But first, we have all of the AFLW Round 3 results, an update on our tipping contest, and a recap of the AFLX experiment. All of this and more on
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
AFLW Round 3
The Round started on North American Friday Night with a hotly-anticipated clash between the defending champions Adelaide Crows and the undefeated Western Bulldogs. Erin Phillips came back from a quad injury and, upon learning this news, I immediately changed my tip in the tipping contest. My hunch was correct.
Erin Phillips proved why she was voted the competition’s best player last year as she almost single-handedly willed her team to a win. She scored 26 out of her team’s 41 points and, considering the last Adelaide goal was an After The Siren goal from point blank range by Jenna McCormick, you could say she scored 26 out of the 35 her team had against Western’s 34 as the game ended. To say she made a difference is an understatement.
Here are the highlights of an excellent game:
To add injury to insult, the Doggies’ Katie Brennan got hurt as time was running out and her status for next week is in doubt. Given that the Bulldogs failed to deliver a kill shot to Adelaide’s season, this served to make the competition more even and compelling.
Speaking of, the Brisbane Lions were hoping to do a little more of that in visiting the Carlton Blues. Last year’s runners up had won their Grand Final rematch against the Erin Phillips-less Crows, but had embarrasingly lost at home last week to the Doggies. This time, they made no mistakes as they dominated possession and field position in a comprehensive 40-18 win.
While the scoreboard didn’t reflect the Lions’ first half dominance, the Lions found a way in the second half and ran away with the game. The game featured the subplots of Tayla Harris (former Lion) and Nat Exon (former Blue) facing their exes, but Tayla was largely ineffectual while Nat contributed greatly to the win. Again, the result of this game served to tighten up the competition.
Until I can find a highlight video on YouTube, I’ll give you the Brisbane Lions doing their social media best:
Yay, I found one! I’m still leaving the social media video up, though.
The third game of the Round gave the Collingwood Magpies and the GWS Giants the opportunity to get their first win of the season. I actually watched the whole thing live and it was a very close, competitive, and compelling game. In the end, the GWS Giants pulled out the road upset, winning 48-35 and still clinging to premiership hopes. Here are the highlights:
In the final game, the Fremantle Dockers had the same opportunity that Brisbane had earlier in defeating one of the leaders and tightening up the competition. It helped that they were at home. They fell behind early but then rallied and went on to edge the Melbourne Demons by 5.
Unfortunately, I could not find a highlights video. Instead, let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?
As you can see, the competition is now super tight with 5 teams tied on wins and two more only 1 game behind. Since this week coming up is the midway point, this makes every game extremely important.
Here is next week’s schedule (all times Pacific):
Friday, February 23, 2018
12:05 AM (Late Thursday Night) – Western Bulldogs v Carlton Blues at Whitten Oval
9:35 PM – Brisbane Lions v Fremantle Dockers at South Pine Sports Complex
Saturday, February 17, 2018
12:10 AM (Late Friday Night) – Melbourne Demons v Collingwood Magpies at TIO Traeger Park in Alice Springs
9:35 PM – GWS Giants v Adelaide Crows at Blacktown International Sports Park
Lady Footy Tipping Challenge!
How did we do this week? Well, a couple of our tippers managed to do better than everyone else WITHOUT putting the tip in! Does that mean foot fetish pic? First, let’s see the standings:
|P||TIPPER||Round Tips||Round Margin||TOTAL Tips||Total Margin|
Congratulations to the lucky bastards that forgot to put their tips in and managed to climb in the standings. Due to your good luck, I will not subject everyone to a foot fetish pic. Special “props” go to BFC who has managed a truly horrendous tipping season. I would not have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes…
DON’T FORGET TO PUT THE FOOTY TIPS IN!!
So, having watched some of the AFLX games, here is my initial reaction: I liked it, but it’s not AFL. This version of the game is highly dependent on kicking skills. The teams that did well were the ones that could move the ball across the pitch using their feet and the ones that were accurate on kicks. The 10 point “Zooper” goal (sponsored by Zooper Dooper, the preferred Australian frozen popsicle treat!)
in my view kept the games artificially close. For example, in the first game, Geelong was dominating possession against Port Adelaide yet were not really able to show that dominance on the scoreboard. A couple of against-the-flow-of-play Zooper goals enabled the Power to keep things within reach. Granted, perhaps Geelong could have done better in converting opportunities, but I still think 10 points is too much to award for a goal that a very high percentage of AFL players should be able to make. My suggestion would be to lower the Zooper goal value to 8. That would be in keeping with the 9 point Super Goal that is used in the JLT Community Series (ALF pre-season) for goals kicked from outside the 50 meter arc.
