2016 year in review: AFL

Connor Bennett Roar Guru

By Connor Bennett, Connor Bennett is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    It really has been a year of record-breaking wins and underdog victories, from Leicester City to the Cronulla Sharks, sport has been huge in 2016 and the AFL certainly was no different.

    The Western Bulldogs broke a mammoth premiership drought in unseating a Sydney Swans side that continues to choke at the pointy end of the season.

    Rule changes, coaches under fire, player movement and teams falling and rising at will. Let’s have a look at 2016 in the land of AFL.

    Essendon barely surviving

    The Bombers were without nearly their entire regular team for 2016 after the punishment was handed down from the long-winding supplements saga.

    It was always going to be an uphill battle for the red sash and they just couldn’t get a roll on at any point throughout the year.

    They went on a 17-game losing streak that took up most of the season, before finally picking up a win against the Suns in Round 21.

    They finished with half as many wins as last season (3) and picked up their first wooden spoon in 83 years, breaking another one of the AFL’s longest droughts alongside the Bulldogs historic win.

    They scored the least amount of points in the league averaging just 65 per game, and conceded the second most out of all 18 sides.

    How about that top eight

    It wasn’t just a jostle at the top for the minor premiership, the entire top eight was one of the tightest contests in recent memory, with just one game separating the top six sides at the end of the season. The Bulldogs were just one game further back in seventh.

    Sydney, Geelong and Hawthorn all finished on equal points on the top of the ladder, with just percentages separating the minor premiership.

    The final round, or the second half of the season for that matter, was a constant tightrope for every team in the finals equation.

    A win could catapult you up into the top four or even top spot, but a loss could see any given side drop four or five spots in a single week.

    It became some seriously entertaining to watch.

    Adelaide were arguably the biggest victims of the intense positional jostling. They came into the final round in second place with a shot at top spot up for grabs but were upset by the West Coast Eagles.

    Instead of a minor premiership and pole position in the race for the flag, they were dropped down to fifth and knocked out in the second week of the finals.

    Speaking of…

    bob-robert-murphy-easton-wood-western-bulldogs-afl-grand-final-2016

    Finals series

    The Swans took top spot thanks to a big 113-point win over a hapless Richmond side in the last round, boosting their percentage above Geelong and Hawthorn.

    Greater Western Sydney also made their first-ever finals berth, finishing in fourth place.

    The Crows, Eagles, Bulldogs and Kangaroos rounded out the eight leading into the first week of the finals.

    The Bulldogs unexpectedly knocked over the Eagles to end their season with a disappointing 47-point loss.

    Geelong scraped past Hawthorn in one of the games of the year, holding on desperately to a two-point lead in the final quarter to book their week off.

    Adelaide then trounced North Melbourne to end an incredibly up and down season for the Kangaroos.

    The biggest upset of the opening week was saved for last. The Giants beat big brother the Swans away from home. GWS ran away with the game in the second half to win by 36.

    Week two was much nicer to the Swans, cruising fairly comfortably past Adelaide by 46 points at home, while the Bulldogs continued their winning ways by upsetting three-time defending champions Hawthorn by 23.

    Geelong were no match for Sydney in the prelims, allowing the red and white to book their third Grand Final in five years.

    The Giants and Dogs put on an absolute thriller at Spotless Stadium, trading the lead more times than you could keep up with before the Dogs snuck home by a single goal.

    Then there were two.

    The 2016 grand final has been covered to death and will continue to be remembered as one of the best of all time. Not so much for the quality of the contest, but the history and emotion surrounding the Bulldogs quest for victory.

    The Swans were behind the contest from the first quarter, and despite a few short comeback attempts, the Dogs shut out one of the most potent attacking forces in the competition.

    Six goals to three in the second half was enough for the longest drought in the AFL to come to an end, winning by 22 points.

    Swans losing their neck when it counts

    The Swans have only missed the finals once in the last 14 years, not to mention winning two premierships in the last 12.

    But they’ve also lost three grand finals in that same period of time, as well as being knocked out in straight weeks last year after a top four finish.

    It’s a huge achievement by the Dogs to do what they did, but the Swans have a knack of choking on the big stage despite having one of if not the strongest roster in the league.

    They averaged a touch over 100 points per game throughout the whole season, including the finals, but could only manage 69 in the biggest game of the year.

    The fise, fall and clean out of the Kangaroos

    The Kangaroos started with a record-breaking nine wins in a row to start their 2016 campaign and many were touting a top four finish and a run at the flag.

    Instead, North went on to lose their next seven games in succession and just hang on to the eighth spot at the end of the regular season on percentages ahead of a late charging St Kilda side.

    They were bundled out of the finals in the first week after copping an ugly 62-point loss against the Crows.

