Round 1 – West Coast v Brisbane: Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures 

West Coast vs. Brisbane

27/03/2016

Domain Stadium, 4.40PM

 

Everybody has a guilty pleasure. Some people can’t get enough of reality TV, some people love sneaking the occasional square of chocolate, even if they’re on a diet. Even some of my mates, who are fiercely heterosexual 18 year old boys blast some Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift through their headphones on the train. But I don’t think I have one. Everything that I enjoy seems to be conventional, aside from supporting a Queensland-based team when I’ve lived in Victoria my entire life, but that’s a very minor detail. Football isn’t at all a guilty pleasure. It’s just a pleasure, something that people can bond over. In my first few weeks at University, I think I’ve made more friends through talking about football than anything else. And this year, it’s become even more of a pleasure to watch. The new deliberate out-of-bounds rule, though contentious, is creating a better spectacle overall, and the reduced interchange cap is seeing the game open up, resulting in some big scores.

 

A big score was what was on our hands at Domain Stadium this lovely Sunday evening. A clear Perth sky and a strong wind towards the Eagles end was a promising opening for the home side, compounded by the late withdrawal of Lions defender Daniel Merrett, leaving the inexperienced trio of McStay, Gardiner and Andrews to deal with Eagles behemoths Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling, and they knew it too. 2 opening quarter goals to Kennedy proved warning signs for the Lions faithful, as he was being delivered chance after chance through superb ruckwork by Nick Naitanui and skilful roving by Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff. The Lions fought the onslaught, with run provided by Daniel Rich through the centre, and a few helpful free kicks inside the forward 50 leaving the Eagles 20 points up, before recruit (and our Lord and Saviour) Josh Schache kicked the first of what we hope will be many goals in the maroon, blue and gold. I check my phone at quarter time, with the Lions trailing by 14, and see a text from my Father, who’s travelling in Indonesia. “Back the Shak!!”  It reads. Somehow he’s managed to find a TV in Bali showing the game. I think for him, even watching the Lions play is his guilty pleasure.

 

The second and third quarters continue the frantic style of play from both sides. Naitanui continues his dominance in the ruck and Kennedy further extends his claim as the best key forward in the competition, but all eyes have turned to Matt Priddis. Somehow, he just manages to be everywhere at once, amassing an enormous 17 second quarter touches. Jamie Cripps provides a further forward line option while former Lions Elliot Yeo and Jack Redden appear to relish the opportunity to be on the winning side for a change. Yet, the Lions won’t go away. Last year, the cue would be well and truly in the rack by now, but they keep pressing. Tom Bell and Mitch Robinson continue to recklessly throw their bodies into every contest, while Allen Christensen continues to draw free kicks for high contact. Schache takes a lovely pack mark and converts his second AFL goal and is once again mobbed by his teammates, providing the Lions faithful with great hope for the future.

 

The superior skills of the Eagles are evident in the final term, as the lead grows through seven goals to four. Kennedy finished with 8, and it could have been more as the Eagles issued a warning to the rest of the league that last year wasn’t a one-off. The Lions have issued their own warning, be cocky at your peril. This is a far more competitive outfit that the last few years, as evidenced by the scoreboard. Last year, Brisbane exceeded 100 points on only 4 occasions, and now they’ve done it in Round 1 against last year’s Runner-Up. Christensen topped the Lions contributions with 3 goals, many of which came from free kicks. He’s booed by the Perth crowd as he takes a shot in the last quarter, which aggravates me, but I also see when they’re coming from. I hate it when players duck for frees, but since he’s in the Lions jumper, I’m prepared to look the other way. I know it’s hypocritical, but Allen Christensen and his dropping of the knees is my guilty pleasure.

 

West Coast 7.4 13.7 19.9 26.10 (166)
Brisbane 5.2 7.4 11.7 15.12 (102)

 

Goals:

West Coast: Kennedy 8, Cripps, Hill 3, Bennell, Darling, Naitanui, LeCras 2, Yeo, Ellis, McGovern, Redden

Brisbane: Christensen, Taylor 3, Rich, Rockliff, Schache, Walker 2, Hanley

 

Best:

West Coast: Naitanui, Kennedy, Priddis, Yeo, Gaff, Shuey, Bennell, Cripps

Brisbane: Christensen, Robinson, Rich, Bastinac, Bell, Taylor

 

Umpires: Fisher, Stephens, Pannell. Crowd: 35, 201

 

Our Votes: Naitanui (WCE) 3, Kennedy (WCE) 2, Priddis (WCE) 1

 

Brownlow:

 

Comments

  1. Christensen did get seven frees,that’s Cotchin or Selwood territory

  2. Good one Jonathon. Your Lions have a lot of skilled hard running young players. They just lack strong tall bodies in the key positions. Schache has obvious talent but it will take 2 or 3 years for him to grow into his body, so he isn’t really ready to be a key marking forward yet. Your players just need to keep their spirits up while they cop some beltings from the top sides, but you will get some wins over the low to middling ones. Good to see Leppitsch commited to run and attack.

  3. Quite rude of me not to acknowledge an excellent game by the Lions. Shuey and Cripps both got caught a couple of times by faster Lions players, so it’s a sign of the commitment to pace that Leppitch is calling on, oh and Christensen was third in frees for, last year behind Selwood J and Miles A.
    He’d surely have to be in the shortest half dozen players in the AFL…

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