I had a pretty good week! I’m healthy again, no ex-gf drama, and I even won some money playing poker!
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
The week started off late Thursday with a bit of a return to expected form in Collingwood’s thrashing of St. Kilda. Not much was expected of the Saints at the start of the season, but they started off well with a close loss to the GWS Giants and then a win over the Gold Coast Suns. Collingwood had struggled to the same 1-1 record after Round 2, so maybe this was a good sign.
This has actually been a theme so far this season. Some teams have surprised and teams that lose big one week can win big the next. Conversely, everything can seem to go really well and then go completely off the rails. Sometimes within the same game. We saw that in Round 1 with some amazing comebacks. Round 3 provided a bit of that once again.
Friday night, I flipped between the Adelaide-Melbourne game and the Carlton-Essendon game. The quarter breaks were perfectly timed so I was able to see most of both games.
Melbourne started off on a tear on the road against the league leaders Adelaide. At the halfway point in the first quarter, Melbourne were up 21-0! Adelaide, however, slowly and methodically took the game back and went on the win by 25. I can’t figure out how to copy or embed it, but the graphs that the AFL website shows tracking the score are fascinating to me. They do a really good job of describing the flow of the game. Something else the NFL could learn from the AFL!
This game featured this great mark:
The other game was very tight and good and back and forth for about the first quarter and a half before petering out. (/sex joke) There were also fights:
That’s the only one I could find on Youtube. I saw at least four guys leaving the field with blood dripping from their faces. Also notice that the ref pretty much just tells them to cool it and doesn’t kick anyone out. Again, why are you not watching this game?
In the first late night game, the league co-leading Sydney Swans ground out a solid victory agains the GWS Giants in an all-Sydney clash they call the “Battle of the Bridge”.
It’s actually not that bridge. It’s the ANZAC bridge they are referring to.
Apparently, geography plays a part in this. The Swans don’t like the name because it makes it sound like they live in the shitty part of town…
Also, this happened:
On a separate but related topic, next week marks the 100th anniversary of ANZAC Day and the AFL will head to New Zealand! It’s a very special occasion indeed and should be pretty cool. This seems a much classier arrangement than Goodell’s yearly money-grabs to London.
In the two late late Friday night games, Richmond destroyed the Brisbane Lions 137-58 and Port Adelaide squeezed out an 8 point win over North Melbourne in what, from what I’ve read, was the match of the year. It also featured the AFL version of Nacho running into a butt:
In true Nacho form, Ziebell was taken to the hospital after contact with Wines’ butt caused bruised lungs and coughed-up blood. In a case of relatively instant butt karma, Wines also went to the hospital with a dislocated wrist/arm.
Fuck. These guys are super tough. I know everyone talks about the NFL players being warriors and shit, but these guys wear NO PADS. I highly doubt Dreamboat could last a day in this league.
I’ve discovered that KSK Kommenter Why Eagles Why is a Port Adelaide fan. After starting out the year with two tough losses, it was nice for them to pick up a win before meeting Hawthorn next week. Their schedule is brutal since they are meeting 6 of last year’s playoff teams to start the year. Hopefully the fact that they hung tough against Fremantle and picked up a victory this round will mean good things for the rest of the year.
On Saturday night, the early game featured Hawthorn against the Western Bulldogs in Tasmania. Tasmania sponsors Hawthorn, so they get a few ‘home’ games each year. The two-time defending champs showed why they should still be considered the best team in the league in completely dismantling the previously undefeated Bulldogs. I watched every second of this game until the Geelong game started and I’m in awe of how good Hawthorne is. Of course, it helps when you have Jarryd Roughead (7 goals!) on your team. At least his girlfriend thought so back in 2011.
Finally, I was able to watch my first live Geelong game! And it was a doozy, too! Both teams started the game poorly with quite a few mistakes being made in the back. I’d seen Gold Coast play earlier this year, so I knew they were vulnerable in defense, but Geelong kept making mistakes in their own end of the field. Luckily, Gold Coast could not capitalize and settled for behinds on many occasions where a goal would have been expected. As it was, the Gold Coast lead was slim at the half.
Geelong came out strong in the third to take the lead, but the injury bug, which had earlier claimed Jimmy Bartel (knee) and Matthew Stokes (ankle), came back again and took out Tom Lonergan with this collision at the end of the third.
The fourth was super tense as Geelong hung on for dear life and managed to GRIT out a 9 point victory. It was a season-saving victory as a loss would have meant that in order to make the playoffs, Geelong would have to become the first team in AFL history to overcome an 0-3 start. Things are not perfect, however, as the injuries continue to pile up and the youngsters will have to step up. It’s really ironic that I chose this team because they are similar to the Steelers and now they show just how similar they are.
In the last game of the night/round, Fremantle provided the textbook definition of starting the game out strong by having their best ever first quarter and leading the West Coast Eagle 56 to 4 in the Perth derby! The score was 89-23 at half and Fremantle were up by 79 at one point in the third before stepping off the gas. West Coast came back to make the final score a semi-respectable 30 point loss.
Let’s review the ladder, shall we?
West Coast Eagles
Gold Coast Suns
The top four are really the class of the league by a long shot. I would place Hawthorn at the top if it wasn’t for that pesky loss to Essendon last week. Next week looks to be really interesting as there will be four games played back to back as part of the ANZAC Day festivities. The action starts at 6 PM Pacific time on Friday night, too, so this might be the best round to catch a game here in the US without staying up too late. We will most likely be down to 2 unbeatens as Fremantle will take on Sydney at home in the super-late game (3:40 AM start in the West Coast, breakfast time on the East Coast on Saturday!)
See you next week!
I’ll just leave this here.