    To top it all off, the club announced they were axing veterans Drew Petrie, Michael Firrito, Nick Dal Santo and Brent Harvey, who just happened to break the all-time games record a few weeks beforehand.

    And they did so before the season had even finished, leaving the players emotional and uncertain of their futures, while the fan backlash impacted crowd numbers and support.

    What started so promising collapsed so quickly for North Melbourne in 2016.

    Danger owns the Brownlow, as Jobe loses his

    The coveted Brownlow Medal has had an interesting year. There were three winners and one loser in 2016 as dominance and controversy both shrouded the award.

    Patrick Dangerfield had a fairly impressive year for the Cats if you want to take things lightly. The 26-year-old broke nearly every record in the Brownlow book to win his first award.

    His tally of 35 votes is an all-time record, as was the margin of victory, finishing an astonishing nine points ahead of the next best.

    He also set a new record for scoring votes in the most amount of games with 15, as well as equalling the record for nine best on grounds in a single season.

    Patrick Dangerfield Geelong Cats AFL 2016

    This was Danger’s first season in Geelong colours after a long career at the Crows, and he didn’t want any time making an impression.

    While he was winning his medal for the 2016 season, Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell were winning their first Brownlows, for the 2012 season.

    Having been wrapped up in the Essendon supplements saga since it first broke in 2013, the fate of Jobe Watson’s 2012 Brownlow victory was decided.

    Even more astounding than having the medal stripped and vacated, is that the AFL decided to hand it on to the runner-up of that year.

    Which just gets even better because there were two of them.

    It’s highly unlikely there will ever be another situation such as this. Not only was a Brownlow taken, but was then given to two players to form a trio of winners in a single year.

    Special mention: Jimmy Bartel’s beard
    How good was that bit of facial fur? Dead set a 10/10 on the lumberjack scale.

    Bartel’s beard was the butt of many jokes throughout the year, but it was done for a good cause and raised awareness for domestic violence in Australia.

    Not to mention his spot on Happy Gilmore caddy impression.

    Facts and figures of 2016

    – Josh Kennedy broke away from Lance Franklin late in the season to claim the Coleman Medal for the second year in a row, with 80 goals. He becomes the first to go back-to-back since Fraser Gehrig in 2004-05.

    – The Bulldogs won their first premiership in 62 years, also becoming the first team to win the flag from seventh position.

    – Essendon broke a club record in 2016 for the most consecutive losses, suffering 17 defeats in a row before beating the Suns in Round 21.

    – The Brisbane Lions also went on a record-breaking losing streak, setting a new club record of 12 defeats on the trot.

    – The Sydney Swans made 155 tackles in their game against the Demons in Round 13, setting a new all-time record in the AFL for a single game.

    – At 20 years and 194 days, Marcus Bontempelli became the youngest player in history to captain their side to a win.

    – Essendon’s halftime score of just 0.4 (4) against North Melbourne in Round 8 is their lowest halftime score in over a century since round 1, 1915.

    – There was an astonishing 31 players who reached milestones of over 200 career games this year, including six players getting past 300 games in Jimmy Bartel, Scott Thompson, Drew Petrie, Sam Mitchell, Shaun Burgoyne and Nick Riewoldt.

    – As well as notching up his 350th game during the season, Matthew Pavlich racked up his 700th career goal in Round 23, putting a long way ahead with the club record and sitting 22nd in the all-time list.

    – Veteran Kangaroo Brent Harvey not only passed 500 career goals in Round 11, but he became the most capped player in AFL history, beating legend Michael Tuck’s mark of 426 games before finishing the season and his career on 432.

    – Not to be outdone, Rodney Eade and John Worsfold passed 600 and 500 games respectively as both coach and player.

    Premiers: Western Bulldogs
    Grand final: Bulldogs 13.11 (89) df Swans 10.7 (67)
    Minor premiers: Sydney Swans
    Wooden spoon: Essendon Bombers
    Brownlow Medal: Patrick Dangerfield (GEL)
    Highest attendance: 99,981 (MCG,Grand Final)
    Most points for: Adelaide Crows (2483)
    Least points for: Essendon Bombers (1437)

    Final standings

    Pos Team Pld W L D PF PA % Pts
    1 Sydney 22 17 5 0 2221 1469 151.2 68
    2 Geelong 22 17 5 0 2235 1554 143.8 68
    3 Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 2134 1800 118.6 68
    4 Greater Western Sydney 22 16 6 0 2380 1663 143.1 64
    5 Adelaide 22 16 6 0 2483 1795 138.3 64
    6 West Coast 22 16 6 0 2181 1678 130 64
    7 Western Bulldogs (P) 22 15 7 0 1857 1609 115.4 60
    8 North Melbourne 22 12 10 0 1956 1859 105.2 48
    9 St Kilda 22 12 10 0 1953 2041 95.7 48
    10 Port Adelaide 22 10 12 0 2055 1939 106 40
    11 Melbourne 22 10 12 0 1944 1991 97.6 40
    12 Collingwood 22 9 13 0 1910 1998 95.6 36
    13 Richmond 22 8 14 0 1713 2155 79.5 32
    14 Carlton 22 7 15 0 1568 1978 79.3 28
    15 Gold Coast 22 6 16 0 1778 2273 78.2 24
    16 Fremantle 22 4 18 0 1574 2119 74.3 16
    17 Brisbane Lions 22 3 19 0 1770 2872 61.6 12
    18 Essendon 22 3 19 0 1437 2356 61 12

