AFL Round 11: The View from Shepparton

I am really not surprised sometimes when NRL supporters argue that the AFL is a “soft” code compared to theirs. I am not referring to the attempt by Paul Gallen to meld the boxing ring into the sport of Rugby League. This action, whilst no doubt  making the grizzled old aficionados of the game happy that for once there had been a retreat from political correctness back to the way the game used to be played, made the rest of us somewhat bemused that the action of the captain in what is arguably the biggest event on the sporting calendar resulted in a general shrugging of the collective shoulders of all concerned and a one match ban. No, what I am referring to is that at a time when NRL stars have just played the toughest game of all they are expected to back up in the same week for their club. Meanwhile the AFL has this bloody stupid set of three split rounds. This is a total gift to the other codes.

We have a sort of family tradition in which our son-in-law who corrupted our daughter and through her our four grandchildren into becoming Essendon supporters visit us when Essendon is playing an important match to view the game on our magnificent 63 inch Foxtel powered Sammy TV. This visitation inevitably results in the game being over by half time with the Dons on the losing end every time with the effect that suddenly everyone becomes tired and weary, indeed it comes to the stage where we as the hosts expect our extended family to be always chronically weary and tired by half time. So it was last Friday night, so they left, as I thought to lick their wounds. How the Blues lost this game is totally beyond me and made me miserable for some time after as I moped around thinking what might have been. And I am not even a Carlton supporter. But it was a fantastic comeback by the Bombers. All I could do was wonder how Waite would have felt having given a master class as to how to play as a forward, how the Blues could squander a 31 point lead. Changing Hurley and Carlisle around turned out to be a stroke of genius. Heppell was great as he scooted around gathering possessions and getting the Bombers back into it and Zaharakis really played well also. Good luck to you Bombers, that win, against the flow of play showed real guts, Melksham being a prime example of this when he had to kick accurately to put the Bombers in front.

Adelaide were a huge disappointment. They are supposed to be “The Pride of South Australia” where our game is the only game playing a team where “Rules” is probably the third code. How is it that they can’t be more competitive particularly at home? Give credit where it is due though, out of all of the teams that played this round, Sydney were by far the best. I doubt if the game could be played better than was demonstrated by the Swans. They put on a master class of pressure tackling, deadly forward thrusts and general footy smarts. I know that Geelong and Hawthorn loom but really, right now, they are the ones as far as I can see. Got to say that Hannebery was outstanding. Dangerfield, where would Adelaide be without him?

The Suns won a really dour game against North having given them 5 goals start. This was a great team effort so it wasn’t just Ablett but I am getting to the stage of thinking if there has been a better player in the game, well I haven’t seen him. It was amazing how North were shut down after quarter time. Having sharp memories of the way Sydney played and the way that they kept breaking the game open, I was expecting the Roos to get away any time soon but this is where the difference between North, as pretenders almost, and Sydney, showed up. Meanwhile, if the Suns could get a decent run without injury they could well make the Eight given their draw. Who would have thought that?

West Coast fell over against the Saints courtesy of a few soft crucial umpiring decisions in my view. Well, actually at this distance in time, that is after five minutes after the end of the game I can’t remember now what they were but whatever they were they were pretty hot at the time. What I do remember though is that fantastic last Eagles goal in which Mackenzie got away from Maister who tripped over his ankles in his attempt to catch him leaving a clear passage to goal. Still have to kick it though. There have been many examples of individual brilliance at the death knell, this was one of them.

The Giants were competitive for three quarters against Geelong which using the Suns as an example could bode well for a decent season in 2014 but they don’t have an Ablett, and if they do happen to get Franklin will need to get used to taking a sharp intake of breath every time he takes a set shot at goal.

Collingwood thrashed Melbourne, disappointing particularly after the Demons had a red hot go on the first quarter but otherwise unsurprising.


Highlights: Mackenzie, Melksham.

Lowlight: David Schwarz in wishing that a thrashing would happen to his old team so that Neeld would have to go. Would be like wishing that Australia loses tonight just to stop the rising profile of the round ball game in this country.

About Peter Schumacher

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

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