Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
Last week, there were many upsets and we wondered if this week would bring the teams together or provide some separation. As it turned out, we got a bit of both. Let’s dive in, shall we?
The round started late Thursday night/Friday morning with the North Melbourne Kangaroos edging the Essendon Bombers by 11. At first, it looked like things would go Essendon’s way as they got out to a good lead and got the ball bouncing their way:
The Kangaroos, however, were able to come back and hang on to the victory on the strength of Jack Ziebell’s performance. Here is his goal late in the fourth term that essentially sealed the win:
Friday night brought the Geelong-Sydney game as well as four games which featured top teams against bottom teams. As expected, the goodies beat up on the baddies as the Crows beat the Saints, the Hawks TRIPLED up Melbourne, the Giants humiliated Carlton, and the West Coast Eagles took a dump on the (East) Gold Coast Suns by 92.
The only semi-competitive game was the Cats-Swans game which was fairly even until the third quarter. I was pleasantly surprised when I had to wake up in the middle of the night to go pee and turned on my tablet and saw that Geelong was ahead at the half! Unfortunately, the patented Geelong fade happened, this time in the fourth quarter, as the Swans turned it up and ended beating the Cats by 43.
I watched the St. Kilda-Adelaide match and boy oh boy were there some collisions! This highlight shows two and on the second one the Saints player
That one was so brutal that it made Deadspin. The good thing is that further reports have indicated that Nick Riewoldt is bruised, but ok. It wasn’t the only tough hit in that game. Early in the game, Jack Lonie got nailed pretty hard while going for the ball:
I literally went
He was not only ok, he was back in the game fairly quickly. Damn, these guys are tough!
Of course, it wouldn’t be an AFL Beat post without an Eddie Betts highlight:
In other highlights, things are going so bad for Carlton that they are taking out their own players:
Hawthorn’s Cyril (Figgis) Rioli knows what to do with balls between his legs:
West Coast’s Josh Kennedy rocks the beard while calmly recuperating the football and kicking a goal:
This is a pretty good indication of how Sydney dominated the fourth and beat up on Geelong:
And to think that people were giving him shit earlier this week. BTW, I love the headline writers at AFL.com.au. Seriously, they’re the best.
Saturday night brought three games in which the outcome was not as I expected. I thought Fremantle were going to be in trouble against the Western Bulldogs after their shock loss to the Saints. Fremantle ignored any of that talk and got out to their now-customary big first half lead. Western did come back in the second half to actually tie the game in the fourth, but the Dockers pulled away at the end to win by 13.
Here is a bit of that Western comeback:
This result actually makes the Fremantle Dockers a much scarier team for me. They’ve proven they can win blowouts and now they’ve proven they can win close games against quality teams. Barring a lot of horrific injuries, this team is by far the favorite to win the championship this season.
In the second game, Richmond continued Collingwood’s downward slide as they beat the Magpies by 5 in an exciting clash at the MCG. This is what I mean when I say the AFL headline writers are the best:
Finally, in the last game, Brisbane pulled off the upset of the round by beating Port Adelaide by 37!
And yes, I had to follow that up with this:
Finally, we have to end on another crunching hit:
Let’s take a look at the Ladder, shall we?
West Coast Eagles
Gold Coast Suns
So, we got a little bit of separation, but we also got some tightening up (/sex joke). Fremantle remain Fremantle. The next eight will probably vie for positioning within the top eight with Collingwood probably dropping out. Richmond, Essendon, Port Adelaide, and Geelong could crack the top eight if they manage to improve over the course of the season and some of the other teams drop off. Of the losers, St. Kilda and the Lions seem to have the best outlook for improvement while it may be a miracle if Carlton’s coach stays employed until the end of the year.
Then again, this league (and Brisbane this round) has shown that anything can happen, so stay tuned next week!
One more thing: Reason 437 why the AFL and Australia in general are better than the NFL. Yes, they have made the day before the final (played on a Saturday in Australia) a public holiday! Why the F can’t we do that with the Monday after the Super Bowl? Do something, Congress!