Round-by-round: Eddie Mc-IRE

AFL Round 10, 2013Not five days after a Collingwood supporter hindered the spirit of Indigenous Round by labelling Adam Goodes an “ape”, Eddie McGuire was accused of racism after a comment made on his breakfast radio show on Triple M. The Collingwood President suggested that Goodes could come down to Melbourne to promote the upcoming production of King Kong. The slur he blamed on a “brain fade” earned him prolific criticism, most notably from (Brazilian-born) Collingwood player Harry O’Brien. The AFL must now go through its racial vilification process, and how the issue would affect Collingwood’s on-field form was anyone’s guess. Though, off-field scandals are a blessing if Essendon’s form this season is anything to go by. Brisbane vs Collingwood (Friday, May 31)Whatever worries Collingwood had about the racial slur scandal affecting their performance were very quickly demolished, as they scored the first three goals of the match before Bewick goaled for Brisbane. It would be Brisbane’s only goal for nearly the rest of the first half, and all the while Collingwood attacked their goal face mercilessly. A string of six consecutive goals pushed Collingwood’s lead out to 26 points at quarter time and 51 halfway through the second term, before a goal to McGrath reduced the margin to 45 at half-time.Collingwood retained their stranglehold on the match after the break, extending the margin to nearly 10 goals before Brisbane began to offer belated resistance. The Lions went goal for goal with Collingwood in each of the third and fourth terms — with a snap across the body from Redden running towards the boundary a particular highlight — meaning Collingwood couldn’t close out the match in a convincing style. They eventually won by 49 points.In his club-record equalling 318th game, Black was again Brisbane’s best with 33 disposals, while McGrath kicked three of Brisbane’s seven goals. Swan put in a stock-standard 36-possession, two-goal match for Collingwood, while Reid was a solid stand-in forward in the absence of Cloke with three goals.Collingwood 14.16.100 def Brisbane 7.9.51 Carlton vs GWS (Saturday, June 1)Carlton bucked the trend of resting good players when playing GWS, and in fact brought key player Yarran in for the match. If anything, it made their victory more certain and impressive. After a relatively even start to the match, Henderson nailed Carlton’s sixth goal of the first term to give a 22-point lead at quarter time. From there, Carlton were never seriously challenged, dominating the Inside 50s and contested possessions, and scoring another six goals in each of the next two terms. GWS was held goalless in the third term, paving the way for Carlton to deliver another thrashing to the league’s newest team. Four last-quarter goals handed Carlton a 94-point win, their sixth in seven matches since losing the first three games of the season.Garlett continued his career-best for Carlton with four goals, while Walker had 34 touches and Armfield crafted some brilliant passages of play. Giant’s captain Ward had 33 touches, while Shiel should be credited for keeping Carlton captain Murphy to only 20 touches and minimal influence.Carlton 22.16.148 def GWS 8.6.54 Adelaide vs FremantleQuiet achievers Fremantle found themselves in fourth position, and gained speedster Stephen Hill back from injury. They were in for quite a challenge against Adelaide, who kicked three consecutive goals after Fremantle scored the opener. Adelaide led by 10 points at half-time, but inaccuracy would cost them in the second term, when Fremantle scored four goals to one to lead by 11 points halfway through the term. Another 20 minutes of football passed without a score from either side, the half-time break failing to stop the rain coming down or the players tiring. Mayne broke the drought with Fremantle’s seventh goal six minutes into the third term, edging their lead out to a game-high 17 points. But Adelaide kept the match tight with two goals for the term, trimming Fremantle’s lead to eight points for the final break.The crowd braced itself for a dramatic finish, and got one. Adelaide brought the margin under a goal with the first of the quarter, before Dangerfield appeared to have put them in front with another. However, two full minutes of deliberation by the goal, field and boundary umpires led to a score review, which changed the result to a behind. Adelaide fans weren’t irritated for long though, as the superhuman Dangerfield snapped home a goal barely a minute later to undoubtedly put Adelaide ahead. But no sooner did Adelaide lead, than