Round 7 Winners and Losers

Round 7 was a round unlike many others. The competition’s newest members got their inaugural win, and the smallest winning margin was 3 goals. This week’s list features plenty of unexpected winners as underdogs not only came away with victories, but significant margins to boot.


The Greater Western Sydney Giants

This match was the equivalent of two new kids at school trying to prove their worth to the rest of the kids at the expense of the other one. The result of this battle was made even more surprising by the fact that the kid with the coolest toy still lost. Though in fairness it hadn’t been used in two weeks, so while undoubtedly still awesome, it didn’t quite have the same shininess as it usually does.

The GWS victory was engineered in the middle by Stephen Coniglio, Callan Ward and Toby Greene, marshalled at the back by Chad Cornes (who seems to have taken all the heart with him when he departed Alberton), and finally cemented by another Port Adelaide castoff in Jonathan Giles.

The castoffs have certainly proven their worth on field so far. The Giants are like the thrifty guy who spends his weekends searching for bargains at garage sales. In this situation it was Port Adelaide who was more than happy to get a dollar for what they assumed were appliances that barely worked anymore. Well the Giants took them home, plugged one in and found it still had a bit of life in it. The other was found in Port Adelaide’s bin and had never really been taken out of its packaging. Turns out it’s not a list clogger but rather a number one ruckman. The corner lamp they picked up from Brisbane has also been handy.

If going out and beating the Suns on field wasn’t enough, the young Giants added salt to the wound when they went into their rooms and absolutely destroyed their club song, reminding everyone how bad the Suns’ first attempt was. The Giants didn’t even need a whiteboard with the lyrics on it. Comprehensively beaten on field and off it.

Adelaide Crows

As an Adelaide fan, I can’t recall the last time the Crows played that well against that level of opposition. I’m working hard to commit that first half to memory.

The game can be summarised by the performance of Jared Petrenko, and the defining scene was Petrenko and Steven Motlop attacking a loose ball on the half-forward flank. Motlop hesitated and Petrenko didn’t. Petrenko was everything Geelong wasn’t.  Constant, ferocious attack on the football. He wanted the ball more and so did his team. The Crows had more disposals, more contested possessions, more clearances and more tackles than their opponents.

Scott Thompson was his workman-like self, with 34 touches, 7 tackles and 13 clearances. Dangerfield had a quiet game by his recent standards and still managed 8 clearances. These two are the figureheads of the Crows ‘inside revolution’. Last season the Crows finished 15th in contested possessions and tied for 16th in clearances. They are 1st in both categories so far in 2012.

Adelaide’s defence monstered the Geelong forwards. Brent Reilly, who has reinvented himself and saved his career this year, was arguably best on ground. Rutten and Talia kept the Hawkins/Podsiadly partnership to just one goal. Steve Johnson had his most ineffective 25 disposal game in about 5 years. If you told any opposing coach that Stevie J would have 25 touches, no goals and only 1 goal assist, they’d take that.

For Geelong it was ultimately one of those days. The equivalent of a man waking up late, having no hot water in the shower, burning his toast and spilling coffee on his brand new white shirt.


James Hird is flying ahead in the “Old Super Stars Who Returned To Their Clubs To Coach” race. Buckley is finally getting the engine out of idle, and Voss is stuck in reverse.

The Bombers knocked off the previously unbeaten Eagles to the tune of 61 points. Essendon’s dominance stemmed from the middle of the park, registering 18 more clearances than their feathered opponents. The Eagles really miss Nic Naitanui around stoppages, and their problems in that area were made worse when clearance specialist Matthew Priddis was subbed out with concussion early in the first.

The Bombers take on Richmond in the Dreamtime at the G clash next Saturday, which will either show us that Essendon is a side that dispatches those it should, or give birth to Yellow and Black fever.


The Tigers beat the Swans and in doing so won their first game against someone who wasn’t the footballing equivalent of a 3 day old baby.

Looking at the Richmond fixture is a fascinating experience for three reasons

  1. Every single game seems hard
  2. You can picture Richmond winning any game on the list
  3. You can picture Richmond losing every game on the list

I don’t think any other club can manage that.

Western Bulldogs

This week’s winner of the “maybe we aren’t as bad as everybody assumed we were?” award (narrowly edging out GWS. Can’t win everything lads). The ever industrious Matthew Boyd and Ryan ‘Is that another forward 50 entry?’ Griffen led the way as the Dogs dragged North back to the depths of mediocrity.

