AFL Round 8: Winners and Losers

A round that saw a goal after the siren to ensure North lost yet another close one, a big Brisbane upset, Geelong lose (yes lose), more score review ineptitude, and Basil Zempilas bragging about all the big books he reads.

Winners

Nic Naitanui

Game winning goals after the siren will always get you a spot on anyone’s winner list, but the mark as well? Now that is just showing off.

That ending was just about perfect for the Daw v Naitanui storyline pushed upon us all. Daw, playing Johnny-come-lately, had emerged as a challenger for Naitanui’s title as Supreme Excitement Leader in the AFL Universe. Their first ruck battle arrived and people were more excited than they were at the prospect of seeing DeNiro and Pacino act in the same scene. Both jumped really really high. Rainbows spontaneously appeared and unicorns came into existence.

But it was Naitanui who unequivocally proved he is still numero uno. Daw was subbed off in the third term, with a paltry 4 possessions and a solitary goal to his name, while the West Coast ruckman had the defining moment of the round.

Brisbane

The Lions kicked off their brutal six round stretch with an unexpected win over the Bombers. Brisbane set a physical tone in the opening minutes, with Merrett removing Hurley from proceedings with a hard tackle, and Clarke planting a shoulder in Kavanagh’s back after arriving late to a marking contest. They roughed their opponents up and played with an extra edge as a result.

The Bombers crushed the Lions at the stoppages, and had 22 more forward fifty entries. But it was Leuenberger’s ruck work that left a bigger impression, with several of his taps directly leading to scoring opportunities. Essendon would have much more of the ball, but Brisbane’s relentless pressure would prove to be the biggest difference in the game. They laid 23 more tackles than their black and red counterparts. They laid 25 tackles inside defensive fifty, while the Bombers only managed 2 in theirs.

The victory was capped off with a game sealing goal from Brent Staker, who was returning to the Brisbane side after more than a year out through injury.

Brisbane’s Premiership Era Tops

These are somewhere between 99 and 100 per cent better than their current ones.

The Suns and Jaeger O’Meara

By beating the Bulldogs the Suns secured back to back wins for the first time in club history, and have now won as many games as they’ve lost in 2013. Ablett was Ablett, but it was Jaeger O’Meara who stole the show. The young gun Sun (I’m not sure if that describes O’Meara or a character in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) was influential once again, and is laying serious claim to Joel Selwood’s title of “best first year player in recent times”.

Selwood ’07 O’Meara ’13
 Per Game Averages in: Entire Season Through 8 Games
Disposals 19.24 20.5
Contested Possessions 6.9 9.5
Clearances 3.4 4.4
Tackles 4.5 4.6
Inside 50s 4 3
Total Goals 7 7

 

O’Meara is right around the mark so far, eclipsing him in contested possessions and clearances. He has already reached Selwood’s goal total as well.

The biggest point of contention with a sheer numbers debate is that it doesn’t take into account both players circumstances. Selwood was playing in a dominant side that would go on to win the flag, and was down the pecking order in terms of Geelong midfielders. O’Meara has much less competition at the Suns. How does this impact on the way we look at these numbers? Does Selwood receive bonus consideration as he had to fight amongst more good players to achieve those numbers? Or did the fact he was down the pecking order and surrounded with great players make his job easier than the task currently facing O’Meara?

Of course, arguing over which player was more impressive is like arguing over The Godfather v The Godfather Part II. Either way you are watching brilliance. Selwood is obviously one of the stars of the comp, and O’Meara will be joining that pantheon sooner rather than later.

Brandon Ellis

Richmond may not have started too flash against the lowly Demons on Sunday, but the young Tiger certainly did. Ellis had 16 disposals in the opening term, and continued his field day throughout the next three. He finished with 39 touches and 11 marks, and, alongside fellow youngin Nick Vlastuin, was a stand out in what was otherwise a fairly mediocre showing from those in yellow and black.

