At the Trough Round 3
Round three gave us a bit of everything. Carlton demolished the Pies to announce themselves as genuine contenders. North Melbourne finally claimed a scalp of note. Melbourne continued to struggle and appear to have lost their soul. The Bulldogs faithful are making a statement. Collision injuries continue to dominate the headlines. We’ll take a look at the highlights and lowlights of the round that was.
5. Dustin Fletcher: It was great to see one of the legends of the modern era notch his 350thclub match this week. In his 20thseason the Bombers fullback doesn’t seem to have lost a step, still competing and is arguably one of the best one on one defenders in the game. A show of the great man’s longevity is that 10 of his opponents from the Suns hadn’t had a birthday when Fletch made his debut in 1993. Well done big guy and all the best.
4. The Fremantle Crowd: Mark Harvey got fucked in the arse by Fremantle last year and everyone knows it. There’s been plenty of spin surrounding the sacking but the thing that has been missed in the wash up is that Harvey had done a cracking job at Freo. He drafted well. Had a solid structure and the previous season, they won a final. If they hadn’t had the worst injury list in the league last year he would have taken them pretty close to the four. The man could have been forgiven for thinking he was doing his job. The Fremantle fans, renowned for the hatred of all things not Docker, seemed to think so giving Harves a sturdy ovation as he crossed Patterson’s.
3. Scott Selwood: The youngest of the Bendigo quartet, Scott came of age last year as a run with player often getting the top opposition midfielder every week. This year he has shown his class as a ball winner averaging over 30 touches per game so far to go with his eight marks and five tackles. He has also been hitting the scoreboard with a couple of goals a game and has averaged seven score involvements as well. He’s still got a fair way to go to catch Joel but has already shown enough to claim bragging rights over the twins.
2. Carlton: What a performance. They went head to head with the Pies in the middle of the ground and got the gong, and then some. Judd, Murphy and Gibbs get plenty of headlines and rightly so but the performance of the second tier players is what has the Blue Baggers really flying. Blokes like Mitch Robinson and Dennis Armfield with the hard run and aggression. Zac Touhy and Scotland with their skill and determination. Lachie Henderson and Paul Bower standing tall in defense. There are very few holes in the Carlton outfit and competition for spots is high. They are quick, fit and skillful and when they move the ball quickly the versatility and speed of their forward line is almost impossible to curtail. If they can maintain their squad for the majority of the season then they will be there deep in September.
1. North Melbourne: The shinboners finally did what they’ve failed to do for the last three years and taken a big scalp. The most impressive thing about their win was the fact they won the contested ball and were able to translate that into 20 goals. And Petrie didn’t trouble the scorers. Bastinac and Zeibell both had career best games with a stack of ball and four goals each. Boomer Harvey wound back the clock with 39 touches and the majority of the playing group had a win on the day. There’d be plenty of confidence at Arden Street about getting some September action and rightly so.
1. Collingwood: Anyone can loose a couple of games of football. The nature of the competition is such that is you aren’t functioning at 100 percent for whatever reason then you are fair game. My main gripe with the Pies is the way they all fell to pieces and started tearing strips off each other in the aftermath. No one escaped a whack. Bucks copped plenty which was warranted, he had very few answers to Carlton’s intensity. Laughably so did Dane Swan who was easily Collingwoods best in a dominated midfield. If you aren’t a Collingwood supporter then I’m sure you hate them and that hatred is reaffirmed when you see infighting on this scale. A bit of solidarity will go a long way. Collingwood were thumped in every facet of the game on Friday. I’d take a lot more joy from that if it hadn’t been Carlton that dicked them.
2. The Downward Facing Dogs: I might be taking a bit of a swipe here because I’ve once again over-rated the Dogs but they were hopeless on the weekend. Brian Lake, a self confessed pacifist, was reduced through sheer frustration to throwing what passes for a right cross at Footscray. It wouldn’t have dropped my dear old mum and I’m sure Mr Football is spinning. He should have saved his pugilistic efforts for every member of his forward line, those clowns deserve an uppercut. They had four more inside 50’s than the Saints and were dusted by 80 points. They have massive wraps on Liam Jones and the lad can clunk but he can’t kick for shit. Gia is a down hill skier and always has been. Higgins is no better. Poor old Matty Boyd, slogs his guts out to give them a chance and has to watch, gutted as the ball flies back over his head. They all said that Josh Hill was a lazy forward but by his results this year it’s fair to say that he was only following the example set by the majority of they senior players around him. With performances like that it's no wonder that 8000 members are yet to rejoin.
3. Injuries: AFL is a savage beast and not a game for the faint hearted. Unfortunately there is often some collateral damage due to the impact of the contest. The AFL tries to figure out ways to prevent injuries or at least to minimize them. All the best with that. As long as footy is a contested sport we’ll have injuries and we’ll just have to deal with them. It still sucks to see the likes of Nat Fyfe, Luke Ball and Matthew Luenberger get struck down when all were showing some great form. Luke Bruest got poleaxed, Jack Grimes and Dan Jackson were concussed in hard tackles. These lads put their nuts on the line every week for our entertainment and it’s a shame there are lasting consequences.
4. Adam Goodes: We’ll get the pleasantries out of the way first, Adam Goodes has enough runs on the board to be considered a legend of the game. Brownlow medals, a Premiership, Best and Fairests, 300 plus games. A true champion. He is also a grubby bastard. I’ve been saying for years that he is a dirty player and he has been. Every year there is at least two incidents that would have seen any other player suspended but he some how manages to get away with it. Now that he’s a bit slower and can’t run through blokes he has developed a new tactic, coming in with the knees or the studs. He’s been done twice in four games for this type of effort and still only has a one match ban that he has the hide to contest the suspension. See how he justifies it when the next one breaks some kids leg. If you can’t get to the contest on your feet then maybe it’s time to hang em up.
5. Demons Endeavour: There is plenty of issues with the Demons at the moment and no quick fixes. I’ll try not to kick them to often. Everyone knows they are in pretty deep right now. The lads that get picked every week need to do one thing. Play for the Jumper. Play for pride. Show the Melbourne faithful that you have a bit of fucking ticker and have an impact on the contest. You can’t leave it to the same two or three blokes every week and rest on that. Cale Morton as much as any other player needs to show a bit. He’s been around for a while. A top ten pick. He plays in a dinner suit and it’s just not good enough. Some of his efforts on the weekend were closer to netball than football. Is the VFL so far removed from the AFL as to be a different sport because it was reported that he was best on for Casey the previous week. Maybe he’s just got a really good publicist. Come on Dees. Please, find something, anything.
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