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    The Crowd Says (44)

    • December 30th 2016 @ 9:19am
      Stewie said | December 30th 2016 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      Any criticism of the Swans needs to take into account that we’re actually rebuilding. Lost over 1000 games of experience between 2015-16, and we’ll be even younger in 2017.

      Good article though! 🙂

      • Roar Pro

        December 31st 2016 @ 12:38am
        anon said | December 31st 2016 @ 12:38am | ! Report

        Exactly. Nearly everyone predicted them to drop out of the top four in 2016 and some “experts” were predicting them to drop out of the top 8. Instead, they finished the regular season the best team in the league. It was an incredible achievement.

        What the author fails to note is that in the Swans last three Grand Finals they’ve had to play Melbourne teams on the MCG. Stats show that top 8 teams hosting a top 8 team from interstate, will win 80% of the time. Statistically, the Swans are supposed to lose a Grand Final at the MCG to a Melbourne team.

        The Swans being an interstate team haven’t choked on Grand Final day. Choking would be Hawthorn losing at their home fortress to an underdog interstate team, like they did in the 2012 Grand Final. That’s a choke.

        Also, what the author fails to note is how in the 2016 Grand Final, Sydney not only had to overcome the disadvantage of playing interstate (despite finishing top seed), but had to overcome a historically lopsided free kick count.

        At one stage early in the final quarter of the GF, the free kick count was 17-4. From halfway through the first quarter until early in the final quarter, Sydney received one free kick. Despite this, with 8 minutes remaining in the match the margin was only ONE POINT. Amazing performance from Sydney when you put it in that context.

        Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were gifted 17 POINTS directly through umpiring blunders. Umpiring blunders that shouldn’t be tolerated in a meaningless preseason hit out, let alone the most important game of the year. They were:

        1st qtr 13:00 Kieren Jack given free kick for being shirtfronted running with the flight of the ball. Should have been a 50 metre penalty which would have given Jack a certain goal. Instead he kicks a behind. Sydney denied a certain net 5 points. Bulldogs would later be awarded a 50m penalty in goal kicking range for the exact some incident.

        2nd qtr 0:52 Kieren Jack has a free kick and 50 metre paid against him for high contact. Not only did he not make any contact with the Bulldogs player, but he should have been actually paid a free kick for contact below the knees. Instead of the ball being kicked in the Sydney goal square, the ball is now being kicked into the Bulldogs forward line. Ball then stays locked up in the Bulldogs forward line for the next 30 seconds and results in a goal.

        3rd qtr 7:45 Start of a farcical series of umpiring decision. Morris dives into the Sydney player’s legs and not penalised for it. Morris wins the ball which leads to the following.
        7:30 Rampe penalised for a really soft holding the ball. Carey comments that the umpires have let those go all game.
        7:11 The previous soft free leads directly to the ball being kicked into the Bulldogs forward line where the Bulldogs get a free kick 30 metres out on an angle for non-existent high contact. It was basically a dive. Bulldogs score a goal. Really bad umpiring decision costs the Swans a direct 6 points.

        Sydney had 17 points stolen from them no ifs, no buts. Sydney got no free points from the umpires. Despite this there was only one point between the teams with 8 minutes remaining. This isn’t taking into account all the momentum and confidence killing umpiring decisions that went against Sydney.

        • December 31st 2016 @ 1:25am
          Aransan said | December 31st 2016 @ 1:25am | ! Report

          The Swans did win a very good grand final in 2012 and I will always remember Adam Goodes brave role in achieving that. I thought the Bulldogs were lucky to win the preliminary final against GWS but were worthy winners of the 2016 GF. Franklin appeared to get a significant injury early in the game and although his performance was OK the injury clearly hampered him. Given that, a weak performance from Tippett didn’t allow the forward line to function to anywhere near its capacity. The Bulldogs seized the important moments and the performances of Bontempelli and Tom Boyd were vital to their successes in the preliminary and grand finals. Those two players still have significant upside but I agree with the observers who compare the Bulldogs victory with the Hawks 2008 premiership — a victory before its time but a sign of future GF victories to come.

