Round 5: Easter Blog

One round of football will blur into the next with a leisurely spread of fixtures up to May Day.

Saints fans will be relieved but unconvinced about their win up in Brisbane. Lions fans will console themselves with the effort, but still face the reality of a 0-4 start.

The unpredictable Port have the chance for consecutive wins when they face the already embattled Suns.

Carlton and Adelaide are two teams with something to prove tonight at Docklands.

North again finds itself hidden from general view with a Sunday twilight fixture against the Tigers. Are the league experimenting with ways to make a team disappear?

Then of course there’s Anzac Day, between you-know-who.

Then Anzac Day Mark II, where the 2008 Grand Final gets re-fought once more.

All this and Stawell as well.

Plenty for discussion, dissection, rumination and mastication in that lot. Tell us what’s on your mind folks.


  1. John Butler says:

    First comment. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. :)

    A big game tonight for the Blues and Crows. Whoever loses will be under pressure of expectation.

    Are North Melbourne even playing this season? Where are they hiding?

    Could Port possibly lose to the Suns? If any team could…

  2. johnharms says:

    One of the things I find interesting is how days change in their significance. I recall Easter Saturday as a classic footy day when I was a kid. Only three matches. And the family often ni the garden. Then, uni and early work days, it became a classic punting day. It’s certainly not a footy day today. The scheduling must say something about the disregard for Easter Saturday.

  3. johnharms says:

    addendum: I find the Nothing-Happens-On-Good-Friday argument tedious. If people can’t find something to do, other than watch sport, that’s sad.

  4. #3 JTH – couldn’t agree more. Everything is capable of being dismantled these days purely on the basis of wants not needs.

  5. #1 JB: North are the invisible team this year…A bye, two matches in Perth, and has there been a Collingwood match in recent times which flew so far under the radar? This season, more than ever, I believe there has been a deliberate attempt by the AFL to further weaken our club through its fixturing.
    I say again: fixturing is the AFL’s ultimate weapon, against the clubs and (at the moment) the broadcasters.
    #3 & #4: There are plenty of perennial debates (maybe a future Crio’s question?) and the Good Friday debate is one of them. By fixturing 3 teams for a bye over the Easter weekend, surely the AFL’s regard for Easter (and the Saturday in particular) is obvious?

  6. John Butler says:

    Suns 104 def. Port 101

    Unbelievable Port! The most schizophrenic team of the last few years by a mile.

    After a week when they felt the blowtorch of scrutiny, you have to hand it to the suns for their response.

    But who would want to coach Port?

  7. Peter Flynn says:


    I reckon PA are quite predictable.

  8. John Butler says:

    In their unpredictability?

  9. johnharms says:

    A comment from John Trethewie which appeared on Sasha Lennon’s post. (Thought it was a good one for here – Ed.)

    Why do people keep describing the Cats as ’slow’? David Wojcinski, Travis Varcoe, Shannon Byrnes, Daniel Menzel etc are anything but ’slow’. And besides, no player in the league can outrun a 50m bomb from Chappy.

    Hawthorn’s first half against Melbourne was the worst display of field kicking I’ve seen from a team not wearing Richmond jumpers. Ever.

    and from John Harms:

    It’s a good question. Indeed, it was the pace of the Cats in the 2009 Grand Final which was a factor in winning the day. S. Byrnes has a lot of critics, but in my book he won himself a lot of credits in that final quarter when he was one of the creators – because of his pace.

    More pertinent at the moment is Varcoe who is getting closer to the centre of the game. In his early matches it looked like he didn’t feel entitled to be there, and was hanging around on the fringes. He is now getting in to it. I don’t think he is far off dominating games – with his pace and verve.

    I think you could write a dozen stories in trying to predict the outcome of the Haw-Geel game.

  10. David Downer says:

    The Suns-Power result has established a new benchmark for the eternal ditty “a week’s a long time in footy”.

    That it came from a 40pt turnaround deep in the 3rd qtr is also worthy of many OMG’s.


  11. johnharms says:

    Some nice father-son news at The Cattery. Matt Scarlett and partner have just had twin boys. Two Scarlos in the backline. One tight in the contest, the other roaming around. Think about it.

