Round 9 AFL has been and gone, squashed in the middle of 33 games in 20 days. Monday 3 August sees the beginning of Round 10. There seems to be more drama off the ovals than on this week.
Too many CoVid-19 protocol breaches. Fines being handed out amongst the players, the coaches, the officials and even the wives and families have been escaping the hubs and turning up in Day Spas and Theme Parks. It appears that every Victorian club has been naughty. Is it any wonder that the state of Victoria is in the state that it is in? This whole year 2020 is a bit of a “write off” and a survival of the fittest in more ways than one.
Who is appearing the fittest? Even though Port Power are still sitting on top of the perch, the West Coast Eagles are proving their expertise and are looking like they might take the flag. Can you imagine how wonderful it could be if the Grand Final was played at Optus Stadium in Perth. Surely the “G” has forgotten that the “C” in “MCG” stands for Cricket and it will indeed be the Cricket Season by then!
The West Coast v Geelong game was indeed a thriller with the smallest margin of 9 points. The Cats were leading all the way through until the final last minutes when it truly counts. Josh Kennedy was again totally amazing kicking 4 goals for the Eagles. He is a strong contender for the Coleman Medal, so it is nice to know that someone is having a good year! Nic Naitanui was awesome as usual but that is not to say that Geelong were not totally frightening at times with the skills of Hawkins, Tuohy, Dangerfield and the usual suspects. The last 2 minutes of this game was raising blood pressure all over the country on both East and West Coasts. Final Scores 11-7 to 10-4. A disappointed bunch of Cats licked their paws to the uproar of the local West Coast crowd.
If that was the high-light of the Round, then the low light would have to be the North Melbourne v Adelaide Crows match. Has Adelaide hit rock-bottom or can it get worse? This was a match of extremes. With Taylor “Tex” Walker pulling a sickie at the last moment for the Crows, the Adelaide boys probably went in with a defeated mentality. All we could guarantee about this game was that one of the teams was going to conquer their continuous losing streak. North Melbourne went in fairly determined that it was going to be them. The Crows had only scored 2 points at quarter time and it just deteriorated from there on. North Melbourne saw the emotional return of Majak Daw playing an excellent game, kicking one goal and displaying some magnificent marking. It was clearly uplifting to see the human triumph this man has overcome and to be so well received back by his team mates after 2 years in recovery. I can almost forgive the Kangaroos for beating my team just to see the smiles all round, however they could have been a little more gentle. They kicked the highest score of any team, this season, so far. 19-5 to 7-8 is an enormous margin of 69 points. (However it is not the highest margin, this season. That is possibly still coming!)
The next biggest margin was the 63 point victory for the Brisbane Lions over the Essendon Bombers. This match was a bit like feeding time at the zoo for the Queensland side. They started out ferociously kicking 5 goals in the first quarter but followed it up by only 2 points in the second quarter. They were still ahead at half time but then they turned on the feeding frenzy and more than doubled their own score in the third quarter. Essendon were looking a bit bereft of answers at this stage. The last quarter produced a miserable situation for the Bombers with final scores 14-7 to 3-10. The Lions have some strong contenders for the Coleman Medal, Goal of the Year and Mark of the Year. They deserve their number two spot on the ladder.
The St Kilda and Sydney match was the next big margin of 53 points in favour of the Saints. The Swans played an excellent third quarter and would have been much happier little ducks if they had kicked a bit straighter. The Saints showed no mercy in the last quarter. Most of the action in this match seemed to be in the Coach’s box. Possibly a good thing we cannot hear what was being said by one very upset Swan’s John Longmire. High Scoring for the Saints. 15-11 to 6-12. Far too many inaccurate kicks on both sides.
Port Power and Melbourne Demons match had a winning margin of 51 points for the Adelaide wharfies. Whilst the Power were truly sensational, Melbourne were just plain woeful. We all know they can do better than that. Port had scored the first goal within 60 seconds of the first bounce yet it took the Demons until 67 seconds before the end of second quarter to kick their first goal. Final Scores 12-11 to 4-8. A lot of hits and misses.
The Richmond Tigers returned to their old premiership form with a sensational win over the Bulldogs by 41 points. The Tigers played without some of their old veterans but it seems there are plenty of new savage little cubs to pick from. Dusty Martin was truly sensational. If we all had a quarter of his energy we would be enjoying 2020 a lot more. (I’ll have what he is having). The Bulldogs definitely went walkies in this game but not in the right dog park. 13-12 to 7-7 Convincingly Tigers rule!
The Carlton v Hawthorn game started out all doom and gloom again for Alastair Clarkson in the first quarter. Whatever he said to his boys at quarter time certainly worked because the Hawks staged a magnificent comeback and went on to win by 31 points. The old veteran Shaun Burgoyne, James Worpel and Tom Mitchell lead the charge leaving the Blues wondering what had happened to their comfort zone. AND we saw Alastair Clarkson smiling for the first time this season! 🙂
The Gold Coast Suns and the GWS Giants will always be the “new” teams (until the Northern Territory have a team) but when they play each other it creates an interesting match. The Giants were too good for the Suns but it came at the expense of Toby Greene who injured his knee in Round 3, shin in Round 7 and now a hamstring in Round 9. His absence will make a difference to the Giants in the next few games. GWS basically doubled the Suns score each quarter. Final margin was 26 points.
Another upset this round and a very exciting match to watch, was the Fremantle Dockers defeat over Collingwood by 12 points. With all the Victorian Clubs in the naughty corner, Collingwood probably takes the centre stage with the coach steering the ship in the wrong direction. This enforced 24 hour quarantine, keeping him away from his team, would not have helped their demeanour. This however was no excuse because the Dockers were outstanding. Even though the Dockers did not score at all in the first quarter, they had a huge 2nd term yet Collingwood were leading again by 4 points at the next break. This all led to a heart stopping thriller in the final quarter where Fremantle had that extra boost and came out with a victory. Scores 10-1 to 7-7 show incredibly accurate kicking by the WA boys.
As this is being typed we are already into Round 10 of the 33 matches in 20 days chaos.
If you did not have a win at the Darwin Cup, let’s hope you have a win soon in the Football.
Scribe for the DTBC Footy Tipping Team (and Crows Supporter)