The gravity of the Port v Bombers game was not lost on Travis Boak on Friday night. As he attempted to lead his team onto the field he had a Spinal Tap moment, receding back into the bowels of Adelaide Oval for a stirring rendition of "Cups and Cakes". This game was being broadcast in China and taking on Essendon was going to be a massive test, like the Battle of Pygmy Hill.
To set the tone for the weekend, Zach Merrett threw a leg over Ebert Wrestlemania style. Westhoff surprisingly missed a 25 metre shot on goal with a textbook ankle kick but, by the second quarter, Port were well on top with even Aaron "Calendar Jesus" Young nabbing a goal. The game became so boring so early even smelling salts weren't doing the trick. Ebert, touched by the wrestling bug came to the rescue, clotheslining Gleeson and I'm quite certain he reached into his sock for a monkey wrench. Later James Kelly introduced a shabby little flying bump like the Mouth of the South, Jimmy Hart. Awful, awful game.
At the Pies/Saints game there were loose Saints everywhere. You could have read the game off Travis Cloke's face which looked like a slapped arse. Pendles planked like a pro to receive a free for high contact and converted. Dr Tim Watson gave us his thoughts on McCartin needing a few years in the gym, while the fact is McCartin could already throw Watson over a wheat silo. The Saints looked quick and Bucks has the labours of Heracles before him here with this team. He needs to sweep the Augean Stables clean. Mental health professionals have advised me not to spend more time reviewing this game.
The Swans/Giants game was finally something to get your teeth into. In keeping with the wrestling theme, Mummy tipped Tippett over rather forcefully as a thanks for Tippett's exorbitant wages tipping Mummy out of the Swans. Excited by the challenge, Parker decided to body slam his own teammate Heeney like a flesh log felled in the forest. Phil Davis, the handball specialist, dragged the ball under him like a mother hen sits on an egg, and consequently gave Franklin a shot at goal.
If anyone was wondering what happened to Rutger Hauer's career post Bladerunner, he's coaching with GWS. During the call Dwayne treated us to the word delightful so many times we ran out of numbers. By the 4th quarter Sydney got well on top and opened GWS up like a joke Xmas present.
The Blues and Suns promised more wrestling treats as Graham ran into a Steven May flytrap and the Suns were all over the Blues early like an expensive, clammy suit. In the 2nd quarter a Gold Coast runner we shall call Mr Pink caused a turnover and 50 metre penalty and may have been best on for Carlton. Curnow soon got caught in a Suns Scissor Lock and Simpson appeared to clothesline himself. The theatrics were contagious.
In the 3rd there was more wrestling—some classic Greco-Roman moves between Tuohy and Davis. In the mawkish house style of channel 7, Luke Darcy waxed about "the little master" by which he meant not Sachin Tendulkar but an accomplished bald footballer. In the 4th, Phillips was brought down like a giraffe on ice skates while Charlie Curnow took his US dustbowl hair cut off the field to repair an ear that looked like it had been bitten by a grizzly bear. Lonergan is a massive unit that looks to be 80 percent made of walnuts. Toward the end of the game Darcy asked what Bolton needed to rebuild Carlton. I'd wager two of everything.
At Subiaco, Derm was there to talk us through the Eagles/Dockers clash. After he mentioned Fyfe "used his opponent as a speed bump" I laboured in vain to discern the meaning of that comment. Derm operates at another level and was able to determine that at one point Zac Dawson "took away (Kennedy's) right knee lift". Such specificity. After a Nic Naitinui knee into his back Sandilands looked ill—I mean more so than usual—with damage to his dinosaur sized bones and raft size organs.
Barlow was doing his best impression of a character from The Cabinet of Dr Caligari as, I believe, a tribute to German expressionism. By the 4th quarter there were so many headbands on the field I thought this game has turned into an homage to 80s karate movies. Some character who looked like Sammy Hagar slapped Lycett on the back and soon I was seeing 80s everywhere—Priddis with his poodle hair, Le Cras, Gaff looking like Ralph Macchio. And there was Cripps with his futuristic goatee—a portent of the 90s. In the end the Eagles were popping metaphorical monos all over the ground.
At blustery Bellerive Oval North looked like they were going to cave the Dees heads in with a massive 8 goal to 2 first quarter. But it turned out all the scoring was going to the David Boon end, like VBs into Boon's thirsty gob. It was soon evident that this was some kind of hell camp with Melbourne supporters locked in with electric fencing, while dilettante northerners were allowed to roam free in this decadent land.
During the commentary I sensed Gerard disapproved of Harms, which I put down to haircut disgust, pure and simple. The Demons fans would ultimately leave disappointed but not before Melbourne player sweat glands were activated, which proved to be a massive surprise to Jesse Hogan. Harvey played like an enchanted, wizened homunculus.
The match of the round between the Dogs and Hawthorn saw the usually productive Jake "The Package" Stringer wrapped up tight. The Dogs deployed a conga-line/man sandwich methodology of one in front and one behind a Hawthorn marking target. Roughead was injured early and seen to by a doctor who used to play for The Blue Oyster Cult.
Bontempelli pulled out his full matinee idol powers with a sweet intercept but Hawthorn's peripheral vision was uncanny, hitting targets like William Tell. My notes from here consist of a lot of grumbling, crotchety statements so… oh here's something usable. Beveridge has the aura of win about him and the west goes up in full voice but in the commentary box it's all Cyril talk as Hamish blows his bolt early in the 4th. It looked like the Dogs might pinch it but alas, no cigar-o. Defs in striking distance for next time.
At Kardinia Park Selwood got all neurotic and decided after winning the toss to kick into a swirl. Hawkins caught the affliction and at a shot for goal spat in his hands and inexplicably spread his ample buttocks. Ruggles got involved early and even the animated hoardings seemed to be warning the Lions.
Despite being an ex-Cat, new Lion's recruit, Josh Walker—aka the last bald man to play AFL—received no boos from the usually parochial crowd. Playing for the Lions, they may have felt, was punishment enough. When Harris Andrews burnt the ball in the Cats forward 50, Leppitsch was less than thrilled.
The game was nothing much to shout about so some human interest highlights. Dwayne couldn't stop saying "delightful", there was much Ruggle talk and David King gave us another instalment of King Nomenclature—"(Merrett) had to run him into a skill", or in human talk, tackle an opponent. Superb. As was Daniel McStay's Steinbeckian cum Fellini extra hair-cut.
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