Friday, June 02, 2006

Round Ten

Some risky tips this week, only three results seem assured although the Collingwood crowd would say four.

My selections

Adelaide over Essendon
West Coast Eagles over Geelong
Western Bulldogs over Hawthorn (Hawks due for a good game)
Collingwood over Brisbane Lions (Lions sending out warning signals lately)
Fremantle over Richmond (risky).
Swans over North Melbourne
Port over Carlton (if Port can play four quarters)
Melbourne over St Kilda (optimisitic)

A clean sweep!!

Port vs Carlton from the Old Blue Stager

Carlton 84 lost to Port Adelaide 118

After a brief yelp early, Carlton succumbed so completely, that the game was over by quarter time. A few weeks earlier Port Adelaide had looked like genuine members of the once mighty now hopeless sector of the AFL (Essendon and Carlton are the full members); then they had run into form against the easy beats. Here they validated the adage "form is temporary, class is permanent", as players like C. Cornes, Dew (how come he is often dropped?) and Pearce revealed the gulf in skill level which has left Carlton floundering so often in recent years.

It's the more galling for this characteristic having been the trade mark of Carlton sides for most of the previous forty years.In any case, a meaningless last quarter rally reduced the margin from 10 goals to an absurdly flattering 34 points.

In his dominant years at North Melbourne, Denis Pagan often referred to such scoring as junk time goals. Sadly for the Blues, these days junk time often begins at the half-time interval, and on particularly dire days like this one at quarter-time.The usual suspects were the chief contributors - Murphy, our shining light in this bleak era, Whitnall, Scotland, Fevola and Thornton.

The Bomber Report

The less said about the match against Adelaide the better. It was a debacle— they never gave up, but were simply outclassed. I have been following Essendon since 1951 and have never seen a worse performance. The only thing that comes close to it was a match we saw against Melbourne at the MCG in 1956 when Essendon was held goal less in the first half. However, that was simply one of those days and in any case the Melbourne teams of that era were truly great sides. Essendon went on to play in the 1957 and 1959 grand finals against Melbourne, both of which they lost. You could get long odds about Essendon playing in a grand final in the next three seasons.

The Richmond Report

Richmond have been ugly but magnificent over the past few matches following their caning at the hands of the incumbent premiers.Widely criticized for their tactics of playing "keepings off", otherise know as "tempo football", the Tigers have made more than expected out of a list of players low in skill, experience, and big game hardening.They have shown great character and discipline, and have been quickly blooding new young players who appear to have potential.

The performance against Fremantle was creditable. Without Richardson, Delidio and Brown we still were competitive, and just ran out of legs and skill under pressure at the end. Again our midfield was good. Coghlan had his best game of the year, and Tuck was his usual reliable self. The umpiring certainly favoured the home side. All up, however, the best team strode over the line first.I look forward to watching the upcoming Richmond games now. We will, it seems, give as good as we can each week.'Eat em alive"

The Bomber Preview

This week Essendon play Adelaide on Friday night in Adelaide. The signs are not good. The best chance of beating Adelaide in Adelaide is to jump them. Adelaide supporters are a weak bunch and make very little noise if Adelaide is behind—on the other hand if they hit the front they go beserk. The main injury risk around Football Park in Adelaide is tripping over all the hand bags around the place

Round nine

Last week, six out of eight after the first two selections went down.


Western Bulldogs to beat Collingwood (WB lost a key player in the first half)
Geeloing to beat Richmond (call for a swab!)
Adelaide to beat Carlton
Port to beat Essendon (just too many leading players not on deck)
Sydney Swans to beat the Hawks
Brisbane to beat Freo
St Kilda to beat the Kangaroos
Western Eagles to beat Melbourne (not by much!)

The Bomber Report

Watching the game against Port Adelaide was not a pleasant experience for Essendon supporters. Up until half time they were quite competitive and if they had kicked straight Essendon would have been at least level with Port Adelaide. Some strange umpiring decisions did not help either. After half time it was a bit of a debacle. Once again there was some odd coaching particularly in the first quarter when Hille was left stranded in the forward line at the same time the very youing Essendon rucks were being flogged in the centre.

The Old Blue Stager Report

Adelaide 124 d. Carlton 60

Ho hum! another week, another comprehensive regulation loss by the Blues. Even the pattern of the match was familiar. Carlton make a strenuous effort for a while - this week a spirited second quarter. However, the class gap eventually takes its toll, the superior opponents exploit the Blues' abysmal ball usage, and with Andrew McLeod showing some of his Norm Smith medal form, together with the wizardry of Goodwin and Burton, the second half took its inevitable course.

Matthew Lappin who has had a nightmare season showed glimpses of his best, Lance Whitnall worked effectively at both ends and Heath Scotland was a fine player. However, Carlton had too many passengers, even if there was no lack of application.

The Club is in dreadful straits, a spiral of poor results, disaffected support, straitened financial circumstances which are progressively deteriorating, and no turning point in sight. Supporters of other Victorian Clubs (at least) are enjoying the schadenfreude of Carlton's torment. Meantime the Blues who lack even a memory of such a sustained bleak period seem also to lack the resources to turn things around.

This week brings Port Adelaide to Telstra Dome to face the Blues. Arch-rivals Essendon have conveniently played the Power back into form, so that this game which had seeemed eminently winnable now is probably a bridge too far.


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