Talk footy with Rohan Connolly: The last word from round 18

by admin on July 14th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

We’ll leave it there for today, thanks for all the questions and comments, and please join us again on Wednesday at 12.30pm for our live Facebook chat, in which I’m merely the monkey and Claire Siracusa is the organ grinder! See you then.
Nanjing Night Net

DISAPPOINTING DONS

It’s hard to think of a club in modern history which has owed its supporters as much as Essendon does their faithful right now. Even before the supplements saga, the Bombers had wallowed in mediocrity for a decade. The massive miscalculations of the saga then saw the fans unable to enjoy the few on-field highlights they were given as the game played a distant second fiddle to one crisis and upheaval after the next.

The faithful have been incredibly loyal despite that. No more so than in 2016, when, with a half-strength team, fans have tried to dwell on the positives. Which is why they had every right to be pretty dirty on their club on Sunday, as the prospect of just a second win for the season against a side with even worse form instead turned into a shellacking.

How a team with just one win started a game as though its second was a fait accompli is anyone’s guess. Silly debates about tanking and the minimal difference between a No.1 and No.2 draft pick aside, supporters deserved to see their team having a real dip with victory a very realistic proposition. They didn’t get it.

Essendon fans have hung on to any crumb they could these last few years. Right now, it’s the supposed salvation the return of the bulk of their suspended dozen will bring. We’ve already spoken in these pages about the danger of that assumption, given the unknown impact of a year out of the game on even acknowledged stars, or the size of the task in having them fit into a new pattern of play and alongside new teammates. But the one thing Essendon fans should be able to count on next year is 100 per cent gut-busting effort each week without fail. They’ve held the fort for four years as their club has been kicked from pillar to post. And that’s the least their club’s players can do in return.

READ MORE ABOUT THE BOMBERS HERE.

THE  DOCKERS’ DOWNFALL

Remember Fremantle? The team that played off for a grand final spot last year but currently sits 16th on the ladder with three wins from 17 games? It seems the hand-wringing that followed the Dockers’ appalling start to this season has long since given way to indifference. But Freo’s effort against Gold Coast on Saturday missing half a dozen of their absolute best was right down there with their very worst. Yes, we know the Dockers have had injuries, too. But we also counted no fewer than 15 players from that preliminary final team at Metricon Stadium. The “no Sandilands, Fyfe, etc”  argument is an absolute copout given the scale of this year’s collapse. And an indictment on all involved with it.

The Dockers’ performance on Saturday was down there with their worst. Photo: AFL Media/Getty Images

THE GOOD-NEWS DEBUT

We love a good news story. And there haven’t been many better this season than Sam Menegola’s debut for Geelong on Saturday night, one five years and three clubs in the making. You name the injury, Menegola’s had it, first at Hawthorn, then Fremantle, at Subiaco in the WAFL, and even again this season after the Cats threw him another lifeline. But after superb VFL form, he demanded selection, and his 26-possession debut was a suitable reward for patience. Big bodied and a ball magnet, Menegola really offered Geelong something, and having won his spot finally, he’s clearly not going to be giving it up again without a fight, regardless of who else is available.

Sam Menegola celebrates Geelong’s win. Photo: Getty Images

THE ANSWER

As poor as were Essendon on Sunday, Brisbane’s effort against the Bombers also deserves plenty of plaudits. It’s been “kick a Lion” season, lately, from the club’s administration, to coach Justin Leppitsch, to skipper Tom Rockliff, to a host of underperforming senior players. And yet, when things click, Brisbane are still capable of playing some decent football. Daniel Rich is certainly one who has copped plenty of flak, but his game was a handy response, as was that by Ryan Bastinac, while Liam Dawson and Eric Hipwood were also big plusses in Brisbane’s first win since round four. There are three of five remaining games scheduled for the Gabba. Perhaps it might not be their last, either.

Handy response: Daniel Rich. Photo: Getty Images

THE CONSTANT

There’s some irony — again — in the fact that Hawthorn, whilst in some ways more vulnerable than at any time in the last five seasons, currently sit two games clear on top of the ladder with just five left to play. Sunday’s 70-point belting of Richmond was a great example the Hawks were on top but as late as time-on in the third quarter were still less than three goals to the good. But the trickle soon became a flood, a nine-goal final term a potent reminder of the sort of explosiveness of which the Hawks are still capable. Three finals opponents have beaten them, another came within a kick, but the bottom line remains a team which in September few will be game enough to tip against.

Hawks Bradley Hill and Josh Gibson celebrate another six-point effort against the Tigers. Photo: Michael Dodge

THE DOGS AREN’T DONE WITH YET

Understandably, the Western Bulldogs’ rooms weren’t a happy place after Saturday night’s loss to St Kilda. Not only had third on the ladder become sixth with a possibility of seventh by the end of the weekend, but the injury toll was shocking, Mitch Wallis being carted off to hospital with a broken leg, Jack Redpath pondering a knee reconstruction, Dale Morris nursing a hamstring.

Emotional, devastating, grieving, were all words getting a decent workout, fair enough in the immediate aftermath not only of a costly loss, but a sense that the football gods somehow never seem to be on the Bulldogs’ side. They certainly haven’t been on the injury front this year, starting in round three, when skipper Bob Murphy went down with a season-ending knee injury, that last-minute stumble, literally also costing the Dogs what would have been a massive victory over Hawthorn.

They lost the in-form Jason Johannisen and key forward Tom Boyd the following week, Matt Suckling the week after that, then, in order, Marcus Adams, Koby Stevens and Luke Dahlhaus.

Throw in the late start to the season of important forward Tory Dickson, who has struggled all season since returning from an adductor injury, and there really hasn’t been a single week this year that coach Luke Beveridge has had anything like a full, healthy list with which to work.

And that, perversely, is the very reason the Bulldogs, once the immediate emotional pain of Saturday night subsides, should still be upbeat about their prospects this September.

READ ROHAN’S FULL COLUMN HERE.

Easton Wood leads the Bulldogs off the field on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.