92 points. Getting so close, so many times has muted my excitement at the footy somewhat. Anything less than 60 points would have been a disappointment, despite the fact we only won by 20pts last time we faced up to the Suns.
What did I learn or like about the Saints this week?
1. Jack Steven is a clearance machine. Initially, he looked slow, and had some discipline issues on a trip. He rapidly improved last year when Lenny went down, and is now transforming into a bona fide star. I almost took the punt and got #3 on my away guernsey this year… He is a front runner for a spot next year in my wardrobe!
2. Lenny Hayes is not quite done yet with footy. Barring another serious injury, Lenny could quite conceivably win a B&F this year. He looks fit, and continues to grind out clearances in tough situations. Lenny is my favourite player. Definitely not a “good time” player.
3. Brendon Goddard is just plain scary out on the field. I would fake a hammy if the coach asked me to pick him up if I was playing against the Saints.
4. Gary Ablett is worth every cent the Suns have paid for him. Whilst I have discussed how the Tom Scully recruitment is more likely than not to end badly for both GWS and the player, Ablett is just increasing his footy legend. He never gave up yesterday, despite the absolutely crushing dominance of the Saints. They paid for a superstar who had realised his talents – Scully is another story. Jarrod Harbrow took the money to go the Suns, but never looks like he is enjoying it there. Ablett appears driven and thriving on the challenge.
5. The video umps are a waste of time. There was one decision where the goal umpire was 3ft away from the ball as it passed the post, yet the ump referred it to the video. The video was completely inconclusive. If the goal umpie cannot make a call from 3ft, in the perfect position, methinks the problem is bigger than a video replay. It slowed the game down, and just made the crowd restless.
6. After a dalliance with a Turf Analysis last year which saw Spotless Catering remove Diet Coke from Level 2 at Etihad, it is back in 2012. Thankfully, there must be a lot of female supporters sitting on Level 2! Coke Zero is just too sweet for me. Too bad the beer at the late afternoon game is also “diet” strength!
7. Late afternoon games are great for AFL TV rights revenues, no doubt. I am OK with this, but just wish the Saints didn’t seem to get so many. As Sonia will tell you, I get a bit tuckered out around 6pm or so each day, and tend to restfully recline on our couch. I got the yawns at the game about the same time, but had nowhere to stretch out! The crowds also seem to be a bit low energy unless the game is an absolute ripper.
8. Whiny supporters are no fun. There is a new guy near us who just seems to complain about everything the Saints do.
No problem occasionally getting frustrated, but this guy was just a complainer. Particularly around switching play – maybe back in the 1940’s when this guy was playing at his peak, it might have paid to always bomb it straight up the middle – but then brylcreem was also the mens hair product of choice… Hitting the centre corridor too early can expose you VERY quickly to counter attack if you muck it up. The opposition gets the ball 65m out, directly in front.
9. The Suns and GWS are open to recruiting raids too! The Saints, along with other Melbourne clubs should be carefully watching the new expansion teams for potential recruits. If the lists are as good as everyone says, how will they keep them together, and under the salary cap? Neither team is a guaranteed monty to be successful, no matter how good the “potential” of the list is. Look at how many early draft picks Melbourne has on its books, yet look completely dishevelled as a team. They are not going to win many this year either… An offer to play with a top 8 team down here could be quite tempting to the better players in both teams.
10. The rugby recruiting experiment is over. Deal with it, AFL. After watching Folau on the TV and Hunt yesterday at the game, neither of them have any clue what they are supposed to do out there, other than collect a squillion dollar paycheck. Both players are squandering their talent on AFL. Wasting their sporting youth for cash… If it wasn’t for the AFL PR machine, I doubt either would be getting a game based on their skill vs ratings impact.