Following some advice from a new fan and reader of Real Dukes, one junior sonographer B. Waltham, Beers in the shower has undergone a slight revamp just one week in. While some may view this as meek, surrendering an idea that has had just the one week to develop, I see it as an opportunity. While solidarity in game plan is important, without humility and openness to obvious improvements, you will fall by the way side, just as Ross Lyon and his Dockers did UNTIL this week. The other point is that this is a small time blog, not a billion dollar industry based game of footy, and such changes are unlikely to invite angst among the masses. So now, each week, each team will receive a placing in the categories. A great round for upsets.
Bottle of red and the cheeseboard
The Tigers of Richmond continued to impress, and were big winners from this week’s round. Up against a near certainty for finals, they were harder and cleaner for longer, which is all a fan could hope for. Their supporters would do well to play down the hype; while they have been good, buyer beware the team that starts on fire after years and years of mediocrity. I recall a certain Carlton team of 2012, who lost a semi final in ’11 by 3 points at Subiaco. After beating premiership favourites the Magpies by 12 goals in Round 3, we were installed as $4 to win the flag, and subsequently sacked our coach by Round 21 as we missed the finals. Easy does it, Tiger army.
After some stinging criticism from this column last week, Gold Coast responded in a manner that no one could’ve predicted. You just know that Rocket Eade would’ve had copies of last week’s Beers in the shower plastered all over the changeroom walls and they duly stuck it up me. In fact, this win has almost made me even more pissed off at them. Where has this been for the last few years? Injuries account for skill, not effort. Kudos to them. I hope they leave it up there when they come down to play the Blues this week.
Collingwood played very well for most of the night, and were deserved winners. The win was important though I still worry that they just aren’t that good. The coach would be very happy for the players, but I suspect that the players would be more happy for Bucks. All they can do is keep bringing the effort, and they will compete against most teams. Their midfield runs deep, and they will need Elliot back to sharpen things up in the forward half. St. Kilda at Etihad and Essendon on Anzac day in the next fortnight will tell you where their season is heading.
Beating the Dogs anywhere this year will be a very nice achievement, so Fremantle can feel good about themselves this week. Ross made changes that he should have made last week. He has felt the effects of not being open to change; surely he keeps these young fellas in and gives them consistent exposure to AFL, something he hates doing. Fucking weirdo. Like a senile old man, he refuses to trust the younger generation, sticking with what he knows long after it is effective. Freo fans – who must be pretty weird themselves given NO ONE has ever put in the necessary complaint about the weird fireworks, giant anchors and playing of TNT after wins – are surely hoping he gives these kids a prolonged crack at it.
The dressed up swamp monsters from South Australia were treated to a pretty good showdown, and it was Adelaide who emerged with their reputation enhanced. They set out a lead, they resisted surges, and won a great game. After a few years of being near the mark, they look like they’re capable of making the hardest jump in the game – from semi-finalists to genuine contenders. So much firepower up forward. Enjoy a slab of your shit West End, ferals.
On one of the most horrible days for footy you could possibly imagine, my boys Carlton showed more heart and desire than you could ever ask for. Watching them slog the ball down the field in numbers yesterday, I imagined that it must be like watching the Apex gang hustle their way into an Audi. It was ugly, and if ever there was a victory for sheer determination to get over the line, it was evident yesterday at the MCG. It pissed sideways, it was windy, and for the 48,000 of us there, it was a hard slog to watch. Skill execution was poor, save for Marc Murphy, but sometimes you just have to find a way. The young kids continued to show plenty, and after reasonable efforts in the first two weeks, they deserved this.
GWS didn’t kick well, but they played well enough in what loomed as a tricky match against the Kangas down in cold and yucky Hobart. These sort of wins, while not pretty, are the ones that define the top teams and not top teams. On a side note, what’s going on with all the man buns up there? If I was Cal Ward, their original exponent of the bun, I’d be filthy that he is merely part of the pack now as opposed to the pioneer. Cut your hair you wild yahoos!
After a disappointing start, given their own self love over the pre season, St. Kilda would be relieved to have one on the board. The way they have been talking about themselves for the last 6 months, I’m surprised the club hasn’t been charged for public masturbation and indecent exposure. They fought off the Lions, and should be proud. Had they kicked straighter it would’ve been worth a slab. Good on Nick Riewoldt, for aside from being the most consistently influential player I’ve seen, he is also a champion human being with his attitude towards sport and life. Be like Nick, kids.