  12. Does he have any daughters? If so, I’d like to see her partner up with an O’Hara.

  13. Dave Nadel says:

    #12 Frankly Gigs, I don’t give a damn.

  14. Peter Flynn says:


    A stats (hunting) exercise that you may wish to partake in. I’m not entirely sure what the outcome(s) will be.

    Since Round 1 1989, I would like to know which club has:

    (1) Played in the most GFs.

    (2) Played in the most PFs.

    (3) The best win/loss ratio.

    (4) The greatest aggregate ‘for’.

    (5) Kicked the highest score in a match.

    (6) The greatest winning margin in a match.

  15. John Butler says:

    #14 Let me guess Flynny. Geelong?

    Anyone tipped all 5 games correctly so far?

  16. johnharms says:

    Now that would be something JB, as there have been four games. If you didn’t get your tips in you’d be doing better than most with three away sides winning.

    Carlton looked adequate at best in a terrific match on Saturday night. They are well-placed, but I wonder how long it can last. Very amusing to an outsider: how often the gods are putting Simpson in crucial positions and circumstances. It looks like the test-Simpson month.

  17. johnharms says:

    I cannot see how Essendon can get within five goals of Collingwood today. I am looking forward to seeing how Hird sets his side up, and what tactics he uses, particularly given Bomber Thompson’s last outing against Collingwood. I wonder what Bomber learnt that night, and I’m interested to see how Hird thinks.

  18. JTH – a young bloke by the name of M Brown kicked 7 for the Cats in the 2s yesterday. Hawkins might go to GWS in return for some draft picks perhaps?

  19. John Butler says:


    It’s been so long between games I’m struggling to remember if it’s even the same round. :)

    Carlton’s performance was much like rd 1 against the Tigers. Started well, completely lost our way by the final term. Patchy indeed. The one consolation is that both games were precisely the sort we have been losing in recent years.

    Today will be intriguing for the exactly reasons you stated.

  20. johnharms says:

    Dips, Intriguing. When you and I stood and watched Hawkins (v Saints) trying to understand where he was supposed to be in the zone and when he was supposed to contest and what he was supposed to be doing generally, he looked gone. What has seen his stocks rise is the prospect that the game might be returning to a traditional set up. (Yeah) Not sure if you had a chance to see the NM-Rich game. The ball moved so quickly both coaches were forced to go with a traditional structure – or at least a few targets in the front half. This served Jack Riewoldt and Brad Miller well. Also Drew Petrie and Hansen had their responsibilties at the other end. It was a terrific game of footy, despite a lt of skill errors under pressure (esp from Tiges). This set up would suit T. Hawkins out of the square, to play a classic old full forwards role. I think that is his go. He is not a natural ruckman. And he is unsure in a round-the-ground big man’s role. Compare him to Leuenberger and Westhoff around the ground and he has little. However, in a good side, he might be a 4-goal-per-game full forward. I reckon he will be fighting with Moons for a spot, not the second ruckman. It will be interesting to see who is left out of the 25 for tomorrow. Both are named on the 7-man interchange bench. Moon may get the nod because he can go back if needed. But then again, Lonergan is in. An interesting match committee situation.

  21. JTH – Hawkins has neither the kick nor the contested mark to be a reliable full forward. I’m not sure what he is. But he’s certainly not a natural footballer. He may stay in the team by default when Mooney retires. I wouldn’t mind seeing how he goes at centre half back. He’s quick, strong, can simply go the spoil instead of the mark. It concerns me how lost he constantly looks everywhere else. Bit like Geelong’s version of Kosi.

  22. Still licking my wounds from the debacle at Etihad last night.

    Hawkins and Kosi is an excellent comparison.
    For what it’s worth, I don’t think Tom H is ever going to be any good.

  23. Cracking match of footy at Docklands yesterday. The result hurts the invisible NM even more, but I haven’t seen footy like that for a long time! Close, hard, fast, thrilling.

    And if you haven’t seen Brad Scott’s post-match presser, you haven’t seen anger. Fire in the eyes. Not dissimilar to a Barry Hall response to a stalking journalist.

