The first rule of Round Six is don’t talk about Round Six. Not because we don’t want anyone to know about it, but because you didn’t even need to witness it to know what happened for 90 per cent of it.
The Cloke v Riewoldt duel
Friday night’s clash between the Magpies and the Saints was relatively stale throughout the opening three terms. The margin never blew out, but at no stage did anyone reasonably think St Kilda were going home with the points. It was slowly progressing toward full time when Nick Riewoldt, in the midst of a career renaissance, attempted to single handedly will his team back into the contest. The Pies had kicked the first two of the term to extend the margin out, but the great Saint responded with two of his own from around the fifty metre arc. At the other end of the ground Cloke, who had strung together a litany of behinds in the earlier terms, responded to Riewoldt’s one man onslaught with one of his own, kicking two between the big sticks in quick succession, before adding another a little later. With the game now out of the Saint’s reach, Seedsman put the icing on the cake with a booming goal at the death, extending the final margin to 26 points.
Dale Thomas was given a creative role in the back half and delivered with what was by far his best outing to date this year. The livewire Pie has been a step behind as he returns from an injury riddled pre-season, but showed signs of an impeding return to his best. Two debutants, man mountain Jarrod Witts and miniature man Ben Kennedy showed some promising, if unspectacular, signs. For the Saints Stephen Milne and Nick Dal Santo, who had been on the receiving end of a public rev-up from their coach during the week, were extremely disappointing. The latter was effectively shut-out in a surprising clampdown from Brent Macaffer. All in all though the game was largely forgettable, and set the tone for the majority of round six.
Favourites Beating Up on Underdogs
It was a round of heavy favourites, all of whom delivered. Some margins were smaller than expected, but for the most part it was all exactly as predicted. A short thought on all of them.
Essendon v GWS
The Giants played with a real “we’ll show you to treat us with disrespect” vibe in the opening half before their fuel tanks completely emptied toward the end of the third as is now custom. The Bombers ran over the top of them and then went home to fill out their ASADA questionnaires.
Fremantle v Gold Coast
I’m pretty sure this game would appear in Room 101 for some people. The Spurr hit on Hunt is the only thing worth remembering.
Geelong v Richmond
A game that showed that the gap between these two is exactly what you think it is.
Sydney v Brisbane
The Swans crushed the life out of the Lions in the opening term. Brisbane touched it a bit more often from then on but for the most part all 44 players involved spent the remainder of the game staring at the clock waiting for knock-off time.
Carlton v Melbourne
Marc Murphy and the enigmatic smalls of the Blues were once again on show as they danced atop the St Albans under 12’s. I mean Demons. Same thing.
West Coast v Western Bulldogs
A perfect illustration of the benefits that come when you kick 21.11 instead of 11.21
The victors in the week’s only real debatable match-up. The Roos got the better of the Power in most of the major areas, and delivered a walloping in the frees department, winning 39 to Port Adelaide’s 15.
The contest itself shifted violently several times. North went into the opening break with a commanding 33 point lead, only to see it whittled down to fifteen at the long break. They re-established dominance in the third to give themselves a 28 point head start leading into the final stanza, and promptly spent it holding on for dear life. They succeeded, and departed Tassie with a ten point win.
The Giants may not be winning football matches but it’s through no fault of their key forward. Cameron took advantage in the absence of Carlisle and Fletcher, leading all comers in the round with six goals.
Carlton Playing Betts, Garlett and Yarran all up Forward
I am a big fan of this aggressive mindset. Betts and Garlett both had four on Sunday, while Yarran applied plenty of pressure before being subbed out of the contest.
During the broadcast Bruce McAvaney posed the question to the rest of crew as to whether the Blues could play all three up forward, implying that historically such a reliance on smalls rarely holds up come finals time. I’d be interested to see what the consensus is amongst fans. To me the answer is an obvious and resounding yes. It is the best, and importantly, most dangerous position for all three. Waite’s return provides the side a proper marking target, and if he can stay fit it makes a significant difference to the ceiling of the Carlton forward line, releasing the pressure on the trio to kick goals, allowing them to focus more on crumbing and forward pressure.
I think if you could poll every opposition coach and ask them what they would prefer to see the Blues do, have all three up forward or one on the half back flank, every single one would pick the second option. Anything that gives the opposition cause for concern is a good thing.
Corey Enright kicking a goal late in his 250th
Glorious little moment for the club stalwart. The goal, the celebration by he and the team, the smile from Chris Scott in the box. Everything about it was warm and fuzzy.
The Western Bulldogs
For managing to harness the power of the Sun and place it in their red alternate jumpers.
For the most part this was their best performance for the year, given the circumstances and their opposition. However putting a side in the winners section when they lost is spectacularly condescending. Ultimately they are losers because they lost.
