What makes sport so special is emotion – the highs and lows, the euphoria and the heartbreak.
Round 11 was just another regular round of football filled with controversy, tipping nightmares and matches being played in China.
These are my likes and dislikes from the last round in the AFL.
Fremantle are not anybody’s premiership favourites this year, but they sure are turning heads with their performances the last few weeks.
After finishing 14th last season, Fremantle currently sit in ninth and with wins against top four quality opponents they are prime to make a finals push.
Michael Walters gets to live the childhood dream two weeks in a row with clutch kicks in the fourth quarter and Nat Fyfe put on another display which showed why he is in Brownlow contention.
The match against Collingwood did have its fair share of controversy, but there is no denying that Fremantle are playing significantly better footy than previous years.
Where did that come from? After a spirited win the week before against the bulldogs for Brad Scott’s final game as coach, they backed it up with an even more gutsy win. The previous week was built on emotion while this week was built on brilliant coaching.
Rhyce Shaw may have only had a week to change game plan but it has made a significant impact early in his tenure as head coach.
Finally, North Melbourne have a coach that can make a forward line functional enough to let Ben Brown play freely and by adding Jack Ziebell back in the middle of the ground, their midfield looks ready to compete with the big teams. After a tough first half of the season for the Kangaroos, I hope this continues.
When the midfield of the Giants is that staked with A grade talent, it is sometimes difficult to stand out. However, Stephen Coniglio’s match against the Suns was nothing shore of outstanding.
Notching 36 touches, 13 marks, eight tackles, three goals and 192 AFL fantasy points, Coniglio’s match was one of the most impressive individual performances by any player this season. Out of contract at the end of the year, the Giants will well and truly have to open the check book to keep him in the harbour city in for the long-term future.
Footy in China
Don’t think that was the spectacle Port Adelaide or the AFL was hoping for when this match was first introduced three years ago.
Even before the first bounce, St Kilda struggled with the heavy impact of overseas travel with several players and coaching coming down with illness.
I mean, the trip to Perth has been described as difficult for Melbourne clubs so a China trip was less than desirable. Then once the match started it did not get much better. Described as a sell-out by the AFL, the official crowd was 9412.
Although still being higher than a Giant home game, was still a fairly dismal effort for a marquee match on the AFL calendar.
With St Kilda captain, Jarryn Geary suffering a fractured fibula and having to be rushed to hospital in a foreign country, it’s the kind of story you only see on dramatised national geographic shows. I don’t think this experiment will last much longer in the AFL.
I’ll be honest, I’m surprised he lasted this long. Officially Carlton’s least successful coach in history, Bolton only managed to win just over 20 per cent of his matches as head coach and since taking over from Mick Malthouse at the start of the 2016 season.
Bolton has only managed a dismal 16 wins and has a highest ladder position of 14th during his time at the club.
Furthermore, Bolton and his staff made countless list changes which has resulted in this club losing any pride and style in the way they play.
With a club having such a rich history of the game’s great players and success, the fans certainly deserve better and as a footy fan, I hope their position improves.
Kicking at goal
Melbourne had eight more scoring shots than Adelaide in their match this weekend but found themselves in the loser column at the end of the round. Missed opportunities from Max Gawn and Sam Weiderman from right in front late in the fourth quarter just sums up Melbourne’s goal kicking performance on the night.
Nerves may have got the better of these two players, but this was a game of small margins and has basically ended their very slim finals hopes.
Similarly, the Swans has more scoring shots than the Cats but were faced with a large gap on the scoreboard. Brody Mihocek missed a simple set shot 15 metres out which may have changed the result of the Magpies match against Fremantle which only came down a goal difference.
There is a reason why fans celebrate goals and not behind and I hope that this trend of inaccurate kicking can make a turn.