  24. johnharms says:

    Terrific win to the Pies, and quite a bit to like about the Bombers who sqaundered the ball too often. Heppell, Hardingham, Crameri: all immense potential on today’s showing. Pies at $2.40 are miles under the odds for the flag. The cube root of $2.40 is less then $1.40, when you consider they have to win three matches in September. P.J.Flynn will fill us in.

  25. Maxwell for Collingwood has lost the plot. He’s finished. Looks like a Murray Cod every time the umpire blows the whistle as he squeals for another free.

    Pendlebury is a star.

  26. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Just got back and really enjoyed the day. Bombers are definitely on the rise. Pies came to the party when it counted. They seem to be playing really good first and last quarters.

    Two weaknesses: The Ruck without Jolly and our backline can be exposed by quality tall forwards. Essendon tried to do this by playing three rucks, but you can’t rely on ruckmen to kick goals consistently. Bulldogs should be interesting next week.

    At the moment, Pendlebury is the best midfielder in the comp and has the medals to prove it.

  27. Rick Kane says:

    Toovey really impressed me. I reckon he was significant in keeping the Pies in the game through the middle quarters.

    Essendon, on their performance today, look like final 8 contenders. What about young Heppell? He looked confident beyond his years.

    I trust the Cats vs Hawks game can impress as much as today’s game did.


  28. Peter Flynn says:


  29. Pie fans what about Maxwell? He’s making bad decisions, his skills are letting him down, he’s falling over, he even looks scared at times. Am I right or wrong?

    Its a bit like watching Tom Harley get to the end – very sad for supporters.

  30. Damo Balassone says:

    Yes, Maxwell had a shocker but he will be back. He was in career best form last August to October, so it’s a tad early to be writing him off after coming back from internal bleeding and lack of match conditioning.

    #27 Rick, agree with that Toovey comment. Terrific under pressure today.

  31. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Thought today’s game was sensational. Full bore from go to woe. Although Essendon are not as strong as Pies yet I loved the way they played with confidence. Didn’t stop til the siren sounded. Hird still has a fair bit of work to do with them, but gosh I enjoyed watching the game.

    Interesting comments re Hawkins. He’s only young. Anyone that big and strong is worth persisting with for a bit longer I reckon.

  32. Rick Kane says:

    On the Almanac home page the banner reads, ‘Geelong-Hawthorn Day’. Brilliant! Far from being sacrilegious, this title dispassionately observes the truth at its most pure and let’s it’s followers determine the path they take from thereon. For me, I say to fellow Almanacers of the navy blue and white hoops variety, bring the day on. We have sun, form, history and the nervous heart skipping a beat, adventure in our sights. Carn the mighty Hawks!

  33. johnharms says:

    Only four and a half hours to go. The sun is shining. The kids, full of chocolate, are mucking around. Nanna has added some rich compost to the back garden. I feel like I’m a kid again myself. Can’t wait to see the hoops run out. Beautiful colours on a sunny Melbourne day.

  34. Rick Kane says:

    In today’s Age sport pages in an article about the Cats-Hawks rivalry, Sewell says, “we are very evenly matched” and I think we can agree on that. He goes on, “given this is the Anzac Day weekend there is plenty on the line”. The Anzac Day weekend? I like a guy who knows and respects history. He got one thing right: there’s plenty on the line.


  35. Andrew Fithall says:

    A great day at the G yesterday. Excellent game and correct result. Very much looking forward to venturing along again today and not being overly concerned about the outcome. Although, with Helen looking over my shoulder as I type this, I had better say I want the Cats to win.

  36. Peter Flynn says:


    I’m standing in the outer.

    The last time these two played, I watched from a pub in Cooktown.

    I had food poisoning so I was only able to get one beer down per quarter. Annie was back in the tent unable to keep anything down. The RSL did a nasty job on us the previous night.

    And I had 3-buck Mick pestering me for three bucks everytime I went to the loo.

  37. Clearisghted says:

    Heppell is a fantastic young player.

    A look alike: Pendlebury and Beaker (from the muppets).