St Kilda

The St Kilda rollercoaster continues as everyone struggles to define what they are. Done and in need of a rebuild? Just mediocre? Above average? Top four aspirants?  Who knows?

I’m leaning toward slightly above average. When I imagine the business end of the season I just can’t picture St Kilda being a legitimate shot at the flag. That speaks volumes about either the Saints or my imagination. Nevertheless they were impressive against the Blues. Their new small forward group of Stephen Milne, Terry Milera and Ahmed Saad kicked 9 goals, outperforming their much more fancied Carlton counterparts.

Steele Sidebottom

35 disposals at 94 per cent efficiency. That is obscene.

Buddy Behind Watch

7 more on Friday night, giving him 31 so far this year.

I have to think of a better name for this segment.



North Melbourne

The buzz around North Melbourne leading into the season was, as it always seems to have been these past few years, that they were ready to not only make the finals but give it a serious shake.

After their round 3 victory over Geelong it seemed that the Kangaroos were finally ready to deliver on those expectations. Fast forward to round 7, and North Melbourne are yet again giving off a ‘best of the rest’ vibe. If you’re serious about playing finals you probably should be beating the Western Bulldogs in 2012. Instead North lost by 18, and the margin flattered them.


It’s quite clear the Swans much prefer it when no one acknowledges their existence. Everyone has a special place where they feel safe. For Sydney that place is “under the radar”. The Swans began the year in that place, and the only talk involving them concerned how old they supposedly were. Five weeks into the season they were undefeated and getting showered with love by a media that had been only vaguely aware of their existence just weeks before. The Swans haven’t won since ‘Sydney Lovefest 2012’ kicked off, so they’ll be hoping that festival is cancelled so they can return to their winning ways.

Collingwood and West Coast

Injury lists longer than the complete works of Shakespeare.

Speaking of Collingwood, they’ve won four in a row but you wouldn’t know it as “Collingwood is struggling” is still the football discourse. They’re not playing at the heights of the past few years, and the injury list is still being added to each week, but they remain a difficult challenge for any team in the competition. I’m starting to imagine a world where Collingwood and Geelong finish in the 5 to 8 range. Perhaps the ‘can only win the flag if you finish in the top four’ truth could be broken this year. Is it possible? Yes. Is it only round 7, rendering this hypothetical entirely useless? Yes.


It was an off night for every Blue not named Chris, Heath or Andrew.

Carlton’s celebrated small forward ensemble struggled while St Kilda’s performed brilliantly. It seems odd to criticise Carlton scoring prowess, as they kicked 14 goals on the night, and remarkably lead the league for marks inside 50, but they are a team without a true tall forward, and teams without true tall forwards don’t seem to win the flag all that often. Can Carlton’s tall forward committee of Waite, Hampson and Thornton do the job if their smaller companions in the forward arc are having a bad day at the office? I guess the natural counter is the success of Geelong circa ’07 – ‘09, but I feel a whole lot better about Mooney, Nathan Ablett, Lonergan and Tom ‘pre-Hulk mode’ Hawkins than I do about Carlton’s collection, and Carlton aren’t at Geelong levels of excellence everywhere else to justify the weakness.

Gold Coast

The Suns now have the unenviable record of having a 100% loss rate in games they go into as favourites. Sample size be damned.


The wooden spoon is becoming a distinct possibility. At least the Suns can hide behind some of their shiny youngsters (the young player with talent is to AFL fans what mum and dad’s keys are to toddlers).

Port Adelaide and Brisbane

Both teams are eagerly looking to pry the “worst team that can’t hide behind the word expansion” title away from Melbourne.  Brisbane seems to have stagnated, and their biggest problem is kicking a winning score. Brisbane is middle of the road in areas such as contested possessions, clearances and tackles, but is in front of only the Giants and Melbourne in terms of goals kicked. It’s gotten to the point where I start to feel bad for Jonathan Brown having to play a lone hand up front whenever I watch their games. You probably shouldn’t ever feel bad for a guy who has won three flags.

Port Adelaide just appears disinterested lately. While the results weren’t always going their way at least they were giving it a go earlier in the season. They seem resigned to defeat before the opening bounce. Their skills are deplorable. Port fans are raging, and so they should be. Their Round 17 clash with Melbourne will involve more butchering than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

About Adam Ritchie

My name is Adam. I started watching football with two fellow parapsychologists in an abandoned firehouse. When we’re not watching footy, we’re running our own pest control business. What do you mean I stole that from Ghostbusters?

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