Look, I know it is several days old. I wouldn’t eat it, myself… but hey, you might be in the mood to take a risk and chow down on what Josef Mack has leftover from Round 14.

 

Richmond Tigers 11.15 81 def. Carlton Blues 9.12 66

I’m not sure what Carlton were thinking heading into this game with no key defenders. Sure, they may have had twenty-seven backups on their list; but what contingency plan did they have in place for when all of the got injured? Terrible list management from the Blues.

They almost looked like snatching it at the end, with a heroic last-quarter performance from the big H. All the media talk about is Shai Bolton’s show-and-go to Sam Docherty, or the overturned goal; so I’m going to ignore all that and talk about the footy for once:

Did you guys see that banana set shot from Harry? My guy took one step and flushed it perfectly…got about forty meters on the kick. Freakish.

As for Richmond, they’ve suddenly seemed to get their groove back…only took them a year and a half to do it.

Despite Carlton’s strong midfield – that crushed the Tiges earlier this year – Richmond were able to get on top in the clearances. A forty to twenty-two differential was flipped to forty-one to twenty-seven in the other direction.

The notable changes are that Marc Pittonet was out for the Blues this time, but Dusty was out for the Tigers…

The only possible conclusion we can draw from this, is that Marc Pittonet is the greatest footballer to ever play the game, and he’s a shoe-in to win the next three Brownlow medals.

 

St. Kilda Saints 11.6 72 def by. Essendon Bombers 15.17 107

Lmao what?

Is that actually the score? Where on earth did this come from?

Watching this game I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. Like, I’ve seen upsets before…the better side plays poorly; worse side plays surprisingly well; better side kicks very inaccurately; worse side scrapes out a win.

Not the case.

15.17…to 11.6!!

The Dons absolutely spanked them, all around the park. If anything, they should’ve won by more.

Mason Redman looked like peak Dustin Fletcher. Dylan Sheil looked like peak Jason Johnson. And Jake Stringer looked like…well…peak Jake Stringer!

Most importantly for the Bombers, their work rate was sensational for all four quarters of a football match. This just goes to show that the key to winning games of footy is trying…and also being good at footy.

The Saints, however…as Brian Taylor would put it, Boy-oh-boy-wowee. That is a long road to September now.

Currently eighth place on percentage with Carlton, Freo, the Dogs, the Cats, the Lions and the Swans twice – all still to play.

If they are to make it, Ratts will have to find a way to get a bit more creative up forward. King and Higgins are great players but they can’t do it all themselves; teams are cottoning o to just how predictable the Sainters have been up that end.

Also, they’ll need to be laying more than thirty-eight tackles a game…long road ahead.

 

Port Adelaide Power 12.10 82 def. Sydney Swans 8.11 59

At the risk of spoiling an article I was thinking about writing on this topic; I want to use this game as an opportunity to talk about ‘Supercoach Brain’.

Charlie Dixon was terrific this game, and his return does a lot of things that usually go unnoticed on the stats sheet.

Firstly, he gets the main matchup from the Swans. Todd Marshall struggled a bit earlier in the year, but has really found his feet, even before big Charlie returned.

But now that Dix is back? Todd is playing on someone his own size, and he’s capitalising on it well.

Because Dixon kicked less goals than Marshall (partially due to some accuracy issues), these sorts of things aren’t noticed by those infected with an increasingly widespread disease; known as ‘Supercoach Brain’.

Those with Supercoach Brain love the Karl Amons of the world.

‘Look how many touches he gets!’ ‘Absolute ball magnet.’ ‘He’s a shoe in for all-Australian!’

They are totally unaware that winning games of footy is about choosing the best option; and getting disposals that bring the ball from inside-to-out, not outside-to-in.

There are only two known cures for Supercoach Brain:

The first is getting a life; and the second is actually playing a game of footy.

Protect yourself and your children from this horrific disease at all costs.

 

West Coast Eagles 9.9 63 def by. Geelong Cats 12.9 81

Ah…our old enemy…we meet again.

The foe that Geelong takes on twice a year, potentially even a third time if we go deep into September. The perennial powerhouse who always features come finals time.

I’m talking of course about…the bye.

No matter where we are placed on the ladder. No matter the quality of our opposition. The bye is the great leveller for this Geelong side.

You’d think the old legs would benefit from a rest; but the bye is a mysterious entity that crushes our form…

…only it didn’t.

The Cats looked ok. Despite the 12.9 score-line, Geelong had twenty-nine shots, so some accuracy issues. But other than that, the Eagles look to have found some connection between their groups.

It was built off good defensive pressure – and crucially – good use of the footy; only turning the ball over fifty-six times for the match, to the Cats sixty-one.

There was some controversy surrounding the free kick paid to Jeremy Cameron right on the siren; and I’d like to thank the West Coast Eagles for the opportunity that it’s presented me.

With the following admission that Geelong did in fact benefit from an incorrect call; I can now point to this insignificant midseason game, any time someone accuses me of bias in the future…so here goes:

I, Josef Mack, one-eyed fan of the Geelong Cats, do admit that an incorrect decision benefitted my team.

 

GWS Giants 16.9 105 def by. Western Bulldogs 19.11 125

See what happens when you put the whistle away?

We were treated to a Saturday night goal-fest, as one of the best rivalries in footy was allowed to go punch-for-punch at the Giants Oval.

It’s a shame that there were more seagulls in the stadium than people; because this was an absolute belter!

The Doggies’ third-quarter run was the difference-maker in the end, but other than that, it was a good old-fashioned shootout.

For me, the key thing this game proves, is that any coach who plugs a spare man back for the whole game, should have their Australian citizenship revoked (except Chris Scott of course).

All that space up forward gives us fast running, one-on-one, over-the-back action.

More of it I say!

 

Gold Coast Suns 18.8 116 def. Adelaide Crows 10.13 73

The Suns kicked away at the end of this match, outclassing a plucky Crows outfit.

But I want to focus this last one on some more wholesome content; to balance out my usually cynical tone.

 

That’s Alex Davies’ grandfather, who attended his first AFL game after flying all the way from Japan.

Apparently, he wears his Suns merch everywhere over there.

Can you imagine how rare it would be to see a Gold Coast Suns fan in Japan?

That’s like seeing someone in a Melbourne Storm jersey…in Melbourne.

 

You can find more from Josef at his Substack located here: https://josefmack.substack.com/

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