  38. Peter Flynn says:

    Pendlebury is going to end up with more medals than Muttley.

    A gun player who keeps his feet, kicks well and has time.

    Good on him.

  39. johnharms says:

    PJF, in civilised parts that’s called soliciting. Remind me to tell you the story of Jungle Jim from Atherton. Did you get to the Lake Eacham Hotel in your travels in the Deep North? It’s at Yungaburra in the Cairns hinterland. One of the great pubs in the world. I haven’t been north of Mossman. But I have played cricket at Charters Towers.

  40. Peter Flynn says:

    The Almanac XI (although probably need XXII) taking part in the Goldfield Ashes would be brilliant.

    I’ve heard of the Lake Eacham but not visited there.

    The Lion’s Den Pub at Helenvale (northern end of the Bloomfield Track) goes alright. Great spot to camp.

  41. Dave Nadel says:

    #27, #30. Toovey was terrific yesterday – he has deservedly become a cult figure at Collingwood often amongst the same fans who questioned his selection a few years ago.

    #29 #30. You are right Damo. Maxi’s relatively poor form is because he is underdone after a serious injury in the NAB cup. He’ll be right in a couple of weeks. He is several years away from the position Harley was in during his final season. When he does decline Pendlebury will be a class replacement as Captain (which is why he will not go to GWS)

    Essendon played very well and with a bit more experience will be a top four side (2013?) What impressed me was that Collingwood closed the Bombers down when the two big forwards lifted their game. In Dawes’ case this was when Fletcher tired. Fletcher has been the first player to beat “The Beast” this year and I am looking forward to see how Dawesy goes against Lake on Sunday.

    Looking back over years of following the Magpies I think this is the first time that we have had two dominant large forwards that I can remember. Anthony Rocca and Chris Tarrant were probably intended to play a similar role to Dawes and Cloke, but neither of the Rocca brothers were as mobile as Dawes and Tarrant wasn’t as big and intimidating as Cloke. Peter McKenna was one of our greatest full forwards but he did not have a dominant centre half forward behind him (Ian Graham and Twiggy Dunne were both very good but they weren’t in the same class as Travis Cloke) Murray Weideman was a class centre half forward but when I saw him playing with Ian Brewer as full forward (1956) I was too young to appreciate how good they were.

  42. johnharms says:

    #40 Licensee: Daniel?

  43. Peter Flynn says:


  44. johnharms says:

    Of the Lion’s Den?

  45. Peter Flynn says:

    Sorry. I’m not sure who runs the Lion’s Den.

    I’ve played Royal and Ancient Cooktown. Not a bad track.

    Plenty of water off the fairway.

  46. Just ran the semis of the Gift – its a real W affair. Winner will come from Williams, Ware, Cracrfot-Wilson or Weaver. I liked the look of Weaver. Cracroft-Wilson could be the danger. But its one of the most even I’ve seen.

  47. Mitchell Williams won the Gift. Fabulus fighting run. Pulled his hammy with about 10 to go and held on. Gutsy stuff. Weaver and Cracroft-Wilson disappointing.

  48. Dave Nadel says:

    Watched it on TV, Dips. Very impressed with Williams’ finish. The fact that he won several paces after pulling his hammy makes his run legendary.

  49. forwardpocket says:

    I feel blessed to live in Melbourne and to have an accommodating wife. Have made my way in to the MCG the past 2 days. Perfect weather , massive crowds and great football.
    I really enjoyed today’s game as I didn’t have anything invested in it, other than being that most annoying of spectator’s – the one who ‘just hopes it will be a close game’. Although I must confess that I quickly went for the cats as I just can’t bring myself to like Hawthorn even for just two 1/2 hours.
    Some exhilarating ball movement from both teams today. Franklin teases so much but if you stop watching the ball and watch him there is nothing in the AFL like the sight of him taking off along the wing, I’m sure the white boots help, but that is a lot of man suddenly moving very, very quickly.
    Loved Varcoe’s goal in the third when he poked it through from the goalsquare. He was involved way back at half-back so that was a massive run to be on the end of it.

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