Man, the action does not stop with this league! As always, the action was awesome on the field, but this week we also had action off the field. And the AFL again provided multiple reasons why it is run better than the NFL. Let’s get right to it.
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
Before we get to the action on the field, I want to talk about the big news that happened as the first game of the Round, St. Kilda Saints v Essendon Bombers, was about to kick off at the Etihad. Amid revelations that two high-ranking AFL executives were having affairs with younger women that work in the AFL (the men are married, but the women are not) , AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan made some of the toughest decisions of his life and “accepted the resignations” of his two close friends, Simon Lethlean and Richard Simkiss. I put that in quotations because, as everyone who has been at high levels of industry knows, he essentially forced them to resign.
This is remarkable for several reasons:
- McLachlan rose up through the AFL organization with these guys. They were his friends.
- The women involved did not file a complaint. No one filed a complaint. McLachlan simply found out about the affairs.
For reference and for us to make fun of the men, here are their pictures:
Here are the women:
I should note that the second woman is reportedly the girlfriend of an Australian Rugby star. I would not want this dude looking for me in a dark alley:
I ask you, do you see Roger Goodell doing anything like this in a million years? Of course, the answer is no. The destruction of the Patriots’ tapes is proof of that. As one of the linked articles states, this is not a good look for the AFL that the actions happened, but the way the AFL has responded, quickly and decisively, has been admirable. Gillon McLachlan is truly walking the walk and not just throwing out meaningless phrases like “Roger has determined that he will be a leader in the domestic-violence space.”
As always, Roger Goodell is a National Disgrace.
Now let’s move on to the fun stuff, shall we?
The Essendon-St. Kilda match had the Friday Night Footy spotlight and one team did not disappoint. Given the history of the franchise, are you surprised it was the Saints that were the ones that disappointed? The Bombers kicked the Saints down a few notches in the ladder and in their confidence as they more than doubled the Saints score 118-57. Here are the highlights:
On proper Friday night, a bunch of things happened to me and ultimately everything ended up well. One of those was the Geelong-Hawthorn match that started at 8:45 PM. It had finals-like intensity and a Willis Reed legend-like performance from Cat Patrick Dangerfield as he hurt his foot early in the game but came back, switched positions, and kicked five goals and six behinds. Even then, the Hawks had a chance to win it as, as in last year’s finals, Isaac Smith had the ball in his hands as the siren was about to sound. His kick, luckily for Cats fans and unluckily for Hawks fans, sailed wide and the Cats held on for a 88-85 win. Here are the highlights:
At roughly the same time, the Port Adelaide Power were hosting the North Melbourne Kangaroos. Check that, the Port Adelaide Power were destroying the North Melbourne Kangaroos. The game was never close and the Power won by 70. That’s the only part that was close. Here are the highlights:
By midnight Pacific, I was too pooped from the day and from the crazy Geelong win and I went to bed. As I slept, the Gold Coast Suns were hosting the Collingwood Magpies in a matchup of teams that will most likely fire their coaches after the season. Which coach was able to make a case to stay? Well, on this night it was Nathan Buckley, coach of the Pies, as Collingwood held off a Suns comeback and managed the wet conditions best in a 15 point win. You know, it’s watching highlights like these that make me miss when I was young and used to play mud bowls with my friends in the rain. Good times!
The first of the two late late games was a candidate for Match of the Round as the GWS Giants hosted the Sydney Derby against the Swans. I managed to wake up early (damn internal body clock!) and catch the fourth quarter. The game certainly lived up to the billing as it was close throughout, but the Swans were too strong and won by 13. Here are the highlights:
This means that sole possession of first place was up for grabs and, coincidentally, the Adelaide Crows were playing the Melbourne Demons in Darwin at the same time as part of the Rural Round celebrations. The Crows took full advantage in dominating the Demons and winning by 46. Here are the highlights:
The three games on North American Saturday night started off with Richmond hosting the Brisbane Lions. To their credit, the Lions stayed close through the first half and only trailed by 8 at the break. Logic and the Tigers took over in the second as Richmond notched a 31 point victory. Here are the highlights:
In the next game, the young Carlton Blues hosted the struggling reigning champions Western Bulldogs. If the Doggies were to make anything of this season, this was a game they had to win. It was not impressive by any means, but they got the job done, beating the Blues by 20. Here are the highlights:
The last game of the Round was the Perth Derby between the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers. So, let me start off by asking the question: If the two teams had the same number of scoring shots, you would expect a close game, right? Well, they both had 19 scoring shots, but the Eagles kicked 11.8 and the Dockers 5.14 and West Coast won by 30 thanks to some truly atrocious kicking by the Dockers. Here are the “highlights”:
Let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?
