Kicking Balls: Round 22 AFL review

4 09 2007

Kicking Balls

Well finally we’ve come to the business end of the season. All the dead-wood has been jettisoned and what’s left are the 8 best teams for the year. But first, just a quick review of last weekends games.

Things started on friday night. I had little doubt that the Crows would win, but given their horror run with injuries it was never going to be an easy win. As expected though, they were simply too good for a Collingwood side that has been running hot and cold. Brisbane and Richmond showed that the Pies lack of midfield speed could be expolited to good effect, and Adelaides’ dour defence was never going conceded a big score. All the usual suspects were good for Adelaide (Thompson, Goodwin, Johncock, Mcleod.. even Ricciuto kicked 3 goals) whilst for Collingwood Lockyer, Burns, Buckley and Pendlebury would have been their best.

Saturday’s games were deprived of any real spark by Adelaide’s 19 point win on friday night ending the chasing packs chances of sneaking a spot in the 8. There was however the question of 2nd on the ladder to be decided. St Kilda was too good for Ricmond, stealing a win at the death. With Adelaide’s win the night before ending their season, it gave the Saints a chance to include Andrew Thompson in the side for his final game, along side fellow retiree Fraser Gehrig. Robert Harvey has yet to declare one way or the other his intentions for next year. Gehrig, Koschitzke, Riewoldt, Montagna and Dal Santo were the best for St Kilda, whilst richmond was well served by Pettifer, Newman, Bowden, Brown and Pattison.

West Coast promised a fitting farewell for Sheedy and Hird, but I’m sure the ending to this game wasn’t what they had in mind. Trailing by a mountain at 3/4 time, Hird asked his players to give him something to remember, and they did. Scott Lucas kicked 7 goals for the quarter to drag the Bombers agonisingly close to the fairytale ending, only to fall short by 8 points. Best players and statistics are irrelevant, as the day was about the end of an era. 2 of the greats of the modern game made their way off the ground to a fantastic reception from the Eagles fans. The result did however mean the Power needed to lose for the eagles to hang on to second spot.

Brisbane’s season too was ended friday night, but there was the matter of helping Jonathon Brown snare the teams first Coleman medal since the days of Bernie Quinlan in a Fitzroy jumper. And help him they did, whilst Geelong were far too good for the Lions, Brown kicked 7 to finish the year with 77, 5 clear of Matthew Pavlich. The main concern for the cats was an injury to Matthew Egan which appears to be a fracture in his foot that may rule him out for the rest of the year. Selwood, Johnson, Enright, Harley, Mooney, Ling, Ottens all had good nights for Geelong, while Lappin, Brown, Adcock and retiring verteran Chris Johnson were the best for the Lions. 2 more retiring players were honoured, premiership players Chris Scott and Johnson. Johnsons retirement in particular signals the end of an era, as he was the last player left to have played for the Fitzroy Lions.

Port knew what it had to do to earn 2nd spot and a home final, and it went about it’s task well enough. Fremantle made them work hard for the win, but in the end the Power had too many good players across the board and ran away in the last quarter to win by 32 points. Both the Burgoyne and Cornes brothers’ will fight amongst themselves for votes again as Port’s best, while Pavlich and Thornton were probably the best for the Dockers.

Saturdays early game was an absolute disappointment. I turned on the telly hoping to watch a hard fought contest, and instead what I saw was a capitulation. Sydney ran all over Hawthorn in the first half and never looked headed after that, to win by 72 points. Now, some will say that Hawks players had other things on their minds with the, ahem, ‘events’ of the past week or so, but still some players just failed to deliver when the heat was applied. Looking at you Mr Franklin. Just no second efforts to be seen at all from Buddy, an area he will really need to work on in future. Hodge was well beaten, and during the second quarter was resorting to petulant behaviour in a poor showing from a player thought to be future captain material. To make matters worse, Bateman injured his leg, Birchall was reported and Croad got himself a nasty concussion. Picking a best player for the swans is difficult, they played well across the field, but the standouts were Goodes, Barry in his return game, O’Loughlin, O’Keeffe, and Nick Davis was especially dangerous in the first half. For Hawthorn, Simon Taylor and Shane Crawford can hold their heads up, but that’s about it.

The Kangaroos did as expected and did a number on the toothless dogs, and earned themselves a spot in the top 4 in the process with a 64 point win. The Dogs came out barking in the first quarter, but once again drifted off and allowed themselves to be run over. Harvey, Grant, Wells, McIntosh, Sansbury, Rawlings, Smith, Sinclair, Harris… the list goes on of players who contributed to the win. For the dogs, Brad Johnson tried hard, and Cooney got some touches, but really they were completely outclassed in a disappointing end to the careers of Luke Darcy and (possibly) Chris Grant.

I hope Melbourne and Carlton fans will forgive me for breezing over this result. Melbourne won by 31 points, Carlton got slaughtered but then did enough to make it interesting once the horse had bolted, and earned themselves a priority pick.

So there we have it, 22 rounds are done and dusted, and only 8 sides remain. Geelong are still heavy favourites, but as we know, anything can happen during the finals…

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One response

4 09 2007
smilingchaos

I had a party for the Essendon game. The end was tearfull for all.
By the end youuu couldnt even remember who essendon were playing XD

check my latest blog see the Essendon Bar my uncle built.
-Smiley

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