AFL Round 10: The View from Shepparton

This weekend has seen the best of sports and the worst of sports.

There comes a time when you cast sporting emotions aside and think of the heart and soul of those involved.

So it is when I think of Sam Stosur for one and Mark Neeld for another.

Like most of us I cringe when Sam is playing a deciding set or worse yet a deciding game and just this once I tried to put myself into her shoes when yet again she was making unforced errors at critical points in the last set of her against Jelena Jankovic. How does she hold herself together on court at such times? How do those close to her stand the pain, the tension and yet another game lost which should not have been. This is a player who when on song can beat anyone, who at times can intimidate with the effect that those who lose make clearly sexist comments which are in their way are every bit as bad as abuse that Adam Goodes copped last week. I have talked about how a Port Adelaide resurgence, (dead in the water), or even less likely a Melbourne recovery could make most fair minded sports lovers happy in their hearts for those involved but I would guarantee that another Stosur major particularly from a losing position in a third set would have the whole nation on its feet. How about Wimbledon? Come on Sam!!!!

Once again anyone looking at Mark Neeld press conferences has to surely feel sympathy for the bloke. How can he possibly have a positive demeanour or gut feeling when his team is walloped week in week out? And that is the point in a way, they are not just honourable losses they are ignominious  defeats. Ultimately the blame finishes at the top but who else in the land will get anything out of this team. I remember when in South Australia, Neil Kerley took over perennial easy beats South Adelaide in the 1964, having been sacked as coach of West Adelaide the previous season and in one season took them from bottom to a premiership. Would such a thing be possible now? Like a Stosur final set I cringe at yet another press conference involving Neeld when he has to hide the hurt, frustration and disappointment and by now probably self doubt as well that he must be enduring as he tries to rationalise yet another terrible result. And I wonder what future there is for sacked coach who like all of us has a family to support let alone lost pride and reputation as well. I fear that Michael Voss will be going down the same track as well unless there is a meaningful turn around at Brisbane.

The best. How does it come better than that Boomer Harvey goal, 350 games, four bounces and straight through the middle. Just love that so much. It is like a length of the field try in League except that having to bounce and then kick makes the Aussie Rules effort the more skilful of the two in my opinion. Another best was the sportsmanship shown by St Kilda at the end of the game, (and by the Geelong supporters standing up to applaud Ablett’s last goal, I mean how good was the goal and the reaction). And we have Nick Reiwoldt and Jobe Watson, Simon Black (and the perhaps whole Sydney team as it were for sheer tenacity). Old timers often reminisce over past eras the implication being that the current crop or circumstances are not their equal but I have never seen better players than these except perhaps Voss, Ackermanis,  and Mcleod.

I think that if North make the eight, and I hope that they do, they will be team feared by the rest in the finals. St Kilda’s season is over.

My mob never got near Collingwood. I would claim as an excuse that they had too many outs but Collingwood have had many more. I thought by quarter time that we would lose by 100. Again Black reminded the Brisbane faithful that we nedd at least another three players playing at his standard before they are going to progress. Credit to Collingwood, they were simply too good and good luck to them after such a terrible week.

The Gold Coast are certainly developing into another good story. For two weeks now they have scared the wits out of two of the best teams in the comp and playing away from home at that. I don’t want to become part of yet another failed band wagon, witness Port Adelaide and Majak Daw but by crikey the way they are playing at the moment  if I were a supporter I would certainly be attending their next home game at least. Their style of footy for 6 of the last 8 quarters has been fast and free flowing.

As an ex Croweater I was hoping that Port would get up but wasn’t expecting them to. Bulldogs too good, so at least their coach is safe for the next game or two. Where to now for Port? Their season is falling apart.

I mentioned that Collingwood had had a rotten week but got up well then how about the Swans in general and Adam Goodes specifically. This was a good game to watch as a neutral observer There were times when the Dons looked like they might make a game of it but really by the end Sydney was clearly the better side by several furlongs.

Freo had a great away win against the Crows. How good are they going to be if they can get back to full strength. Always feel good when they are going well as they were a maligned team for so long. As for Adelaide I would normally have predicted a five goal loss against Sydney next week except that their record against them in the recent past hasn’t been too bad. This was a game though that they had to win if they were going to be taken seriously as premiership threats.

Carlton thrashed the Giants, good percentage booster for them.

Ditto Hawthorn v Melbourne.

Finally, what a great win by the Tiges against the Weagles. Richmond made them look like plods with their lightning speed to the ball which left the opposition floundering and panicked particularly in that second quarter. Who the hell is Nick Vlastuin? Wish that Brisbane had a recruit with his skills. You turn away from a match like this thinking that on that sort of showing Richmond could take on anyone.

Week’s Highlight: Boomer Harvey’s, running goal. Would be a highlight any time but particularly given the fact that it occurred in his 350th game.

Low Light: Stosur with Melbourne a close second.

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer

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