What a wild weekend. The footy was damn good, extremely. Here are some talking points.
Hopefully we’ll be back next week.
How the tables turn- for Victoria
It’s hard not to begin this piece with word that is developing speedily but, as it stands, Australia has border shutdowns feigning every regime and province, unbelievably virulent eruptions spawning COVID-1 9 occurrences in every mainland city eliminating Canberra and Adelaide and three municipalities in some formation of lockdown.
It’s an unenviable situation for anyone nationally, but a logistical nightmare for the AFL.
Despite suggestions I’ve seen to temporarily postpone the season, one opinion that seems to be gaining traction is to host hubs within Victoria. Advantageously, the Melbourne area plainly hosts spate of accessible soils and seat to base the teams for training and competition, and the Victorian government would apparently be keen to help the league.
It’s a situation that is the polar opposite to the last year’s, where the league abandoned the state during its crisis.
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There is an infuriating omission to that overture: South Australia. The territory hosts a currently flawless record COVID-wise and, despite typically strict proposals for crews entering the territory, would be a great joint option to avoid overloading Melbourne with all 18 teams.
I don’t envy the conference in trying to sort this mess out.
Richmond’s shocking achievement opens the door to the top eight
It’s a foolhardy thing to do, criticising the Tigers. They have been such a force in this sport over the last few years that they are never certainly not arguing, even when they dip in form.
Even at times this year where I’ve slapped them in this column, the Tigers have cruelled my opinion soon afterwards while making some rightfully good footy.
That all said, there was something uniquely inadequate about Friday night’s loss- and it’s not just because they were heavy, ponderous favourites.
The Tigers’ sudden vulnerability could go two ways. With the added benefit of a relatively easy fixture coming up between now and September- including tournaments against the Suns, Freo, North, Hawthorn and Collingwood- they’re every chance to recover and comfortably stir finals.
If they retain inducing below-par concerts, though, they’re providing plenty of incentive for finals challengers to jump into a potential void.
If it’s the latter, two of the three most likely to do( Fremantle and Essendon) split their results over the weekend; Freo equalling the Tigers on 28 details but with a sizeable percentage crack, Essendon remaining a game behind. The likeliest occasion, though, were the Giant. Who promptly blew it.
The Monsters spend a excellent opportunity to jump into the eight
With Freo’s percentage lag naughtily and the Bombers failing to upset the Villains the darknes prior, the Giants have had an opportunity to realistically jump-start into the top eight by accomplishing a exercise that seemed easy: trouncing the Hawks.
To the contrary, the warning signs should have been there from the beginning. One, the Hawks win over Sydney a fortnight ago was an alert that the Victorian side can easily punch above their weight when they wanted to. The second, the change of venue to a locale where the Giants have lost three times as often as they’ve acquired: the MCG.
The Hawks did indeed punch above their weight, forcing the Giant into video games that belied their fast start. The Giant- who can be offensively marvellous- went some 40 instants without a destination. When they eventually did begin scoring, the anonymous Dylan Moore plucked a Brett Bewley: rendering something out of nothing to prevail video games off his own boot.
The Giants- who face six finals crews in their final eight rounds- have blown a perfect opportunity to bank an important win. Whether or not that will derail them remains to be seen.
The Saints, reinvigorated
For all the talk about the Tigers on Friday night, there was an overwhelming sense of “what the hell was that? ” when it came to the Saints. The unit- who’d received their fair share of rightful criticism themselves of late- managed to completely dominate the Tigers, particularly throughout the midfield and up forward.
While no necessitates perfect themselves, the Saints were able to hold the Tigers to time two destinations for video games and their lowest tally since the early 1960 s. It was as if the club came into perfect sync, simultaneously forcing the Tigers into uncharacteristic distres and generate a ultimately accurate conduct themselves. It was the St Kilda that
The Saints have a couple of fascinating- and hard- activities on the horizon: they face the Pies, Brisbane and Port over the next month. Typically, I’d be warning that the Saints too fall back to Earth after a win. On this new evidence, Friday might be the exception to that rule.
Lions actually are the bigger Feline, after all
Footy journalism is a fickle business. Week after week, I’d been critical of Geelong for winning without being too superb. They had been accumulating the four degrees more frequently than not, but never truly gazed world-beating or a sincere premiership luck. And then they came out breathing fire, thumping the Power and the Western Bulldogs in succeeding weeks by growing some stupendous football.
Then, unexpectedly, they strove seriously against the Lions.
Brisbane have had a moderately trash record against the “Cat-o-nine-tails” in recent years, even at the Gabba, so Thursday’s win was a redemptive succes both figuratively and literally. The Lions were candidly never troubled throughout the clash. There seems to be a trend emerging in how to beat the Cats: keep the Hawkins, Cameron and Rohan trio inadequate, and you’ll typically be in with a significant shout to win.
The Lions did just that, with the latter two booting just a purpose between them long after the research results was definitive.