          • Roar Pro

            December 31st 2016 @ 6:10am
            anon said | December 31st 2016 @ 6:10am | ! Report

            You claim the Bulldogs seized the important moments — but there was only one point between the teams with 8 minutes remaining.

            I just identified for you 17 points stolen from Sydney just from umpiring howlers in front of goal alone. Those 17 points would have came in handy with 8 minutes to go wouldn’t you say?

            That doesn’t take into account what a 17-4 free kick count does to the confidence of momentum of each team during the course of the first three quarters. I have been through the game in detail Sydney could have conceivably had a 3-4 goal lead at half time and a match winning 4-6 goal lead by 3/4 time. Instead they were forced to chase their tales all day due to an unacceptable umpiring performance.

            Another point made by the author is that Sydney only scored 69 points in the Grand Final, but the Bulldogs are a scrappy, defensive oriented team that drag opposition down to their level. They averaged 73 scored against them all year and had the benefit of playing the Grand Final in Melbourne while Sydney had to travel.

            • December 31st 2016 @ 11:05am
              Aransan said | December 31st 2016 @ 11:05am | ! Report

              The only mistakes in umpiring that you could be confident would have a bearing on a game would be those occurring in the last five minutes of a game. Sydney’s two star players, both tall forwards, were well down and that had a significant affect on the result. On the other hand, Bontempelli to Tom Boyd with a goal kicked early in the game was an example of the moment being seized, this gave the Bulldogs confidence and a lift. Sydney never looked like winning in the last quarter when the match was to be won.

              • Roar Guru

                December 31st 2016 @ 11:07am
                Cat said | December 31st 2016 @ 11:07am | ! Report

                6 points is 6 points whether it is the first 60 seconds of the game or the last.

              • December 31st 2016 @ 11:38am
                Aransan said | December 31st 2016 @ 11:38am | ! Report

                So you would argue that the umpiring mistake in the 2009 grand final where Tom Hawkins was awarded a goal when the ball clearly touched the post (and I didn’t need a replay to see that one) would have had a significant affect on a game won by Geelong by 12 points when the last goal after the siren by Geelong wasn’t defended by St. Kilda. The margin late in a game actually changes the way the game is played.

              • Roar Guru

                December 31st 2016 @ 12:15pm
                Cat said | December 31st 2016 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

                Yes I would agrue it would change a lot. It’s very simple, had that been called a behind, the ball doesn’t return to the centre, instead saints get to kick it out. From there no one knows what would have happened. Perhaps the Cats lock it in and score anyway. Perhaps no score eventuates but a lot of time comes off the clock. Perhaps the Saints run it down the other end, score and get some momentum. We will never know because it didn’t happen. Change one thing at any point in the game and everything after it changes as well.

              • December 31st 2016 @ 12:50pm
                Aransan said | December 31st 2016 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                The earlier in the game a change occurs, the more opportunity there will be for future changes. A change an instant before the final siren will cause no further changes.

              • Roar Guru

                December 31st 2016 @ 12:53pm
                Cat said | December 31st 2016 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                A change at 1 minutes into a game changes nearly the entire match. A change with 1 minute to go only changes 1 minute of the match.

              • December 31st 2016 @ 2:29pm
                Aransan said | December 31st 2016 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                Exactly, so a goal in the first minute is completely different from a goal in the final minute.

              • Roar Guru

                December 31st 2016 @ 5:31pm
                Cat said | December 31st 2016 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

                The one in the first minute has more bearing on the game because it effects more of the game.

              • December 31st 2016 @ 11:18pm
                Aransan said | December 31st 2016 @ 11:18pm | ! Report

                So, taking into account the undisputed error in awarding Hawkins goal then St. Kilda would have won the 2009 grand final? I don’t know about that. Doing a thousand simulations the expected result is a 2 point victory to Geelong (the last goal was meaningless), with a 70% chance of a Geelong victory. That is where following anon’s nonsense will take you.

              • Roar Guru

                January 1st 2017 @ 10:54am
                Cat said | January 1st 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

                … then St. Kilda would have won the 2009 grand final

                Perhaps they would have. We will never know. We only know what did happen. You can run as many ‘simulations’ as you wish but none of that pretend is going to tell you what would have happened.

                In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.

                Footy is definitely nonlinear, one change can have massive effects later on.

              • January 1st 2017 @ 12:01pm
                Aransan said | January 1st 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                Google to the rescue again?

