The View From Shepparton – Round 10

James Polkinghorne, (James Polkinghorne?, yes well I had never heard of him either), you bloody ripper. Forget Buddy’s 13, forget Melbourne getting over Essendon, forget the Richmond St Kilda epic…… Well OK I’ll  grant that that is asking for an awful lot of forgetfulness but all the same that goal which I am sure was 70 metres out was the highlight of the round, nay the year. Talk about a dob under pressure. I can’t say that I have seen much lately which made me enthuse AFL over the NRL but that was the moment for me. And I was only listening to it on the wireless. One of these days I swear I will subscribe to Foxtel or Austar or whatever it is but first I have to get round the Minister for Home Affairs.

I am not good at multi-tasking and so as I was trying to get my head around what had already been a magnificent weekend of footy yesterday afternoon I  had to put down my pen, or leave the keyboard in fact, and as they say. “sit back and relax”. Except that I couldn’t in that pulsating last quarter. Like everyone listening, or more fortunately viewing the game, I was willing to concede when the Weagles found themselves 21 points up, but then, miracle of miracles, suddenly 4 straight goals to my mob!

Yes “my mob”, I must admit to being a fair weather supporter over the past couple of years, but you show some form, and baby, I’m back! The ABC team did a great job too conveying the atmosphere the SOUL as those Lions fought back. This bloke Green, well he was definitely a “Super Sub”. Then there was that save of Niall McKeever, what a ball tearer, Drummond getting goals from over 50 metres out, and you look back and realise with some shock that in that last quarter the Lions kicked 8 goals, truly remarkable. As for the West Coast, Masten Priddis and Darling were an ever present danger. Brissie comes up against Hawthorn next week, better hope that Franklin doesn’t repeat Saturday’s effort.

Two one-sided contest to complete the round, Sydney flexed their muscles to get rid of the ‘Dogs, loved that running goal of Jetta, that’s another thing that is fantastic about ‘Rules, a guy starts from near centre half back, and dodges and then goes flat out with the pursuing opponent unable to make up any ground and kicks straight whilst still being at full speed. I remember seeing Doug Olds doing that for Norwood against Glenelg over fifty years ago; that particular passage of play has always lived in my memory. To get back to the present, Sydney looked terrific but they are certainly less impressive when playing in Melbourne. As for the Western Bulldogs they looked listless and lifeless yesterday and yet they certainly have some name players.

I was so hoping that this weekend of upsets would continue but I don’t know, there is certainly something not right at the Suns. How is it that Ablett can get 53 touches and yet have his side rolled by 97 points? I quote from the write up of Courtney Walsh in today’s Oz. ” When Gold Coast did have the ball, they often needed to chip sideways or backwards for a lack of Suns ahead”. Exactly, and this is what we observed last week when they played Port Adelaide. Yet they can play, their first half in that game proved it. Can only hope that they too can click into gear at some stage or other this year. All footy followers would be horrified if Pendlebury’s injury turned out to be serious, so many name players have had their immediate careers messed up this year because of injuries, to say nothing of the teams affected as they have to undertake revisions of previous meticulous planning to cover the loss or losses. Collingwood are the favourites now for this year I reckon, particular given that they have been playing recently with so many players out with injury.

Adelaide would be happy with their away win against the Dockers particularly given that they gave up a big lead and yet were able to steady the ship and in the end win by quite a comfortable margin. A good effort away from home, but Freo are now one match out of the eight with a very inferior percentage as well.

Buddy kicked 13 and well done him, when he is on his game he is unbelievably good. I said last week that Hawthorn were “finished”. This great misjudgment underlines that  I am merely a casual observer and not an expert”.  That opinion regarding Hawthorn was wrong that’s for sure. All the same, they should be better than 6 and 4 with their list. North Melbourne are fast becoming another Victorian footy non entity being of little interest to anyone except their immediate supporters, bit like a few  interstate teams it has to be said.

The Giants certainly made a fist of it for a half but you always thought that with Geelong playing at home it would only be a matter of time before they broke free. The Giants do manage to maintain an interest though.

Port thrashed Carlton, this brought joy to my heart I suppose because it made the Suns effort the previous week look less terrible. Carlton too have been hobbled with injuries but the Powerless have certainly picked up in the last three games, besides, and I hate to admit this, they have by far the best team song; even better than Freo’s.

Aussie Rules was again served well by the last two games on this list, let’s look at Melbourne’s defeat of Essendon first.

This was a terrific match, not so much for brilliant open play perhaps but for sheer intensity. I was quite surprised by the number of times that Essendon players mishandled the ball when under pressure. Nevertheless I really thought  at three quarter time Essendon were going to run away with it but as happens so often now, inaccuracy is a killer when it keeps the opponent within striking distance. The said opponent though still has to be good enough to take advantage of the situation, and so Melbourne did. If I wasn’t a (reborn) Lions man I would have to say that this was the match of the decade,almost, in terms of the final result. The average observer would have been really happy for coach Neeld and the Melbourne Football Club. It is fantastic to see an underdog, savaged beyond belief come back and prove his (their) detractors to be wrong. Still, there is next week and Melbourne though hugely encouraged now need to put this behind them, and realising that it can be done, play Collingwood with real self belief. Essendon on the other hand were bound to have had an indifferent game eventually, they are still a great team.

In any ordinary circumstance, the St Kilda Richmond clash would have been the match of the round. The scores stayed close these were two teams playing exciting open footy. Though not very satisfactory for all concerned a draw would not have been an unfair result. Riewoldt (Jack) was on form, loved that hanger in the second quarter. Cousin Nick played OK as well but did not yield the same influence. Friday night is a long time ago!

Highlight: Had to be Polkinghorne’s goal although that of Jetta’s was pretty fabulous.

Low light: Daniel Menzel sustaining that injury to his other knee in his comeback game in the seconds. Life is so so rough at times. I suppose such things are supposed to be character building but how much character is one supposed to build?


About Peter Schumacher

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

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