Ten Things I Learnt After Round Six



  1. Are the Lions only hard to beat at the Gabba?

Brisbane have been very good this year. In fact, I was more or less convinced that they were not going to slip in any way this year and possibly even be a real threat. That is, until I saw them against Geelong and something dawned on me. They’ve played all their wins at the Gabba and lost their two quite comfortably when they weren’t there. They’ve had comfortable wins against Fremantle, West Coast, Adelaide and even ladder leaders Port Adelaide, but on the two occasions away from the Gabba, they’ve been soundly beaten. You have to go a long way back to Round One at the MCG when Hawthorn rolled the Lions by 28 points, and this week it was Geelong that were too good to the tune of 27 points at the SCG.

It’s early in the season so this might not age well, but I’ll be watching intently to see if this becomes a trend. Meanwhile, the Cats are hard to get a read on, and look to have their season on track after the shock loss to the Blues in Round three. They seem to have a knack of playing some indifferent football and still be thereabouts. It almost seems inexplicable that they’re in second place.


  1. Clarkson must be thinking about life after Hawthorn.

A little birdie tells me that the Hawks had their lowest score under Clarkson ever on Friday night. A staggering three goals only for the match. It was a pretty poor performance in which their lack of direction and poor ball use saw the ball continually rebound out of their forward 50. Collingwood took control of the game early and never really let the Hawks in. We all know the genius that Clarko possesses, but observing his demeanour in the coach’s box during the match showed me a man who may well be coming to the end of his tenure at the Hawthorn Football Club. I’d say he’s exhausted every last ounce of greatness the club has to offer, and perhaps he needs a new challenge elsewhere with a fresh start.

I’m just not sure that he’s interested in another rebuild after 16 years at the helm, but from what I’m seeing, I believe the Hawks need it. It may seem harsh considering they’re not doing too badly with three wins from six games, but the deficiencies were there for all to see on Friday, and I get the feeling they’re destined to finish the year outside the 8. If that were to happen, I imagine Clarkson will give much thought to either giving it away or looking to see what other club he could raise to glory. I’m guessing quite a few clubs would be interested in taking him on.


  1. It must be awfully frustrating being a Saints fan.

The trade period would’ve been very exciting for the St Kilda supporters. The club made its intentions clear going hard for some ready-made players with the belief that a finals berth would be there for the taking in 2020. Round One looked ominous early but they faded and lost to the Kangaroos after leading by 29 points at half time. They had a strong win over the Bulldogs after the break followed by a poor loss to the Magpies. It appeared that over the preceding two weeks to Round 6 they were getting their act together. Strong wins over the Tigers and the Blues gave the impression their new recruits had settled in and things were starting to click. They burst out of the blocks this week, and at one stage led by as much as 37 points early in the second term. It looked very much like things were really coming together. The Dockers had other ideas and proceeded to claw their way back into the game and somehow found themselves as far as 19 points ahead midway through the final term. The Saints had failed to score for the entire 3rd quarter and had managed just a behind in the second half to that stage. A late fightback saw them draw level only to see the game slip away with a late goal to Schulz of the Dockers.

The fans would be scratching their heads right now wondering how their best football and worst football can make an appearance in the same game. Taking nothing away from the Dockers because I really rate them, but after half time you just have to wonder how a team can boot 7 goals in one quarter and then go nearly two and a half quarters adding just one more. It seems to be the order of football in 2020, but I’m struggling to understand why.


  1. Being an AFL footballer means you can afford to buy a mobile phone outright.

How good was Nic Naitanui’s gesture to Reilly O’Brien? Pretty funny stuff! For those that don’t know, Reilly accidentally tweeted out some game notes in which he labelled the Eagles ruckman lazy and unfit. Well, he says it was an accident. But I digress. After the game, Nic Nat shook his hand and then handed him a brand new Samsung phone as a bit of a light-hearted retort to the tweet. And before you say what a top bloke Nic Naitanui is for buying the Crows ruckman a brand new phone, it has since been revealed that the phone came courtesy of Telstra.

I’m fairly certain the cost of $1500 wouldn’t have hurt Nic’s bank balance too much, but such is the privilege of the rich, famous and talented that the irony of being able to afford the world while never having to pay for it seems to continue on, even during a global pandemic. And yes, before you ask, I’m extremely envious. I’m stuck with a two-year plan on my iPhone 11 and my industry is shut down right now. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I feel so much better… What was I saying?? Oh yeah – Nic Naitanui is a funny guy!


  1. Adelaide look certain for the spoon this year.

I promise next week to not push Adelaide down any further. I’m sure the fans are hurting and the club is in a world of pain. But please indulge me as I delve into the figures that, to me, are the most alarming thing about their winless season. Firstly, it’s their incredible lack of scoring. They’re averaging just 41.5 points per game this year. Meanwhile they’re conceding 78.3 points each week. This makes their average losing margin around 37 points. In a low-scoring year, that’s woeful.

The rest of the comp seems fairly even. Everyone else has managed at least 2 wins and the next lowest percentage is 84% compared to just 53% with the Crows. These numbers are damning, and it just doesn’t seem to look as though they’re going to suddenly click and play some good football that will see them improve on this disaster. Matthew Nicks must be feeling as though he bought a dud car from some bloke he can’t get in touch with any more. Only 11 games remain. Where’s that first win going to come from?