Fremantle took it back. Two quick goals put their lead back over 10 points, and by full time they had pulled off a gritty seven-point win. Fremantle retain fourth spot for round 11, having not lost a match for six weeks.For Adelaide, Sloane had 30 touches while Ruckman Jacobs had 50 hit outs and Dangerfield finished with three goals. Barlow had 32 for Fremantle.Fremantle 10.6.66 def Adelaide 8.11.59 Sydney vs EssendonBoth sides sacrificed talls. Sydney lost Reid while the frail Hurley was replaced by Gumbleton for Essendon. Essendon would suffer most from these changes, however, as Gumbleton was subbed out with only one disposal by half-time. By contrast, Sydney tall Mumford dominated the ruck early, snapping Sydney’s first goal and helping them to a two-goal lead by quarter time. This set the tone for the rest of the match, and while Cramier kept Essendon in it with both of their goals in the second term, Sydney slowly began pulling away.Up by three goals at half-time and 25 points at three-quarter time, Sydney put the match to bed in the last term with six goals to Essendon’s three. Essendon now find themselves at a crossroads, having lost three of their past four matches after winning the first six. Is another mid-season collapse on the cards?Sydney’s star midfielder Kennedy had 37 possessions, while the embattled Goodes earned praise for a solid second half, finishing with four goals. Stanton had 36 touches for Essendon, while Hibberd had 30 and scored a magnificent boundary line goal.Sydney 17.13.115 def Essendon 10.11.71 Geelong vs Gold CoastThe town of Geelong has taken a pounding this year, losing two major sources of employment with the Shell Oil Refinery to be sold and the Ford Manufacturing Plant ceasing operations. The newly-constructed Ford stand at Geelong’s home ground is a bitter reminder of the difficulties, but the even more newly-constructed light towers are a sign of Geelong’s future as a professional, powerhouse AFL team. Needless to say, the first night-match ever played in Geelong brought with it a much-needed, youthful sense of excitement to local fans.Twenty-goal thrashings in Geelong’s favour had been the order of previous encounters between the two sides, but it was clear Gold Coast has since become a better team. They scored the first goal through Russell, and though Geelong drew level at quarter time, the Suns were beating Geelong in clearances and contested possessions, something few teams have done in the past six years.Gold Coast continued to ignore the gap between the two sides in the second term, charging forward to set up numerous scoring opportunities. They failed to take the lead however, scoring six behinds from six shots. They got within a point of Geelong before the latter finally broke through the Sun’s defence and a botched score-review handed them a goal against the flow. Leading by 10 points at half-time, Geelong looked to be putting the Suns away after Bartel scored the first goal after half-time. But then the Suns started blazing again, and this time they were accurate. Gold Coast slammed on the next five goals, the last of these to Brown (his third) putting them 12 points up. At this point, the Geelong crowd was stunned; what was meant to be their special night looked to go down in history as the upset of the century.To their great relief Geelong came good, kicking the last two goals of the term to again level the scores at three-quarter time, then scored nine goals to one in the last term to win by a margin befitting of both the occasion and pre-match predictions.That goal Gold Coast scored deserves recognition, though: hard on the boundary 50 metres out, with opponents bearing down, Ablett launched a rainmaking kick that pitched five metres over the goal line, arguably goal of the year. Making his first visit back to Geelong since leaving for Gold Coast, Ablett played a superb match with 34 possession, six tackles, 10 clearances, and that goal that earned him a standing ovation from his former supporters.For Geelong, Bartel had 30 touches, while Vardy had a breakout match up forward with four goals.Geelong 18.15.123 def Gold Coast 10.11.71 Western Bulldogs vs Port AdelaideIn the first match for the season played in Darwin, the Dogs missed a player critical to last week’s win—their captain Boyd. They looked a less confident side in the first half, as Port opened up a nine-point lead at quarter time that grew to as much as 17 halfway through the second term. But a goal to ruckman Minson followed a period of dominance by the Bulldogs, and this prefaced a second-half comeback led by their veteran