AFL Round 7 – Troy Pannell Appreciation Round
Round 7 is in the books, and pretty much all games went as expected – no real surprises to speak of. Probably the biggest surprise of the round was the Demons demolition job on the Gold Coast up at Metricon – but more on that a bit later. The Giants continue on their merry way, and a number of teams are starting to rack up some pretty daunting losing streaks – the Dockers are now winless from 7, the Bombers have lost their last 5, as have the Tigers, and the Lions are now at 3 losses in a row. Meanwhile – Carlton made it three wins in a row for the first time in a few years, North remain undefeated, and the Cats are looking ominous with 5 in a row, comfortably dispatching last years Grand Finalists in the Eagles.
The round started last Friday night with the Hawks taking on their bogey side of late, Richmond. It was a much improved Richmond this week, for three quarters at least – as the Tiges kept pace with the premiers, and at times outplayed them. However, the Hawks stormed home with 12 of the last 15 goals to win by 46 points at the MCG. Recalled Anthony Miles was probably the Tigers’ best, along with Dustin Martin, while Luke Breust will likely take the 3 Brownlow votes – kicking 6 straight goals. Lewis and Shiels were great for the Hawks as well.
Saturday started off with – wait for it – traditional rivals Collingwood and Carlton going head to head for the first time this year. Collingwood were looking to snap their run of losses, and Carlton were looking to score their first win over Collingwood since 2012. The Blues outplayed Collingwood for the entire game, smashing the Pies in pretty much every key statistic, with their forwards always looking dangerous. Pendlebury and Sidebottom were again Collingwood’s best players, and Fasolo was lively up forward, but Carlton just had too many winners across the ground – Simpson, Gibbs, Murphy, Cripps, and Thomas all had really good games, and Everitt and Casboult were great up forward. Three in a row for the Blues – and starting to show some real signs of improvement.
The Eagles travelled to Skilled Stadium to take on the Cats – and, as is becoming common for West Coast when they play away from home, they copped a pasting. The Eagles were ok early, and would have been heartened to be leading at quarter time, however the Cats turned it on in the second quarter, and the Eagles just couldn’t lift their game to match, as Geelong kicked 7 goals to 1, as The Motlop Show went into full effect. Stevie M (no?) kicked three and handed one to the Hawk, as Geelong took a 6 goal half time lead. It only got worse for the Eagles after the break – as the Cats continued on their merry way – opening up a 50+ point lead halfway through the third quarter, and never being troubled from there. Dangerfield was again good for the Cats, as were Selwood and Bartel, while the Eagles were best served by Gaff, Naitanui, and McGovern. The Cats are starting to look ominous, and move to second on the ladder. If they finish top 4 – they’re a real chance at a flag this year I reckon.
The two Saturday twilight games were very one sided affairs – the Swans giving the Bombers a hiding by 81 points, despite the Bombers being pretty competitive for three quarters, and the Demons belting the Suns by 73 points – the Suns competitive for a half of footy. Buddy kicked 6 to move to 59 goals in his last 10 against Essendon, youngster Isaac Heeney kicked 5, while Kennedy, Hanneberry, and Mitchell all had a heap of ball. Zaharakis was again the Bombers best – with 33 possessions and 2 goals, while Dempsey and Brown played their best games for the season. Up at Metricon, Melbourne’s on ball brigade dominated – with Gawn, Viney and Jones leading the way, as well as a polished performance for second gamer Christian Petracca. For the Suns, well – nobody got more than 22 possessions, but big Tom Lynch managed to kick another 4 to keep himself second in the race for the Coleman Medal. It was a dirty night for the Suns, compounded by a hamstring injury to Matt Rosa, and a broken arm to youngster Alex Sexton.
