half, number eight, flanker (openside and blindside), lock, hooker and props (loosehead and tighthead). The names have changed over time and with geography. Early names such as “three quarters” and “out-halves” are still used by some people, while in New Zealand the fly-half and inside centre are called “first-five eighth” and “second-five eighth” respectively, while the scrum-half is known as the half-back. Confusingly, there are a range of names for various groupings of players: the “front row” is the two props and the hooker; the “tight five” consists of the props, locks and hooker; the “back row” or sometimes “loosies” are the number eight and flankers; the “inside backs” are the scrum-half, fly-half and inside centre; the “outside backs” are the outside centre, wings and full-back;[citation needed] and the “back three” are the two wingers and the full-back”. So now we are all that much clearer.

Anyway I soon tired of the endless scrums or mauls or whatever the hell they were and all of the associated stoppages. They meant nothing to me except to see a whole lot of grown men grunting and presumably farting as they attempted to gain possession of the ball. How I longed to be watching the Hawthorn Geelong game which amazingly for what was basically a suburban footy match in Melbourne attracted, I think, a slightly larger crowd. Out of some sense of misguided nationalism I stuck with the rugger boys for the first half and a bit to see the Aussies get to within 3 points with what I might grudgingly admit was some pretty exciting play but as stated previously the nuances of the game completely lost me. I just think that Australian Rules is by far the best of the footy codes except possibly at State of Origin time and that we here in Australia don’t always appreciate just how good it is. Give me the Hawthorn Geelong or the Essendon Port games any day of the week.

On another front, it was great to see Andy Murray get up, we in Australia should note this because given the state of tennis here these days it could be another 77 years, over and above the time which has already expired, for us to win either Wimbledon again or for that matter the Australian Open.

So on Friday night Collingwood cleaned up Carlton having given them around 30 points start. By any definition this was a great win for the Maggies and an awful result for the Blues. The Minister of Home Affairs reckons that coaches who rant and rave in an attempt to motivate their players belong to a bygone age. Perhaps she is right, I don’t know, what I do recall is that rants used to be an effective weapon at the extremely lowly levels at which I attempted to play the game. She thinks that a calm reasoned approach is likely to be far more effective. I don’t know enough about any of the current coaches to know if this works or not. Anyhow Carlton lost with players like Betts, Yarran and Garlett being reduced to a pale shadow of what they were a few weeks back, exactly as occurred back in 2011. I wonder what Brett Ratten thinks about all this? As for Collingwood they also run hot and cold, though not as much, but when they are hot you think that they could beat anyone. I always like to see Cloke do well as he is such a maligned player. Also how much is the reported “split” between Bucks and Harry O’Brien an overhyped reporting of what seems to have been perhaps a hot-headed row?

My mob, less Black got up over the Suns, less Ablett. Immediately the cry is that the Suns can’t play without him without giving due recognition that perhaps the Lions aren’t such a bad side after all.

The West Coast had a great win over Adelaide in a game which the Crows should have won. Like Brisbane, the Gold Coast and North Melbourne at 6 8 their season is shot. Kennedy despite his ridiculous approach as he attempts set shots is clearly a match winner for the Eagles this year.

I only saw the bits of the Hawthorn Geelong game but the last quarter must have been an absolute ball tearer. For Geelong to get the first three goals of that quarter leaving them 30 points plus up and nearly get run down only to again kick away shows what a great team they are and how they do have the wood over the Hawks. As has been observed elsewhere (in today’s Oz I think in Patrick Smith’s column, sourcing Leigh Matthews), “the more Geelong wins the more vulnerable it comes”. Just hope that that “vulnerability” does not show up in a Grand Final.

North Melbourne easily beat Richmond, this should not have come as a surprise to seasoned observers because the Tiges have not beaten anyone important this year. Having said that I have to say I was very surprised myself, actually, so much for my self appointed expertise in matters football.

Thought that the Sprawlers might have beaten the Dogs, just as well for the latter’s coach that this didn’t happen as being beaten by an expansion team is the kiss of death for the losing coach.

I was really barracking for Port Adelaide in what was at times a great match but potential premiership winners would have kicked straight, particularly from set shots, in that last quarter, but Port couldn’t thus leaving themselves open to being swamped which Essendon managed to do. A great result for the Dons given that they lost Watson early. Whatever one might think about Watson playing, the fact that Dons could still win and indeed win well without him in a situation where they had to recast their team on the run speaks volumes for their skills and courage. Port weren’t disgraced though, wouldn’t entirely write them off next week at home against the Hawks.

I view Freo these days in much the same way that I do St Kilda. They have some great players like Pavlich and Mayne and Barlow or like Riewoldt for the Saints but generally they have enough players who don’t play the game in the spirit which I might like, thus leaving me to view the team as a whole without much favour. Anyway, the Dockers got up, Pavlich was back with two long goals when it really counted.

Highlights: Andy Murray

Lowlight: The Wallabies

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer

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