Winners and Losers: Round 3

Winners

Jake Carlisle and the Bombers

The Bombers have started the year with three wins, and have themselves one of the best young defenders in the game in Jake Carlisle. The twenty-two year old destroyed  Pavlich. The Dockers stalwart has looked behind the 8 ball fitness wise in the opening rounds, but was a non-factor Friday night.

The Bombers looked dead and buried at halftime. Fremantle had, in trademark fashion, pounded them into submission. Essendon returned from the main break like a new side, outgunning the Dockers five goals to zip in the third and setting up an intriguing final term. The home side failed to make the most of their chances, and the Bombers ended up manufacturing an emotional win.

Hawthorn

The Hawks now have two convincing wins in a row against top opposition.

Collingwood started well and owned a 22 point lead at one stage in the second term, but then the Hawks went to work. They eroded the Pies lead to a solitary point at halftime, and from then only looked back once, toward the end of the third, when Fasolo and Cloke kicked consecutive goals to bring them to within a goal. The Hawks responded with three to close the term, and put them to the sword in the closing quarter.

They had no shortage of performers either. Hodge had his best outing in some time, marshaling the side all day in what was a vintage performance. The underrated Burgoyne had 23 touches, 7 tackles, and 3 goals. Franklin kicked four. Jed Anderson won the Rising Star nomination for the round. Birchall and Mitchell provided what they always provide.

One of the things that is continuing on from last year is their ability to score. The Hawks put 148 on the Eagles, and followed that up with 145 against the Pies on Sunday. I fear what they will do to some of the lesser sides.

Geelong

Keep on keeping on.

David Armitage

There is nearly always one player who feasts on the Suns or Giants each week, and this week that player was St Kilda midfielder David Armitage.

Armitage had 31 touches at over 90 per cent efficiency. He had five clearances, and led the side with four goals.

Third Quarters

The Eagles and Swans have created a rivalry over the past ten years, and now they have another thing to duel over: third quarter supremacy.

The Swans trailed the Roos at halftime. Coach Longmire evidently gave some sort of inspiring Disney speech, as his side came out after the break and eviscerated North. They kicked eleven goals to one, putting the contest to bed by the time the siren sounded to end North’s misery.

Swans 3rd quarter total: 11.4.70

The Eagles weren’t trailing at halftime, but they were only winning by ten against the Demons, so they may as well have been. While I hypothesised that Longmire went Disney, I think Worsfold probably went for a “DeNiro as Capone with a baseball bat” vibe in his halftime spiel.

He got the desired response. The Eagles added to Melbourne’s misery with an eleven goal term, dashing any hope drawn from their relatively impressive first half.

Eagles 3rd quarter total: 11.3.69

Port Adelaide

I’ve already written about all things Showdown here. Long story short Westhoff and Boak were tremendous. Wines and Wingard were superb. Port played like it mattered. Adelaide didn’t.

Losers

Adelaide

Ugh, writing about all things wrong at West Lakes was hard enough once. Don’t make me relive it. The Showdown link above covers it all.

Umpires on Friday Night

You know how in the movie Speed if the bus goes below fifty it will blow up? I felt as if Friday night I was watching a movie in which the umpires were told that if their whistles didn’t blow every fifty seconds a similar outcome would occur.

Melbourne

The game wasn’t out of the reach within the first five minutes, which, for the Demons, is tremendous. Jason Dunstall referred to the opening quarter of the clash as “the perfect start for the Dees”. You know you haven’t been doing well lately when losing by 8 points at quarter time is now deemed a perfect start.

Their fight continued in the second quarter, even managing to lead at some stages. During this period the Demon sympathy was ripe amongst the commentary crew. They were being treated like a four month old baby, in that everything they did that wasn’t a complete and utter failure was treated as some sort of delightfully cute miracle. There were several instances where I thought Eddie McGuire might have been the Melbourne President, such was his enthusiasm and downright barracking.

But the magical journey to competency was derailed after halftime. The Eagles remembered they were the Eagles and the Demons remembered they are the Demons. The Eagles mauled them with ease, and what started out as a surprisingly good showing reverted to the massacre we had all anticipated.

Collingwood

The Pies are yet to really get out of first gear in 2013. They’ve been good enough to get by North and the Blues, but the Hawks are not a side you can coast past.

Hawthorn wound up beating them by 55, but the game wasn’t without positives. Hudson was admirable in Jolly’s absence, and Travis Cloke played a near lone hand up forward with 12 marks and five goals.

Carlton

Mick Malthouse’s Carlton reign has begun rather unceremoniously with three straight losses. They’ve played three tough opponents, and haven’t been blown out, so the Blues faithful shouldn’t be at panic stations just yet.

There are problems though. They’ve conceeded over 100 points in each of the three games to date, and there may be no relief forthcoming in the next fortnight. They travel to Perth to face the Eagles this weekend, and host Adelaide the following week. Like the Blues, neither of those sides have been super impressive in the opening three weeks, and all three will be desperate to get their seasons on the right track. If the Blues are serious they need to win at least one of those matchups. Meetings with the Demons and Saints come afterward, so this is a make or break four weeks for their chances in 2013.

Chris Mayne

Every single neutral fan watching Friday night’s clash had the same mental thought process as those events unfolded.

Oh Hill is free here! He could have a shot! What is he doing passing? OH SNAP MAYNE IS WIDE OPEN. OH LORD FREO ARE GOING TO PINCH THIS! OH MY GOD HE HIT THE POST!!!!! HOW DID HE MANAGE…. HOW IS THAT EVEN… HE HIT THE POST!!

Sliding Rule

It seems like everytime forceful contact below the knees has been called its been the result of incidental contact below the knees. If you go to ground and brush someones shins you’re playing with fire.

Then the Hodge/O’Brien clash occurred on Sunday and gave a new dimension to the confusion surrounding the rule. It was effectively the first time I’ve seen a situation that warranted its calling. Hodge went low and collected O’Brien’s legs with sufficient enough force to upend him. Whistle blown. Forceful contact below the knee called.

Instead the free-kick was awarded to Hodge. Then O’Brien was reported.

If your head hurts don’t worry, it’s meant to.

On Monday Umpires Manager Jeff Gieschen conceded the umpire had made an error, and that O’Brien should’ve been awarded a free kick rather than be reported.

This all ties in with a broader theme we witness across the AFL on a  near yearly basis now. Confusion surrounding the rules. In what other sports are players and coaches unsure of the rules? Particularly ones that can have such an impact on the way in which players approach the game? In what other sports do commentators express confusion over fundamental rules during the telecast on a weekly basis?

People will debate whether a call was correct in nearly every sport. In soccer you will see debate over whether or not a player was offside, but you will never hear the commentary crew question, ponder, and debate what offside means. It’s clear. Like rules generally are. This is the difference with the AFL at the moment. We are questioning both the calls and the rules.

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