The silver lining though is this is the kind of game they would have lost in yesteryear. After being up by more than a goal with thirty seconds to go. After Karmichael Hunt kicks a goal after the siren. This actually happened people. That moment needs its own museum.

Daniel Talia

The Crows won an ugly contest against the Saints, and the performance of Talia and Adelaide’s other young defenders was a big part of that victory. Talia further cemented his reputation as one of the best key position defenders by severely curtailing Saint’s talisman Nick Riewoldt. Talia held him to only two set shots, both from fifty out. His blanketing efforts, as well as the poor delivery from St Kilda’s midfielders, forced Riewoldt to adventure up the wings to collect most of his marks. He got his hands on the footy, but in largely ineffectual areas. The Saints aren’t winning games against better opposition unless Riewoldt plays a blinder, and at the end of the night Talia had as many touches and as many goals as the Saints’ captain.

Geelong

Yawn. Seen this movie before. One guy is fighting some other guy. After a short while one guy just hits the other and knocks him down. Then he pulls out a handgun and riddles him with bullets. Then he turns around and begins to walk away. Then the guy on the ground riddled with bullets twitches, which causes the other guy to turn around and begin to say “no way” before bullet riddled guy jumps him before he can pull his gun out. Riddled dude destroys the other, then, drenched in his own blood, stands over the other’s body and roars victoriously toward the sky. We get it. It’s like this every week. Just once I’d like to see them change it up and throw a curve ball into the script and WHAT DO YOU MEAN GEELONG LOST?

Collingwood

No seriously, the Cats lost? After coming back from several goals down? After leading at three quarter time by 13 points?  I don’t know what to believe in any more.

The Pies have now beaten the Cats the last three times they’ve faced off, which seems like a minor miracle. It’s the Cats. How can one side have their measure three times on the trot? Are they to Geelong what Geelong is to Hawthorn. Lost a Granny to them, vow never to lose to them again?

Losers

Score Reviews

It’s like watching an episode of CSI, except the evidence doesn’t show us much and when it does they arrest the wrong person anyway.

Essendon

Outworked by inferior opposition. Something that shouldn’t happen to teams who hope to be in the top four at season’s end.

North Melbourne

A lot was made of North’s fixture before the season started, and with good reason, as it looked brutal. Having only just slipped into the eight last year, many had them pegged as a side to slide out.

Eight weeks into the season and they are sitting at three wins and five losses, with those five losses coming against:

Collingwood by 16

Geelong by 4

Sydney by 39

Hawthorn by 3

West Coast by 2

For a few years now North have been justly labelled as a side that beats teams clearly beneath them but consistently lose to the teams they hope to match it with. So far this year that tale has rung true. They’ve won the games we’ve expected them to win and lost the others, but the way they are losing is perhaps a little unexpected. The game against the Swans aside, North have for the most part have matched it with the teams considered the best.They aren’t yet on the same tier, but maybe they are only two steps behind instead of four.

They should have beaten Geelong, but they somehow managed to give it away (or we could put it down to Geelong Wizardry if you like). The same rings true for Friday night against the Eagles. North may come to rue those losses at the end of the year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them miss the finals despite being better than one or two of the sides that do.

Next Sunday against Adelaide will be illuminating. If they are serious about finals they really should win that one, as the Crows would be one of their primary competitors for those fringe finals placings.

Basil Zempilas

The Channel Seven commentator delivered a line during the Saturday afternoon telecast that will take some topping. Noting how often the lead had changed throughout the contest, Basil gave us this pearler:

“I’ve read books with more chapters than this games had lead changes”

Now he obviously meant to say “less’ as opposed to “more”, but I think I prefer this quote. Instead of sounding like a corny way of pointing out the number of lead changes the game has had, it instead sounds like some sort of weird childlike brag.