              • Roar Rookie

                January 2nd 2017 @ 2:14pm
                Antony Pincombe said | January 2nd 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

                I beg to differ. There we plenty of mistakes in the umpiring that had a great bearing on the match. The incorrect disposal frees that weren’t paid against the Bullies, they got away with throwing and dropping the ball all day, had a great bearing on the result. this is added to the already mentioned incidents. In the last quarter, in one passage alone the Bullies players dropped and threw the ball no less than 15 times. The passage resulted in a goal. At one stage Kieren Jack turns to the umpies with his hands in the air asking ‘what the f is going on?’. This will go down as, not one of the most famous but one of the most infamous grand finals ever. If the swans had a 4-6 goal difference, as we would have had, and the umpires umpired without bias, which they didn’t, we would have won the game. The fade out was always on the cards as we have been fading out for most of the season but we were never allowed to accumulate, there was always a free to stop the momentum. This was deliberate I believe.

              • January 2nd 2017 @ 6:35pm
                Aransan said | January 2nd 2017 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

                The asy1ums are full of people who believe in conspiracy theories.

              • January 2nd 2017 @ 8:24pm
                Aransan said | January 2nd 2017 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

                Antony, it is just silly to say that the umpires in any AFL game are biased let alone in a Grand Final. This is something we might feel in the heat of battle but should dismiss on calm reflection. It is important to be unbiased in chairing a meeting or refereeing a sporting match because this is a difficult task to do competently without adding to the difficulties with bias. I did think the Bulldogs were lucky to get away with a couple of handballs, one by Tom Liberatore comes to mind, but I don’t believe it changed the result and umpires are less inclined to interfere in important games — they don’t want to award a free kick in what may be a grey area.

                By the way, a form line that comes to mind is the fact that GWS defeated the Swans, the Bulldogs defeated GWS and on this form line is it really surprising that the Bulldogs defeated the Swans?

                There is no point in raking over cold coals, the Bulldogs won.

        • December 31st 2016 @ 7:10am
          Trish said | December 31st 2016 @ 7:10am | ! Report

          The Dogs won. Get over it.

        • December 31st 2016 @ 7:56am
          I hate pies said | December 31st 2016 @ 7:56am | ! Report

          You still going on about this Anon? Let it go man. If you can’t let it go, at least be consistent; you can’t count up all of the points that the Swans missed and not the points that the Dogs missed.

          • Roar Pro

            December 31st 2016 @ 8:16am
            anon said | December 31st 2016 @ 8:16am | ! Report

            There were only 6 points the Bulldogs missed out on. After all, they only had 4 free kicks against them until early in the 4th quarter. Are you really going to argue that a team that had one free kick paid against them from halfway through the first quarter until early in the final quarter were hard done by too???

            Those 6 points the Bulldogs missed out on were:
            4th qtr
            8:35 Picken not given free for high contact 15 metres out from goal.

            However, this just evens up the 6 points gifted to the Bulldogs in the 3rd quarter.
            3rd qtr
            17:09 Toby McLean of Bulldogs receives free kick for high contact, but ducked into the tackle. Ball is then kicked to the top of the square with a goal being scored. It should not have been a free kick. Another direct 6 points.

            • Roar Guru

              December 31st 2016 @ 10:21am
              AdelaideDocker said | December 31st 2016 @ 10:21am | ! Report

              Get. Over. It.

              • Roar Pro

                December 31st 2016 @ 8:16pm
                anon said | December 31st 2016 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

                I know when I have won the argument.

                When people can’t debate my points and just say get over it.

              • Roar Guru

                December 31st 2016 @ 8:50pm
                AdelaideDocker said | December 31st 2016 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

                Won the argument?

                All you’ve done is regurgitate a whole lot of text consisting entirely of hypotheticals and what-ifs. It’s getting boring.

                Not sure many of us actually care anymore. The Dogs won, the Swans lost. Congratulations to the Dogs, commiserations to the Swans.

                So, I’ll repeat: Get. Over. It.

              • Roar Pro

                January 1st 2017 @ 6:57pm
                anon said | January 1st 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

                “All you’ve done is regurgitate a whole lot of text consisting entirely of hypotheticals and what-ifs. It’s getting boring.”

                I’m not talking what ifs. If I was talking what ifs I would applied a weighting to the howlers paid in general play.

                I’m instead talking about the net 17 points gifted to the Bulldogs through completely bogus free kicks in front of goal.

                Early in the final quarter, the Bulldogs had received 4x as many free kicks as Sydney. My careful analysis shows the Bulldogs were gifted bogus free kicks and Sydney were denied clearcut free kicks.

                I believe receiving 4x more free kicks than the Swans kept the Bulldogs in the game until early in the 4th quarter.

                Are you telling me that the free kick count (especially one as lopsided as 17-4 at one point in the final quarter) had no bearing on the result?

        • December 31st 2016 @ 6:16pm
          Bruce said | December 31st 2016 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

          1st quarter 13:00. Kieren Jack the Captain should have nailed the goal. It wasn’t worth a 50m penalty…he only got clipped in the shoulder. Spun him around because he only weighs 70kg or so. He missed another gettable shot in the 2nd quarter and Franklin missed from 10m out. These were not gimmes (except Franklins) but they were gettable and it would have built scoreboard pressure on the Dogs. The dogs on the other hand kicked 7.1 to half time, from all angles and distances.

