Round nine wrap

In the end, Jonathan Brown was enough for Brisbane
to regroup and craft its first victory for the year
against North Melbourne. Matty Primus should take note
and think again about old men. Port didn’t name Chad Cornes
and dropped Brett Ebert on match day “for tactical reasons”.

The team had too many forwards, he said.
He got that wrong. There was a swirling wind,
favouring one flank, which would have suited Ebert’s
long-raking droppies as opposed to the pathetic
little 35 metre chips that Kane Cornes coughs up all day.

Port were woeful in the first half against Fremantle
(5.3 to 13.8). Just pathetic with limp lazy uninspired
chasing footy. They were little boys against men
in style and form – no cohesion, no structure, no passion,
no purpose, no muscle, no air. In the third quarter,

they showed some fight – kicking 6.3 but conceded
6.7. Freo cruised home in the last, especially after
Sandilands stubbed his foot in the turf. They dubbed
this new injury a turfed toe* … no-one at the ground.
including the coach really knew what that meant.

That toe will need scans to see whether it is broken.
The national press came down on Port with a thump:
they are a basketcase” and “Port are in free fall”.
At the press conference, I asked Primus whether
he was willing, yet, to concede that he had made

a mistake by not selecting Chad Cornes. “It’s youth,”
he said, and that he didn’t care how long it took
to turn around – a year or two – but when things turn
they will turn quickly
. Only 16,800 people attended
that AAMI game. That was the second lowest attendance

of any AFL contest, ever. Port need the match-day revenue
from something like 25,000 people to simply break even.
The million dollars they raised last month from explayers
and fans has already been absorbed by their increasing debt.
At a future conference, I might ask this coach:

“Would it be reasonable to assume that if you selected
Chad Cornes, 5,000 more people might attend a home game?
Can the club afford to ignore its debt?” He won’t like
that question and I won’t like asking it, but that club
should know that time is not on its side.

Geelong escaped with a two-point win over Carlton
in another Friday night classic at the MCG. Chris Judd
was lame in the last quarter and the big ruckman
Robert Warnock missed a shot at goal from a free
in the last minute. Never let a ruckman kick at goal.

He should have stayed down and let Eddie Betts
take the kick. Twenty minutes after the game,
Warnock felt increasingly ill and spent the night in hospital
with delayed concussion. That game was a lovely blend
of the old and the new, the experienced players who kept

their cool under pressure, and the rookies who played
without fear. This is the second big ask of Geelong in a row
– three points against Collingwood last week, two points
against a toughened Carlton this week. They’ve been up
for a while – eight wins in a row. A loss must come.

Next week, they play the Gold Coast. Will they ease back
for that?
Is that suddenly a danger game? I don’t think so.
In Round 11, they face the Bulldogs, beaten by 15 goals
by West Coast today. They should be able to handle that, too.
Their next real test will be Hawthorn in Round 12 at the MCG.

And now to the Crows vs Collinwood, the early Sunday game
At Etihad. All I wanted was no reports, no injuries and
no further damage to the percentage. Adelaide was fired up
from the first bounce, hard at the player and the ball.
They tackled cleanly and consistently; caused the ball

to spill and attacked through the central corridor.
They grafted goals with fast breaking footy and lead by 7 points
in the first quarter and 30 points at half time. I was on the sofa;
Gay was there too, watching partly, but mainly sleeping.
“Adelaide needs to be up by ten goals at three quarter time,”

I told her, “to win this game.”
“Yes, John,” she said.
“If Adelaide wins this game,” I said, “I’ll go
to the Adelaide casino and put $1000 on red.”
”Yes, John,” she said.

At three-quarter time, Adelaide had a 24-point lead.
It was never going to be enough. Collingwood raised themselves
from their slumber and piled on eleven goals to Adelaide’s two
for a convincing 45-point drubbing. It wasn’t as if Adelaide wilted;
Collingwood simply woke up, shifted a gear, and powered home.

Until that last quarter, Ben Rutton played his best, hardest game
for the year. He put his body in, took hard knocks, battled through pain
and clash with courage and grit. Scotty Thompson was the engine-room
with 33 disposals; Rory Sloane gave the team spirit and dare with two gaols
and six tackles; Sam Jacobs won the ruck with 45 taps to advantage,

van Berlo played with reckless courage, Henderson made mistakes and
bounced back with character; Dangerfield is getting smarter every week;
Tippet was better; Doughty and Douglas were strong. And Reilly was maybe
Adelaide’s best; he kept Swan and Pendlebury out of the game
for as long as he could. In the end, reality took over.

Collingwood are a magnificent unit with sheer strength, skill and
team-smarts on every line. The scary thing is that they are so young.
It’s not just that a significant part of their team is maturing at the same time;
their youth is stunning too. They could dominate for longer
than Brisbane’s reign and go deeper than Geelong’s recent charge.

In the last quarter, Andrew Krakouer split the game open
with the mark of the year and a couple of clever goals. Collingwood
have structure and method and half a dozen unlit bombs waiting
to explode at any moment. Like everyone, I loathe Collingwood
but I’ve fallen in love with this team.

* Turf toe is a surface level condition characterized by a painful, red, swollen great toe caused by acute inflammation of the tendons on both the dorsal and plantar surfaces, often seen in those who play American football, Rugby, Beach Soccer, and Tennis.


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    Why do you think Port are playing such uninspired football John? You’d think a change of coach would refresh them.

  2. John Kingsmill says

    Hi Pamela.

    The ghost 0f Williams remains in the older players who Matty wants to drop.

    But it’s all too drastic. Matty is playing kids who are clearly not ready.

  3. Pamela Sherpa says

    Matty would do well to take on board the advice of a balanced ,wise soul , then. wouldn’t he? Voss is like a bull at gate too – with drastic consequences. I can understand young coaches full of steam trying to stamp their own authority on their clubs. But respecting experiencing is something they should be mindful of too.Getting the balance right is the key that’s for sure.

  4. John,
    Thanks for not mentioning the Dogs. Cheque in mail.

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