Kicking With The Wind: Round 4

Filed in Uncategorized by on April 12, 2014

Even though it’s Round 4, it feels like it could be time to start talking coaches – and coach dumping, more to the point.

Rather unpredictably, the two guys that must be shortening by the week in terms of a market framing the first coach to get the sack in 2014 are Mick Malthouse and Damien Hardwick.

Of course it’s early in the season and of course both could turn their current predicament around in a matter of three weeks, but neither Carlton nor Richmond will be enjoying the current spotlight on their lowly ladder positions.

Board members may well be murmuring about the poor starts made by two of Melbourne’s major clubs, but perhaps most-worryingly, there just seems to be an element of apathy amongst the playing group that doesn’t sit well whichever way you slice it up.

The Blues were abject against Essendon last week. So bad, in fact, that if Melbourne weren’t as bad as they clearly are you might just think about finding a lazy sheckle to wager on the upset.

Richmond armalthouseen’t as poor as Carlton, but they’re certainly poorer than they were in 2013 and any coach presiding over a reign of regression must be looking over his shoulder to some extent.

Throw into the mix the fact the footy media seems to be in the mood to tell Hardwick how to select his side – and may continue to toy with the Tigers’ supremo in the daily rags – and that Mick will be in no mood to take any criticism from anyone, ever, and you feel like a sneaky spark may have just fallen dangerously close to the proverbial powder keg.

In a ‘hole’ heap of bother
For his part, Hardwick admitted after Friday’s loss to Collingwood his side is in the ‘biggest hole’ it’s been in during his coaching career.

While some have questioned his forward set-up, and some allowances may be made for injury and the like, there’s little doubt Hardwick is being let down by his playing group.

Whether Ty Vickery had a corked thigh or not, he was practically anonymous – and all in the face of a Collingwood defence boasting all of 20 games between its key posts.

Dustin Martin scrapped his way to 30 possessions but was ineffectual while the likes of emerging midfielders in Reece Conca and Brandon Ellis had very little impact.

Trent Cotchin, the beating heart of Tigerland, looked more like a sooky schoolboy as Brent McCaffer did a job on him and the Collingwood midfield did as it pleased after a particularly scrappy opening.

There was no spark – no player able to rise above the rest and drag his teammates along with him.

Worse, though, there was no answer from Hardwick.

Yep, it’s a big hole, Mr Hardwick, and on current indications you’re going to have to do a lot of the digging to get your side back out.


Ross Lyin’
Beware the wounded Freo… and beware the mind-games of one Ross Lyon.

Humbled last week by Hawthorn, Lyon all but said he expects a similar result against Essendon this weekend in Perth.

The Bombers are in the ‘in-form’ team in the AFL, they’ve beaten the Dockers the past few times – including last season at Subiaco. In short, Ross expects his Dockers to be beaten by Bomber’s Bombers.

Or does he? See, that’s the thing with Ross Lyin’. You just never know.

One thing seems sure, though. The Bombers better be ready for battle, ‘cos Ross won’t send his side out to do anything but make a contest of everything.


Shit tweet of the week
This one doesn’t necessarily relate to the AFL, but it certainly suggests the infamous ‘blade runner’ Oscar Pistorius wouldn’t be one to sit back and accept the MRP’s decision without taking any charge to the tribunal.

@BBCAndrewH ‘I don’t understand why you plead not guilty, says Nel. You just don’t want to take responsibility. #OscarPistorius

Timely, perhaps, given some of the inconsistencies coming out of the review process already this season.

How Daniel Merrett ends up with just two weeks on the sidelines following a borderline forearm assault while a couple of other blokes cop the same for mistimed bumps is a mystery.

Maybe we get Mr Nel in to straighten things up somewhat…


Who says Justin Westhoff has to be a hero every week?

Certainly not this correspondent… who just happens to be squaring off against the bearded bravado of Port’s number one enigma in AFL Fantasyland during Round 4.

Sure he’s got the whole package – beard included – but there’d be nothing like a niggly little corked buttock to keep him quiet for the week.

No hard feelings, Hoff.


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