          The prelim against Geelong was not as one-sided as it appeared (apart from the 1st quarter slaughter), but the Cats couldn’t eat into the deficit and the scoreboard pressure killed them. Sydney needed scoreboard pressure against the Dogs, as their physical pressure wasn’t enough.

          In the end, Sydney did not function as a coherent team after half-time…that’s why they lost. They weren’t good enough for long enough. Swans only kicked 3 goals in the 2nd half…two of them from free kicks (the 50m given to Kennedy was soft). If the Dogs had taken their 2nd half chances it would have been a belting.

          I agree with you the 3rd quarter free kick (and goal) for high contact on Clay Smith was disgraceful…his own player hit him.

          • Roar Pro

            December 31st 2016 @ 8:19pm
            anon said | December 31st 2016 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

            Watch the replay. It was an old fashion shirtfront with some head contact when Jack’s head whipped forward. It’s a 50m penalty every day of the week (except if your a Swan in a Grand Final against a Melbourne team).

            Had he be given the 50m penalty he’s 100% chance of kicking that goal.

            The Swans couldn’t have been too bad in the second half. With 8 minutes to go there was only one point difference.

            Gift 17 points to the Swans and give them a 17-4 free kick count and I think they would have had a 6 plus goal lead with 8 minutes to go.

            • January 1st 2017 @ 11:27am
              Bruce said | January 1st 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

              It wasn’t an old fashioned shirtfront. If it was Jack would have been stretchered off, his day over. Easton Wood could have destroyed him, but instead was very restrained, keeping his feet on the ground and maintaining his line. An example of a (fairly halfhearted) shirtfront was Bruest’s semi-final hit on Picken. Picken didn’t get a 50m (but Stevic was umpire on the spot so doesn’t prove anything).

              I’ve watched the replay and still shots of the Wood/Jack collision, and I can’t see any direct head contact. The fact Jacks head whips forward is evidence he wasn’t hit directly in the head, otherwise his head would have gone backwards, as Wood was in front of him.

              2nd half Dogs kicked 6.10, Swans kicked 3.4. Dogs kick straighter and its a belting.

              • Roar Pro

                January 1st 2017 @ 7:08pm
                anon said | January 1st 2017 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

                “It wasn’t an old fashioned shirtfront. If it was Jack would have been stretchered off, his day over. Easton Wood could have destroyed him, but instead was very restrained, keeping his feet on the ground and maintaining his line. An example of a (fairly halfhearted) shirtfront was Bruest’s semi-final hit on Picken. Picken didn’t get a 50m (but Stevic was umpire on the spot so doesn’t prove anything).”

                Kieren Jack is just tough is all.

                It was a late hit. It was a crunching bump. The commentators lauded the courage of Jack. Late hits especially with that force after the ball has been marked are an automatic 50m penalty every day of the week. Later on in the game we had two similar late hits with a 50m penalty being awarded each time. Are you going to tell me the sky isn’t blue next?

                “I’ve watched the replay and still shots of the Wood/Jack collision, and I can’t see any direct head contact. The fact Jacks head whips forward is evidence he wasn’t hit directly in the head, otherwise his head would have gone backwards, as Wood was in front of him.”

                Either way it’s a 50m penalty for such a brutal bump.

                “2nd half Dogs kicked 6.10, Swans kicked 3.4. Dogs kick straighter and its a belting.”

                The Bulldogs had 7 of the last 8 scores in the game. If the game had been umpired without bias, the Swans likely hold a 4-6 goal lead with 8 minutes to go, shut the game down and go on to win the game comfortably.

                With 8 minutes to go there was only one point between the teams and the Bulldogs were gifted a net 17 points in front of goal no ifs of buts. Sydney were gifted 0 points. Makes a big difference in a one point game.

              • January 2nd 2017 @ 11:02am
                Bruce said | January 2nd 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                I don’t think jack is all that tough. It was a very courageous mark because he knew what was coming the other way and what they could have done to him. Wood could have given him a serious, perhaps career ending injury. But he didn’t.

                It’ a contact sport. The bump wasn’t brutal, it wasn’t high, it wasn’t late and it wasn’t 50m.

                It makes me wonder how many of your other grievances are suspect.

                Dogs kicked 2.6 to 1.2 in the 3rd quarter, with sydney’s only goal gifted to them with a soft 50m on Kennedy. Again, as I’ve said, dogs kick straighter and its nearly over by 3 quarter time, and a belting by the end.

