It feels like it has only just begun but we half way through the shortened Football Season for this famous year 2020.
This year is full of “Who would have thought..?”. Monday night football? Port Power on the top of the ladder? Crows on the bottom? Collingwood losing by 66 points!!!! St Kilda in the top 4. Richmond out of the top 8.
The lines are getting blurred now between the rounds. Round 9 starts on Wednesday. Not much recovery time for injured players and not much training time either, especially when teams have to fly to another hub.
The West Coast Eagles are obviously happy little Vegemites being home in their own nest. They absolutely humiliated Collingwood on Saturday which was the birthday of their coach, Nathan Buckley. He probably wasn’t going to be much fun blowing out the 48 candles afterwards. It probably did not help the Pies to have Scot Pendelbury pull out before the game. The Eagles were absolutely unstoppable after half time, with Josh Kennedy kicking a total of 7 goals, Nic Natanui just being awesome and the whole team achieving the highest score of this season so far. 18 goals 3 points really shows that the Eagles are possibly back to their old premiership form now that they are safely home in WA.
The next highest margin was surprisingly on Monday night in the torrential rain at Optus Stadium. The “all weather” Cats beat the Dockers by 32 points in absolutely appalling conditions. It appeared that no-one could kick straight. Geelong kicked 6 goals 12 points to Fremantle’s 2 goals 4 points and it was looking very sad there for Freo for most of the game. Fortunately Fremantle narrowly missed their record of lowest score ever when their second goal was kicked in the last quarter. A game that most of the Dockers would prefer to forget , especially the two with hamstring injuries.
Saturday’s match between St Kilda and Port Adelaide was very entertaining. It was very much goal for goal in the early stages. It seems St Kilda’s familiarity of Adelaide Oval following last week’s win has carried them through confidently enough to beat the top team. Although Port are still on top of the ladder, the Saints have crept into 4th position which will be a challenge for them to stay there, however in 2020, anything is possible. A freaky goal was kicked by Tim Membrey for the Saints, that not even he was aware of. It seems the Port Power Player fisted the ball on to Membrey’s foot (which was up in the air because he was falling down head first) and somehow the ball came off the boot and through the goal posts. It was really a very interesting Score Review which upset all the Port Power supporters. The last quarter sealed the deal for the Saints where they could smell victory and just kept on going to win by a margin of 29 points.
GWS surprised us all by beating the reigning premiers Richmond by 12 points. This was a repeat of last year’s Grand Final and GWS could smell blood from the beginning. It was a battle of the Number 4s: Toby Greene and Dustin Martin. Both were best on ground for their respective sides but Greene kicked 5 goals and Martin kicked 2 goals. It seems that the umpire totally missed a magnificent mark taken by Richmond’s Mabior Chol (number 41). How this could be missed is a mystery because he is the 2 metres tall bloke from South Sudan with the red stripe in his black hair who stands out a mile. Anyway, umpire was asleep at that moment. Richmond fans not happy. GWS led all the way through. Both teams are out of the top 8 at the moment but anything is possible in 2020. The final scores indicate that things could have been different if the Tigers had kicked straight.
The much improved Carlton Blues are going from strength to strength this year. Their battle with North Melbourne gave them a win by 7 points in a game played in the rain. Carlton led all through the game but after half time it looked like the Roos might have been able to catch them. There was only 5 points the difference at half time and 7 points in the end. The goal kicking stars varied this week. Ben Brown did better than last week for the Roos. There were a few statements made by the commentators about Eddie Betts not being able to kick a goal in his long pants. Sadly it appeared he was wearing his little brothers long pants or his big brother’s shorts pants. I guess publicity like this is the price of being famous.
Another game with a 7 point margin was Sydney Swans defeat over the Hawks. Hawthorn dominated the first half but the Swans crept up and overtook them in the third quarter. It seems the “veteran” of the Hawthorn team (our Darwin boy Shaun Burgoyne) is under review again for getting a bit aggressively excited with Sydney’s James Rowbottom. It was definitely a noticeable tackle to say the least. The Swans have a relatively young side (compared with the Hawks) and new recruit Elijah Taylor kicked his first goal for Sydney wearing Adam Goodes old number 37. Keep your eye on that one. The Swans have a few players out with injuries but managed a win this week with only one more hand injury (Dane Rampe) to add to the list.
The Western Bull Dogs and the Gold Coast started this round on Thursday night with a very low scoring game, yet it was very close and quite a nail-biter. The difference at quarter time and half time and three quarter time was 2 points in the Dogs favour each time. In the last quarter they outshone the Suns with some Western Canine style and kicked to a 5 point victory. The Bull Dogs reached their score of 7 goals with 7 different goal-scorers, whilst the Suns hero Alex Sexton kicked three of their six. Good to see there were no injuries in this match. The Gold Coast team are not to be ignored this year and they probably will not finish in the bottom four.
The Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions was another thriller with the Queenslanders scraping through by 4 points. Truly surprising. Melbourne certainly rattled the Lions cage and probably gave them quite a shock. The scores were equal at quarter time. Brisbane managed to leap ahead in the 2nd and 3rd quarter but the Demons were going hell for leather in the final term and nearly caught the Lions by the claws. If Melbourne had kicked a little straighter, the outcome could have been a very different story.
And finally………..my beloved Crows! Almost got there. It was the closest margin of the whole round. There was nearly a win. Nearly an upset. Nearly a “told you so”/”sooner or later”/”about damn time” but NO. None of that. Still on the bottom but what one heck of an effort the Adelaide boys put in. The Essendon Bombers managed to beat them by 3 points. Tex Walker was amazingly good (on his home turf). This game had it all. There were two players reported for head butting, there were several 50 metre penalties, there were frequent score reviews, two hamstring injuries, one ankle, and lots of crowd participation. It was a telling point that did not go unnoticed when the Crows finally won a centre bounce and the spectators applauded. It seems Essendon’s Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is unstoppable. It was a very exciting end to this match and unfortunately the Crows just ran out of time. Aaahhhhh…… Try again next week!
Round 9 Starts tonight!
Scribe for DTBC Footy Tipping Team