The two Saturday night matches saw one of the matches of the round between the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide. The Dogs burst out of the gates and took a 4 goal lead into quarter time, which stretched out as far 6 goals into the second quarter, however the Crows never went away, and managed to draw within a kick a couple of times, including late into the last quarter after big Josh Jenkins kicked his 8th goal for the match. However the Crows couldn’t quite take the lead, and the dogs rallied with the last two goals to win by 15 points. Unfortunately, most of the talk after the match was about the umpiring, which really has taken the gloss off what was a great game of footy. At three quarter time, the Crows had been paid just 5 free kicks, while the Bulldogs had received 20 – leaving Crows fans and coaching staff ropable. For the conspiracy theorists and the Crows supporters – one umpire paid an incredible 18 free kicks for the match, and only one of those to the Crows. He was also spotted giving The Man Who Brian Taylor Calls The Package Jake Stringer a very friendly pat on the bum. Best on ground for the Dogs – or BOGDOG if you will – was the Bont – 30 possessions and 2 goals, while Little Libba and Dahlhaus were key as well. For the Crows – it’s hard to look past Josh Jenkins. Mostly because he’s about 200 cm tall, but also because any bloke who has 9 kicks for the game and kicks 8 goals should be congratulated. (Were you watching, Joe Daniher and Travis Cloke?)
In the other Saturday night match, the Giants made it 7 straight defeats for the Dockers, who are clearly tanking. Maybe that’s harsh – because the Dockers were good in patches, however there seemed to be a distinct lack of defensive work from the Freo lads – which is not something I would ever have labelled at any past Ross Lyon teams. Maybe the fewer rotations are hurting Freo’s runners? In any case, it was a pretty comfortable 3 goal win to GWS – who are sitting pretty – 5th on the ladder at 5-2 with the hapless Suns at Spotless Stadium next week. Best players for GWS: Coniglio, Shaw, Ward, Mumford. Dockers best: Neale, Hill, Ballantyne, Mayne
PATTONWATCH: 5 possessions this week for Big Jon in another uninspiring effort. 2 goals and 2 tackles being the highlight of his night. I’m telling you – he’s on the way out of GWS.
Only 2 games on Sunday – so dads everywhere had little else to do but look after the kids so mums could enjoy Mothers Day. (Happy Mother’s Day mum – sorry about Richmond…) The Kangaroos stayed undefeated with a win over an improving Saints, and the Power once again showed their flat track bully status with a flogging of the Lions at Adelaide Oval.
North Melbourne… for some reason, I can’t get behind them as premiership favourites. They’re undefeated in 7, but yet I still have real issues believing that they can get it done in September. Maybe it’s the lack of that real superstar player like a Franklin, or a Dangerfield, or Rioli who can win a game with 15 electric minutes, but I just don’t think they can do it this year. That said – they just keep winning. It was a workman like performance from the North Melbourne midfield – Goldstein, Ziebell, Cunnington, Swallow, and Dal Santo all put in good shifts, while for the Saints, Riewoldt was again their best player. (The competition is going to miss this bloke when he hangs up the boots.) Montagna and Newnes also put in good games, as the Saints came storming home to fall just short – in what was an entertaining last quarter. Congratulations to Drew Petrie on his 300th game – the third current Kangaroos player to reach the milestone. That must be a record – anyone?
The Lions kept pace with the Power until about halfway through the second quarter – but after that, it was pretty much one way traffic – as Port slammed on 18 goals to 3 after quarter time. Big Charlie Dixon kicked a handful, while Wingard, Westhoff and Young kicked 3 each for the Power, and for the Lions, a disappointing day – despite the positive return of Dayne Beams, and a solid effort from Dayne Zorko.
The Story: Well, given that the Pies lost again – I’d expect the media to start coming hard for Nathan Buckley’s job. They’re pretty relentless when it comes to attacking coaches, and the Magpie Army is starting to get restless. Expect Collingwood to be on the back pages for much of the week.
Round 7 Results
Hawthorn 21.10.136 def Richmond 13.12.90
Carlton 15.9.99 def Collingwood 12.12.84
Geelong 18.15.123 def West Coast 12.7.79
Sydney 20.15.135 def Essendon 7.12.54
Melbourne 24.16.160 def Gold Coast 14.3.87
Bulldogs 18.15.123 def Adelaide 17.6.108
GWS 14.11.95 def Fremantle 11.11.77
North Melb 11.16.82 def St Kilda 11.9.75
Port Adelaide 21.10.136 def Brisbane 7.17.59
Friday May 13th
Adelaide vs Geelong (AO)
Saturday May 14th
Essendon vs North Melbourne (ES)
Hawthorn vs Fremantle (AU)
GWS vs Gold Coast (SPO)
Brisbane vs Collingwood (G)
Richmond vs Sydney (MCG)
Sunday May 15th
Carlton vs Port Adelaide (ES)
Melbourne vs Bulldogs (MCG)
West Coast vs St Kilda (DS)