              • Roar Pro

                January 3rd 2017 @ 4:45am
                anon said | January 3rd 2017 @ 4:45am | ! Report

                “I don’t think jack is all that tough. It was a very courageous mark because he knew what was coming the other way and what they could have done to him. Wood could have given him a serious, perhaps career ending injury. But he didn’t.”

                Please click the link. You’ll see that Jack is a tough, courageous player.

                https://youtu.be/jpWpc5qfH4I?t=26m33s

                “It’ a contact sport. The bump wasn’t brutal, it wasn’t high, it wasn’t late and it wasn’t 50m.”

                Please see the below link. You’ll see that it was late, he had marked the ball, it’s a 50m penalty every day of the week. If it’s not a 50m penalty then all defenders should start adopting this kind of shirt front into their arsenal since there’s no 50m penalty according to you.

                https://youtu.be/jpWpc5qfH4I?t=26m33s

                “It makes me wonder how many of your other grievances are suspect.”

                You’re the one being dishonest. Please see the youtube link.

                “Dogs kicked 2.6 to 1.2 in the 3rd quarter, with sydney’s only goal gifted to them with a soft 50m on Kennedy. Again, as I’ve said, dogs kick straighter and its nearly over by 3 quarter time, and a belting by the end.”

                The 50m was there, just like it was when it was paid to the Bulldogs.

                Sydney had ZERO free kicks in the 3rd quarter.

                The Bulldogs two goals both came from horrible umpiring decisions.

                17:09 Toby McLean of Bulldogs receives free kick for high contact, but ducked into the tackle. Ball is then kicked to the top of the square with a goal being scored. It should not have been a free kick. Another direct 6 points.

                7:45 Start of a farcical series of umpiring decision. Morris dives into the Sydney player’s legs and not penalised for it. Morris wins the ball which leads to the following.
                7:30 Rampe penalised for a really soft holding the ball. Carey comments that the umpires have let those go all game.
                7:11 The previous soft free leads directly to the ball being kicked into the Bulldogs forward line where the Bulldogs get a free kick 30 metres out on an angle for non-existent high contact. It was basically a dive. Bulldogs score a goal. Really bad umpiring decision costs the Swans a direct 6 points.

                The Bulldogs would have scored ZERO goals in the third quarter if it wasn’t for the umpires.

                At 3/4 time, the Bulldogs had 16 scoring shots to 13 despite the benefit of receiving 4 times more free kicks than Sydney. Despite Sydney only receiving one free kick for the previous 2.5 quarters.

                And with 8 minutes to go in the match it was only one point between the teams.

              • January 3rd 2017 @ 7:28am
                Aransan said | January 3rd 2017 @ 7:28am | ! Report

                So it was a conspiracy by the umpires. With this proof the result can be changed and perhaps we need to investigate previous grand finals and why stop there — there are other important matches in past seasons that would have impacted premierships.

              • Roar Pro

                January 3rd 2017 @ 8:01am
                anon said | January 3rd 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

                “So it was a conspiracy by the umpires. With this proof the result can be changed and perhaps we need to investigate previous grand finals and why stop there — there are other important matches in past seasons that would have impacted premierships.”

                There was the Sydney Hawthorn game where Sydney had three free kicks up until 3/4 time, and two bad 50m penalties paid against them at critical times.

                I think Sydney are generally hated in AFL circles and subconsciously people want them to lose.

                Regardless, the Grand Final was umpired badly.

              • January 3rd 2017 @ 10:41am
                Aransan said | January 3rd 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                I would support the Swans against a majority of the teams, but not against the Bulldogs on this occasion. To some extent the Swans have brought on board the South Melbourne tradition and it was thrilling when the Swans were able to break a very long premiership drought, just as it was fantastic how the Bulldogs were able to break their drought and the Lions when they broke theirs — not so much for me though as it happened against the Bombers.

                I was happy to watch and support Hawthorn, St. Kilda and North Melbourne when they won their first premierships although I would now support any team against Hawthorn. I look forward to the Dockers and Gold Coast winning their first premierships, not so much for GWS as I suspect they will have a long period of dominance with their clever management of draft picks.

                A number of teams found it hard to play against the Bulldogs in 2016, the Swans should have done better in the last couple of years and I hope they are looking beyond the umpires to work out what they need to do to address their issues.

              • January 8th 2017 @ 6:53pm
                Bruce said | January 8th 2017 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

                anon said | January 3rd 2017 @ 4:45am

                Re the youtube link. Watch it in real time at 26:39, around 13:08 on the playing clock. I can stop/start the video around 6 or 7 times per second of playing time. There is 1 stop/start click between the ball being on the tips of Jacks fingers and him getting hit. That’s around 0.15 seconds, much less than the blink of an eye….hardly late. Also, marks are not completed in zero time, so effectively he was hit while still completing the mark. That cannot be called a late hit.