The Lions are now on more stable top-four ground and can use the win to bolster them into being beloveds over Adelaide, St Kilda and Richmond in the next few weeks. Melbourne aside, Brisbane have to be one of the reputable premiership beloveds( for this week, at least ).
Fremantle soon might just get the primetime attention they deserve
Not even I can deny that the joke about Freo being stuck in the Sunday afternoon timeslot is a funny one, because for a Freo fan it is very much a suit of if you don’t laugh, you’d cry. It is a trope anchored in a frustrating reality. That being a reality that caught my scrutiny the coming week, owing to this tweet from Twitter’s fanciful footy stats husband, Swamp.
Most recent season @AFL clubs give full play a H& A play on either a Thursday or Friday2 021: ADEL BRIS CARL COLL ESS GCS GEEL GWS HAW MELB NTH PORT RICH STK SYD WBD WCE2 02020192018 2017201 6: FREM
— Swamp (@ sirswampthing) June 24, 2021
Yup, Fremantle is the only team in the conference to have not had a single Thursday or Friday night since 2016. For some of those times, that can be justified- it would have been preferable to not broadcast the horrific 2016 version of the society at all, let alone on the most valuable night for the AFL’s broadcaster collaborators. But it’s entirely hilarious that several crews- including Gold Coast, the Blues and St Kilda- have received semi-regular primetime slots as recently as this round( the Saints last week, the Suns in a few day’s time) while the Dockers have been left out in the cold.
As noted by @sirswampthing, would cease a streak of 5 years without a Thur/ Fri light game for Freo.
Not more justified( no doubt we’ll be dealing with more Covid mess by then ), but likely.
— Ryan Daniels (@ FootyRhino) June 25, 2021
All this being said, a second tweet determined me fortunate. Naturally, there’s a huge amount of skepticism developing around the fixturing for the next few weeks but given the Dockers could realistically be going for their fifth consecutive earn by the time they face Geelong. They’re playing a genuinely exciting-to-watch brand of footy, there’s an exodus of other primetime-worthy discords in Round 18 and, frankly, it’s embarrassing the organization has neglected the Dockers for so long. Regardless the game is in Perth or in a Melbourne hub, I struggle to find a reason why the Dockers shouldn’t be playing in primetime.
How good was the closeness of the weekend?
Though the immediate future is unclear, the immediate past is something to celebrate. I’ve ever envisaged the best type of game in this sport is a close one, and close quarrels we were properly added. The primetime Thursday and Friday tournaments eliminated, this round stipulated batch of’ em- all but one( the Doggies’ win over the Eagles) of the weekend proper’s clashes was acquired by under two goals or more.
Whether it was Freo scoring a rare away victory, the Blues flexing their muscles over Adelaide, the Power requiring goals from the unlikeliest of actors to earn, North having the last laugh against the Suns or the Wizards biding top of the ladder, the weekend was full of excitement. How good.
Everybody gets a turn
Adelaide Crows: Impressed by the almost-comeback, but a decisively lacklustre play from the Crows.
Brisbane Lions: A mettle in cavity moment when Lachie Neale examined disabled, but thankfully- for the boast- he was okay.
Carlton: Awesome acquire, with that second quarter among the best the Blues have played this year- but it’s so unbelievably normal they get dangerously close to losing it.
Collingwood: Probably a closer reaction than they deserved. All over Freo at the start, and never absolutely gave up, but still gazed below par for a good deal of the game.
Essendon: Improving for sure, but still a bit iffy against the best. Geelong a big, great challenge next Friday.
Fremantle: Brett Bewley. That’s all.
Geelong Cats: Joel Selwood being held to 13 disposals probably parted up their light. Poor performance that needed to be rectified in a hurry, opened Essendon will be keen to disturb next Friday.
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Gold Coast Suns: After being a little too smart for his own good re: a potential Tasmanian area, there was a solid performing of humble pasty for the McGuire-esque Tony Cochrane. Don’t piss off Tasmanians. And don’t do it while losing under the existing semi-Tasmanian side.
GWS Giants: Melbourne up next. Yikes, yikes, yikes.
Hawthorn: Beating the NSW backs like a moth to a flame.
Melbourne: They forestalled it against the Bombers, but will activities against the under-pressure Giant and crappy-against-top-eight-sides Port allow for Melbourne of old to appear?
North Melbourne: If the pump against the Giants was a more disappointing than pander sequel, this earn is what they needed.
Port Adelaide: Like Freo’s Bewley and Hawthorn’s Moore, the Power’s Mayes and Lycett displayed unexpected cameo forms in get their team the win.
Richmond: They came more free kicks than they valued objects. I’m not sure when the last time a crew achieved that was, but it can’t be a common occurrence.
St Kilda: Simply must produce more of that.
Sydney Swans: Fun fact: they’ve now played in seven games ending in a boundary under two goals, prevailing won four of those.
West Coast Eagles: Jeepers creepers, that was poor. And that was with an essentially full-strength midfield.
Western Bulldogs: Their best acquire of its first year( so far ).
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