The AFL world got a taste of basketball-style shot clock tactics yesterday. It wasn’t prepared for it.
Reaction to North Melbourne’s Mason Wood casually running down the clock has seen some up in arms and others centred in on the ‘look’ of what happened.
His side were up by one point and the runner had told him how long was left. So what did he do? He stood firm, looked up to the scoreboard and blatantly watched the seconds tick away.
“Is it a good look? I’m not sure,” wondered St Kilda coach Alan Richardson after the game – though he also admitted if it was one of his players, he’d have been impressed with the composure.
As a general rule, if you’re obsessing over the look of something and that’s all you’re obsessing over, there are probably bigger things to worry about. So it should be with the countdown clock.
That said, if we are on the hunt to make an issue of it all, there might be another place to find it.
Given that we’ve now seen the countdown clock actually being used by players and it having an influence on their decision making, the decision to roll out the technology before all AFL venues were ready for it has been made all the stranger.
No change // Ladder: 2nd (6W, 1L)
When the Cats are on a burst, it can quickly become game over. That burst typically arrives in the in the second quarter. Geelong were 2.4 at quarter time against West Coast and behind by three points. They were 9.7 at half time and up by 35. Gold Coast were down ‘only’ by 14 at quarter time before the full extent of their 120-point loss hit. Port Adelaide? They were leading by four goals at the first break against the Cats. They were then held to three goals for the rest of the match and lost by 48.
No change // Ladder: 5th (5W, 2L)
If the Giants’ Riverina zone really is as much of an issue as it was portrayed to be last week, then why – after five years of the GWS Academy – has just one Riverina player pulled on the jumper in an AFL game for them this season? Makes you think. It wasn’t their sharpest performance, but the win Saturday over Fremantle was their first in Perth, which has to count for something.
No change // Ladder: 3rd (6W, 1L)
With eight of their 20 goals against Essendon coming in the last quarter, the final margin was generous to the Swans this week. But they weren’t the first and won’t be the last this season to thoroughly outlast the Bombers. Isaac Heeney continued the impressive start to his AFL career. And are we giving Buddy Franklin’s season the recognition it deserves? Only kicked less than four goals once. This week it was a bag of six.
No change // Ladder: 1st (7W, 0L)
New rule: If it’s a North game, you’re probably in for a thriller. So it was again this week against St Kilda. Got the win in Drew Petrie’s 300th, withstanding an impressive late charge from the Saints, and the Roos have now won seven games in a row for the first time since 1978.
No change // Ladder: 4th (5W, 2L)
Yes, the Bulldogs win a lot of free kicks. Their free kick differential is the highest in the comp. But they also rank second in the comp for contested possessions. You get to the footy first, you’re more likely to win frees. Debates and conspiracy theories aside, a good bounce-back win against Adelaide. Big games from The Bont and The Package, among others.
No change // Ladder: 6th (5W, 2L)
Took a while for the Hawks to get cracking and do what they were expected to against Richmond, but they got there. Liam Shiels had 16 tackles. Pretty rare for someone to have as many tackles as disposals in a game.
No change // Ladder: 8th (4W, 3L)
Josh Jenkins kicked the most goals by a player in a losing side since Brendan Fevola in 2009. It was a career-high for Jerka. Fans were angry about the free kicks – and there certainly were some questionable calls, no doubt – but the Dogs were the better side on the night. I’m already looking forward to Friday night football this week with the Crows hosting Geelong.
+3 // Ladder: 10th (4W, 3L)
Has a switch been turned at Port Adelaide? After the 77-point win over Brisbane, Ken Hinkley said he’d seen a change among the players. He said they had been distracted by who they thought they were, as opposed to who they want to be. “We’re not a sexy football side,” he declared. The next couple of weeks, away to a three-straight-wins Carlton and home against a poor-on-the-road West Coast, could validate the argument.
-1 // Ladder: 7th (4W, 3L)
The Eagles have played Collingwood, Richmond, Fremantle and Brisbane at Domain Stadium this season. Interstate, they’ve played Geelong, Sydney and Hawthorn. The discrepancy in those fixtures is huge, but even so it’s still hard to ignore their away form. A percentage of 181 at home doesn’t mesh with a woeful percentage of 58 on the road.
-1 // Ladder: 13th (2W, 5L)
That stretch in the fourth quarter when the Saints cut North’s lead from 20 to two should be packaged up for players for confidence purposes. For about five minutes or so, it seemed almost every disposal was finding the right person in the right space. It didn’t carry to the deciding final minutes, but it was a good run.
+1 // Ladder: 9th (4W, 3L)
There were eight multiple goal kickers and nine 20-plus possession winners as the Dees ran away with a 73-point victory. Here’s what was most damning (for the Suns) and pleasing (for the Dees): Melbourne not only won the inside 50 count by a staggering 75-35 margin, they also laid many, many more tackles inside 50 (22 to 5). Had the Suns not kicked as straight (they were 14.3) the final margin could’ve easily been 100-plus.
-2 // Ladder: 16th (1W, 6L)
You have to ask the same question as West Coast: why the difference between home and away form? A percentage of 92 at the Gabba (despite North Melbourne and Sydney being among their opponents) and 52 on the road. With the injury to Tom Rockliff on top of a 77-point loss, the trip to face Port Adelaide was a disappointing one for the Lions.
No change // Ladder: 12th (3W, 4L)
Hey, look at that, three in a row. The Blues had three triple goal kickers against the Pies and among them was Levi Casboult, who also had 11 marks, 10 contested possessions and 10 score involvements. It was a career-high day in a number of stats for the 26-year-old.
+2 // Ladder: 18th (0W, 7L)
A half-decent showing against one of the competition’s form teams was enough to elevate the Dockers above a couple of fully-awful teams on the slide.
+2 // Ladder: 15th (1W, 6L)
Facing Hawthorn on the rebound is hard to do, but the Tigers forced a contest, which is probably all you could’ve asked at this point. Those who circle struggling clubs will be circling elsewhere this week.
-2 // Ladder: 11th (3W, 4L)
That’s the second week in a row the Suns have had 160-plus kicked against them. All I can say is, how lucky is Rodney Eade that the coach of the biggest club in the land is under the pump at the same time this is happening? Somehow, the Suns won’t be the lead story this week. There were injuries against Melbourne, but in anyone’s language it was a bad loss.
-2 // Ladder: 14th (2W, 5L)
Losing to Carlton means it’s Nathan Buckley in the hot seat this week. Expect that seat to get even hotter in a week’s time: Brisbane have been good at home this season.
No change // Ladder: 17th (1W, 6L)
Raised tensions slightly at the SCG before the Swans kicked away. All ended up as expected. Don’t expect relief here in the coming week either: North Melbourne are up next.