There is much anticipation surrounding Friday nights Hawthorn V Sydney game but it starts like a Daihatsu climbing that shitty hill on Punt Rd. The highlights are few early, except Grundy who is intercepting like the AFP on Labor communications. In the second quarter Sydney start beating up Hawthorn, badly, before an umpire takes mercy on the latter and gives them a 50 metre and first goal opportunity halfway through the quarter.
At one point Tippett looks very much like Jesus being groped by an octopus but like Jesus he gets the raw prawn from the high-priests. And just before the quarter closes, Franklin trips more heavily than Timothy Leary during a bender in Poughkeepsie circa 1967.
Hawthorn launches an assault in the 3rd and Sydney do a striking impersonation of marionettes in a pantomime. When Gunston goals early in the 3rd quarter, Hawthorn trail by 4 points and this game now has a familiar odour about it. Kennedy looks sloth like even by his standards, and despite the fact Hannebery is my dream team vice-captain, he wilfully kicks the ball out of bounds. But things pick up for Sydney as Franklin kicks a couple of 1.2km goals and Grundy forms himself into a medieval castle wall. Sydney on the winners' list and Hawthorn sneak off to hatch cunning plans no doubt.
On Saturday at the MCG it was a case of a boondoggle gone awfully wrong for the Cats. They visit a band of Woodsmen who have steeled their axes for Steele Sidebottom's 150th game and who will steal many hearts and Cash Convertors references and so on and so forth. Down from the bucolic surrounds of Geelong and Moggs Creek, the Cats may have fancied themselves in the big smoke but they got a series of unrelenting punches in sensitive regions in the first quarter until the scoreboard read 48 to 3. And the Geelong Town Crier did call forth the funeral biers and horses.
In the commentary box it was yet another Indecent Obsession with Dangerfield who enjoyed about his 5th pre-game highlights package while Tim Watson talked about the spectacularly overhyped Selwood/Dangerfield 'one-two punch' combo. A member of the crowd was onto it and led the van early as he hectored Dangerfield with an unrelenting boo which sounded like a tripped car alarm 'booooo-boooooo-boooooo-boooooo'. Collingwood found strange ways to goal early: White touched the ball about 18 times in a passage before kicking one, Fasolo jumped for a mark which involved lifting his arms and retracting his legs for no net elevation, so when Pendlebury goaled in conventional fashion, Treloar was on him like an appreciative Labrador puppy.
There was mention of Bartel's lumberjack/hipster beard but I wondered why there weren't more allusions to the Mesopotamian or the post US Civil War reconstructionist beard. Anyway, the fun continued and I thought this is like a dream, a wealthy or well-adjusted person's dream. But then the alarm came, buzzing gently its annoying tone. The Cats were edging back when Adams climbed up Dangerfield in the centre like he was a coconut tree, but alas no coconut, and in the 3rd the Cats kick 3 in a row. Like the Swans the Pies are becoming statuette and after a Hawkins goal it's only 9 points to the Pies. But then there's an end-to-end goal, a Moore reach around and Cox with his world-historic bounce and goal. The Pies win and Mnsr Watson continues to refer to Crisp as Cripps.
I'll keep my report on the Suns/Crows game brief. This was very much like an American '80s tit-and-arse college romp where Adelaide donned robes and drew the Suns into their sordid meat game which involved paddles and welted bottom flanks. Barry Hall's invocation that the Suns should draw upon some ultra-violence went foolishly unheeded and this raggle-taggle team of place-fillers fell to pieces like Patsy Cline. Lever looks very much the goods. The Suns are beaten in every quarter; the final result 149 points to 74.
Wanting to show they were no pushovers outside their home turf, like The Warriors, the Eagles barely escaped their shown down against Port. The opening quarter looked like a final quarter with Boak, Hartlett and Impey injured on the bench and the play as slow as treacle. I enjoyed as always the 'Chicken Salt' sign on the Adelaide Oval hoardings and wondered about other raw ingredient advertising, like 'Magnesium' or 'Dried Oregano Stems'. Anyway, Aaron 'Calendar Jesus' Young kicks 2 for Port and the commentators inform us Redden tries to be too cute with the ball, like the time he pulled out a giant novelty sized lollypop and a bonnet on the field.
In the 2nd quarter, Le Cras exaggerates a shove, taking a dive like a Vichy surrender monkey. Kennedy runs forward and turns like he's driving that Daihatsu from Punt Rd – it seems impossible. When Jonas makes a massive Gaff Gaffe by collecting him late, there's a brawl. It's Judgment Day in North Adelaide – exactly where we all expected it to occur. Inspired by this singular act of thuggery, Port surge late in the 3rd and also win the final quarter but it's another day in purgatory for Port who lose.
At Etihad, North are looking for a decent scalp to prove their bona fides but instead have to play Carlton. Early observations;
- the shot-clock on goals means Ben 'Crazy Clown' Brown has to set the alarm early then jog to his starting run up which begins in zone 2,
- Armfield's beard is the dictionary definition of wizard-beard, and
- Goldstein appears to have stepped out of the Triassic Period and is feasting on spindly prey
Like the Suns/Crows game there's not much to excite the senses here to be frank as the Kangaroos win each quarter convincingly. There are parallels to Karate Kid when Gorringe kicks a freak goal, mention of the medicinal power of a football to resurrect a sickly footballer and Harvey to pinch a sharp running goal. The latter leads Anthony Hudson to declare 'that's low lying fruit for Boomer' and me to declare lazily that is the only fruit he can reach. The Carlton leadership group still refuse to act on Sumner's hair which is now becoming a joke. Anyway, this game's a real paddling, leaving North on top of the table ahead of a tough run for them.