|4||Port Adelaide Power||16||10||0||6||40||136.3|
|8||West Coast Eagles||16||9||0||7||36||102.1|
|9||St. Kilda Saints||16||9||0||7||36||99.4|
|15||Gold Coast Suns||16||6||0||10||24||85.5|
|17||North Melbourne Kangaroos||16||4||0||12||16||89.0|
And here is the updated BallsTM Graph:
As we talked about last week, the pretenders are separating themselves from the contenders. I am adding Fremantle to the list of teams most likely out of the Eight. I am keeping Hawthorn in, even though they have 2 less points than the Dockers, because I could easily see them win the rest of their games. After that, who knows? One more loss, though, and their season is over. Here is the updated list:
Teams most likely in the Eight: Adelaide, GWS, Geelong
Teams most likely out of it: Fremantle, Gold Coast, Collingwood, Carlton, North Melbourne, Brisbane
Teams in the hunt for 5 spots in the Eight: Port Adelaide, Richmond, Sydney, Essendon, West Coast, Melbourne, St. Kilda, Western, Hawthorn.
Footy Tipping Contest
Here are the standings:
|PLACE||TIPPER||Round Tips||Round Margin||TOTAL Tips||TOTAL Margin|
Spanky kicked some major butt with an 8 of his own after Blax got 8 last week. Unfortunately, Blax forgot to put his footy tips in, so you know what that means:
DON’T FORGET TO PUT THE FOOTY TIPS IN!
The season is winding down are there are only six games left. Here is next week’s schedule (all times Pacific):
Friday, July 21, 2017
2:50 AM – Adelaide Crows v Geelong Cats at Adelaide Oval
This is a huge game between the new #1 and #2 teams in the competition. Unfortunately, the two may be without their two biggest stars and, coincidentally, they happen to be best friends. The Crows’ Rory Sloane suffered a concussion in this week’s game and his status is unknown for next week. At the same time, it’s not clear what the extent of Patrick Dangerfield’s injury is. If either of them suffers a setback, it will hurt their team for sure.
8:45 PM – Essendon Bombers v North Melbourne Kangaroos at the Etihad
The Bombers could truly get back into the finals race with a big win over the Roos. As for the Roos, they now find themselves only one game clear of the Wooden Spoon position and, should Brisbane somehow win, would probably get there on percentage.
9:10 PM – Melbourne Demons v Port Adelaide Power at the MCG
This game will tell whether Port is for real or whether they are just pretenders. They have to play well and win at the MCG in order to convince the doubters. I think Melbourne is starting the late-season swoon that I thought they would have. Let’s see if I’m right.
11:35 PM – Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns at Cazaly’s Stadium
The Doggies are “hosting” this game in Cairns, right by the Great Barrier Reef. Maybe they knew that their season would be pretty much over by this point and wanted to get the vacation started right. I’ve heard the Reef is gorgeous!
Saturday, July 22, 2017
2:25 AM – Sydney Swans v St. Kilda Saints at the SCG
This is the game that kills the Saints’ season and their hopes of getting in the Eight. It’s been long overdue. The Swans are the most dangerous team in the competition after starting 0-6.
2:40 AM – Fremantle Dockers v Hawthorn Hawks at Domain Stadium
The Hawks will want to make up for this week’s loss to the Cats while the Dockers have to figure out how to kick straight. The home venue for the Dockers may not help them if they can’t fix their kicking woes.
8:10 PM – Richmond Tigers v GWS Giants at the MCG
This has now become a hugely important game for both teams although perhaps more important for the Giants. They are a shell of their former selves and need to put together a full game of effort to get back to being serious contenders. The Tigers will need to show they can play the top teams well and win.
10:20 PM – Collingwood Magpies v West Coast Eagles at the Etihad
Will the Pies continue playing hard to try to save their coach? Can the Eagles win outside of Perth and keep their finals hopes alive?
11:40 PM – Brisbane Lions v Carlton Blues at the Gabba
If the Lions want to finish ahead of the Kangaroos and out of the Wooden Spoon position, they HAVE TO win this game. There is no other option.
That is all for this week. As I mentioned at the top, it’s weeks like this week that make me glad I started following the AFL and writing these posts for you all. I cannot for the life of me imagine Goodell doing anything close to what Gillon McLachlan does as AFL CEO. Every time I think about it, I get the Louise eye-twitch
So, a message to Roger Goodell:
And I’ll see the rest of you next week!