At the end of round 6 there are still two unbeaten teams. Expectations were that this week would see at least one of those teams loosing. Western Bulldogs faced the Giants at an icy Canberra. While Melbourne Demons found themselves facing the reigning Premiers Richmond. Neither lost.
ANZAC Day round connects football to this day of remembrance. This symbiotic relationship between ANZAC day and the AFL is good for both. Controversially crowds for the game were bigger than the ANZAC day ceremonies. Hypocrisy? Or showing which partner has the real clout?
Melbourne’s win was the more surprising of the two unbeaten teams. Historically the Dees are prone to falling over at the big hurdles. Dees fans are now believing for real. I go by the theory that you cannot be Premiers in April. A footy season is a long slog. Injuries and form slumps occur.
Injuries like the ankles of Brownlow Medalists Patrick Dangerfeild (Geelong) and Lachie Neale (Lions) have huge impact on their teams. Bulldogs mid-feilder Josh Dunkley is also out with shoulder surgery.
Then there are those under mandatory concussion exclusions. Tim English was hit by team mate Aaron Naughton’s knee in a marking contest. No news as yet to how English’s jaw fared. The Dogs play Richmond next week without Dustin Martin who was concussed during the game against Melbourne.
Big Suns Rising
The big winners of the week apart from Melbourne were the Gold Coast Suns. Sydney looked as if their younger players were going to lift them back to the top of the ladder. While the Swans may be finals bound, the Suns took their second win for the season.
Despite having the injury substitute used Sydney had another player injured in the first half. Team performance is cutthroat and one less in player rotation is a disaster. Fortunately there is a medical substitute but that only accounts for one player.
Crows Substitution Error
Adelaide Crows lost to Hawthorn playing at Launceston. Amazingly Adelaide kicked fifteen goals straight before being overrun by the Hawks. Like Sydney, injury was a key factor. Unlike Sydney they selected Tom Lynch an injured player as the injury substitute.
Meanwhile a flock of young Hawks gathered to propel their team to a memorable victory. Players like Koschitzke, Jiath led by Mitchell and O’Mera kept pushing and pressuring the flailing Crows. As the pressure and toil of the day wore on the Crows lost their accuracy and pose. A striving win for the happy team from Hawthorn.
Valiant Roos, Cold Pies and Selfish Saints
St. Kilda and North Melbourne may both be at the bottom of the ladder but they have unexpected company, Collingwood. While St. Kilda were woeful against Port Adelaide, North Melbourne struggled valiantly against Fremantle. Collingwood despite kicking ahead early were not able to keep up with Essendon.
Winners get to bask in the glory for a week. Losers get examined. Collingwood have injuries to significant players. North Melbourne are officially rebuilding and have a new coach, again. St. Kilda, have big issues to deal with.
This St. Kilda team’s best is good, but their worst is unwatchable. Commentators ran out of negatives to describe what happened. Selfish is rarely used to describe a whole team. It was used for St. Kilda. Lets hope it creates a better team response.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.