Rain in Daqing means mud, mud, mud. With all the paving having been lifted, all the pipes and services having being replaced and piles of earth from diggings and excavations everywhere there’s nothing like a rainy day to turn all this into rivers of mud. Add to this the early morning starts to construction activity and you have trucks outside the window warming their engines at 4.30am (it is light and the sun is up at that time), labourers are still arguing about last night’s card game right outside your window, taxis are already aggressively honking horns and excavators start digging at 5.30am.A late night here for any reason will not receive a lot of sympathy from the Chinese work force. I think it was these early morning disturbances that caused me to be tired and score just 5 from 8 this week! That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Essendon winning didn’t help either.
Western Bulldogs 19.13.127 defeated Melbourne 8.15.63
Melbourne cannot win at Etihad, a fact that was forgotten in the tips. The Bulldogs find themselves about a game out of the 8 after that win so there is still hope for them to reach the finals. The Dees certainly know how to lose a game in style and leave themselves in a dangerous position along with a host of other teams chasing that finals spot.
Carlton 28.16.184 defeated Richmond 12.9.81
Carlton said they forgot about their game last week when they lost to West Coast and now Richmond is saying the same about this game and rightfully so. As Hardwicke said: “Rubbish.” This was an absolute thrashing and everybody played well for the Blues and a few players played okay for the Tigers…in the last quarter. It was a powerful display from Carlton and probably the result of being in an aggressive mood after losing last week.
Fremantle 17.10.112 defeated Gold Coast Suns 9.8.62
The Dockers knew it was going to be tight but didn’t expect to be behind at half time. After the long break it was all Fremantle as they kicked 10 goals to 2 and won the game by almost 9 goals. Pavlich back to his best in his 250th game and Ablett played a super game for the Suns. Nice consolidation for Fremantle before their bye after which they have a hard road home.
Essendon18.7.115 defeated Geelong 16.15.111
It was to be expected that the Cats would eventually lose a game but it was beyond expectations to think that the team to beat them would be Essendon who have been playing poorly and lost their last few games by reasonable margins. This result is another mark against form tipping. Impossible to pick these wins but it was a great game of footy. Did it really help Essendon having Bomber Thompson in their corner to provide inside information on the machinations of the Geelong game? I mean really, you still have to have the players to execute the plan. The difference was more likely in that space above the shoulders….mental. The Cats lacked application after 14 wins in a row and Essendon really needed to do something drastic to arrest a dangerous slide.
Adelaide 8.9.57 defeated Sydney 6.14.50
The upsets for the weekend continue with Sydney finally losing a close one in a low scoring game. Maybe the Swans were still tired from their game against Collingwood the week before but they managed only 6 goals for the 100 minutes. You have to wonder where the form reversal came from for the Crows but it was probably due more to a poor game from Sydney. The Swans have been able to muster last gasp wins in a number of close games but in this case it was one game too many. The win probably didn’t do a lot for Neil Craig’s position as coach in the eyes of the supporters but it will certainly contributed a positive week of news in South Australia.
Brisbane 15.9.99 defeated Port Adelaide 13.10.88
Another final quarter fade out by the Power when it looked like they might win the game in the third. While a Power win may not have been a big upset it certainly would have been unexpected considering their form. Brisbane ducks a wooden spoon bullet but the game was at a level expected of two struggling teams. The bottom of the ladder is littered with interstate teams from QLD and SA, not what the AFL wants.
Collingwood 15.16.106 defeated Hawthorn 9.11.65
The Pies squeezed the life out of the Hawks in the first half allowing them to kick just 2 goals in that period of football. During the 3rd quarter Collingwood opened a 10 goal lead. Hawthorn was 3rd on the ladder! The bye has robbed the Pies of top spot but that should be fixed when the Cats have their bye. The gap between the top two teams and the rest is more like chasm although Essendon found a way to scale the wall. Lots of talk about who was missing from the Hawthorn team for this game but 4 extra Buddy Franklins would not have helped them. Collingwood welcomed the return of Jolly.
St Kilda 12.7.79 defeated North Melbourne 10.10.70
This was always going to be a tough game as both sides came into the contest with reasonable form albeit North’s wins were against less fancied opposition. The Saints were able to grind out another win on their way to getting their season a little back on track. North was not shamed in defeat and will live to fight another day. St Kilda finds themselves in that group outside the 8 all within a game or half a game of each and the same amount of points outside the 8. Are they good enough to climb a little higher and determine the destiny of the other teams? Ditto for North Melbourne.