With the AFL’s Trade and Free Agency period now well under way one thing has become patently clear, the system is a mess. I say it has ‘become’ clear but that isn’t really accurate, it’s been clear it was a mess from the moment Free Agency was first implemented in Australia’s indigenous game a couple of years ago. The issues were largely passed off then as ‘teething’ problems that would be ironed out over time, but they haven’t been and in fact are getting worse as clubs look to exploit the gaping loopholes available.
North Melbourne 14.9 (93) defeated Essendon 12.9 (81)
The Kangaroos stormed home in the second half of the Elimination final to run over the top of Essendon and setup a clash with Geelong next week, in a pulsating contest played in front of almost 80,000 fans at the MCG on Saturday night.
Sydney 9.11 (65) defeated by Richmond 10.8 (68)
It seems sometimes fairytales do come true, even for the formerly finals cursed Richmond Footy Club. The Tigers, incredibly, won their 9th game in a row by defeating minor premier Sydney in Sydney on Saturday evening, and after starting the season with 3 wins from their first 13 games are officially finals bound. It got off on the right foot for the Tigers before the game even began, the Swans doing exactly what they said they wouldn’t in pulling out another of their stars in Buddy Franklin to rest him before the finals next week. Already without Josh Kennedy, Ben McGlynn and ruckman Mike Pike it made the Swans seem considerably less scary and no doubt put the scent of blood into the Tigers nostrils who would have sensed their opponent were much more worried about next week than the contest in front of them, and predictably that’s exactly how it began.
Hawthorn 14.10 (94) defeated Geelong 11.5 (71)
It was a tale of two halves in a battle between two premiership fancies at the MCG last night, the Cats got out to the hot start and led by 31 points at halftime before being completely overwhelmed by the Hawks in the second half. The Hawks would eventually run out 23 point winners after at one stage kicking 10 goals in a row in a stunning turnaround, Geelong seemingly had no answers once the Hawks got going in a result that will provide some concerns for Geelong coach Chris Scott as the two sides are likely to meet again in the first week of the finals.
Richmond V Essendon – Round 20 – 7:50 PM August 08, 2014, MCG
Round 20 sees the return of the good old fashioned Friday Night Blockbuster, with traditional rivals Richmond and Essendon meeting in a game that could barely be more important for either side. The Tigers improbably – or not depending on how you view their history in recent seasons – are making a late season surge and remarkably despite earlier this season having a 3-10 record are still a remote chance of making the finals. They’ve won 5 in a row the Tiges, and while they haven’t all been stellar performances winning form is good form – including last week when they shot away from GWS early before having to grind out a 27 point win.
North Melbourne 10.19 (79) defeated by Geelong 16.15 (111)
Geelong has moved ahead of Fremantle and at least temporarily Hawthorn into second place on the AFL ladder following a convincing 32 point victory over the Kangaroos in front of 32,564 fans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. After a tight opening the Cats blew the contest open with a 6 goal to 1 second quarter, and although the Roos would challenge in the 3rd quarter the gap proved to be too great.
It was supposed to be a battle in 3 between reigning Tour de France champion Team Sky’s British leader Chris Froome, 2 time winner Saxo-Tinkoff’s Spanish ace Alberto Contador and reigning Giro d’ Italia champion Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Team Astana, but as is so often the case in professional cycling this one didn’t go according to script. By the end of the 10th stage of this years edition of the Tour de France Froome and Contador would both be at home licking their various wounds, the former a couple of broken bones in his wrist and hand and the latter a fractured leg, leaving Astana’s Nibali to dominate the race and win largely unchallenged.
As the second day (night) of competition at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games gets rolling we’ve already seen some incredible performances. It started on the first night in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome with Australia’s flag bearer, the magnificent sprint cyclist Anna Mears, winning Gold in the Women’s 500m time trial in a performance that long time arch rival England’s Victoria Pendleton described as ‘perfect’. It was Mears 3rd straight Comm Games gold in the event and her 5th overall, moving her one gold ahead of her childhood hero Kathy Watt. She beat compatriot and roommate Steph Morton into silver.
That fantastic performance was followed by another, with the Aussie men’s 4000m team pursuit’ers also winning Gold by smashing an English opponent featuring one of the finest all-around cyclists of all time in Sir Bradley Wiggins. Wiggo has enjoyed tormenting the Aussies over the years somewhat ironically given his Dad is Australian, but Jack Bobridge and his teammates in green and gold made Sir Brad look, dare we say it ordinary, such was their dominance.
Picture: Getty Images
Essendon 15.11 (101) defeated Western Bulldogs 14.10 (94)
Sunday evening saw the Western Bulldogs fall agonizingly short in a game against Essendon that they probably should have won. A touch of extra class from the Bombers and a stunning performance from key forward Jake Carlisle would be the difference in the end, but not before the Dogs gave the Bombers an almighty scare for the second time this season.
Photo : BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com
The first week and a bit of the 2014 Tour de France is done and dusted (or drowned more appropriately), and what a nine days of racing we’ve seen. As we approach the first rest day we figured it was time to take stock.