But now for the “winnerish” things. Dangerfield had an incredible performance, playing a near lone role in stemming Hawthorn’s centre clearance dominance. The enigmatic star had 35 disposals (six more than the next highest ball winner, ten more than his next team mate), nine clearances (four more than the next highest clearance winner), and kicked two goals to boot. Throughout most of the game it felt as if only two possibilities existed at the centre bounce. Either Dangerfield was coming out with it, or a Hawk was.
Not far behind him from an Adelaide perspective was Daniel Talia, who alongside Jake Carlisle sits atop the young key defender mountain by a considerable margin, and Ben Rutten in his 200th appearance. They blanketed Lance Franklin all evening. The competition’s premier forward didn’t appear in the goals scored column for the second week running, and could only manage two marks on the night. His frustration was evident throughout, routinely giving away frees, including two fifty metre penalties, for rough conduct. Kerridge played what was by far his best game in his young career. Occupying the defensive half forward role usually held by Petrenko, he kept Birchall quiet for most of the evening, and managed to hit the scoreboard as well, something Petrenko rarely does. Kerridge kicked 2 goals and hit the post twice.
Of course it wasn’t all positives. They did lose. They allowed Hawthorn to dominate them on the scoreboard in the opening term. Despite getting the ball forward more often than the Hawks, they were forced to hit players out wide in forward half, leading to several low percentage shots. The Hawks continually pushed up the ground in order to exploit Adelaide’s lack of pace, and did so successfully. Bradley Hill was often tearing into space and putting the ball over the top into space for others, or was on the receiving end of those types of kicks. Adelaide were continually bettered in the centre clearances, and at quarter time the smell of a smack down was in the air.
To Adelaide’s credit they worked back into the game with a comprehensive second quarter, and broke even with their opponents in the third. Early in the fourth they snatched the lead, and when Thompson marked by the square they were going to own a seven point margin and all the momentum. However the Crow was adjudged to have pushed Hale, and a resultant fifty metre penalty wound up in a Hawthorn goal less than thirty seconds later. Adelaide’s momentum was quashed, and Hawthorn seized the ascendancy. They put the game to bed with several quick and unanswered goals. Adelaide dragged themselves back into the contest, but it was far too late.
A big point of difference over the course of the game was tackling. Adelaide laid more, but theirs were far more ineffective than those of the Hawks. An Adelaide player being tackled would halt play and often result in a change of possession, but when a Hawk was tackled they were able to shrug it and get an effective disposal off. Breaking tackles, and laying more effective ones, should be be high on Adelaide’s priority list.
That Free Kick Against Thompson I Just Mentioned (I am an Adelaide supporter)
Anyone else think that was a joke, or just me (and Eddie McGuire it seems)?
Before you come along and suggest it was fine I’m willing to bet every single dollar and worldly possession I have that if that decision was paid against your club you would lose your mind. Cries of “technically correct” are dense and if you genuinely believe that I refer you to the previous sentence.
In fact I’ll argue it isn’t even technically there.
15.4.5 Prohibited contact and Payment of free kick
A field Umpire shall award a Free Kick against a Player where
they are satisfied that the Player has made Prohibited Contact
with an opposition Player.
A Player makes Prohibited Contact with an opposition Player if
(b) pushes an opposition Player in the back, unless such
contact is incidental to a Marking contest and the Player
is legitimately Marking or attempting to Mark the football;
(d) pushes, bumps, blocks, holds an opposition Player or
deliberately interferes with the arms of an opposition
Player, who is in the act of Marking or attempting to
Mark the football
Well it wasn’t in the back so that rules out section b. It wasn’t a push because pushes require force, so leaves us with “deliberately interferes with the arms of an opposition player”. If umpire Chamberlain thinks what Thompson did constitutes deliberate interference with Hale’s arm then I suggest he start blowing his whistle at every single contested marking situation he encounters in the future.
The Power’s “wait until we trail by more than five goals before launching a remarkable come back” blueprint finally backfired on Saturday, as they only managed to claw the margin back to ten having trailed by 39 at one stage early. Travis Boak played a near lone hand in the middle, winning 30 disposals and having 12 clearances, eight more than his next best team mate.
One of those team mates was Hamish Hartlett, who had a horrendous game. Having averaged close to 24 disposals and 2 goals a game in the opening five rounds, the damaging ball user was restricted to just seven touches over the course of four quarters, including a paltry two in the second half.
Always nice to cop a knee to the face at the centre bounce. Unlucky.
The Umpire who reported Luke Tapscott
Not allowed to hit people hard in the side of body anymore. Second worst report of the year after Harry O’Brien was reported when he should have been awarded a free kick. Doubt that will be topped.
Watching the Demons play football is as frustrating as listening to someone argue that Atticus Finch is a bad lawyer because his client was convicted.
The guy in your workplace bragging that he got all nine tips this week
Yeah you and 90% of tipsters Dave.