One other thing I noticed was that there were not as many contests or tackles laid as in AFL. One of the things I greatly enjoy about AFL is the hitting and tackling, so a change may be needed to make AFLX a bit more like AFL. Perhaps adding one more field player? It is too easy now for teams to be caught out of position and suffer on the defensive end because their players were trying to make a tackle/play. That led to more zone-type defensive schemes where intercept marks made a big difference. Poor kicks were greatly punished.
My final issue is that most of the players chosen were young ones trying to make their respective teams. Some teams, like Geelong, did use some recognizable regular players, but for the most part none of the big AFL stars took part. Given that this was an experiment, this is quite understandable, but if the AFL wants this concept to succeed, it needs more recognizable faces to take part. As the competition develops, new stars will naturally arise and the need for established faces will diminish. On the bright side, no one got hurt, which was a major plus.
The great thing about the AFL is that they try things and then evaluate whether they work or not. This was evident as they quickly changed the silver ball
to a more traditional yellow one since the players (and TV viewers) were having difficulty seeing it in the late afternoon/evening. The AFL is a very proactive league and will surely evaluate all the feedback from this week’s experiment and make appropriate changes. Reason # 13,209 why the AFL is run better than the NFL.
As for the results, the Adelaide Crows beat the Geelong Cats in the Adelaide Grand Final, the Melbourne Demons beat the Hawthorn Hawks in the Melbourne Grand Final, and the Brisbane Lions beat the Sydney Swans in the Sydney Grand Final.
Here are all the scores:
Port Adelaide Power 60 – 72 Geelong Cats
Adelaide Crows 65 – 37 Collingwood Magpies
Geelong Cats 57 – 40 Fremantle Dockers
West Coast Eagles 46 – 53 Adelaide Crows
Fremantle Dockers 54 -37 Port Adelaide Power
Collingwood Magpies 52 – 37 West Coast Eagles
Grand Final: Geelong Cats 47 – 55 Adelaide Crows
Carlton Blues 54 – 82 Melbourne Demons
Hawthorn Hawks 72 – 54 Essendon Bombers
North Melbourne Kangaroos 83 – 68 Carlton Blues
Essendon Bombers 37 – 52 St. Kilda Saints
Melbourne Demons 70 – 46 North Melbourne Kangaroos
St. Kilda Saints 55 – 77 Hawthorn Hawks
Grand Final: Melbourne Demons 56 – 46 Hawthorn Hawks
GWS Giants 34 – 49 Richmond Tigers
Sydney Swans 88 – 36 Western Bulldogs
Richmond Tigers 61 – 66 Brisbane Lions
Western Bulldogs 22 – 87 Gold Coast Suns
Brisbane Lions 64 – 58 GWS Giants
Gold Coast Suns 41 – 72 Sydney Swans
Grand Final: Brisbane Lions 67 – 41 Sydney Swans
Here are highlights from the two Grand Finals I could find videos for:
Wait, what? We’re actually going to talk about AFL proper? Well, sort of. The preseason starts this week (called the JLT Community Series), complete with 9 point Super Goal and games being played at obscure locations so that people that live outside the main cities can experience AFL live. Which is a good thing. The preseason is only two rounds this year due to the introduction of AFLX and just plain old common sense. Here are this week’s games (all times Pacific):
Friday, February 23, 2018
7:05 PM – North Melbourne Kangaroos v Melbourne Demons at Kingston Twin Ovals
9:35 PM – Essendon Bombers v Richmond Tigers at Norm Minns Oval
Saturday, February 24, 2018
7:05 PM – Adelaide Crows v Fremantle Dockers at Strathalbyn Oval
11:35 PM – West Coast Eagles v Port Adelaide Power at Leederville Oval
I greatly enjoy watching these games not because of the quality of the competition, but because the telecast gives a nice view of what rural and suburban Australia is really like. When people travel, these areas are usually neglected, so it is good to see what those areas look like and the people that live there.
That’s all for this week. There will be a ton of good footy to watch this weekend! See you next week.