There were some strange sights early on as North Melbourne clashed with Sydney at the SCG on Friday night, with Mitchell looking like he was giving birth to Swallow and Josh Kennedy appearing very much like a Bulgarian wrestler. Franklin was looking dangerous and Lindsay Thomas, after mugging himself in front of goals, was mugged by the umpire and given 50m for touching the epidermis of Mills.
An odd boxful of Swans fans seemed to be quarantined in some type of giant kid's playpen for some reason while out on the field Hannebery put an end to the debate about what happened to Steve Austin's bionic arm when he despatched a 30 metre, heat-seeking handball to a teammate. Heading to half-time, North made a strong showing to paw their way back into the game. Channel 7 had mic'd up MacMillan and it was cringier than Jason Donovan's promise to fight ISIS if only the authorities weren't holding him back.
Zac Jones gets so excited by his own running that he shoots his bolt early on several occasions which is always embarrassing for a young man on the big stage. In the final quarter some clown in the crowd decides to not throw the ball back in order to maybe cunningly abscond with it under the lazy eye of 40,000 spectators? Dill. Late in the game Harvey misses the umpire's whistle but is excused as it was believed the sonic waves had difficulty squeezing their way into his petit earholes. In a worrying sign for North fans, Goldstein spent the end of the game on the bench where he donned a cloak that gave him the appearance of the count of Monte Cristo.
Up in Brisbane on Saturday, Hawthorn face their greatest test trying to get a decent coffee. Actually in an unexpected twist the Lions prove formidable for 3 quarters.
In the Channel 7 commentary box Basil is off to a flyer when he talks about the 'impressive' Robertson who, despite this heady assessment, hasn't played since 2014 and then proceeds to burn the ball. When Brisbane kicks the first goal, Basil declares it for Hanley rather than Zorko but at least this week he's got the right team. Before you know it, Basil and Tim Watson are discussing rules and I'm a Kevin Bartlett away from a rule-based brain explosion. On the ground, Matt Spangher—the original historical Jesus—has returned. Aaron Young is the calendar Jesus but Spangher is your original, real-deal Palestinian Jesus. But that doesn't save him from twanging his hamstring and he returns to his mystic cave.
It sends some bad vibes through the Hawks camp and their kicking is like a quiver of Tooveys. Bell kicks a third goal and Langford goes off the ground, then on, then off again after a smash tackle. The Lions pile on goals, then Hawthorn. There is much remonstrating and renting of jumpers at all the head high tackling frees and ducking there into. Something needs to be done about this or players will be slithering on the grass soon, moving the ball via an electric worm type manoeuvre.
Lewis has been more prolific than Warney at a Smorgey's food trough and Mathieson—the Fabio of football, also enjoying the doubtful moniker of 'The Beast'—decides to get into Lewis after having a go at O'Brien. He's the tar baby of the Lion's den—a pain in the arse who ends every encounter with a rock-star flick of his mane. The game is still tight until the last quarter when Paine tries to engage a reluctant Gibson in a wheelbarrow race but Hawthorn are more interested in kicking goals and run away with the game.
At Etihad, David King interviews Alan Richardson pre-game and suggests St Kilda playing on their 'own dung-hill' against Freo should be advantageous. Gee, thanks Kingy. The down-and-dirty theme continues as the Fox brigade talk about the old animal enclosure at Moorabbin and the Saints disco. From there things flow naturally to Riewoldt sitting on 666 goals and it's presumed this is a bad omen for a Saint. Oh contraire, with the power of Satan St Kilda could really forge ahead I feel and make important inroads with corporate sponsorship. Derm advises us that sport is superstitious. I agree and would like to see those on the bench pulling their weight by working some voodoo dolls. Hayden Ballantyne could whack Newnes in his anatomically correct voodoo ballbags.
It appears in the first quarter that Satan flies with the Saints as they kick 5 goals to 1, but their lack of menace disappoints Satan and he allows Freo two more. At the quarter time break the horny, red master works through Ross Lyon who puts the Dockers' feet to the flames and they come out full of fire and brimstone. After paying reverence to Beelzebub Freo are rewarded. Duly, Dempster inexplicably smashes into a hoarding and is treated on the Saints bench—first with a nicotine patch for his dart cravings, then his voodoo-cursed shoulder is seen to.
Next thing you know Neale has a Jesus stigmata eye. 'Who the hell's side are you on Satan', asks Ross? 'There are no sides, just a giant fire-orgy' replies the hot one. This triggers a wave of Satanic incantations the likes of which have been seen lots of times. All hail Satan and his silken cape!
By the power of Satan's grace, Freo make up for a lacklustre first quarter to enter half time 1 point behind. They look to have their mojo back and give a 3 goal to 1 performance in the 3rd, but there's nothing Satan enjoys so much as crushing hope and being fickle. He awards St Kilda 8 goals in the final quarter and Freo 3 points before planning the next Q&A panel.
At the MCG it's the Tigers/Bombers dreamtime game but it appears the designer of the Richmond jumper may have spilt gravy on the master design before it went to the spinning Jenny for reproduction. I'm also surprised to see three Bombers wearing long-sleeves considering the parlous financial state of their organisation. Who at AFL House ticked off the extra use of material—Royal Commission now! Another word on aesthetics—Griffiths and Cotchin look very much like Russian Dolls with their nerf helmets but it seems to be working for them both, well, in football terms at least.
It seems like this could get messy for Essendon when Riewoldt nonchalantly excuses himself from an Ambrose tackle engagement and waltzes out the front door to goal but Essendon come back well in the second to enter the main break 16 points behind. There's some exceptional appendage work this quarter. Daniher gets 1 metre from his quarry in a tackle chase but forgets he has arms and very much resembles a porpoise. Astbury pats down Brown like he's frisking for a wire and Crowley sports two black wristbands which give him the appearance of an escaped Roman gladiator.
