FEARLESS 2021 Round 4: Blockbusters start the round and do the game justice.

I did manage to read an interesting yet shocking article on ESPN news by Western Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley that caught my attention. Before I go into more detail, for those that don’t know him, Josh is basically an ex-private school boy-turned AFL footballer and probable tertiary student, with an ex-AFL playing father and very little controversy (ignoring the November Trade Request). His brother plays footy too and used to be at Melbourne and his sister is a high-profile netballer in the national comp. Josh doesn’t seem to court controversy and by virtue manages to be somewhat of a role model, a task occasionally some AFL players are unable to fulfil for various reasons. Generally speaking, Josh’s a solid citizen and good on him. Those involved in junior sports love these types as they do help reinforce some things that are taught.


Imagine though my shock at Josh’s tale of being a player in a losing side at Marvel/Etihad Stadium when he actually could’ve won the close game. Fumbling is not uncommon in any types of sports and fair enough. Any coach will tell you there’s probably more than one reason why the side lost the game. Well said coach! So, for Josh to retell the tale about how it was suggested on social media to him personally after this game that he should kill himself by jumping off the Westgate Bridge because he cost his side the win…


I ask you honestly what is the world coming to?


Now, fortunately Josh had the good sense to turn his phone off and bingo…a new addition to his post-game routine. Don’t engage, don’t read, don’t listen. Well done Josh. Smart thinking!


Again, what is the world coming to? Is this just madness of social media? Is this proximity between the players and the public now fully removed? Is this one person’s thoughts? Am I missing anything? Has the impact of sporting results gone too far?


I think we know it’s only a game. For most people, at least. I can’t honestly say what would drive someone to do that. I hope the AFL and the Police around Australia know this story.


It might even be commonplace in other countries. Most have heard the story of the Columbian goalkeeper who conceded an own goal representing his country and paid the ultimate price.


Scary stuff. Not the norm I assume, but still scary. Thanks Josh for sharing the story.


And now back to Round 4.


Essendon travelled to the SCG to take on the rampaging Sydney Cygnets. The Bombers had a commanding lead in the 2nd, before the locals bounced back to the last 4 goals of the half, inspired by veteran Sam Reid. From there a foot race. Both sides shared the lead and veterans Hooker and Buddy acting as key focal points, as too Stringer. These two sides love a close one. The crowd got another. Swans home by just 3pts.


On Friday Night, the City of Churches got treated to a possible Grand Final preview at the Adelaide Oval. Port hosted Richmond, with both teams coming off big losses. Port had the chance to break the game open in the 2nd but poor kicking netted 3.7. The Tigers didn’t lie down  and grabbed the lead with Jack R and Steve Motlop acting as targets. Intensity plus. Port’s Wines starred but 3 injuries marred a gripping 2pt win.


AFL returned to Ballarat on Saturday as the Western Bulldogs hosted the Brisbane Lions at a windy Mars Stadium. Adam Treloar continued his fine start to being a Dog, as the undefeated Dogs managed to extend keep the Lions at bay. No Josh Bruce heroics. Enter the perfectly coiffed Tim English to kick 3 and cause havoc, whilst allowing Stef Martin to edge his Lions counterpart in the Big O. Dogs 19pts. 4 wins straight.


Under the pump were the Saints as they squared off against the Eagles at Marvel. The Saints had been average to start 2021, maybe getting ahead of themselves. Coach Ratten knew this and allowed Max King to dominate up forward. The Eagles had the edge till ¾ time but a 0.1 last qtr aint much yield. The Saints broke the shackles with 5.1 and restarted their year with a 20pt win. Simmo’s Eagles a slight worry away.


Club Metricon hosted a desperate Suns-Blues match on Saturday night. These were the types of games that had haunted Blues fans for much of their improved last two years. The Suns on their home deck funnily looked sluggish until the third qtr ended. A 4.4 to 2.3 3rd qtr tipped the game back in favour of the Suns. Ideal chance for Carlton to show maturity and win tough. Blues 11pts, SOS shoulder showed the right stuff.


Footy’s naughty boy Toby Greene led the GWS onto the MCG as acting captain, in a manner that suggest maturity. Collingwood had been widely tipped to return to the winners list as the Giants were suddenly facing a tough and injury-marred 2021. Like the KFC jingle, the Giants just said I don’t Care, I love it and suddenly the Pies are staring down the barrel with club engine Taylor Adams badly injured. GWS 30pts in a shock!


As Yazz sang in the 80s, the only way is up baby for the Kangaroos!  And Nicks’ Custard Croquets knew this only too well from the 2020 season. Did someone say jumper clash? WTF? Early on the Kangas were down players and were still managing to keep the Crows on their toes at Marvel on Sunday. A North lead by 4pts at ¾ time dissipated in an 8 goal avalanche by Adelaide led by Tex and Croquet Sholl. Crows 41pts.


It’s been labelled the clash of traditional private schools as Melbourne hosted Geelong on Sunday at the G. There was that much Harris Tweed on display in the members, rumours of a foxhunt were rife. The Dees were undefeated and looking to stay that way. The Cats were currently a bit down. The only thing hunted was Geelong players who look pressured and battered by a team who’s confidence is up. Dees by 25pts.


Credit to ears that hear change! Once the battle of the bad taste jumpers, Freo-Hawks game had far more style for both teams, however a week with gastro reminded me of all Hawks jumpers! Apart from the ridiculous manbun of returning skipper Fyfe was his off goalkicking (0.6) and how much better Freo are at home. And Mr Darcy – 3 goals, a new Freo attack hero?. Freo 15pts. CJ-Freddy chasedown/goal spectacular.




For more from Fearless, click HERE.






The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE



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