Crio’s Q: Best and worst games of 2010

I went to two widely contrasting matches this weekend.

Saturday night’s debacle at the Docklands was so disappointing because it provided no contest. It was as though the Dogs already had excuses for losing and, when it got hard, they went home. For all of Geelong’s clinical brilliance, this was a forgettable outing that I could have done without.

Sunday’s struggle at the MCG was a ripper, at least for the first three quarters. Both teams realised the high stakes and, in wild and difficult conditions, put on an outstanding contest. Probably frustrating for supporters, but, as a neutral it was gripping.

It was an odd round. Matches of awful standard were close and the hyped battles were blowouts.

Half time hydration led to a comparison of games seen this season.

I rated the best two as the first Dogs and Hawks clash (Round 3 – Lewis and Harbrow collide) and the first quarter of Carlton’s defeat of Geelong (MCG, Anzac Monday).

I haven’t been to as many shockers this year, but Richmond v North (Rd 16, appalling conditions) and North against the Dogs (Rd 9, Hall “chokes” Thompson) were terrible games, though I don’t regret going to either.

Let’s tally the best and worst so far in 2010.

Comments

  1. Crio, I’d have to agree with you about Saturday night being the worst game I’ve seen this season. While I certainly appreciated the amazing display that was put on by the Cats, I felt that the resistance provided by the Dogs after half way through the first quarter amounted to virtually nil.

    On the positive side, the Essendon-Hawthorn game from a few weeks ago – the one that include the two famous Buddy-boundary-line goals – was a cracker to watch on TV.

    And while I know that many people hate the style of footy St Kilda play, I have to say that I find it to be enthralling. I thought the first half of the St Kilda-Footscray game was fantastic, the equal of last year’s PF. But it degenerated as the Dogs lost their nerve and resorted to the “keepings off” tactic because they were scared to take the Saints on. Many say that the Saints stole that game, but really, the Dogs got their just desserts for losing their way – and nerve – in that game.

    Similarly, I thought the second Dogs-Hawks encounter (as opposed to the R3 one mentioned by Crio) was fantastic to watch (until the final siren went). Great pressure throughout.

    Expanding the scope (sorry to use that word – I did a Certificate IV in Project Management years ago) of this discussion just slightly, the two Western Bulldogs v Geelong games in 2006 were amongst the best I have ever seen. The results were split 1-1, the margin was 1 point in both games and they were tight encounters from start to finish.

  2. Tony Robb says:

    Gigs,
    Having been in NZ for the past two weeks I can safely say that the Bay of Plenty V Auckland game last Saturday was a shocker. The 200mls of rain they had the night before didn’t add to the spectacle. It had all the hallmarks of the Saints defendathon earlier in the year.
    TR

  3. Did not see either game live, but the last quarters of both Collingwood V Demons games this year made for outstanding radio.

  4. #2 – I probably would’ve loved it, TR!

    I have fond memories of attending a Footscray-Essendon game in 1984 at the Western Oval. It rained throughout the match and the scores were tied at half-time 0.7 (7) apiece!

    I appreciate the free-flowing and pack-marking aspects of footy as much as anyone. But I think St Kilda at their best provide a combination of those aspects and the ultra-defensive ones.

    To me, the defensive strategies (not the zoning ones but the close-checking ones that can result in the formation of a “scrum”) employed today provide two enhancements to the spectacle. One is the use of the physical strength that is required in these situations. (Anyone who worries about the game becoming “netball” is forgetting this aspect of today’s game.) And the other is the incredible skills players have developed to cope with these situations. Their quickness of mind, hand and foot, enabling them to legally dispose of the ball – while in the throes of a monstrous tackle – is amazing, as is the ability to manipulate their bodies in order to allow them to free the arms and legs, thus enabling legal disposal or an escape from the tackle.

    A combination of that and the “wave” style of football that Geelong play (and which reminds me of Hawthorn in their premiership era) is fantastic. If the end result of that is slightly lower scoring games then I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It increases the value of each goal (without going as far as soccer where a side can totally dominate a game and lose 1-0) and also provides more opportunity for games to go down to the wire.

    Surely that’s not a bad thing?

  5. Tony Robb says:

    Gigs
    Totally agree on the zone defence. My only quibble might be in regard to “legal” disposal as flat out letting it go seems to be OK these days. I do appreciate the additional pressure on the ball carrier with numbers around the ball but surely one must make an attempt to dispose of the footie rather than dropping it.
    Cheers TR

  6. couldnt agree more Tony
    and its worse when you watch it on tv and once tackled just lets it go. You hear the umpire call “he made an attempt”. 30 secs later a ball player goes in hard & low, three blokes sit on his back and the ump looks for the camera and pays holding the ball. Geez it shits me…

  7. …and it does change the outcomes of games. Way to many depend on umpire’s whims.
    However, back to best games…you should’ve seen Willy’s last 1/4 v Werribee. Minson shone which shows the gap.

  8. Sam Marcolin says:

    Crio,
    you forgot the Saints- Bulldogs game in round 6. Apparently shocking, but I didn’t see it.

  9. Nor did I!

  10. Fremantle v Geelong Rd 3 was a ripper.

  11. Rick Kane says:

    Hawks vs Cats, Rd 2 this year was a cracker. Even though we lost, I still think it is the best I’ve seen us play this year.

    Yes Gigs, the Hawks vs Bombers was special. We sit on the boundary just inside the 50m line and watched Buddy roaring down the field … twice! The second goal better than the first. I said to my kids (10 and 8) that they can watch footy for another 50 years and they’re unlikely to see better.

    Oh, Netherlands vs Brazil in the World Cup. And not just because my mother is Dutch and they’re my team when the Aussies inevitably bow out. And not just because I was in Liverpool (and the Hawks had just beaten the Dogs and our star was finally on the rise) and after the Oranjemen beat Brazil we walked around the corner to the Cavern and soaked up music and popular culture history and a shed full of beer!

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