players. The Minson goal put the Dogs within 11 points at half-time, and was the first of six consecutive goals to the Bulldogs. The other five came in the third term, in which Port could only manage four behinds and watched their lead turn into a 19-point deficit by three-quarter time.Determined not to go down without a fight, Port rallied in the final term, kicking three of the last four goals. It was too little too late, however, and the Bulldogs ran out winners by nine points, putting together consecutive wins for the first time in over a year. Port, by contrast, have lost the last five matches after winning the first five, a dramatic change in form that will surely see first year coach Ken Hinkley questioned in future weeks.Griffen dominated the match with 40 touches for the Dogs. He received some help from Liberatore, who had 35, and Minson with 57 hit outs. Cornes had 28 touches for Port.Western Bulldogs 10.7.67 def Port Adelaide 8.10.58 Melbourne vs Hawthorn (Sunday, June 2)As if Melbourne didn’t have enough to worry about facing the first-placed team, Hawthorn brought four of its best 22 players back into the side. There were no upsets to be had today.Hawthorn held Melbourne to three behinds in the first term, though failed to create a big lead with nine behinds themselves. They led by four goals at quarter time, but in the second term rectified their inaccurate scoreboard with 7.1, and in doing so made up for lost time in turning the match into a blowout. Down by 69 points at half-time, Melbourne began to get into the match when play resumed. They scored four goals, also orchestrating some good passages of play. Hawthorn eased off on pressure, only kicking two goals for the term. It was only the seventh quarter of football Melbourne won of the 40 they’ve played this year.The positive signs didn’t continue for Melbourne in the fourth as Hawthorn drove the boot in. Seven final-quarter goals put the margin beyond 100 before Melbourne sank the last goal, the final margin of 95 points their fourth defeat between 90 and 100 points this year.Jones had 28 touches and Rodan 11 tackles, but again, there were no positives for Melbourne as a team. Hawthorn, by contrast, will go into the bye on top of the ladder with the most wins and best percentage. Individually, Sewell impressed with 21 touches and Breust landed five goals.Hawthorn 21.17.143 def Melbourne 6.12.48 North Melbourne vs St. KildaMindful of their ability to find spectacular ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this season, North were looking to give veterans Wells and Harvey a 200th and 350th game to remember. They dominated the hapless Saints, winning all key statistical areas and scoring nine goals to one for the term — four of these to Black — to lead by 55 points at quarter time.From there, St. Kilda were able to match North for getting to the contest first and scoring opportunities, and so the margin remained around the same mark for the rest of the game: 61 points at half-time, 59 points at three-quarter time and 68 points at full time.Black finished with five goals for North and Petrie four. Harvey also had four and 23 touches, and displayed his sublime crumbing and running bounce skills in a memorable milestone, while teammate Mullet was best on ground with 31 touches. Ray and Dal Santo each had 25 touches for St. Kilda.North Melbourne 19.19.133 def St. Kilda 10.5.65 West Coast vs Richmond (Monday, June 3)Kennedy scored the first goal for West Coast, and it proved to be the difference between the two teams in an otherwise tight first quarter.Looking to reverse their trend of not being able to beat the big teams, Richmond seized control of the match in the second term. Buoyed by some brilliant work in defence, Richmond kicked the only six goals on their way to a 29-point lead at half-time.Richmond continued to punish West Coast after half-time, kicking another three goals to lead by 47 points before the Eagles fabricated back-to-back goals. But Richmond steadied and stretched their lead to an even 50 points at three-quarter time.When Reiwoldt kicked his second to start the final quarter, Richmond had made a certainty of one of the biggest upsets of the season. They went on to win by 41 points in a performance that may be critical to the rest of their season and all but dashes the Eagles hopes of finishing top four.Selwood had 31 touches and Kennedy three goals for the Eagles, while Deledio, Martin and Houli each had 25 touches for Richmond.Richmond 16.7.103 def West Coast 8.14.62by Alexander Darling

June 4th 2013
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