June 23rd Thursday night Melbourne beat Brisbane at the MCG. I will be honest here and say I am not down with Thursday night games. I know the AFL dreams of one game every day of the week, like the English Premier League. It sounds like binging a series. A rest over the week gives the fans time and allows expectation to build up.
Melbourne (117) v Brisbane (53)
Melbourne returned to form. Pressure, tackle, winning contested possession. You could see it instantly. Brisbane wilted under the pressure. Melbourne were back on script. But what is the script for Brisbane? Can the Lions run with the bulls? We will see if that can be addressed, but can it be fixed this season?
Western Bulldogs (125) v Hawthorn (83)
Hawthorn hit the game like a wrecking ball. Four goals to one in the first quarter shocked those watching. Doggies wrested back the lead by half time reversing the trend with five goals to hawthorn only kicking one. Bulldogs kicked another six goals in the third while Hawthorn were goalless. Both teams kicked seven goals in the fourth quarter unfortunately the result was never in doubt.
West Coast Eagles (107) v Essendon (97)
Both teams needed a win. The Bombers looked good early, Eagles hit back to lead at half time. With the third quarter goal for goal it was looking like a close contest. Defence was the difference and the Eagles have the established key position players. A late Essendon charge was not enough to take back the lead before the siren sounded. Eagles get their second win for 2022.
Carlton (80) v Fremantle (50)
Carlton attack versus Fremantle defence was the early battle. Eventually something had to give and was the Fremantle defence that broke down. Key to this result was the complete dominance of the Carlton mid field. Sam Walsh, Tom De Koning, Sam Docherty were all amazing. Only inaccuracy by Carlton kept Fremantle in the game. Fremantle’s early third quarter dominance yielded only two goals. Not enough to counter an ascendant Carlton.
Geelong (89) v Richmond (86)
An early blow on Richmonds Dion Prestia saw him substituted out due to concussion. Richmond choosing a ruckman as the emergency sub also impacted the result. This did not take away from a game that was won by only three points.
Geelong dominated early, Richmond restructured and fought back. Richmond led by twenty points in the fourth quarter. Geelong found enough to claw the lead back. When Maurice Riloi goaled putting Richmond in front with minutes to go, anything was possible. A minute later Geelong took the lead back via Jack Henry. Three minutes of arm wrestling denied further scores. Geelong win.
Sydney (83) v St. Kilda (32)
Pride game, lots of rainbows. Questions abound about where St. Kilda left their pride. Total Sydney dominance across three quarters. Only letting up in the end of the fourth when St. Kilda kicked the last two of their four goals of the game. Without Brad Hill and Paddy Rider Saints look lifeless. Unsure what St. Kilda coach Brett Ratten can do for the rest of the season.
Nth Melbourne (58) v Adelaide (115)
Good news for North was about son of Glenn Archer, Jackson Archer’s debut. Rebuilds are hard and coaches rarely see the better days that come. Adelaide pocketed a good win. Too many options up forward and too much power in the mid field. Jackson Archer played his role did his dad proud. Passion and pride are polish North Melbourne have, they would rather a win.
Collingwood (88) v Greater Western Sydney (77)
Is Collingwood this good? GWS have been better than this. They squandered an early lead in the first quarter and played catch up to Collingwood for the rest of the game. Collingwood are obviously good and despite a little hiccup in the fourth quarter were unstoppable. Hot pies, lacklustre Giants.
Port Adelaide (93) v Gold Coast (91)
Two points. One heartbeat. One moment. One decision. It was two teams of equal ability. Port got the early lead. Gold Coast caught up. Close enough, in front for a while, one kick between them. Gold Coast are no longer young recruits. Port are not the powerhouse of the past. Neither team held back.
If you thought the Geelong v Richmond game was good. It was. This game was good for different reasons. Gold Coast are growing and getting stronger. We learned that Gold Coast are getting closer to finals. Did we learn anything new about Port? You would expect them to have won this game, but not this close.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.