1 Cheeky Can
The Cats from Geelong demonstrated that good kicking is good football. They didn’t play superbly, and the scoreline didn’t reflect the tight nature of the game, or indeed the dominant periods of play that the Dees had. But if you kick straighter and use the ball better than your opponent on the day, you deserve one can in the shower. They will look to build into the season more, but must have a few concerns at how they were opened up by the Dees.
When a loss is close to a win – for Brisbane, that was yesterday. They could’ve been blown off the park, but they applied enough pressure and got back in front. Chris Fagan spoke of the trap of honourable losses last week, and while he is right, from a neutral perspective you just can’t help but want to pour one beer on the playing group’s heads after their fight yesterday, and given the hole they looked to be in last year.
THE NOT SO GOOD
Stick to the waters
Sydney‘s 0-3 start is not as bad as it looks. Fielding a very young outfit, the Swans have been in it up to their ears in the last two matches. The kids showed enough good signs, although diminished returns from their elite older midfielders will be a concern if the slump is not arrested in the next few weeks. They aren’t playing bad; just not up to the standards we expect. I think they will come good, because they’re Sydney and they are always good.
A premiership has caught many a team out early in the season, and the Western Bulldogs had their first hiccup on Saturday night. They looked good in the 3rd quarter, but for the most part were outplayed. Not the worst result for them – it should sharpen their focus now. 2-1 is a fair start to the defence of the flag. Competition for spots should heat up over the next few weeks, and this is the key to success.
After a barnstorming first few weeks, Port Adelaide met their match against the Crows. They would come away disappointed, but feel good for their first litmus test showed they are around the mark to compete for a spot in the 8. I worry that their foot skills may come apart under pressure, and so it proved. They face the heat again this week against GWS.
North Melbourne were the hardest to place this week. They were very competitive agaisnt GWS, but got put away in the last quarter. Effort was there, but when you’ve played finals for a few years in a row you probably crave something more. With the loss of experienced players, most expected a drop this year. I don’t really know what to expect from them. Preuss looks a winner though.
6am at St. Kilda Pier, fellas
I almost wanted to put Melbourne in the one cheeky can category. They were mostly on top, and in fact dominated the Cats for long periods. But just as the Cat’s good kicking was good footy, the Dees’ bad kicking was ugly footy. You have to do the basics right to win games, and they didn’t. Execution like Saturday’s in a game under a roof is inexcusable, even while recognising the physical and mental pressure players face. They are doing plenty right, but they cop a St Kilda pier job because they should’ve won, and they didn’t, and two of their teammates were ill disciplined idiots last week. With them playing, the Dees are an even better chance to win a game that was theirs for the taking. No one to blame but themselves.
Essendon have had a very good start to the year, and everyone, including myself, thought they would continue on against the Blues. What the Bombers couldn’t control was the weather, which brought the teams closer than better conditions would’ve. What they could control was effort, desire to get to the contest, and do the 1%ers right. Carlton did these far better, worked harder and were more clever in the conditions. Given the hype of round 1 and the fight of last week, most people will give the Dons an out for this loss given the rare circumstances of their ins this season, and the torrential rain evening things out. Not me. Richmond scrapped out a win against better opposition, and if Essendon wants to be contending for a place in the finals, they needed to win this. Maybe John Worsfold should join them for an early morning dip, because aside from their effort, the decision to continue with precision ball movement and fiddly run and handball throughout the game was strange and clearly a tactical stuff up.
Joining Melbourne in the poor kicking is poor footy club this week is West Coast. They could’ve put Richmond to the sword in the first half. Could’ve, the worst word in the English language alongside should’ve. Instead, they were out worked in the last half, and their travelling woes at the MCG continued. If I was Adam Simpson, I would get them on the bus down to the colder waters of South-West WA – maybe Margies, or even further south because the warm tides of City Beach, Cottesloe and Scarbourough are not punishment enough.
In the frying pan
Who else but Hawthorn? What the fuck happened yesterday? After a glorious Carlton victory I ventured over to the nifty little bar, Holliava, and saw a team that did not look anywhere near the mark. They looked ordinary, and the trend of the first two weeks was magnified. They couldn’t get the ball, sucked at clearances, and were generally slow of foot and decision making. We are not used to this from the Hawks, and while I think losing this poorly was an aberration, if they can’t turn it around very soon, they will have to scrap their way to the 8. It is too early to question whether the desire to climb the mountain again is there, but clearly the natural cycle of footy is catching up with them. Regardless of the result, they need to fix the effort and work ethic against the Cats next week. It was poor.
Advice for the week:
“Listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.” From Desiderata, a wonderful poem full of good life tips. Especially listen to the poor winners, such as my friend of Tigerland, John O’Connor, and pity their lack of humility. I think each week we might take a piece of the poem for advice. Go Blues and have a good week.