Luke’s Look – Round 10, 2012 – Best! Round! Ever!
You wouldn’t have thought it 3 months ago, or even 3 weeks ago, but the Saints and Tigers match was an absolute beauty, under the Friday night lights. It was one of the best matches I’ve seen this season, easily. I was one that wrote off the Saints before this season – “too old, too slow” – I was heard to say. But Scott Watters has reinvigorated an ageing list of established stars (Hayes, Riewoldt, Goddard and others), whilst introducing pace and flair into the side (Milera & Saad to name but a few). The Tigers meanwhile, are playing a brand of footy that is unsurpassed in the AFL at the minute. How can you not love their midfield of Cotchin, Deledio, Martin and the “Big Mullet” – Ivan Maric in the ruck. Richmond are flying right now – and they stormed home against the Saints after being threatened in a big way in the final term. Jack Riewoldt presented the best version of himself, kicking crucial goals late in the match to finish with a bag of 8. This was one of those classic “8-point” games, as with the win, the Tigers drew even with the Saints on the premiership ladder, with 5 wins from 10 games.
The goal kicking feats continued on Saturday, as Buddy Franklin booted a season high of 13 goals, helping the Hawks destroy the Kangaroos, en route to a 115-point smashing. Amidst recent criticism from various parts of the media, Hawthorn sent a message to the footy world, signaling they are still very much in premiership contention. The Kangaroos meanwhile, appear all out at sea without a paddle. Since defeating the Cats in round 3, the Roos have struggled to a couple of wins against the Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions, whilst losing their other 5 matches by an average of 40 points. Despite all the talk out of the North Melbourne camp, they remain an ordinary side lacking stars, certainly not a side capable of pushing deep into the finals at this stage.
Down at Geelong, a spirited first half performance by the Greater Western Giants was followed by another second half fade-out, as the Cats steamrolled the new franchise on way to a comfortable 65-point victory. Steve Johnson and Paul Chapman are finding their best form after a slow start to 2012, a worry for opposition clubs on their radar in the coming weeks.
Saturday night was one of the most surprising nights of the 2012 season so far, with two massive upsets recorded by Melbourne (over the previously high-flying Essendon) and Port Adelaide (against the struggling Carlton).
Let’s start with the Demons recording the upset of 2012 against the Bombers. Other than for the Essendon supporters reading this article, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement and jubilation associated with Melbourne’s first win of the season and first under embattled coach Mark Neeld. Whilst the Bombers were clearly down on their previous 2012 form, the terrible playing conditions on Saturday night played right into the hands of the Demons, and once they realised it was going to be a scrap, they knew they had a chance. Could the shock loss cost Essendon a top 4 position? Possibly, but losses such as this are bound to happen throughout a long season. With a reasonable draw coming up over the next month, Essendon would want to win at least 4 of their next 5, given their very difficult fixture in their last 7 games. Melbourne, meanwhile, should be up and about for the Queen’s Birthday clash against the Magpies on the back of this win.
Do I have to mention the other match on Saturday night? Although savaged with injury in recent times (Murphy, Waite, Kreuzer, Carrazzo, Henderson, Yarran and Duigan all out of action or struggling with nagging injuries), much of the team in the M&M Crispy coloured jumpers looked disinterested for most of the night. Port deserved their huge win – and was far too good and committed to the contest than Carlton. Where do the Blues go from here? Supporters are restless and unsure of what to expect from the club on a weekly basis. I’m a Brett Ratten fan and believe he’s been great for the club since taking over from Denis Pagan in 2007, but I can’t help but wonder whether a fresh face (and voice) would get the message through to some of the players that appear a bit too comfortable in the side. Their upcoming Round 11 matchup versus the Cats will be a huge challenge.
Over to Sunday now – where the Bulldogs took a few steps backward after some recent promising form. The Swans opened the game up early, with the Dogs providing little resistance for the rest of the contest, as Sydney skipped away to a huge 92-point victory.
The Eagles were expected by most to make short work of the Lions up at the Gabba in Brisbane. A solid first half by the Lions gave the club a handy 2-goal buffer at the main change. The Eagles made their charge in the third term, with 5 goals to 1 to take control of the contest. The last quarter of this match was simply frantic, leading to a last-minute goal by Brisbane’s James Polkinghorne to cap the comeback and give the Lions a 2-point win.
Finally for an amazing round 10, we saw the Magpies crush the struggling Suns at the MCG in the Sunday twilight game. It became the Gary Ablett show, who amassed 53-disposals in a stunning individual performance. However, Ablett continues to be the sole contributor for the Gold Coast, as they went down to a disciplined Collingwood outfit by 97-points.
My Favourite Things for Round 10
Trent Cotchin – How good is he? He was enormous on Friday night against the Saints and is emerging as one of the true elite midfield talents in the AFL. He’d be in the first 5 players I’d pick in the entire AFL, if I were choosing my best side today.
The 2012 AFL Season – This season so far has been fantastic. We currently have one of the more even Premiership races I can remember, whilst the battle for positions 5 to 8 on the ladder will continue right up to the end of the home-and-away season, one would think.
My “not-so” Favourite Things for Round 10
The Kangaroos – They’re simply not relevant at the minute. I heard a commentator on the weekend suggest the trading of Hamish McIntosh, Daniel Wells & co, and I happen to agree. The club needs to bottom out (now that the Suns & Giants have essentially had their own drafts) before it can go forward. If it doesn’t, finishes of no better than 6th to 12th are likely for the short-term future at least.
Carlton – Just a question, what is Mick Malthouse doing in 2013? And by the way, bring back the Navy Blue jumper, PLEASE!
Please note, there wont be a weekly recap throughout the bye rounds (rounds 11-13). Any comments or feedback – please feel free to contact me.
Enjoy round 11 everyone.