                None of the commentators mention any wrongdoing or that it should be 50m.

                You had to backtrack on the high contact claim, and now you have to backtrack on the lateness of the hit.

                This is getting a bit embarrassing for you.

    • December 30th 2016 @ 10:49am
      Aransan said | December 30th 2016 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      I was hoping that no Brownlow medal would be awarded for 2012 but I wouldn’t call the decision to award medals to the joint runners up astounding. Following the rules, Watson was declared ineligible and the usual procedure was followed for that circumstance.

    • December 30th 2016 @ 1:57pm
      Cal said | December 30th 2016 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

      the swans have been amazing to stay where they are while going through that rebuild. It’s a credit to both players and coaches.
      However, what are 2017’s big surprises? Just watch the Bulldogs… dreams can come true. Whose will? And that doesn’t have to mean a flag, but will we see Buckley for longer than people think, can Richmond have another go @ the top 4? So many people forget that they did just that only last year, and that Collingwood’s 2014 and 15 seasons were 9-3 8-3 starts before the injuries and then the honourable losses kicked in. I would have to say St. Kilda and Demons are no longer surprises but that they take advantage of every mistake 2016’s top 8 will make.

      • Roar Guru

        December 30th 2016 @ 8:31pm
        Mister Football said | December 30th 2016 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

        I see St KIlda as the big improvers for next season.

    • Roar Guru

      December 30th 2016 @ 8:32pm
      Mister Football said | December 30th 2016 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

      On the Dogs premiership, worth mentioning that it is only the 2nd time in AFL history that a team has had to win four finals to win the premiership (the other was Adelaide in, hmmm, I think it was 1998).

    • Roar Guru

      December 30th 2016 @ 9:00pm
      mastermind5991 said | December 30th 2016 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

      You forgot to mention Essendon’s round two win over Melbourne. Only the most diehard Essendon fans would’ve backed their team to beat the Dees; not only that they did it impressively, leading at every change and though they lost the lead briefly in the final quarter, got it back to claim arguably their biggest win since the 2000 Grand Final.

      Another noteworthy match was GWS vs Hawthorn in round six. It was as astonishing as a performance by any team against the powerhouse side of the previous three seasons when the Giants thrashed the Hawks by a whopping 75 points. Yes, many (including myself) believed the Giants would beat the Hawks again, but not many predicted it would happen in the manner in which it did. That could have been the first signs that the Hawthorn era was about to end (but I hope it won’t because I know they will bounce back in 2017, though they’ve lost Jordan Lewis and Sam Mitchell to other clubs).

      As for the Grand Final, it was clear all of Australia (except for New South Wales) wanted the Western Bulldogs to win, given not only the fact they hadn’t won the flag in 62 years or played in the big dance for 55, but also what they’d been through two years previous. Captain gone, coach gone, Brownlow Medallist gone, CEO gone, all hope gone. Who would’ve thought a club in crisis in 2014 would win the AFL’s ultimate prize in 2016?

      I still think to this day many Crows fans will be pondering what could’ve been had they NOT lost to the Eagles in round 23. They would’ve finished in the top two and their path to a first premiership since 1998 would’ve been much easier. Instead they were forced into a home elimination final, which they won against North Melbourne, before running into a rampant Sydney Swans side at the SCG the week after.

      Still, Don Pyke has done a terrific job keeping the Crows in contention, especially after the tragic events of mid-2015 when Phil Walsh passed away in shocking circumstances, and more will be expected of them in the new season.

    • Roar Guru

      December 31st 2016 @ 8:12am
      Mister Football said | December 31st 2016 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      On a separate, but related note, good friend to the Roar, Wookie, has just compiled the top 100 ratings for all football matches on Fox for 2016.

      The AFL has taken the top two spots (the two preliminary finals), and 8 of the top 10 spots for the year.

      The top rating football match for the year was the Prelimin between the dogs and giants which drew a staggering 565k.

      The other prelim, between the Swans and Geelong drew 497k, also an exceptional number.

      The highest home and away rating for the AFL came in at 9th, the Rd 13 match between North and Hawthorn, rating 398k.

      • December 31st 2016 @ 11:41am
        duecer said | December 31st 2016 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        That’s interesting – it was only a few years ago that the NRL could boast 8 or 9 of the top 10. Has penetration increased a lot in the southern states? Have there been less big events that would draw big numbers? It would be interesting to know how such a reversal has occurred.

        • Roar Guru

          December 31st 2016 @ 11:57am
          Mister Football said | December 31st 2016 @ 11:57am | ! Report

          NRL still have about 60 of the top 100, so it’s probably a case of the AFL improving itself, perhaps through greater penetration in traditional AFL states, but do not discount greater Sydney viewing numbers for the AFL finals, with the Swans and Giants featuring prominently.

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