If you got all nine tips right this week, you are a freak or have no knowledge of football at all. That’s how unpredictable this week of footy was.
Round ten has to be the most important round of the year to date.
From paper, the round looked rather boring, with the top eight teams playing the bottom eight teams. It would be an easy round to tip based on that, but it certainly wasn’t.
It was a round that separated the pretenders from the contenders.
Saturday night was a sight to be seen. Melbourne won their first game of the year, against a highly fancied Essendon side. Though Melbourne didn’t play brilliantly, they were able to do enough to win by a goal. Essendon were poor, and could say that they gifted Melbourne the win. Essendon had all the play, close to 60 inside 50s for the game, won the clearances but were not able to convert their opportunities. The Demons were hard at the ball, winning every physical contest and were able to keep their composure. Essendon went into the game complacent, thinking that it would be their ninth win of the year.
Carlton were annihilated by Port Adelaide. It was only a few weeks ago that the Adelaide media were calling for the head of Port coach, Matthew Primus. He has managed to turn his team around and has won the last three games, this being the most impressive. Carlton, once again lacked intensity, something that is happening too often. Sure they have plenty of injuries, which was compounded by the withdrawal of Matthew Kreuzer and the loss of Heath Scotland after the game, but that does not excuse the fact that they were soft. Carlton have many concerns at the moment and their place in the finals is in jeopardy. It was at round three that they were premiership favourites, they have had a dramatic fall since then and are this weeks media beat ups.
Brisbane beat Premiership favourite West Coast by two points. A 60 metre goal from James Polkinghorne sealed victory with only a minute to go. West Coast have played poor when they have travelled this year, luckily for them they have a host of home games to get back on track.
It just goes to show that if teams aren’t on their game, lower ranked teams can beat them.
I made the call that Carlton were on the rise, and Collingwood were on the downfall. How fortunes change.
Collingwood, even though they have been struck with injuries, have managed to find ways to win. They have the depth and the structures to cope with these injuries, something that Carlton is missing at the moment. Carlton can make the excuse that they are missing nine out of their best 22, which would hurt any team, but the problem is that they rely on too few and their fringe players are not performing. Collingwood has been able to blood some youngsters who have been impressive, and now the Pies sit fourth on the ladder, only on percentage.
Hawthorn, a premiership favourite this year have been inconsistent. They won by a hugh 115 points against North Melbourne. Led by spearhead Buddy Franklin who scored 13 goals, the Hawks were able to shut North Melbourne out of the game with a goal blitz. This dented North Melbourne’s chances this year, and probably won’t make finals.
Don’t forget Richmond. They are on the rise. The Tiger Army is going nuts. They beat Hawthorn by 10 goals last week and beat St Kilda last week. They are an impressive young team that are finally getting the results they deserve. They have been competitive all year and now sit outside the eight on percentage.
As much as this round will be remembered for the upsets, it will also be remembered for the individual performances of three players. First, Jack Riewoldt, who scored eight goals against St Kilda, with three in the last quarter which helped Richmond win the game. Buddy Franklin scored 13, and possibly could have had more if he kicked a bit straighter. It was incredible to watch and was the best individual performance I have seen in a long time. Gary Ablett got a massive 53 possessions in Gold Coast’s loss to Collingwood. As much as that is a great personal feat, Ablett would rather have 20-30 possessions and a competitive team.
What a week of football. And we still have another 13 rounds to go.