MEMBERS – Round Six Wingman Rankings


  1. How good is Izak Rankine!!

If he doesn’t get the Rising Star Nomination this week I will start yet another protest, COVID-19 be damned!! And that was his debut game! So the Suns have had two debutantes absolutely killing it in their first outings, and sadly one is gone for the season it mwould seem, while we’ve had to wait a whole year and a half to see this kid strut his stuff. He was electric, and he played as good a game as you can expect from any small forward going around. He managed 3 goals 3 behinds, so if Izak had been more accurate in front of goal, there’d be even more talk about him I feel. And with his goatee beard and blonde highlights, coupled with the way he moves, I saw glimpses of a bloke called Jason Akermanis. There was flair, tenacity and skill as well as a bit of attitude. If the Suns can get all their players on the park at once, they’ll be hard to beat.

Meanwhile, Melbourne fans, I am aware you won the game and it was an impressive win as well as being a good game to watch. It was much needed, and perhaps it will galvanise the team and get the season track. But I can’t apologise for the little crush I’ve developed on Rankine. The hierarchy at the Suns will want to sign this kid up well beyond this year as soon as possible. There’d be 17 clubs circling already.


  1. The Bombers are quietly going along with just one loss to their name.

Essendon aren’t doing much wrong. Their one loss was by a single point and they have a game in hand to the league leader in Port, so arguably they could be equal with them. They controlled the game for the most part, and McGrath and Zaharakis were damaging. The Roos on the other hand have quietly strung four losses on the trot after impressive early season wins against the Saints and the Giants. If they lose next week to the Tigers, it’ll be a long way back from there.

The Bombers take on the Dogs who’ll be desperate for an improved showing after their big defeat at the hands of Carlton. Some say the Bombers may slide as the year goes on, but when a side you don’t seem to notice too greatly keeps quietly winning games, they’re often the ones to watch. It was interesting to see Luke McDonald clearly make a gesture towards Conor McKenna regarding his brush with COVID-19. I’m sure after seeing that footage he might want his time back. I’m not one for big fines or for the snowflake culture who will take offence, but I would be happy if the AFL decided to fine him $1000 simply for being a dickhead. That works for me.


  1. Those of us who thought GWS were destined for a dynasty of premierships were mistaken

I know you can’t write these guys off as their talent pool is very deep, but I believe with the exception of Adelaide perhaps, that the Giants are proving to be the biggest disappointment of the season. Since the layoff, they’ve only managed two wins from five matches and don’t seem to be scoring freely at all. All their big name players are out there, they still boast a hell of a midfield, a solid defence and a formidable forward line, yet most weeks they seem to go forward via Tasmania. This week they only managed 33 inside-50s, and this seems to be a running theme this year. One gets the impression that you almost want to get the old 80’s footy handbook out and just tell them to “bloody kick it long”. After all, with Cameron, Himmelberg and Finlayson all hovering around the forward-50, one of them is bound to mark it.

Meanwhile I was very impressed with Port. The Giants got the first goal in the last quarter to give them a slender 3-point lead and you could’ve easily thought the Giants would go on with it, but Port found another gear and slammed on 4 goals in a row and the game was over. This is the hallmark of a very good team who also suffered a disappointing loss last round and bounced back in emphatic fashion to let the rest of the competition know they’re the real deal.


  1. It appears as though the Tigers and the Swans have joined the ranks of the NRL.

Even in the wet conditions at the Gabba, a score line of just 34 to 26 was deplorable in what was a very difficult game to watch. It’s the kind of scoreline you might expect in an NRL game. Or perhaps taking out the behinds, 4-3 in an A-League game seems feasible as well. Goodness me what has happened to scoring in the 2020 AFL season? Is it all about defence now? Have they adopted the old-school Italian Soccer Team tactic of scoring early and shutting down the game? Even the word “scrappy” doesn’t do it justice. And it would take quite a long time to trawl through the record books to find the last time a team scored just one goal after quarter time and won the match.

It might be time to consider calling a game null and void if the winning side can’t score above 40 points. The only people celebrating these kinds of games would be supporters, players and proponents of the AFL-W, because one thing that will happen during their next season will be hesitancy to criticise any of their low scoring matches as they’d be more than entitled to open up a can of STFU and remind anyone of how low scores were the order of the day in this year’s AFL season.


  1. Somebody at Ikon Park figured out games go for 4 quarters and you need to lay some tackles!

How unusual was it to see a Carlton team start a game well and finish it even better? And even though the tackle count for the game favoured the Bulldogs in the end, the tackling early in the game, particularly inside Carlton’s forward 50, was ferocious and it set the tone for the game. They scored five goals in the first quarter, and six in the last in what was a dominant display against a side that has shown good recent form and achieved the rare feat of scoring over 100 points this season.

Harry McKay played his best game for the year, and Blues fans are starting to get a glimpse of the value that Mitch McGovern can add to a team on the rise. It’s also slightly ridiculous that no money changed hands in the signing of Jack Martin. He looks to be very comfortable in the navy blue alongside Eddie Betts who is still playing excellent footy at 34. Carlton’s best is very good. In fact, in an even season like this, they could beat any side on any given day, but of course, we all know how inconsistent they can be.

Finding themselves in the 8 after six games and a percentage just above 100 will give the players some confidence, particularly after achieving this big win over the Bulldogs without a major contribution from Cripps. How much they want to remain in finals contention will be revealed next week as they face Port Adelaide. Once again, I feel that victory is not beyond the Blues, but that also depends on which Carlton shows up, and if they show up on time…

The Winners And Losers Of Round Six