After a brief appearance, Malcolm Turnbull tries to slip out before the main break via the helicopter pad and is disappointed to learn people arrive here by other means. He curses the day he put the comb through Bronwyn Bishop's expense account. In commentary, Richo—a great fan of Peter 'the talking knee' Costello—suggests Malco might be looking for a half-time pie as attention turns to his eating predilections.Brian Taylor suggests rather than be a 'pie at half-time type of guy' he might be a 'completely leave at half-time type of guy'. Anyway when half-time arrives, Rance gets stuck into his Tiger brothers with much gnashing and wailing which has not been seen since the last circulation and editorial meeting at Watchtower. It has the desired effect and after a plastic bag artfully floats across the screen at the beginning of the 3rd quarter like a scene from American Beauty, Richmond do that premiership quarter thing and repeatedly club Essendon over the scone. Game over.
The Giants and Crows met at Adelaide Oval for a swashbuckling affair that was up and down like a yoyo being spun by a drunken sailor on a pogo stick. The game had inherent interest but Fox put together a lamentable pre-game 'GWS Checklist' package which included 'kick 150+ points, tick, win 6 games in a row, tick.' Fucking hell, honestly. Then there was chat about Lever the 6 foot 4 inch midget and Thompson paying 'the full price'. Not the iron price, or $9.99, but the full price. Ricciuto remarks that Patfull is 'playing a strange game on Walker' by giving him yards of latitude. Not Syd Barrett eating sausages all day strange, more Jim Morrison aloof/peyote strange. Shaw picks up on this loose checking and goes Dennis Hopper crazy when defenders fail to fill the defensive breach.
In the 2nd term Don Pike, quite frankly, can't be fucked and works again on his mighty tome which he never finds time for during the week with all his engagements. This loose and freewheeling method of coaching takes hold in the GWS box and Cameron decides he'll try putting Ward in the ruck against Jenkins. It seems to work and half-time arrives with the Giants 2 points behind.
Palmer decides to enter into the spirit of the night and returns to the arena after half-time with his pyjamas on. Leon Cameron has written some Oprah self-help affirmations for himself in this new-age evening of football, while on field McGovern has to pass a maze in his mind before he disposes of the ball. Soon this night gets fully earth-mother when the Crows attempt to rebirth a young Giant.
Fortunately Barry Hall is there like ballast at the last break to straighten this night right out. But the earth children won't be denied and soon Huddo is talking about Twister and contorting bodies down on the boundary line. Far out man, San Francisco! Like a square, Ray Chamberlain has to enter the game with his heavy whistle. When Greene kicks a goal through Crow legs, the review takes so long it was assumed the 3rd umpire was having a bad acid experience. In the end, the Crows hold out. Groovy, impeach this and that fellow, Vietnam and so forth.
At Etihad, Carlton was expected to face Geelong with a book stuffed down the back of their shorts to lessen the blow but as Robert walls might exclaim from the South of France, mais non! With the offcuts of various beasts, Bolton is finally cooking up something which not only looks palatable but tastes pretty bloody good to Carlton's long starved players and fans.
Visually, there were excitements everywhere. With this new grown confidence, White moonwalks away from Motlop, Kreuzer moves like a skyscraper being pulled on a dolly and Denis Armfield's wizard beard plays a classic role as it vies for the most revolting hair patch on the field. When Sumner vacated the field injured, the prize was all Armfield's. In scoring terms, Jazz Ballet Guthrie helped the Cats as did Smedts with his svelte Audrey Hepburn hips. But the Cats couldn't shake the Blues and I sensed something was awry.
When Armfield goaled and struck a power ballad pose I thought, Satan will hate this, ergo—Carlton must lose. But that would be to misunderstand his hotfulness. He likes that we dislike it and that we get incandescent with rage by seeing Denis Armfield celebrate and this pleases Satan very much. That's why Armfield is rewarded. The Blues hold on by 19 points after leading 70 to 44 at one point in the third. You do start to wonder what Bolton can do without so many potatoes on his list or even with potatoes.
The Pies/Dogs game starts with an altogether different flavour when Nick Maxwell interviews Luke Beveridge wearing a 1980s power jacket bolstered with Cybil Shepard shoulder pads. The game begins and after Dixon shoots at goal, Sidebottom remonstrates suggesting it glanced the tuckshop lady part of his arm. When Pendlebury sidesteps and goals it's not, to use the parlance, any ordinary candy that's been sold but an everlasting gobstopper.
In the second quarter Greenwood wrestles both Liberatore and Daniel, alternating each one under his armpit for a period. Soon it's apparent Wallis needs a haircut quite desperately and that the Pies need to put more work into their razzing when standing the mark on opposition goal-kickers. The fake stone throw, side to side running, a browneye. Lift, goddam it!
In the second half Campbell lines up at the centre bounce like a Wolverine. A ball goes to a contest between Blair and Redpath which is the most unnatural pairing since Cory Bernardi and his gay Hillsong cats. Dennis correctly observes that Sidebottom has a transcendental calmness as evidenced by his perfectly cast line to Blair in front of goal. In defence, Howe is proving more significant than the Manhattan Project but it's all going too well so Satan decides to stopover at the MCG on his way to Peter Dutton's pad. The Pies bench soon resembles a doctor's waiting room and Bucks starts stalk calling Fas on the bench. Easton Wood has pinched more marks today than Ryan Crowley and Pinchy the Lobster have pinched flesh. Soon he climbs on Grundy's head in a stunning ode to the Statue of Liberty. The Pies are too tired and the Dogs jump over them like checkers—a pitiful end to a terrific contest.
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