AFL Round 10 – Gold Coast v Western Bulldogs: Half the distance to the goal…..5th down?

It’s almost an annual trek for me these days to head down on a lazy weekend to catch a Gold Coast Suns game at Carrara. The ground is reasonably easy to get to, the atmosphere and setting ideal, and there aren’t too many bad seats at the ground (although the sun in the afternoon can be a pain for those on the outer wing). This years visit for me took on even greater meaning with the team of the mighty west making their first trip to the Sunshine State for the season. It was a crunch game for the men in the Red White and Blue, for a loss would put them back in the basement just above the basket cases in St.Kilda, GWS and Brisbane, but an unlikely win would keep the team on the fringe of competitiveness with a mix of tough and winnable matches to come.

The mood before the game was lifted for a couple of reasons, starting with Luke Thompson’s late withdrawal through injury. With the lack of a forward line on our part thanks to injuries and a bump that deserved punishment (although some say Liam Jones’ absence may have improved the side) it would mean that the Suns would go in with just a single big bopper in defence in Steven May, whose shoulders I’ve described as broader than Mattias Corman’s without the cigar smoke to cover them up. Then on the train ride to the ground from Brisbane, which was interrupted by a bus ride from Roma Street to Yerongpily due to rail works, I managed in between a conversation with a Bulldog fan who had commuted from Mackay to peruse the NEAFL score where the UWS Giants (the GWS reserves) put 32 goals on against the Suns magoos.

Scores of Suns fans had not only boarded the train, but had arrived at the ground well before the bounce. For the first time ever in my experiences at Carrara (emphasis on the MY EXPERIENCES) the cheap seat allocation had been exhausted. Fortunately I had part of the club’s allocation for Queensland based members so getting in was no issue for me. Judging from the start of the game, which was a rapid centre clearance followed by a long Prestia kick down the gullet of Dixon slightly outside the goal square, perhaps I was better off waiting in the queues. Yet the first half saw a competitive visiting outfit even hit the scoreboard more times than the more fancied hometown heroes who nailed 6 goals prior to their first blemish. In a way the Doggies were fortunate that Dixon, Lynch and Day all dropped chances that were regulation for players of their ability.

Disappointingly the second half has as poor as I have seen a Bulldog outfit play. Forget the fact that the 3rd quarter saw an 8 goal to 1 blast. The skill level was at a lower level than how our local Under 11 side disposed of the ball on the Friday Night (don’t ask for the score for 2 reasons, I wasn’t there given employment commitments and the league has never recorded scores for that age group), with many of their majors coming off kicking turnovers. The coaching also came under scrutiny, with a lack of moves to combat the avalanche coupled with criticism of the starting lineup a theme on the social media outlets. From my perspective, though it was a calculated move with the forwards from Round 8 missing I would have kept Murphy in the backline where he belongs these days to begin with, but I would have either dropped him as a loose man during the mutilation or swapped him with Stringer in defence. It’s almost astounding how a bloke who was drafted as a midfielder who can play forward is used as a 3rd or 4th tall back, and he looks as lost as the funding for Peppa Pig in the back half. There was also questions asked by Peter Everitt, commentating on Gold FM (who incidentally cut the coverage 2 minutes before the end) as to why Gia was used as he normally was (Substitute, the song by The Who I think is on Gold FM’s playlist) when there was a lack of scoring punch to begin with.

Now it’s time to admit defeat, I’ve tried to go through the article without mentioning their number 9 and how he was treated but I suppose I can’t do it without drifting into other areas of the weekend. In terms of the elbow thrown that he was cleared by the Chook Lotto agents comprising the match review panel, I can empathize with how Liam Picken felt. A couple of weeks ago in the reserves I tried to apply defensive tactics to a player who let frustration get the better of him as he took a swing at me (missed by miles, a punch to my head would probably improve my looks anyway). It has to be said that the response from the other Suns players was better than expected, rather than become preoccupied with subtle blocking or physical payback, their midfielders simply found the ball and used it as they should, just another reason why the Suns are no longer a 1 man team. That said, any time you can hold number 9 to 24 touches is a win in anyone’s language so once again Liam Picken gets the plaudits from the Dog Squad.

As for number 9, there was a time in the second quarter where he should have also been under scrutiny for diving, one that Luis Suarez, the current Liverpool number 7 and Uruguay lynchpin, would have been proud of doing in Brazil in a few weeks time. Which brings me to the highlight of the last quarter. With the sting out of the game and with those staying on the Coast on Monday looking forward to a free Big Mac, the big screen cut to a shot of Harry Kewell, a former Liverpool number 7 amongst other things, enjoying the game amongst the big wigs. Boy if was was younger and in his prime, perhaps the Socceroos might win a game in Brazil!

These sides meet again in just under 2 months time in Far North Queensland in Cairns, a match I’m looking forward to viewing. In that time the credentials of the Suns as a short term finals contender will have likely been sorted. By that time the credentials of a number of Bulldogs, players and coaches alike, may still be under scrutiny and that game will have a large bearing on their future direction.

P.S. Did the Rocky River Run before flying down on Sunday Morning after playing 2 games the day before….broke my half marathon PB by 5 minutes through the fog! At least something went right last weekend! Look on facebook for photos, I’m in a Bulldogs training jumper with blue zinc on the nose!

 

GOLD COAST 18.11.119
WESTERN BULLDOGS 10.14.74

 

SCORERS
GC: Lynch 4.1, Dixon 4.0, Matera 3.1, Bennell 2.1, Russell 2.0, Swallow 1.0, Smith 1.0, Shaw 1.0, A.Hall 0.2, Sexton 0.1, Ablett 0.1, O’Meara 0.1, Prestia 0.1, RUSHED 0.2
DOGS: Tutt 2.1, Giansiracusa 2.1, Cooney 2.0, Murphy 1.3, Griffen 1.1, Stevens 1.1, Dahlhaus 1.0, Picken 0.1, Smith 0.1, Crameri 0.1, Higgins 0.1, RUSHED 0.3

BEST
GC: Swallow, Bennell, Harbrow, Matera, Dixon, Lynch, Kolodjashnij, Prestia
DOGS: Picken, Dahlhaus, Wood, Griffen

VOTES
3: David SWALLOW (GC)
2: Brandon MATERA (GC)
1: Liam PICKEN (DOGS)

OFFICIALS
FIELD: Leigh FISHER, Matthew NICHOLLS, Ben RYAN (EM: Andrew STEPHENS)
BOUNDARY: Matthew McKENZIE, Darren WILSON, Nick WADE, Aaron DECKYS
GOAL: Chelsea ROFFEY, Tristan SYMES

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

Comments

  1. Neil Anderson says

    You were lucky it was one of your shorter journeys to see that debacle. I flew over the top of the debacle coming from Cairns to Melbourne and turned on the car radio driving down the Tullamarine Freeway to hear the third quarter details, which put a giant dampener on a great holiday.
    Ironically catching up on Bulldog emails at home, the first one from the Club was inviting members to go to Cairns in July for the next match against Gold Coast. Yeah. Right!
    To understand some of the despair of us older Bulldog stalwarts, I refer you to the Bulldog Tragician website.

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