Went to the Essendon Bulldogs game on Friday night. I tipped Essendon so I left the ground feeling pretty smug and content with life
I also left the ground feeling content because I had enjoyed a fast free flowing game in the company of my wife, our daughter, son in law, and their four children, identical girl triplets aged 11 and their 14 year old sister. I enjoyed the fact that unlike most games my wife and I have attended the crowd in the immediate vicinity barracked in good humour and without the need to resort to unnecessary indifferent language.
As I have observed on other occasions the AFL is no Sunday School Picnic and if one is not prepared to endure robust supporting then one shouldn’t be there and frankly for years I have taken it as a given that no holds were barred when it came to the tenor of comments which might be made or which could be expected and that one just had to get used to it or never attend a game. So this was a pleasant surprise as people of all ages could enjoy the game without being or feeling intimidated.
OK I have made the point I guess.
Now to the weekend round.
I always use as my benchmark my memories of the Brisbane Premiership sides of 2001 to 2003 as being the epitome of how to play the game in terms of skill, fast flowing footy and ability to break games open in a matter of minutes leaving their opponents floundering in their wake.
I haven’t seen Geelong playing but they obviously have it, Freo in the third quarter must have had, but in the game I attended Essendon certainly showed that they might have it I reckon. What a turn around from the Anzac Day game. The way the Bombers started, being up 3 goals in no time at all confounded the pundits for a moment but when by the end of the first quarter the Bulldogs had caught up I thought that they had the momentum and would gradually break free. Of course when Essendon got the next goal in the second quarter it gave them back the flow. Their 5 goals in the third quarter were a delight to watch, this was a young fast moving side who almost at times seemed to be carrying the ball “coast to coast”. I never seriously thought that the Don’s could be headed after that even though the Bulldogs fought back with the 6 goals in the last quarter. One thing that was really great that the game seemed to be being played in a good spirit with Hall for example not being subjected to the spiteful hassling of the previous week. He played a good game as well getting his 5 goals. I still thought that Fletcher played OK though. He is another player too that never seems to show any anger during a game. Patrick Ryder was there also, which given the reception given to him by his own supporters in the Anzac Day game was really pleasing. Just love seeing any players or teams coming back from adversity. This was a great game which was a pleasure to watch.
I had hoped that Adelaide could beat St Kilda and for a time this seemed to be quite possible but the Saints were too good. They would have had this match penciled as a win and so they should have given Adelaide’s form this year. I suppose that Adelaide should have received some encouragement for their first 3 quarters but it is so depressing to be run through in the last quarter like that. Injuries have really cut them down though, to be fair.
This has been a pretty conservative post thus far, but now, “BRISBANE BEAT COLLINGWOOD, YOU RIPPER!!” Actually one lasting memory I have of this game was the sight of Mick Malthouse sitting motionless and possibly disconsolate rather than red hot angry in the coaches box after the game. I couldn’t help wondering what he was really thinking. What are the thoughts that must go through a coach’s mind at such times? Get fed up with football and the players in general losing a match that should have been an easy win given the previous record of the teams involved? Wonder why one is still in the coaching game at all? Or as was reported none of the above philosophical musings, rather latent fury at an ineffective forward line. They only lost by 8 points yet as is often the case when a losing coach provides an after the game analysis one would have thought that apart from the forward line everyone else had played a terrible game as well. I didn’t see a lot of this match unfortunately but from what I did see Dale Thomas played a blinder, for a start. For us the Fev and Brown turned it on but Rich was clearly our best player. Actually I observed to my wife as he lined up for that last goal before the three quarter time siren, “Voss would have kicked this, let’s see how good this guy is?”. Well it was as straight as an arrow but just didn’t quite have the distance. Luke Power was according to some the best on the ground for his 250th, loved the goal which gave the Lions the lead in the last quarter. I still worry though that Brisbane are too reliant on the Fev and Brown.
Richmond supporters should be ecstatic after their win against the Powerless. Admittedly Port had come off a really hard game in Darwin but all the same they had a lot to play for. Now they are out of the eight. They are too inconsistent to be a worry to anyone this year in terms of the finals at least. I could be negative and will be for a moment suggesting that since Port joined the AFL this weekend has represented the low point in South Australian football, well at least it’s hard to imagine how it could get much worse.
The good news is though that Richmond having promised a win on a few occasions have finally made it, in alien territory and won well. I suggested last week that Jack Riewoldt, having been talked up by his coach would be hopeless but rather it was my musings that were as I see that he was in the Richmond best players list again.
Geelong beat Melbourne easily at home, Podsiadly played well again. What more can one say?
Freo continue to inspire those who like to see the underdog finally show some bite. 10 goals in the third quarter. Any team’s supporters would be rapt by that let alone those who back the Dockers. And they did it without Barlow too. I couldn’t care less about North Melbourne to be honest.
Carlton’s win against the Eagles was OK but totally expected of course. Bryce Gibbs had a million possessions. I seem to recall when there was a time if some wondered if he really had it but he is certainly repaying those who stuck with him in spades now.
Hawthorn just scraped in against Sydney. The features of this game were that Sydney once again proved that the hardly ever give up. Franklin was reported for the third time? for a head high bump. I have some sympathy for the view that given the speed of the game these days and the bloke’s height (6ft 6) this is a hard ruling on Franklin but these are the rules and when one purports to be an elite well paid sportsman then one should and must be able to adjust.
I note with interest that in the State of Origin and what a great game that was, Thurston converted 4 out of 5 try’s and hit the post with the other. I further note that the Matilda’s won today (fantastic result) getting 5 out of 5 penalties, it being left to an 18 year old reserve (I think) to take the last penalty shot to give Australia the game. She got it. Where does this sort of accuracy leave our highly paid AFL players in this regard?