Paul Roos

Why does Paul Roos call Sydney games? It isn’t fair on the viewer and it isn’t fair on him. He is much worse than McGuire ever was. Roos spends every Swans game he calls focused on the Swans. This makes sense, after all he does have intimate knowledge of the side and most of the players. The problem is he makes everything about what Sydney is, or isn’t, doing. Then there is the overly affectionate references to the players. Like Goodesy, or Joey, or Reidy, or Teddy. He attaches the y suffix whenever possible. Then there are the times he audibly groans when a Swan turns it over in a particularly egregious manner, or a critical call goes against them. He can’t help it.

Sydney and Fremantle

Sure it was a draw, but there is nearly always somebody lucky to draw and somebody who is unlucky (or let it slip). In this situation though it’s hard to tell who is who.

The Swans seem the obvious candidate for the ‘let it slip’ team. They led for much of the game, and led by close to a third of Fremantle’s total score with ten minutes to go in the final term. To draw from that position, at home, against an already injury ravaged side who were struck once again with Walters going down, means you obviously let it slip, right?

But the Dockers have a compelling case for the title too. They may have trailed, but they clawed that margin back to within a goal with time to spare and all the momentum. Johnson, who was involved in everything for Freo over the closing stages, had a chance to win the game with only thirty seconds remaining with any score. He sent it toward the square where Swan Sam Reid marked before the line relatively uncontested. Given the stage of the game, it is perplexing that the Dockers didn’t all contest that ball drop and simply punch it through for a behind. Allowing Reid to do what he did is criminal. Only one Docker went up to contest. One. There is no excuse for that. Even Johnson’s kick seemed like a regulation kick to the  top of the square. Surely he should have gone for distance rather than the goal front specifically.

The First Half of Adelaide v St Kilda

One of the ugliest halves of football ever witnessed. Both teams were extremely sloppy with the ball, and couldn’t hide behind excuses like “it’s pouring with rain” and “we are Melbourne”. If we could erase it from history the world would be a better place. Is Rose Mary Woods available?

ACL Injuries

For claiming another victim in Gold Coast ruckman Zac Smith.

Port Adelaide

Somewhere, in an alternate dimension, Port Adelaide just fell on Isaac Newton’s head.

Their disposal, particularly by foot, was atrocious. It was as ugly as anything Melbourne have coughed up this year, and it is an indictment on the Blues that the game wasn’t over at halftime. Their forward entries were shocking, hitting a target only six times to Carlton’s eighteen. It was as if they had genuine trouble differentiating friend from foe. Westhoff played like a person who has never held a Sherrin. Nearly every kick of his was a shank. Kane Cornes reverted to his form of 2012, repeatedly calling for the ball from team-mates while he was in a terrible position, and being decidedly ineffectual when given it. It was an ugly performance, and Port Adelaide cannot afford to keep taking first quarters off and banking on superior fitness to get them over the line.

About Adam Ritchie

My name is Adam. I started watching football with two fellow parapsychologists in an abandoned firehouse. When we’re not watching footy, we’re running our own pest control business. What do you mean I stole that from Ghostbusters?

Comments

  1. Adam

    So glad you picked up that Bas Z comment. As I heard it i picked the mistake but good point, was he confused or just showing off.

    Reminds me of last year (I think) we he said at least twice how proud Jarrod Waite’s dad would be watching him kick goals, embarassingly forgetting (or not knowing) that Vin had died a few years earlier.

    He is a shining beacon of commentating turdness amongst a turgid sea of rubbish, dross, flotsam (and his mate jetsam) that is the Werribbe sewage farm of Channel 7 commentating

    Come back to the five and dime (and Ch 10) Sammy Lane, Sammy Lane

  2. Stephen Cooke says:

    “Are they to Geelong what Geelong is to Hawthorn. Lost a Granny to them, vow never to lose to them again?”
    Adam, I thought the same thing after the game. Like the Hawks fans, I’ll settle for the win that matters.

  3. I’m with you, Cookie. Thought the same thing and hope we don’t meet them in the finals!

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