Over at Domain Stadium it was Murder in the Dark as Richmond slowly strangled the Fremantle youth. That's right, youth. The youth movement have never sat well with Ross. His teams have usually been found parched at the fountain of youth, this time they were drowned in it. Not that you could make it out. Clearly someone forgot to pay the power bill at Domain because the lights were set to romance. Combined with a squally wind and driving rain umpires needed gas lamps to see what was going on. Ergo, out came the elbows. It was a real tough off.
Grimes smashes into Weller early suggesting he 'say hello to my little forearm', Miles runs off with an Andrew WK blood mo, Sawson gives Morrisa flying clothesline, Blakely looks a likely thug and Walters mauls Ben Biggles Griffith like a mountain lion. Speaking of all these Gary Wilson helmets, it's now time for the World Health Organisation to declare a contagion as now Tiger's captain Cotchin is sporting a nerf flying cap. Back to the violence and Hampson smacks the ball in the ruck like he's punishing for some grievance. The contest is willing and for a while I watch the game as though the aim is to punish a naughty leather ball like some debauched Norman Lindsay cartoon.
The wind is out of control and the ball looks like a Twisties packet when it hits a pocket, the fans look like grim deckhands on a fishing trawler and I'm quite certain Sally Field floated across the roof. It's so bad Richo recommends Freo concede a goal to get the ball back to the centre and Brian Taylor aptly awards Richo the title of the Mad Hatter. Riewoldt has a lot to offer, firstly a miraculous recovery from the deathbed and then he does everything in his power to smother the fire that burns inside him for Jack Riewoldt, somewhat unsuccessfully. Toward the end when Richmond has it in the bag, Freo youth ambassador Alex Pearce suffers an ankle twist and after some frightful zoological noises, leaves the ground, allowing Ling to talk about futuristic moon boots which automatically send out cool streams and play your ankle classical or easy listening. Game ends.
At the MCG on Sunday the game between Melbourne and Brisbane starts promisingly when Dwayne delivers a white hot 'Old McDonald' zinger, referring to the elder McDonald in the Dees line-up. The Dees begin well and I look at Petracca and think, he really has the makings of a potential impudent jerk and before you know it he's playing Scarecrow Tiggy with Christensen.
I can tell this is going to be a game of the senses and on cue arrives Matthieson, the most beautiful man to grace a park and also Oliver – the man with a 30 year old body and 3 year old head. Soon enough Petracca's name is mentioned again and I realise with all the hard consonants in his name this is going to be a real cloying Dwayne special over the years. 'PeTTRaCCa!' It's no good.
Let me give you the Reader's Digest version. It's Melbourne early and all day – another 4 quarter, one-way drenching c/- Melbourne. There's a bit of side-play with Hogan, Petracca and Garlett forming some type of secret triumvirate and air-brushing Watts out of history but it's a tiresome exhibition for outsiders. A thrashing so white-hot the goal umpire had to sport some shades.
Sunday's GWS/Dogs game might have been engaging with the Doggies at full bark, but they're currently crowding out medical theatres. Basil Zempilas gave everyone a treat early in the commentary with one of his most sparkling gaffs in a gaff peppered career. After a goal to Hunter, 7 crossed to Leon Cameron and Basil asked if the Dog's goal had been a steadier. 'Not for us' replied Cameron. Uhh.
On field, Steve Johnson feels outraged that the 'play on' laws apply to him and by the second term it looks somewhat steamrolleresque – that something horrifically heavy is going to run over the Doggies today but it never quite eventuates. Nor do they look likely to win, they just hang around like 14 years olds near a bottle shop. A 7 Sports news promo flashes up in a break, featuring Tim Watson, and it looks to me very much like a hostage video when Watson is forced to smile. Creepier still is this close in on the crawlspace under the stands.
It's a very thorough win by the GWS and one day Heath Shaw's leg will have its own statue. It's also notable that Toby Greene's period of Clockwork Orange inspired ultra-violence appears to have ended.
And the final game of the round is another comprehensive belting of Essendon by St Kilda in a round that shall forever be forgotten. Mind you the Saints took their sweet time with the Bombers only a point away nearing half-time. Gerard is fast becoming the contender for Fox Football's most hyperbolous fellow. The term 'ultimate price' springs to mind here as does 'Russian roulette' which he applies liberally. You'd imagine by this imagery a killing field of some description but it turns out the ultimate price is really a shot on goal.
In the second half St Kilda break away. Tim 'Halfsharkalligator' Membrey's pigeon toes keep his gait tight and his kicking straight. McDonald-Tipungwuti is hitting more targets than the Red Baron but it's of minimal use. McCartin is starting to throw his Lockettesque portage around to good effect and Riewoldt is in super trim. Hearts were in mouths early in the 4th quarter as Looneyburger put his hands on Hickey's bum in what might have been – in Gerard's parlance – the Great Bum Tragedy. Nevertheless St Kilda walked away with another notch on their belt after last week's punishment.
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