11 rounds in and the premiership race is still wide open, though the race for the top 8 seems to be drawing to a close for a couple of teams.
Richmond and Collingwood both lost “must wins” and now find themselves three wins and significant percentage outside of the 8. I think it would probably now be fair to say that the finals aspirations of those teams are dead and buried. Both would probably need to win 8 out of their remaining 11 games, and hope for teams above them to capitulate. For Richmond, they have the chance to get on a mini roll with games against the two Queensland sides either side of their round 13 bye, but successive games against 9th placed Port Adelaide in Adelaide and Western Bulldogs in Round 15 and 16 will likely kill off their season for good. For the Pies – well, they’re simply not good enough, but their next three games are very winnable – Melbourne, Fremantle and Carlton over the next 4 weeks with a bye in between is a decent run through mid-season, and they will need to win all of those games to be any chance.
The Kangas and Swans continue to roll on up at the pointy end of the ladder, with the Cats, Dogs, and Hawks all waiting for a slip up. North’s fixture gets tricky over the next month or so, and we will find out if they are the real deal or not by the end of June. Games against Geelong and Hawthorn followed by away games against Adelaide, and West Coast shape as top-4 defining matches, and if the Kangas want a top 2 finish, they’ll need to win at least 50% of those games.
The Giants, Eagles, and Crows round out the 8, and of those three – it’s the Giants looking most vulnerable after defeats to the Crows and Cats in successive weeks. That’s not to cast any aspersions on the Giants, as they haven’t been poor by any stretch, but both the Eagles and Crows are in pretty good form at the minute, and the Giants can’t afford any more slip ups if they want to press for top 4. They do have the Swans next week – which could see them drop three in a row, before bouncing back against the woeful Essendon in round 13.
Outside the 8, Port are probably looking the most likely to break in – though there’s a side below them wearing navy blue that are just ticking along nicely too, though Carlton’s fixture does get a little tougher after next weeks clash with the Saints. I heard on the radio over the weekend that making the 8 would actually be worse for Carlton than finishing outside the 8 – the suggestion being that they would think they’re further advanced than what they are. I disagree. I think they have a very pragmatic coach in Brendan Bolton, and I think they are committed to the path they are on – regardless of results. If they make the 8 or not – I don’t think that will affect how they tackle 2017 onwards.
Melbourne’s up and down season continues – though they were pretty good against the Hawks for probably 80% of the game. I liked Bernie Vince’s job on Sam Mitchell, and I especially liked the young Demons getting in the face of the Hawks veterans. They’ve got themselves the makings of a very watchable team if they continue – now all they need to do is get their fans to watch them. Maybe if they weren’t playing home games in Alice Springs? Melbourne only sit two games outside the 8, but such is their form – it’s impossible to make a case for them stringing any sort of consistent results together to seriously challenge for the 8. Even though they sit above Richmond and Collingwood on the ladder – I believe they’re far less likely to make finals than either of those sides.
The sides we haven’t mentioned yet are done. The Saints are mathematically on par with the Pies and Tiges – but don’t have the talent of either of those sides, and the bottom 4 are cooked and rubbish – though some in the media will have you believe they’re actually good sides choosing not to win. Turn it up.
North Melbourne Downhill Skiers 18.16.124 def
Rubbish Richmond 7.12.54
Good: Wells, Dal Santo, Swallow, Cotchin, Miles Deledio
Bad: About 50% of Richmond’s 22.
Two Sentence Summary: Richmond were completely shown up by a much better side. The Kangaroos have many better players than the Tigers, and their big forwards dominated.
Hawthorn Old People’s Home 11.16.82 def
Bernie Vince and Demon Teammates 10.4.64
Good: Vince, Jones, Tyson, Mitchell, Smith
Bad: Umpiring/Kade Stewart, Jeff Garlett, Melbourne Weather
Two Sentence Summary: The Demons, led by Bernie Vince, took it right up to the Hawks, and I liked their physicality. Kade Stewart ducked his head, and the Hawks lifted late in the game to win by 3 goals.
Carlton Great Jacob Weitering 16.6.102 def
Lions only decent player Tom Rockliff 9.10.64
Good: Kerridge, Curnow, Weitering, Rockliff,
Bad: Tom Bell playing on, Kreuzer spew, Melbourne Weather (even indoors)
Two Sentence Summary: Did you know Jacob Weitering plays for Carlon? Brisbane aren’t very good, but Rockliff is a freak and had 48 possessions.
Steve Johnson’s Old Team Geelong 14.14.98 def
Steve Johnson’s New Team GWS 14.4.88
Good: The Match, Dangerfield, Selwood, Dylan Freaking Shiel,
Bad: Tom Hawkins right cross, Phil Davis’ acting, Steve Johnson being booed (a little)
Two Sentence Summary: This was a really good match and I enjoyed watching it. GWS were brave and classy, but it takes more than that to beat Geelong.
Extra Bonus Sentence: I’m developing a man crush on Dylan Freaking Shiel (henceforth known as DFS)
PATTONWATCH: Spent a little bit of time in defence and didn’t look too bad – spent some time up forward and didn’t do much. 10 possessions, 5 marks, 1 goal. If you were Richmond’s recruiting manager – you’d be wondering whether he could play as a key defender I reckon.
Swimming Swans 11.13.79 def
Sinking Suns 6.5.41
Good: Sydney’s midfield, Dion Prestia, Sydney’s midfield.
Bad: Gold Coast weather, Tom Lynch’s right hook, Gold Coast’s nickname.
Two Sentence Summary. Over 200 mm of rain in 24 hours meant Metricon Stadium was completely drenched and the game was lucky to even have been played. Sydney are heaps better than Gold Coast, and only conditions kept this game close.
Fremantle Not Tanking 20.6.126 def
Barely Even The Bombers 6.11.47
Good: Crowley not being booed, Fremantle not tanking, Lachie Neale, David Mundy, Zach Merrett,
Two Sentence Summary: Fremantle beat up on a completely sub standard Bombers to prove to the league that they’re not tanking. It’s going to be a long rest of the season if you’re an Essendon supporter.
Port Adelaide Magpies 19.11.125 def
The Other Magpies 7.16.58
Good: Collingwood lost, Port’s little blokes, Pendlebury
Bad: Port Adelaide won, Smith robbed of goal of the year
Two Sentence Summary: Only 25,000 fans showed up to watch Collingwood get belted and see their finals chances diminishing. Port Adelaide’s smalls were well suited to the conditions, and they dominated Collingwood.
Don’t call us Footscray 12.11.83 def
Don’t call us Weagles 11.9.75
Good: The Bont, Lachie Hunter, Boyd, Suckling, Priddis, Eagles comeback, Father/Son rule
Bad: Bailey Williams’ Supercoach score, Josh Kennedy,
Two Sentence Summary: The Eagles charged home late to try and pinch a game they were dominated in, but the Dogs held on. The captaincy sat well with The Bont, who stepped up at the end to clinch the game.
Radelaide 19.19.133 def
The Aints 6.9.45
Good: Josh Jenkins, Adelaide’s kicking, Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch’s first quarter
Bad: Stretcher incidents, Eddie Betts (he’s allowed one bad game)
Two Sentence Summary: Josh Jenkins was absolutely on fire as the Crows comprehensively smacked the Saints, who lost a couple of young guns to injury. The Crows join the Swans as the form team of the comp, both sides winning their past 3 games.
Bombers v Hawks, Power v Dogs, Lions v Dockers, Cats v Roos, Eagles v Crows, Saints v Blues, Tigers v Suns, Giants v Swans, Demons v Pies